Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why is family important? Come Follow Me - August Lesson



photo credit
"Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life."  Julie B. Beck

This Sunday I will be leading the discussion for our combined young women lesson.  My topic question is why is family important?

Way back in February, I taught the combined YW lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  I posted a little bit about it here.  Since Sister Beck says that without the family there is no plan, I decided to go back and review my notes for that lesson.  

The main point of my lesson back in February was that a discussion of the Plan of Salvation was not complete without a discussion of:
  1. The Creation
  2. The Fall
  3. The Atonement
These 3 events make our progression back to our Heavenly Father possible.  Without these three events, we cannot progress from Pre-Earth life to Mortality and eventually back to God.

So what does this have to do with the family?  Well, Sister Beck says it best.  

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. 
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World we read these truths about the family unit:
  • "The family is ordained of God..."
  • "...the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
  • "...the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
  • the family is the fundamental unit of society.
In today's world, the family is under attack. Also from Sister Beck,


...Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Public policies are being made every day that are anti-family, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world. Pornography is rampant. For those who create pornography, their new target audience is young women. Parents are being portrayed as inept and out of touch. Antifamily media messages are everywhere. Youth are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.
We see how this can happen when we read the words of Korihor, an anti-Christ: “Thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms” (Alma 30:18). Satan knows that he will never have a body; he will never have a family. So he targets young women, who will create the bodies for the future generations.
Korihor was an anti-Christ. Anti-Christ is anti-family. Any doctrine or principle our youth hear from the world that is anti-family is also anti-Christ. It’s that clear.
So what is to be done and what direction do I take with my lesson this Sunday?  As you can probably tell thus far, I was really impressed with Sister Beck's address to seminary and institute of religion teachers entitled, Teaching the Doctrine of the Family.  In her address, she says that "Our role in this is to teach [the youth] so they don’t misunderstand. We must be very clear on key points of doctrine, which we find in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”  This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before. If they don’t know it, they can’t defend it. "

There was my answer as to what to teach this Sunday.  I need to find out what they are hearing from the world about the family and teach them the correct doctrine from the scriptures, the words of modern-day prophets and last but certainly not least, The Family Proclamation.

To prepare, I came up with some "world teachings" about the family that I have heard.  I made a "T" chart in my study journal and on one side I listed what "The World Says" and on the other, I listed what "We Say" (meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  I think it is also important to point out to my young women that "the world" can be friends, relatives, or people they might look up to.  It can be anyone who is teaching you something that is contrary to God's laws and commandments.


For my lesson, I will start by discussing how the family fits in with The Creation, The Fall, and The Atonement.  Then I will explain that Satan knows the importance of families and is currently working hard to distort not only the world's view of the family but more importantly, their (meaning my young women's) view of the family.

Then I will ask the girls to list things that they hear the world say about the family.  What does the world teach them about the family?  What changes they have noticed in family dynamics?  What do the TV shows, song lyrics, and movies they watch say about the way families should be?  What do they hear from their peers about what makes a family?

I will list their answers on individual sheets of paper and place them on the floor in a big "T" graph under "The World Says:" (I plan to make my "T" graph with blue painter's tape).  If some of the answers are similar in nature, I will add it to the same sheet of paper.

Once we've listed a bunch of these "worldly" teachings, I will split the girls and leaders into groups.  I will pass out copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World (having each group focus on a separate paragraph)scripture references that are covered in the lesson outline - as well as some others I found appropriate, and quotes from modern day prophets regarding these topics.  

Before I give them some time to read through their reference material, I will explain that I would like them to look for what "We Say" in response to each idea the world is teaching them about the family.  I will ask them to write down the reference or paragraph number on a sheet of paper and what is being taught.  Then I will turn them loose to read and discuss in their groups.

When it looks like the discussion is winding down, I will go around the room, group by group, and ask them to come up and place their papers on the "We Say" side of the "T" graph - across from the worldly teaching they are clarifying with church doctrine. I will also ask them to explain how their reference discounts the world's teachings.  

So hopefully when we are all done, it will sort of look like my scripture journal above, just in a larger format.

