fiance, student, homeschool retiree, preschool teacher wannabe, Senior Living Coordinator, writer of many things unsaid, blogger, lover of the creative, most cheerful depressed person, devourer of books, crafty wanna be, amateur tech support, internet junkie, facebook stalker, tweeter of tweets, Pagan, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, karaoke super-star

Fear

"Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear."
"It has? "
"Well everybody on Earth deals with fear -- that's what little brains do. "



Don't worry I didn't forget you...



We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher 

I just loved this quote!!!

I wanted to write a quick update as I seem to be neglecting this blog, but not my CM journey. 

What I have a been doing?

  • I started reading Charlotte's book series and thought I'd read and take notes as I went along. Then after a few chapters into the first book, thought it would be best to just read them and then go back later and reread for more in depth study and notes. 
  • I have also been reorganizing all our homeschooling things, re-purposing somethings and getting rid of others all together.
  • I have gathered up a large box of unwanted books to be turned into the local book consignment shop to trade in for books on my AO lists. 
  • Just enjoying the Summer!

Busy Work


" They have a broad, interesting "diet" for their minds in the mornings, with the afternoons in contrast including play, picture study, acting, or nature walks. Charlotte Mason did not want homework given out either. Life itself is too important to crowd out with busywork."
~from When Children Love to Learn  by Elaine Cooper

In considering a Charlotte Mason education for my own children I have had to make some serious changes to our homeschooling curriculum. The book shelves are being sorted through and purged as I take into consideration what we will actually be using.

In reading the CM books and books written about CM Education, like the one above, I have seen the importance of  improving their educational 'diets' by weeding out the busy work.

When  thinking on the actual processes involved in learning and the practical applications to real life many, many of the things I had been having my children do before equaled busywork. The Explode the Code Workbooks, the Teaching Textbook math lessons, the worksheets, even some of the more hands-on arts and craft like activities like Evan Moor History Pockets and lapbooking are types of busywork for my kids. (Please do not feel I am making a judgment call for you if you use any of these things, this is all about our Personal homeschooling journey) They have been acting as forms my kids are filling out to prove I taught them, but have not really exhibited any signs of real retained learning on their part.As I looked about me on the shelves, I had to rethink how I had been approaching education and the selection of curriculum.I must be careful not to crowd out the real genuine learning time with needless and fruitless busywork. Busy work fills time, and is a type of  fill in the blank form, making it mostly mindless drudgery. 
 
I asked myself questions to help me narrow down what should go and what should stay as far as curriculum items were concerned. Why was I assigning them? Did they adequately assist the boys in demonstrating what they know vs. what I taught them? Were the boys simply filling in a 'form' so that I could prove I taught them?

The best part is how much it is simplifying our homeschool, not to mention all the shelf space I'm gaining for good books!!

Sunday Citar: Home





“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you”
~Christian Morganstern

Welcome to Sunday Citar! This blog quote meme was created by Tabitha @ FreshMommy. You can stop by her blog to see the quotes and photos that she and everyone else is loving right now.

Sunday Citar: Loving Others




"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
Mother Teresa

Dear Reader,

I am so sorry I am about to ramble, bear with me. Hope it makes some sense, if not...love me anyway.

We are all connected to one another in this life. Each interaction with another person,wither positive or negative binds us to their experience like a tiny thread. Sometimes it is hard to understand why people do the things they do or even why we ourselves do things. Most of the time we are good people. We are doing the best we can with what we have, or don't have. We come from different perspectives and are on different paths.We try to make the places where our paths connect with others, like thread, a positive thing. We can glow with love, kindness, and compassion. We have the ability to love greatly and uplift others, so that they are made so much braver, stronger, and brilliant having known us. But sometimes the threads we tie to others cause pain, or damage, or hurt and we change who that person is and how they see us.The damage can be intentional or more often just from neglect. How fragile the balance can as we interact with one another.

There is one key ingredient that often makes all the difference in how these threads are bound. The ingredient is love. Love is powerful stuff. I am not talking about the mushy sort of love, but merely the affection and acceptance of others. Love is an attitude, an emotion, and a way of seeing others.  If you love someone, you do not notice so much their faults. You see them as a friend, as an equal, so you are not so shy about talking to them, accepting them, showing them compassion. They can feel your affection for them and it makes your life and theirs a little easier.

