Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Temple Trip and Elder Perry

Yesterday was a really cool day. A couple of weeks ago I asked Zack when we were going to go to the temple this month and he said..."I am going on Tuesday." Oh, Ok, well come to find out he had a Ward Missionary meeting in Houston that night and he and the Bishop had planned on going to the temple before the meeting. I just decided to tag along. It wasn't until later that I realized that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve would be conducting the meeting! I was so excited that I would be able to hear him speak. Making the trip was Zack and me, Bishop Young, Allen Andrews, and Vicki Laughlin. It was an interesting group. So, first we made it to the temple and stayed there for about 1 1/2. I sure do love the temple. I love the beautiful language we hear in the temple and the special feelings I have when I am there. Vicki and I got a little mixed up on the time when a lady came and told us that there had been a mistake and our meeting with Elder Perry was at 5:00 and not 7:00. So we were rushing to leave when they came back in and said....oh, sorry, but the distribution store closes at 5:00. We rushed for nothing...but oh well. We got to eat at California Pizza Kitchen, too. Let me just say.....YUM!!

I saw Elder Perry about 17 years ago when we visited Castledale, Utah and attended a play there. Elder Perry was introduced and stood when they introduces all the veterans in the audience. He is a really tall man. While he is not one of my FAVORITE speakers at conference....I do like him and he was awesome tonight. When he and his wife walked into the meeting everyone stood out of respect and his wife came right to the pew in front of us where some sister missionaries sat and said she would sit with them. Elder Perry followed her to the pew and warned the sister to "watch her, she can get a little fiesty". Everyone around laughed. It was really funny and cute. She seemed really nice and proceeded to whisper to her neighbors ALOT through the meeting.
I am not a ward missionary, but the meeting was really interesting. Some highlights were:
*When discussing the research they have about others opinion of Mormons he said that many people believe we treat women as second class citizens. He said he couldn't understand that. He said that he would believe there is not a high priest in the church that wouldn't open the door for his wife, etc and show respect for her. Then he said that when Hillary Clinton visited church headquarters in Salt Lake someone tried to open the door for her and she slammed it and opened it herself. Wow, I don't want to be THAT kind of women. While I wouldn't do that, I might do somethings similar to that. I will try not to be like that!
*Very clear plan to make use of the ward council and get the most benefit from relationship between the missionaries to the ward missionary to the ward council to the bishop to a high councilor in charge of missionary work to the stake president to the area representative. It was very helpful to hear the plan laid out and testified that it works.
* Sister Perry correcting Elder Perry from her seat towards the back of the chapel. He kept saying "scure" and wasn't what he wanted to say so Sister Perry yells "obscure" several times until he was able to hear her and go on with the discussion!
I was very grateful to be able to attend the temple, visit with friends, and listen to an apostle of the Lord.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Be an Example in Conversation

I attended New Beginnings in Orange tonight and they were discussing the new Mutual Theme for 2009....."Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity". It is a beautiful scripture and theme. So, they were discussing how we can be an example in conversation and how we can use our words to uplift those around us. I was reminded at that point of something that happened this week to Mary Catherine. A from her school was killed over last weekend. She was riding a bike and was hit by a car on a major road. She was killed instantly. Mary Catherine knew her...but not real well. This was a little different than Mary Catherine and not someone she naturally gravitated to. She was pretty upset about it, though. As we talked about it she said, "Mama, I was always really nice to her." I am so happy that Mary Catherine was able to have peace about HER dealings with Morgan. What more of a tragedy it would be for her to realize that she had been one to cause any pain or sadness to her life. It made me realize that the words we speak to someone could be our last. I hope that I can be the cause of peace and happiness in others lives and not pain or sadness. I learned a great lesson and I hope that Mary Catherine has, too. She is a very happy and is always smiley and outgoing to those around her. I am thankful for her and our relationship. I am praying for Morgan's family and hope that they can find peace in this horrible tragedy that has happened.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proud to Be an American

So, today, I am so proud to be an American. I love Inauguration Day in America. I love that we can transition from one group to another with grace and dignity. I love that this is the perfect symbol of a democracy. I love that we have lead the WORLD in freedom and government by the people for the people. Today, I love that more people than ever feel involved in the process. I HOPE that President Obama will be able to turn those "feelings" into action. I actually know that he better able at this time to "lead" this country than Senator McCain. I know that sounds shocking, but I think that with the media and the climate of the country that it would be impossible for McCain....or be able to lead. That doesn't mean that I think he is the best one for the JOB, but the one who has the possibility of success.

On the other hand...I am so proud of the job President George W. Bush did while he was president. I was so proud of him today. He gave a speech in Midland when he arrived home. It was so wonderful. He is a great man and I hope history is able to recognize his greatness. He did things that were hard and did them even when he was very unpopular for doing them. That is greatness. I am moved by what a just plain good man he is. Very prayerful, very focused, and very humble. I hope that he will retire in peace and can't wait for his book to come out.