I'm sure that my Young Women will come up with more awesome insights than I could because they are just that incredible.  And I'm not worried about not having a scripture reference to cover whatever it is that they come up with for worldly teachings because The Family: A Proclamation to the World will cover anything they can throw out there.

Also, before I end my lesson, I will point out that much of what we covered in the lesson can be counted toward Personal Progress Integrity Value Experience #7
List the issues, trends, and problems that weaken the family. Read the First Presidency message“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, and the section on family in For the Strength of Youth. Then research in the Church magazines the counsel of those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Write in your journal your plan to strengthen your present family and the values and traditions you want to establish with your future family.
I also made a sheet that my girls can glue into their study notebooks to take notes if they chose to do that.

Any ideas or suggestion for me before my lesson on Sunday?

Update: Many have asked for pictures of my journal or a filled out T chart.  I've had them on the blog before, but found myself under scrutiny from readers (not nice comments) for it not being all-inclusive, so I pulled them down. I'm putting them back up so that people can use them, but please don't comment and tell me what they are missing.  Please understand that I never intended for these pages to contain everything, nor do I hope that they do.  My intention posting this was to give other YW leaders ideas, not give them a lesson they didn't have to prepare themselves.  My notes are not all-inclusive and are missing topics such as gay marriage, fornication, cohabitation, and I'm sure a myriad of other worldly teachings. 

Ask your girls for the issues they see in the world.  Don't give them the answers.  I know that if you wait for your girls to answer, and don't give them too much help, they will come up with the issues that they see and are faced with. It will give you great insight into their worlds. 



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sausage & Bowtie Alfredo

Last night I threw together a recipe that actually turned out pretty yummy. I'll call it Sausage & Bowtie Alredo. This is super easy and quick.



Sausage & Bowtie Alfredo

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 package ranch dressing mix (the dry stuff)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups bowtie pasta
1 lb sausage links (I recommend these ones)
parsley

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

On a grill or in a frying pan, cook sausage also according to package directions.  When done, cut links into bite-size chunks.

Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, melt butter and add garlic.  Cook until garlic turns golden.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk and ranch dressing mix.  Heat over medium-high heat until smooth.  If the sauce is too think, you can thicken it up with a little cornstarch.

Finally, combine your sauce, pasta and sausage all in the sauce pan.  Stir to combine, sprinkle with parsley for garnish and serve immediately.

*********
The reason I used such random ingredients in this recipe is because this is what I had on hand.  I only had a 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or I would probably have added a little more.

It didn't matter that this recipe was thrown together.  It was delicious and I'm glad I kept track of what I was putting in there as I will be making it again.

Serve with a salad or sliced grape tomatoes and cottage cheese.

making a case for capitalization (pun totally intended)


since the beginning of this blog i have been only using lower-case letters.  it's a style that i like.  however, i'm finding it to be increasingly harder to write my thoughts while trying to keep everything lower-case.

most electronic devices these days automatically shift to uppercase after you type a period.  this makes it quite annoying to type and interrupts my rambling.

so all of the posts after this one will be typed in sentence case like most normal people.  it's terribly disappointing i know, but it'll be easier for me.  and it is after all, my blog.

the flip side of dry shampoo

i promise that this is not turning into a beauty blog.  

last week i talked about my love hate relationship with dry shampoo.  well, one of the biggest drawbacks of dry shampoo is that it does what it is supposed to do and dries out the oil on your hair.  this can leave the ends of your hair super dry since it isn't getting all of the oil that it needs.

enter the world of leave-in conditioners and hair oil.  i have not tried a wide array of these products.  in fact, i have really only tried 3 or 4.  of the ones i have tried, biosilk silk therapy is my fave!  


i got attached to biosilk back in 2004 when i had hair extensions.  in order to keep hair extensions looking good, you have to treat them with something and this is what i found worked the best for me.

this is the only picture that i could find that you can see my extensions really well.  you can see the top layer is where my hair was naturally and then you can see the extensions hanging down on my arm. (btw - that is my family - all my brothers and my parents.  we're a cute bunch!)

now a word of CAUTION.  do not apply biosilk anywhere near your scalp.  only apply it to the bottom half of your hair.  if you do not heed this caution you will end up with a grease pit on your head!  and it is not pretty.  