There is a huge difference between truly loving a person and just knowing you are supposed to be loving toward a person. We have all felt it, that kind, well meaning person, who wants to love you, but has an awkward way of going about it. They want to serve you, but their heart is just not in it. Most of the time they don't even taken the time to know you, and jump straight to trying to serve needs you don't even have. Love  does not lie and it can't be faked. So step back, try to get that lovin' feelin then befriend them and see who they are and what they may need. No one likes a clumsy lover. (hee hee)

I have found myself in situations where I just really didn't like someone...not for a particular reason, just they didn't seem to fond of me either, so why bother liking them. It's a bad attitude- I know. Later on I usually have my bad attitude weighing heavily on my heart. In repentance I try to challenge myself to love them. Not just jump in all half-hearted and  go try to be their friend or anything (remember no clumsy lovers), just to feel love toward them, in spite of anything else. Let me tell you, it can be hard. It is so much easier just to not like people. In fact its pretty easy, you can almost always find something wrong with people.  I find when I learn to love them, things change a little. No, we do not become best friends, but I feel different and I see that person in a different light. The thread that connects us is not indifferent anymore because of neglected, but full of love and possibility.

Wishing you lots of love.

~April


Welcome to Sunday Citar! This blog quote meme was created by Tabitha @ FreshMommy. You can stop by her blog to see the quotes and photos that she and everyone else is loving right now.

True Love

"It isn't Romeo and Juliet every day, but Harry thinks I'm OK, and I love him."




I just had to blog about the OG's, if you haven't heard about them yet...well you are in for a treat! Married for 73 years Harry Cooper (aka Pop Pop, age 98) and Barbara Cooper(aka Cutie, age 93) are the stars of their own video blog. They are also on facebook and twitter. (Who says technology is for the young?) The Coopers are living it up at Hollenbeck Palms retirement home in CA. OG stands for Original Grandparents, and the blog full of original content including videos, Ask Grandma Anything, and Pop Pops Adventure Corner are sure to bring a smile to your face. These golden seniors are full of love, fun, and great advice with a lifelong perspective.

http://the-ogs.com/

Kittens

The stray cat we took in a few months ago named Rosy had kittens, I am not sure how old Rosy is, but we think this was her first and last litter. She had 3 kittens right away and the last one took a little longer. So four all together. She is doing fine and nursing them.

An Adventure


“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” 
-Helen Keller

I've sent Josef on his first huge adventure.  A 5 day, 50 mile Scout canoe trip on Lake Lowell,  then the Snake river and onto the Payette River. They will travel 50 miles by canoe all together. I sent him off well informed and prepared, full of the spirit of adventure. I packed soap, toothbrush, and clean underwear that I am sure will not be used, but I did my duty as a mother by including them. I also told him to keep his life jacket on at all times, if could even see the water, he should have it on!

The Spirit of Contention

I went to a meeting today, where the contention between parties who were supposed to be working together to brainstorm, problem solve, and help others was so overwhelming-I had to leave.


I recognize my part in this contention, perhaps I should have listened more and spoken less. It is a fine line we walk between being heard and accepted and listening and accepting others. Problem solving is a process, sometimes a long one, and I am often impatient with it and would like solutions sooner rather than later. My "hurry up and fix it" attitude can be seen as defiance, when it was not meant to be so. One of my spiritual gifts is to see things clearly and practically and although helpful most of the time, others feelings can be hurt in my haste to show them how simply and easily the solutions can be found, if they would just view it my way.



I've felt contention before. I have felt it as a young girl listening through the wall as my parents argued, when I would babysit my siblings and they would fight too much for too long, when I felt offended by something someone has done to me, or when I myself was too angry to even see a solution is site. There is sometimes no soothing contention like that, often you much just walk away from it and wait for the storm to blow over and come back and pick up the pieces to restore order that was lost.

I loved this BYU Devotional given this year-It has real world application.

The Spirit of Contention and the Path to Peace

Porter
Devotional Address Given at
Brigham Young University–Hawaii

March 16, 2010
Roger B. Porter
Professor of Business and Government
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard


I am grateful for the invitation to join you this morning. One cannot look over this audience without sensing the warmth of your welcome and the spirit that pervades this institution. Those of you who are young, and those who are somewhat older, have much promise. You are building a foundation that will serve you and others well.

This institution is special to me in large part because it is where my brother David and his family have devoted so much of their lives. He has taught and coached for many years. Your teams have experienced much success through hard work and dedication. More importantly, much more importantly, are the lives he has influenced for good through his unwavering commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through his experiences, he has learned what is important in this life.

