09 December 2016

Christmas at Our House

Stringing garland and hanging ornaments originated as a way to keep tiny, curious people, (aka children) away from my glass antique replica ornaments. I continue to enjoy the way it dresses up the living room.

This nativity is felt hand puppets, made at a Relief Society Super Saturday activity in Virginia in 2001.

I was delighted to find a holy family ornament one year at an after Christmas clearance sale.

A beautiful ceramic nativity set that I bought when I was single. TopDad brought me a gorgeous Poinsettia from the Agriculture class at his school.

A holy family on a throw pillow (please don't throw the pillow!) makes this little library corner special.

L-R: Glass bas relief nativity with votive candle; (back) framed print, (front) mini nativity; glass nativity set of holy family and three wise men; (back) Angel Moroni; (front) stuffed fabric manger and Baby Jesus. (Someday I'll get the rest of the figures done.) 
Wreath was a gift made by my older sister; manger and Baby Jesus (my favorite!) You can read about it here.

Even the side of my fridge is decorated with a nativity!
My greatest feeling at Christmas time is gratitude--for the great gift of a Savior and Redeemer. I know he is real! I am overwhelmed by God's love for me.

P.S. We do have a tree, I just neglected to take a picture of it!

05 December 2016

Insight from a Christmas Book

Yesterday in Relief Society, the President shared a favorite Christmas story called A Christmas Dress for Ellen. After she read it to us she shared her testimony and then opened the time up to the sisters in the room. As we sat there for a few moments in contemplative silence a thought flashed through my mind.

The mother in the story wrote a letter and asked her family so humbly for a few things to work with to make the lives of her children better. She didn’t ask for great riches, but old items she could use to work with to accomplish the needed tasks. Her loving family responded with ten crates of riches, new and beautiful. The thought I had was that Heavenly Father is like that. When we pray and humbly ask for something he responds with riches we didn’t imagine. His plan is always better than ours; his goodness exceeds our expectations. He loves us more than we can understand. 

22 October 2016

Vitamin N

From Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker:
Many times it boils down to just saying the magic word: no. Our kids truly are indulged, because for whatever emotional and psychological reasons (that would fill up another book), Gen X parents don't want to cause their children a moment's discomfort. And saying no to what they want is uncomfortable.
[Amish] Bishop Jacob, a sage grampop of fifty-six grandchildren, some whose names he's not even sure about ("Sometimes you have to think once or twice," he admitted) gave me the bottom line: "Say no to your children, because it's chust not good for them if you never say no," he told me. "They'll never learn, later in life, that they can't always get what they want." 

29 September 2016

Oh, Good Grief!

I got on today and found that my blog list of favorites had completely disappeared.

May I ask your help in restoring it?

If you read my blog would you leave a comment with your blog address and I'll add it back (or for the first time).

Thanks for the help!

In the meantime--I'll wrack my brain and try to remember all my favorites.

30 August 2016

Two Kinds of Men

From the writings of Ralph Moody, in Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers:
"Son," he said, "I had hoped you wouldn't run into anything like this till you were older, but maybe it's just as well. There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men, and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they're honest men or dishonest men.
"Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes--honest and dishonest.
"Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned is so that it would yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.
"Son, this is a long sermon for a boy of your age, but I want so much for you to be an honest man that I had to explain it to you.
I wish I knew how Father was able to say things so as to make you remember every word of it. If I could remember everything the way I remember the things Father told me, maybe I could be as smart a man as he was.



01 July 2016


While re-reading Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith I came across this profound and timely passage:
Mma Ramotswe knew that there was a great deal of debate about morality, but in her view it was quite simple. In the first place, there was the old Botswana morality, which was simply right. If a person stuck to this, then he would be doing the right thing and need not worry about it. There were other moralities, of course; there were the Ten Commandments, which she had learned by heart at Sunday School in Mochudi all those years ago; these were also right in the same, absolute way. These codes of morality were like the Botswana Penal Code; they had to be obeyed to the letter. It was no good pretending that you were the High Court of Botswana and deciding which parts you were going to observe and which you were not. Moral codes were not designed to be selective, nor indeed were they designed to be questioned. You could not say that you would observe this prohibition but not that. I shall not commit theft--certainly not--but adultery is another matter: wrong for other people, but not for me.
Most morality, thought Mma Romatswe, was about doing the right thing because it had been identified as such by a long process of acceptance and observance. You simply could not create your own morality because your experience would never be enough to do so. What gives you the right to say that you know better than your ancestors? Morality is for everybody, and this means that the views of more than one person are needed to create it. That was what made the modern morality, with its emphasis on individuals and the working out of an individual position, so weak. If you gave people the chance to work out their morality, then they would work out the version which was easiest for them and which allowed them to do what suited them for as much of the time as possible. That, in Mma Romatswe's view, was simple selfishness, whatever grand name one gave to it.
Wise! Very wise. 

If you haven't treated yourself to reading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, you are missing out on some delightful stories. I highly recommend it.

13 May 2016

Follow-Up to Evolution

This little gem came with my YouTube suggestions.

From the Book of Mormon we have Lehi's testimony:
". . .for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."                                                                  (2 Nephi 2:14)

18 April 2016

Creation vs. Evolution

Somehow I stumbled onto a film called Evolution's Achilles Heels and ordered it. I watched it alone the first time and was so excited about it that I told my husband we had to watch it for Family Home Evening, soon. The presentations by these 15 PhD scientists validated everything I've believed about the earth. I just didn't have any scientific proofs to back up my beliefs. just spiritual feelings. Now I have the proofs!

Our youngest son has adopted evolutionary beliefs which worries us because those beliefs lead people away from God. We watched the film last night and had to pause it several times as he exploded in disbelief, which is what happens when deeply held beliefs are challenged. But. We made it through the film and I'm hopeful that seeds were planted that will bear fruit in the future.