Thank you President Bush('s)..........I will pray for you President Obama!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Haircut

Emma decided that she wanted to get her haircut MUCH shorter this time. I was a little worried about this, because she has always had long hair. I had struggled and struggled with Mary Catherine and Sarah Beth's hair to grow out the bangs. It was a long and painful when Emma was born I just decided that we would just let her hair grow.

She had alot of hair when she was born and went through a bad time when she was about a year old, but then it just grew and grew. She had beautiful long blond hair. We all loved it and it prompted GranJan to suggest that we even bleach it when she got older and it got darker. I love the new do, though and it is still as blond as ever. And after the hair week we had the shorter hair will be so much easier. So, now we will be blowing dry the hair every night and just brushing it out in the morning. Much better. She is such a cutie.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cauliflower and Broccoli for dinner!!

I just picked from my garden a piece of cauliflower and broccoli. I say a piece because it is definitely a one person serving. It grew about 3 weeks ago to the size it is now so I just left it hoping it would grow larger. No dice!! It did not grow ANY. So, I picked it. I also have some heads of cabbage and tomatoes that are doing the same thing. They grow to a certain size and then stop. How am I going to feed my family from my garden when I get a one person serving every 3 weeks? What should I do?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fitness Challenge

I was reading in Family Fun yesterday and came across an idea in the "Mom of the Month" section. I am so excited by this idea. It is so good to have some competition and for it to be fairly short ended. I think I will present this idea to the family tonight. Get those kids, and their parents going.

After holidays, vacations, or when they've just let good habits slide, Laura Blum, our February 2009 Mom of the Month, and her family jump back on the healthy track with a fitness challenge.

For the challenge, the Blums split into two teams. Each team has a captain who is responsible for choosing a team name and recording points. To avoid duplicate tallies, only the captain is allowed to enter team members' points on a scorecard that is divided into the following three categories:

1. Water -- 1 point for every 8 oz. glass a team member drinks*
2. Vegetables -- 3 points for every serving size eaten (1 point is given for taking a few bites; 2 points for eating half a serving)
3. Exercise -- 1 point for every minute of physical activity

Occasionally, a bonus challenge is introduced. Laura has used these to encourage her kids to try new foods like eggplant, V-8 juice, and even shark when she was trying to incorporate more fish into their diet. They are also used as opportunities for physical competitions between the two teams, like push-up contests -- a favorite of the Blum boys --and basketball contests. All bonus challenges posed must be agreed upon by the entire family, with the number of points given for completing the challenge determined at that time.

Aside from recording the points, the main role of the captains is to motivate the rest of their team on the path to better health. If a teammate is playing a video game, it's the captain's job to encourage him to head outside to play. Or if someone's balking at trying a new food, cries of, "Take one for the team," have been exclaimed by a captain on more than one occasion.

The Blum boys also receive points for the vegetables and water they consume and any exercising they do during school hours. Following the "honesty policy," the boys report their tallies to the team captains once they arrive home from school.

The challenge repeats each week until every family member has had a chance to be a team captain. The prize? The week's winning captain gets to select the dessert for the Blums' weekly Family Night. For Laura, this is a big motivator. Not only is she the lone female in the family, she is the only non-chocolate-lover too!

* For a good estimate of much water you should drink, divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The result is the number of ounces of water you should consume daily, plus another eight ounces per each twenty minutes of exercise. In rare cases, drinking an excessive amount of water can lead to hyponatremia (an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the ).

FHE Silliness

Sunday, January 11, 2009

December Ladies

I realized that I never did post about my 2 wonderful daughters and their birthdays during the month of December. Emma was 9 on the 13th and Mary Catherine was 15 on the 30th. WOW!! I can't believe that Mary Catherine is 15 any more than I can believe that Emma is 9. They are such great ladies, though.

Emma's birthday was actually celebrated the weekend before her birthday since I was going to be gone on the morning of her actual birthday. We invited friends from church and friends from school. Of course, Sarah Beth helped her type up and invitation and make a list of who to invite. They made cute invites for an "American Doll Party" complete with pictures of Emma's Molly and Emily Dolls. She still LOVES those dolls. The rest of the invite was this:

Emma’s Birthday Party!!!
When-Saturday, December 6, 2008
Time- 11:00-4:00
Where-Emma’s house (72 Horseshoe LN.)
What: An American Doll Party. Bring one of you favorite American Dolls and if you don’t have one Emma has plenty. We are going to do a “Molly Mystery” and y’all will each get a character to be!
Call For Directions: (337)-625-8457 or (337)-526-3827

Well, we PLANNED to do a "Molly Mystery". I even paid extra to get the Molly Mystery game here in time for the last minute planned party. The game was on sale for $5 so I thought I could justify the extra expense. Well, on the day before the party I got an email saying that there was a problem with my card. I called immediately only to be informed that they had already shipped it, but could not guarantee that it would arrive the next day for the party. It go here the following Monday. I was SO angry. There apparantly was no real problem with the card but I still didn't have what we needed for the party. Major bummer. And did you notice the time of the party? 11:00 - 4:00 because I was supposed to have a game already planned AND a cookbook I ordered to try some cooking with the ladies.