We have known President and Sister Wheelwright for many years. Sister Wheelwright taught our children in seminary. President Wheelwright was our home teacher and we were faculty colleagues for years. He is a man of great ability and commitment. When their call came to serve here it was a moment of great joy for them and for us. Since that day, I have only heard him speak of this institution with the greatest love and affection.

I am grateful for the generous introduction of my wife who knows me now better than anyone. She is well aware of my limitations and my enthusiasms. She gently helps me to work on the former and to channel productively the latter. Her goodness and values inspire all those who come to know her well. I hope that each of you are able to find an eternal companion as patient and as loving as she is of me.

Last night I read again the marvelous account in Mosiah 18 describing the courage of Alma the Elder in establishing the Church during a time when those who embraced the Gospel were persecuted and despised. Listen to Alma's counsel to the newly baptized saints of his day:

"Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people. And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having… their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.... And thus they became the children of God." (Mosiah 18:20-22)
I invite you today to reflect on what role contention plays in your life and to consider what steps you might take to increase the peace that you feel.

The Precursors of Contention
The term contention has both Latin and Anglo-French origins and refers to an assertion put forward in argument; striving in controversy or debate; rivalry, or a striving to win in competition. We all know people who seem to us to be contentious, and who are determined to prevail in argument.

We often feel contention when we are experiencing adversity, when all is not well or easy or convenient. We are susceptible to contention when we are angry or hurt, disgruntled or upset, discouraged or distressed. It is at such times that we want others to adjust, or our circumstances to change, in order that we may be free of our burdens. When everything seems to be going well, when the sun is shining and the humidity is not oppressive, when we feel good and experience no pain, we contend less with others.

Likewise, we often feel contention when we are criticized, or when we sense that others are judgmental or dismissive. This criticism frequently comes at times when we feel a great need for support or encouragement, praise or appreciation, and instead are experiencing the opposite. We respond in kind. We react defensively.
We also often feel contentious when we are frustrated or impatient. We question the motives of others and are more likely to accuse than to understand. We often feel contention when our thoughts and mind are focused on ourselves, when we are preoccupied with our situation, our troubles, and our concerns.
Contrast these elements that contribute to contention with other times in our lives when we are free from contention.

We generally do not feel contention when we sense that we are dependent on the Lord or on others; when we are humble; when, as Nephi expressed in his marvelous psalm, we feel a desire to have the Lord "encircle (us) around in the robe of (his) righteousness" (2I Nephi 4:33).

This is the opposite of feeling defensive, or eager to justify our actions or views. We are not filled with pride or a sense of superiority. We do not pursue a path where we are seeking to win arguments or prove to others that we are right and they are wrong. The absence of contention contributes to a sense of harmony and peace in our lives.

Contention and Harmony
Last week on a flight to New York I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow passenger. For much of the journey we were each pouring over the reading material we had brought with us. I was thinking about my remarks today and when he had finished the article he was reading I informed him that I was thinking about an idea and could use his help.

I asked him how he would define contention. He thought for a moment and then answered: "passionate disagreement." I responded: "Anything else?" He replied: "Heated but under control exchanges." He said that in the business world where he spent his hours, he hoped that contentious exchanges were kept professional.
I inquired if he thought there was more or less contention now than fifteen or twenty years ago. He sighed and responded that his sense was that there was more contention now, in part because of the development of technology. Today, there are more platforms through which people can express disagreement. Multiple media outlets and means of communication mean than our exchanges with others are ubiquitous and often impersonal because they are at a distance. He added that financial pressures in his world often contributed to contention and caused people to become cynical and to withhold trust.

Our conversation ranged widely. He suggested that people today often focus more on the noise surrounding what others are saying than on understanding the point someone is trying to make. We noted some of the many manifestations of contention – arguing, challenging, ascribing unflattering motives, road rage, and more. I suggested that we consider some pairs of contrasting terms:

Contention and harmony
Competition and collaboration
Zero-sum exercises and win-win exercises

What is common to contention, competition, and zero-sum exercises is that they involve an effort to prevail, to defeat, and to exert superiority. What is common to harmony, collaboration, and win-win exercises is an effort to share, to work together, and to benefit and bless one another.