11 April 2016

After General Conference

It's been a week now since General Conference. The glow and delicious peace is beginning to fade as the realities of life continue.

I'm attempting to make this year different by studying each talk and writing quotes in a journal dedicated to recording the answers to my conference questions.

My thinking is that by writing down the answers I'll see what actions I need to take to change. For the better, I mean!

The first talk I studied was President Henry B. Eyring's Saturday morning address. I felt so grateful (and got real teary) that I am not alone in my feelings of loss of joy. His counsel was timely and welcome.
"Where and when we feel the closeness of the Savior depend on each of us."
"All us of have had our faith tested by . . . selfish interests that reduced our efforts to cultivate and soften the spiritual depths of our hearts."
". . . make the choices that will create in your heart a more fertile ground for the good word of God to grow and be fruitful."
 ". . . pray with full purpose of heart . . ."
I next chose Elder Steven E. Snow, of the Seventy, whose talk is titled Be Thou Humble.
"Humility is essential to gain the blessings of the gospel."
Towards the end of his address he quotes President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985, President 1973-1985).
"How does one get humble? To me, one must constantly be reminded of his dependence. On whom dependent? On the Lord. How remind one's self? By real, constant, worshipful, grateful prayer."
I want to improve! I want to feel joy. I know change is not easy, but I can't reach my goals without it. Following the counsel from leaders gives me a good place to begin.

24 February 2016

This is . . .

. . . what 90 years of clean living looks like:

My dad got up early Monday morning and cleaned his PT Cruiser inside and out! He keeps himself active both physically and mentally.

03 February 2016

Barriers are not always a bad thing

I used a talk by Elder Von G. Keetch from the October conference as part of the Sunday School lesson last week. We were talking about how God is Our Heavenly Father and how we can get to know Him better by studying the scriptures. I had each student think about the qualities they appreciate in their own father, and what qualities they would like to have themselves as a parent. Then we talked about how God is a loving Father who cares more about us than anything else. We watched the talk as a way to see how what God does is an expression of His love and concern for us.

My favorite quote from the talk is this:
[T]he barriers established by the Lord create for us a safe harbor from the evil and destructive influences that would other wise drag us down to the depths of despair. The Lord's commandments are given out of love and caring.

02 February 2016


After over thirty years of service my scriptures are being retired. They have been valiant warriors.

I purchased a quad, and am now in the process of transferring all my markings from the old to the new. I know that some, even general authorities, advocate not transferring and just marking as you read the new. I'm not of that school of thought. I transfer and refine my markings each time. The above triple was purchased in 1985 when I was called to be a Gospel Doctrine teacher and I gave up my beloved triple that I had used as a missionary.

I enjoy the process of marking a new set of scriptures as it gives me a chance to see again forgotten treasures, change markings to meet my evolving system, and wonder why the heck I ever marked that one! One change I'm making is that I'm no longer drawing a box around a passage and coloring it in completely. I'm simply underlining the passage.

I love the scriptures, they truly are a lamp unto my feet. Psalm 119:105

25 January 2016

Not after the manner of men

It's an obscure little verse, not ever mentioned in Gospel Doctrine or Seminary lessons. Which is rather sad as I think it is one of the more important verses in the whole book. You've read it every time you go through the Book of Mormon, but it hardly registers. I'd like to share my experience of realizing its importance.

Almost twenty years ago my parents visited us for the birth of our fourth child. We had chosen to homeschool and were just beginning our third year. My parents were rather appalled at what they thought was a discrepancy between where our oldest was and where they believed she should be. She was a delightful, imaginative child, but at age seven was still not reading. They pleaded with us to put her in public school so she wouldn’t fall behind. We stood firm in our desire to do what we felt the Lord had called us to do.

The situation was stressful to say the least. I prayed to find a better answer to give them as to why we chose to homeschool. Many months after they left, while I was reading in first Nephi, a verse came, in the words of Joseph Smith, with more power to my heart than any other.

Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men, but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.      
                                                (1 Nephi 18:2)

Here was our answer. We were educating our children not after the manner of men, but after the manner the Lord had shown us. We know that not everyone will be called to homeschool their children, but we were.

Since that time I’ve pondered in what other ways we are building lives, not after the manner of men, but after the manner the Lord shows us.

We build our financial lives differently through paying tithes and offerings. We take care of our physical bodies according to the Word of Wisdom. We choose our entertainment according to the Thirteenth Article of Faith. We date, court and marry according to the blueprints in For the Strength of Youth and The Family, a Proclamation to the World. In so many areas, in fact, all areas of our lives, we can live according to the manner which the Lord has shown us. We need not be ashamed or embarrassed by our differences to the world. The Lord is faithful, and when he commands he prepares a way for us to keep those commandments.

As for our oldest daughter? Shortly afterward she did learn to read and has kept on reading, and writing. She has amassed a library of over 1,100 books, learned a second language, traveled overseas and is a delight to all who meet her. She is an aspiring writer and has several books in the works.

Before my mother died she confided to me that she was wrong to worry and that we had done a great job with our children. I can’t claim credit, we just did what the Lord instructed and He prepared the way.

03 January 2016

Happy New Year!

We had lovely holidays with our whole family here; first time in six years! I love our adult children! They are such fun to have around. I lasted until New Year's Eve before getting sick, so I'm grateful for that. It's a nasty virus, which I'm fighting with garlic, Vitamin C, hot lemon and honey, and lots of water and rest.

I'm not making any resolutions this year. I'm setting one physical goal (discussed on my other blog), and one spiritual goal, which is to study the prophet lessons in depth each month and put into practice what is taught. That should keep me occupied and out of trouble.

Hope you had lovely holidays and are well and happy in the new year.