Oh, well, we had a wonderful party anyway. We had "tea" with little sandwiches, hot chocolate, and strawberry crepes. Later we ate cupcakes. We talked about the history associated with the American Dolls, introduced the real ladies to each other, and had a wonderful time. They played some games, watched the Kit Movie, and played some more games outside in the wonderful weather. It was a great time. I am so glad Emma has such great friends. She has grown up so much even in the last year. She says things in such a growny way lately that shows that she thinks little kids are so cute. She is much more in control of her emotions and is lots of fun to be around. She LOVES her teacher, Mrs. Bowen, and is always quoting her. I love all the things she shares with us from school. Just today, on the way home from church, we passed the I-210 boat launch area, and saw 100s of Christmas trees stacked up. We were discussing what they do with them and she said...."they put them on the Delta to save the coast." She just seems so much more aware of what others are telling her and what is going on around her. She is really growing up. One of my favorite things that she says often is "a bit". Instead of a little, or some, she says, "just a bit". It is so cute and soooo grown up.

Mary Catherine's birthday was on a Tuesday, but her cousin's, Rebecca and Erica, were leaving that day, so at the last minute they decided to have her party on Monday night. Mary Catherine has so many wonderful friends, too. It was a sad day, though, that Whitney would not be here for the first time in Mary Catherine's life. We teared up a bit, but went on. We decided that we would try out the camp on the river. We loaded up food, cake, and drinks and headed out there. Zack even bought a few fireworks. It was the perfect night out there. It was cold, but not freezing so we sat around the fire for about 4 hours talking, listening to music, laughing, and roasting sausages and marshmellows, and doing a few fireworks. It was wonderful. The wind was not blowing so the smoke went straight up and out of our faces.

How grateful I am that at 15 Mary Catherine was content to spend her night with her parents, little sisters, brothers, and friends doing nothing special. She has definitely matured over the last year. Her spiritual development is so obvious. Her goals for the year are to SMILE, read scriptures, and pray morning and night. Also, no soda or chocolate..........ALL YEAR!! Wow, that is tough. I know she likes the way she feels when she feels the spirit and wants to do things that will bring her closer to the spirit. I am so impressed by her. She is a wonderful example to her little sisters. She loves to laugh and be happy. It is contagious, but can be a little annoying because she is so loud.....don't know where that came from!! What a wonderful .

Monday, January 5, 2009

We did have a great weekend, too. We were very busy. Zack has been making a list of things that needed to be done around the house and I had a stack of things, too. We actually started on New's Years Day. We decided to give MC and SB the boy's bunk beds and Taylor their queen size bed. So we did that which prompted a MAJOR cleaning job in the boys room. His room is awesome now. Lots of room, really cool things on the walls. I love it and he does, too. It is amazing how much easier it is to have just one person in a room. We haven't had that in 15 years.....well, almost 13, I guess.

We also, hung some things in MC and SB's room. We took a large frame that I got last year at Hobby Lobby for $5-6 and just hung it directly on the wall. Then, using straight pins, we hung MC's earrings and necklaces on the inside of the frame. It looks like art and is very organized. Plus, she can see everything she has, and is more likely to wear it. Love it!! The bunk beds really free up the space in their room, too.

We replaced light bulbs that are a real pain to replace, repaired doors, installed door knobs on closets and the upstairs bath that never got one! We touched up paint, and moved furniture around in Emma and Lily's room. I was so tired of that room looking like a yucky play room. We brought in some shelves we had out in the office and went through ALL our books to condense them down to 4 shelves (plus a few in Taylor's room and a few in MC and SB's) Their room is not finished....should be in there now.....but it is looking much improved.

I love when Zack and I work hard together. That is one of my favorite feelings ever. Should do things to keep this going. Work with him on my other goals, especially finances.

I want to earn all F's!!

Well, I feel good, today. I attended several meeting yesterday that helped me focus on what is important in my life at this time and I am determined to focus. I think that is my theme for the year....FOCUS. Sounds silly or simple, but I am a very unfocused person. I want to focus on my family, faith, and finances. I will pray DAY, and night. I will read scriptures 5 minutes a day. I will smile to my family more frequently. I will develop a budget and STICK to it. I will host dinner parties monthly in our home in hopes of welcoming more people into our home and making better friendships. Wish me luck. I am excited!

Talked to Gwen today. It is amazing that we were able to talk as if she were just down the road. Very interesting information about Saudi! Still, though, I miss her. Things are just not quite the same. I just feel lonely. I know I shouldn't because I have so many wonderful friends and family, but I just can't shake that feeling. But, I am thrilled to be able to talk so easily and free!! There are good thinks.