During the course of our conversation we each learned much. We were coming from different perspectives and different experiences. The longer we talked, the more we found that we had in common.
When the plane landed, I remarked that I wished we had begun our conversation even earlier and that the flight was all too short. I thanked him for what I had learned from him and noted that though we came from different backgrounds we shared much in common. He had been born in Puerto Rico and had come with his family to New York City as a child. We discussed how relations between the different races and ethnic groups in our nation's largest city had changed for the better during the course of his lifetime.

As we parted, I observed that during our entire conversation there had not been a single moment of contention. We had not argued or challenged, but we had listened carefully and in the process I had learned much. He smiled broadly and said that he felt the same way about our conversation and that he also had learned much. We exchanged addresses and I promised to honor his request to send him a copy of my remarks this morning. In doing so, I will also send him a copy of the Book of Mormon which is full of insights on the subject of contention and peace.

The Lord's Work and the Lord's Way
All of the more than one hundred references to contention in the scriptures describe it unfavorably. Contention is associated with envy, strife, malice, persecution, and pride. (Alma 4:9)
When the Savior visited those in the Americas following his resurrection in Palestine, during his initial appearance, he admonished them:

"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another" (3 Nephi 11:29).

The Prophet Joseph Smith received much criticism and persecution throughout his relatively short life. Importantly, however, he had a larger vision of his mission and of the Lord's work. He recognized the importance and the magnitude of the challenge of spreading the message of the Gospel. It would succeed, only if it was done in the Lord's way.

In communicating the principles and doctrines of the Gospel, and its associated warnings, Joseph Smith reminded us that we must not contend with others:

"Let the elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember that your business is to preach the Gospel in all humility and meekness, and warn sinners to repent and come to Christ. Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds who do not desire to know the truth. Remember that ‘it is a day of warning and not a day of many words.' If they receive not your testimony in one place, flee to another, remembering to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter sayings. If you do your duty, it will be just as well with you, as though all men embraced the Gospel." (Evening and Morning Star, vol. 2 no. 15 (December 1833), 120; reprinted in History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 468)

Debating others does not convert. And the reason for this is very simple. It is the witness of the Holy Ghost that conveys a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. It is the Spirit that converts. And the Spirit of the Lord is the antithesis of contention.

Avoiding Contention: A Personal Experience
Many years ago I had an experience that greatly influenced my thinking about how to deal with potentially contentious situations. We all face them in our lives. How we choose to respond is within our power.
I had been invited to represent the United States at a conference in Japan that brought together officials and representatives from approximately twenty nations from around the world. Countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and Latin America were represented including the Soviet Union and East Germany. The Japanese, who were hosting the conference, had divided its work into three parts – the search for economic prosperity with an emphasis on trade policy, the search for justice with an emphasis on social policy, and the search for peace with an emphasis on arms control policy.

The format for the conference involved distributing the delegates into three groups with each group considering one of the three topics. The groups would then report their findings to all the delegates on the final day. At the time I was serving in the White House advising the President on economic policy issues and was pleased with the format and topics given my interest and expertise in trade policy.

The Japanese, in their deferential way, wanted the delegates to feel like they were not being asked to produce some preordained outcome and determined to have one of the delegates, a British Member of Parliament, Colin Moynihan, chair the proceedings. I was delighted. When we met that first evening, Colin Moynihan and I found that we had much in common. I had served a mission in Great Britain and later attended graduate school and taught in England for three years. I loved England and its people and we discovered that we had many common acquaintances. We both enjoyed sport. He had coxed the British heavyweight crew to a silver medal in the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games. We quickly gravitated to one another and I felt confident that I had an ally.

When the design of the conference was outlined the delegates were asked to indicate which of the three subject areas appealed most to them. I naturally selected the area dealing with economic prosperity.
You can imagine my distress when my new friend informed me that I had been assigned to the group dealing with arms control policy. I protested that I knew little about the subject and could make a much better contribution on the economic policy panel. He responded that the Soviet and East German delegates were determined to serve on the arms control group and that it was imperative that the United States be represented on that panel. I could not dispute his logic. I saw the need and reluctantly agreed, but my enthusiasm for the task was distinctly limited.

In preparing for this assignment, I was eager not to misrepresent U.S. policy and so I quickly contacted our embassy and was provided with a stack of speeches, position papers, and other documents on the subject.
That evening I poured over the documents the embassy had sent, learning a great deal about the U.S. and Soviet positions on arms control. I approached the task as if I were going into a debate the following day. I outlined the central elements of U.S. policy and the evidence I would use to defend and advance it successfully. My experience as a debater propelled me down a path where I was fashioning a powerful case for the U.S. position.

At the beginning of the evening I was concerned about my lack of familiarity with the subject matter. As I warmed to the issues and learned many technical terms, I was pleased with the result of my efforts. I felt less anxious and more confident. It was now nearly 4:00 am and I determined that I needed to get some sleep, even if only for a few hours. As I concluded my prayers before retiring, an uncomfortable feeling settled over me. As I lay reflecting on it, sleep did not come. It became increasingly clear to me what would happen the next morning. We would meet and contend with one another. I would remain convinced that I was right and that the Soviet and East German representatives were wrong. I had what I thought were powerful, even sophisticated arguments. The Soviet and East German representatives would similarly remain persuaded that they were right and that I was wrong. Neither of us would successfully convince the other. At best, we would amicably disagree. There was also a strong possibility that we would engage in a polite but acrimonious exchange. We would both feel justified; nothing would change.

I then asked myself how the Savior would approach the situation. From his perspective, I saw the coming day in a whole new light. I recalled his words to the Nephites:

"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another" (3 Nephi 11:29).

Soon, I had a very different vision for the approach I should take. My task was not to attempt to win a debate but to produce agreement, to find common ground, to avoid contention. With this new framework in mind, I returned to my notes and in less than an hour I had detailed a number of areas on which I thought we could reach some agreement as well as a number of areas where we would inevitably differ. I was surprised that the first list was longer than the second.

When we gathered to meet as a group that morning, I offered to serve as the rapporteur responsible for writing the report the group would submit. Happily, the others readily agreed. I suggested each delegate offer some opening observations to get us started. We went around the room. I was the last to speak.
I noted that as rappateur I was in a difficult situation. It would be easy for some to expect that I would bias my report to align with my views. That would not serve our group or me well. Accordingly, I made two proposals. First, I said that after preparing my report at the end of the day I would visit each delegation, show it to them, and get their concurrence. If there was anything in the report with which a delegate disagreed, I would take it out, no questions asked. The Soviet and East German representatives looked surprised and relieved. Second, I said that I didn't think our report would prove very useful if it simply rehearsed our differences. Accordingly, I suggested that we try to produce a list of things on which we could all agree. Having made careful notes while others spoke, I read a list of statements, based on what others had said, which I thought might serve as the beginning of that list.

We worked on the list most of the morning. Later we turned to the task of defining our differences. Not surprisingly, we did not agree on everything. But, by focusing first on an effort to find common ground our discussions avoided acrimonious contention and produced much agreement. We were not paralyzed by those things that divided us. In the process, we gained added respect for one another. There was no spirit of contention. An assignment I had dreaded turned out to teach me a valuable lesson.

Reducing Contention in Our Lives
Contention has at its root a feeling of superiority and pride. May I suggest three things we can do to help reduce the level of contention in our lives.

The first involves our general attitude toward others. One of the great insights of the gospel is the idea that each of us is a son or a daughter of a loving Father in Heaven who wants us all to return and dwell with Him. He looks to us to assist him in this effort.

We are not merely to take the message of the gospel to others but to do all that we can to encourage them to embrace its principles and to follow the Lord's commandments. The more faithfully we live the gospel, the greater our love of others, and the more we want them to enjoy what we enjoy.

In Lehi's vision, after he partakes of the fruit of the tree of life and it fills his soul "with exceeding great joy," he immediately thought of others and "began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also." (I Nephi 8:12-13) We see a similar pattern in the experience of Enos who goes into the woods focused on himself, his shortcomings, and the hunger of his soul. Through his mighty prayer and supplication he receives a remission of his sins and his guilt is swept away. (Enos 4-6) What follows shortly thereafter is that his attention turns to "the welfare of my brethren." (Enos 9) Soon thereafter he went on to pray with great effect for those who were not of his own generation but who would experience mortality in a future time. (Enos 11-13)

When we are engaged in the Lord's way in assisting others to understand and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ we avoid contention.

The second way we can strengthen our ability to avoid contention involves viewing the events, inconveniences, disappointments and challenges of this life through the prism of eternity. In Isaiah we read:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The Lord views all things through the lens of eternity. We find ourselves enmeshed with the temporary and the trivial, with the passions of the moment. We contend with others, often over things that have no eternal significance. The Lord invites us and encourages us to adopt his perspective. When we lift our thoughts and our ways, and align them with those of the Lord, we free ourselves from the spirit of contention that is a tool of the adversary. We feel the peace that only the Lord's way provides.

Finally, a third way in which we can strengthen our ability to avoid contention is to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the great qualities we are to develop in this life. It is often not easy to do. As in all things, the Savior is our model. I cannot find a single instance in the scriptures when those who sought the Lord's forgiveness were denied. Even when suffering unimaginable pain, he petitioned, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
 
When we forgive, we remove a canker from our soul. We lift a burden from our shoulders. Disputation and tensions dissipate. Friendship can flourish. We look for the good and the worthy in others. We assist others in opening the door that allows the Savior into their life (Revelation 3:20). And, in the process, we are blessed with peace.

One of the most encouraging passages in the Book of Mormon is the account found in the Book of Fourth Nephi of life among those in the Americas who were visited by the Savior following his resurrection in Palestine. One is struck in reading about this period of peace, prosperity, and goodness, at how frequently mention is made of an absence of contention.

We read that "the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.... And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus. And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings;... and there was no contention in all the land" (4 Nephi 1:2, 13, 15, 18).

In the single chapter that comprises this encouraging book, the most frequently mentioned characteristic of this model society is an absence of contention. The absence of contention is directly associated with justice, mighty miracles, a love of God that dwells in the hearts of the people, and great blessings.

Christ's Work and His Glory

Each of us chooses how we will allocate our time, the causes to which we will devote our efforts, and the ways in which we will spend our resources. In making those choices, it is worth considering the path that the Savior has taken.

What is the Lord's work? The more I read and understand the scriptures, the stronger my conviction that the Lord is not focused on meting out justice and punishment. He is not determined to win debates or prevail over others. His work and his glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) It is to show us and to encourage us to walk that path that will safely take us home.

We are called to assist the Lord in his work. We are to invite, encourage, and warn. We have all been warned about many things in our life. Sometimes these warnings come in a critical way, sometimes in a judgmental way; and in other times in a helpful way. The Lord has said that we are to warn "in mildness and in meekness." (D&C 38:41)
In May 1829, early in this dispensation, in counseling those who desired to participate in this great work of spreading the Gospel, the Lord outlined those things in which we must place our trust and the path we must follow if we are to be His.

"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good--yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.... Keep my commandments; hold your peace; appeal unto my Spirit; Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength." (D&C 11:12-14, 18, 20)

The Blessings of the Path to Peace

In this world, we choose those things that we consider most precious. Even if by default, we are in fact choosing. As we make those choices we need to remember the Lord's invitation and his promise.
"Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing--yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof. Behold, canst thou read this without rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness? Or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide? Or canst thou be humble and meek, and conduct thyself wisely before me? Yea, come unto me thy Savior" (D&C 19: 38-41).

When we come unto the Savior, we are free from the spirit of contention. We are not filled with the desire to defeat or destroy. The robes of his righteousness are ones that surround us with a feeling of love. When we follow his path, it leads to true peace.

As we free ourselves from contention we find a life that is filled with joy. We understand in a fresh and powerful way the meaning of the words of the hymn "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
President David O. McKay had a vision for this university as a place sending forth young people prepared to serve as an influence for peace around the world. (Ground Breaking Services, Laie, Hawaii, February 12, 1955) President Henry B. Eyring affirmed that this influence would come from the Atonement of Jesus Christ changing the hearts of those who studied here. Through a changed heart, he promised, you will feel peace, and "will gain the power to influence others to choose the path to peace." (BYU–Hawaii Inauguration, November 5, 2007)

That is a promise, your promise. That is a path, your path. Your mission is invite others through your example, your patient encouragement, and your unfailing faith. The Lord has counseled through his prophets, over and over again, that you are to avoid contention. A more excellent and promising path, the Lord's path, is that of preaching and practicing peace. And as you travel that path, it will take you home, happy and cleansed and filled with joy.

I testify to you that the Lord lives, that we were created by God in his image, that we are his spirit children, and that he knows us perfectly and loves us unconditionally. I testify that he wants us to join in his great work of encouraging all his children to embrace his gospel and place themselves on a path that will bring them home safely. I pray that we all will in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Spiritual Sunday: Friendship

I just thought this quote was cute. Not all of us were blessed with good strong family relationships and the fact still remains that as humans we need to be loved, accepted, uplifted, and nurtured by others. Friends are the special people in our lives that do this without any obligation. Unlike families who are 'supposed' to fill these roles, friends do it because they love you for you and they choose it.

I have been so blessed in my life to have some pretty amazing friends. These strong, passionate, and hopeful women have been like angels sprinkled throughout my life. Friends have always been important to me. We moved quite a bit when I was growing up, making a slow pilgrimage across Florida, to Oklahoma, then to Idaho. I used to loathe that first day of school, having to be new. I always felt like Alice staring through the looking glass, a strange outsider peeking into world where there never seemed to be any space for me in it. I have spoken often the prayer for God to grant me a single friend and I have always received the answer of a loving friendship, sometimes from unlikely sources. These amazing friendships have brought me joy, peace, and comfort along with a great deal of fun and memories. 

This life is hard and friends are just one more way God has provided a way for us to make our way through. Thanks to all  my  friends who have lifted me up and comforted me when I needed it most, often in just small and simple ways that have made all the difference.


"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. "
— 4:9-10
 

We're RICH!

"I don't care how poor a man is; 
if he has family, he's rich." 
~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H



On March 20,1999 Levi, Josef, and I officially became a family. We started out with carelessness, passion, and a great deal of love and not a whole lot of money. Some things don't really change- we are still careless, and passionate, we have even more love than we started with and we will never have lots of money. Eleven years, three boys, eight Addresses, and six jobs later here we are doing the best we can to make it all work.  

Families are funny in a way. You usually start out with two people wanted to share a lifetime together. Then you add in a child or more. Maybe that's the point when it get a little crazy, not only do you have two different people trying to make a life, then you add in some perfect strangers that have your nose, or your curly hair, or your same love for silly jokes. After a few similarities though they really are uniquely their own persons, full of some purpose you can't even imagine, and you are in charge of getting them from infancy to brilliance, without doing too much damage. They call this family, this group of people made from love, trying to figure out the world and one another, all within the walls of a place called home.  Home, like a tiny little universe all it's own, providing a perfect little petri dish for understanding all the good and bad things about relationships and life. 

Although family means struggles, and arguments, and yells of "He's touching me!" it also means something much more-you are forever connected to these people. Through the bad and good you are bond by blood, and love, shared circumstance, and the comforting knowledge that forever is made richer when we are together.







It's BAACK!


Like some crazy horror film depression rears it's ugly head again. It may seem strange to be so blue when the sun is bright over head...but I am.

I don't like to talk about it much, but maybe I should. Maybe it would make me feel less crazy, to give a voice to how I feel and to my own personal reality and challenge. I'm insanely good at hiding it, I am blessed with a cheerful/happy personality, so it makes it easier to not 'look' depressed. You get good at faking normal.... because really, who wants to be seen as damaged? Plus it's hard to explain to people, because they can't see something wrong with you, like a disabled limb or a big scar.




I was finally diagnosed with Dysthymia, 3 years ago. I say finally, because sometimes its nice to have a name for things, especially something you have struggled with and didn't even know what it was. Dysthymia, is a mild, chronic depression. It runs heavily on the maternal lines in families and my mother suffers from it too. I like to visually compare it to walking through a misty fog. Sometimes it is so thick you can't see in front of you and then you step forward and everything is so clear and crisp-you can all of a sudden SEE. You had been so used to walking through the fog it seemed normal and you forgot it was even foggy out and now the contrast seems so startling to you. That is probably the scariest thing for me, not even knowing I was in the fog. Sure there are the signs and I try to be vigilant and look for them but the worst part of depression is it often it sneaks up on me so slowly I just don't see it till I'm in the thick of it or until it lifts and I see clearly. 

I had really awful Postpartum depression with Oliver, my last child, that sent me spiraling into a major depressive episode, complete with passively suicidal thoughts. I was treated, took some lovely blue pills daily, and went to some very nice therapy sessions and thought I was all better, until I wasn't again. After having two major depressive episodes in 1 year I finally saw a real head shrinking psychiatrist...yes, he cost 3 times what my therapist did... and after a few sessions, turns out I've been damaged pretty much my whole life-well mostly since puberty.

If you have never experienced Clinical depression, then it is hard to explain. It's one of those, 'you had to be there' sort of things. If you've been there- you get it. If you haven't...then you are SO lucky!  We use the word depressed too casually in our society, just like the words love and hate. Depression is an extreme.


I like to think I have a good handle on it, because for the most part it is very mild. A negative thought there, a lot of self doubt here, a bad day or week once in a while- much like how normal people live. I just have to work a little harder to stay positive and upbeat-to battle my cognitive enemies within. The power of positive thinking...it seriously works. Sometimes I am just a victim of it and it wins for a short time while my brain is being hijacked by a chemical imbalance. I see it as my greatest weakness. I hate having a weakness, like Superman's Kryptonite, it cripples me. We all have weaknesses to make us humble and it truly humbles me  as I lose pieces of myself to the fear, apathy, anxiety, and fatigue.



I started back on my St.Johns Wort regimen...amazing what a little plant can do. Yes, I stopped taking it for a bit, I ran out and then I fooled myself into believing I was cured when I was feeling better. I like the St.Johns Wort much better than the little blue pills. The side effects of the St.Johns Wort are not as bad and the and long term effects are minimal.



I also started taking Holy Basil for my anxiety, when I am having a bad day or am expecting a stresser...another power plant! It works pretty well to keep me feeling calm, plus I get to smell like spaghetti sauce all day.  It also does not make me drowsy like a lot of anxiety medication. The only thing I can figure out is that if you have anxiety, they think you should be sedated, which is not helpful...at all!!!

Now that I am getting a little 'au natural' help I am feeling better and will stick with it this time.

Sometimes...

...you just can't get rid of a bomb.

Did you ever watch these old batman shows with Adam West? They make me happy and right now I need a good laugh or two.

He was truly the best and the worst batman ever! I used to watch these as reruns on TV when I was a kid. I loved them.









"Holy Rising Hemlines"...I'm using that one!

Sometimes...

Sometimes I'm on top of things...


 and sometimes things pile up on me...

Sometimes I'm calm, cool, and collected...


Sometimes I'm NOT....


Sometimes life is really, really hard...





But mostly its really GOOD.

Fabulous Fourth of July

How was your Fourth of July? 
Hope it was very patriotic and full of family, fun, and gratitude.

  painting by John Trumbull, 1817-18

Ours was great! 
We had a lazy morning and slept in. Then we met Levi's parents and Great Grandma and Grandpa Kidd at the Golden Corral in Boise for Great Grandma Kidd's birthday lunch. After we were sufficiently stuffed and managed to roll ourselves to the car, we we headed over to Levi parents to play some card games, like Killer Bunnies, and BBQed. The boys love to eat Grandpa Mitchell's BBQ.




Oh look here he is...remember it is not the size of your BBQ that matters, but how good the food tastes!


Here we are LETTING Levi win at Killer Bunnies.

Then we headed out to The Dairy Queen in Meridian to watch the Meridian Speedway fireworks from their parking lot. It was a really nice fireworks display. Twice as long and bigger fireworks than the God and Country Festival display we saw on Wednesday.


I was thinking while I watched both firework displays,had any of them been tested over Lake Havasu, where my Grandmother and Great Grandmother live. So, Grandma you are not so very far away in thought as you are in miles.

Aren't they cute? They were even cuter a few moment later, all asleep in the car.



So glad Levi was home for this weekend!




Summer Splash

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."  ~Ada Louise Huxtable

Fireworks

You may be a redneck if... your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.  ~Jeff Foxworthy
 
Wednesday night we got together with a few friends and went to watch the fireworks show put on by the God and Country Festival in Nampa.  We all such a great time. We found an empty spot on a grassy hill in front of Mercy Hospital. It was still warm out when we arrived and the cold damp great felt great on my feet. I walked barefoot as I took Ian to the gas station across the street to go to the bathroom. There was a energetic game of soccer being played near out blankets. You could say we were just barely outfield. We had a few balls fly over head. The small kids, like Oliver, ran about and danced while waiting for the sun to go down and the show to begin. We waited and waited and waited as the sun sang lower and lower and we grew chilly as the sun withdrew itself. We waited well past the 10:20 pm scheduled start time, the children growing tired and then hyper. I had to make one more bathroom trip with the kids and just as we reached the restrooms the first firework exploded in the sky. "Hurry!" the kids all shouted as they used the restroom in lightning speed, afraid they would miss even a single glorious explosion. We ran back across the grass covered hill, passing families on blankets and chairs, their faces lite up and stretched to the sky like sunflowers. Safely on our blankets, we too craned out necks upward and watched expectantly as firework after firework erupted and shot into the night sky with wild bangs and pops. Just like anything you wait a long time for, the fireworks ended much too quickly. We gathered up our belongings, hunting in the dark cold grass for missing flip-flops and trash. We marched back to our car full of excitement and wonder.  What a lovely evening and we even avoided all the traffic leaving by taking a back route!