the best way to use biosilk?

after washing and conditioning hair, but before blow drying
  • apply a nickle to quarter size amount to the palm of your hand (how much you use will depend on the length and thickness of your hair)
  • rub your palms together
  • work through the tips of your hair, and then a little way up the hair.... don't get too crazy and go very high.  remember the grease pit.
  • rub any remaining biosilk into the backs of your hands.
on dry hair
  • same steps as above, just use less - about a dime size amount.
if you really want to deep treat your hair with this stuff, i recommend applying it liberally to the whole length of your hair (still try and avoid the roots), wrap your hair in a bun on the top of your head, secure the bun and put a sock (the sock will protect your pillow) over it.  then go to sleep.  wash your hair the next morning.

*******

the only other product i have hanging around right now is this:

aussie hair insurance leave-in conditioner

sometimes if i am in a hurry, i will quickly spray this on the ends of my hair before blow drying.  i also use it on a hurried morning when i'm not going to wash my hair, but the ends feel a little dry and frizzy.  just spray a little bit and brush out while zapping it quickly with the blow dryer.

that's all i've got to say for now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

a quick lunch visit with my good friend, jess

my friend jessica was in town last week visiting family, so we snuck over to winger's to get sticky finger wraps and diet coke (it was a special occasion, ya'll!.  well, that and i did order a water to be good but it seriously tasted like it came from under a mossy rock).  

i worked with jess for 8 years before she moved to texas.  i miss her dearly but am so glad she still has reasons to come back to utah for an occasional visit.


until next time, my texas loving friend... i'm so glad we're friends.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Very Grateful for Heavenly Father's Watchful Eye

This past Thursday, my father-in-law and my youngest Clara were in a car accident.  I got the call from Nathan who had received a call from his dad.  Nathan was 30 miles away at the time, so he called me to go be with them and drive them home. The accident was only a couple of miles from me.

Nathan started his call with, "everyone is ok".  Never a good sign.

A man had turned left in front of my father-in-law.  Both cars were pretty mangled and my father-in-laws car ended up in the shrubbery of the Walker's gas station.




As soon as Clara saw me, she started whimpering and said, "I wanna go home!"  A worker inside of the gas station brought her out a doughnut and a slushie.

Thankfully, my Clara and Rick only ended up with bumps and bruises.  They both had a good bruise from their seat belt/car seat.


Rick somehow mangled his knee a bit and his back was really sore.  Nathan came and took him to the hospital to get checked out, and everything seemed ok.

I am very grateful for the protection and watchful eye of my Heavenly Father.  I am very grateful that my other children were not in the car.  I am grateful that at least 3 other drivers stopped to offer assistance.  I am grateful that my father-in-law drives such a big boat of a car - I can't even imagine what the impact would have been on a smaller car.  I am grateful for airbags, seat belts and car seats to help keep us safe.  I am grateful that the driver of the other car was safe.  I am grateful that a gas station cashier was concerned enough about my child to bring her out a treat.

Every time we get in the car, Clara is still talking about the big crash!

Friday, July 26, 2013

dry shampoo - my thoughts on the grocery store varieties

i have a love hate relationship with dry shampoo.

i love it because i am trying to wash my hair less (i am currently able to go 3-4 days between washings), but i hate it because a lot of the choices either leave me looking like an 80 year old gray-haired woman or i have to go outside to spray it because it smells so... toxic.  i also hate that the one i would really like to try is way out of my budget.

not that you will care, but because this is my blog and i can, i'm going to review the available grocery store products and tell you which is my favorite.  here are the contenders:


just to make sure we are all on a level playing field here, i am going to sum up the best way to use dry shampoo IMO.  
  • i don't like to use any dry shampoo on my hair until at least the day after i washed my hair.  some people spray it on as soon as they wash their hair, but i think it is unnecessary.
  • always hold the can at least 6-8 inches away from your noggin.... believe me on this one!
  • when spraying, don't spray your hair, spray at your scalp.
  • first, shake that can like your life depends on it.  I think the white stuff in it settles to the bottom, so you'll need to shake it well before you start AND between each spray.
  • then spray a steady but light amount in your actual part.  use your blow dryer and a brush and blow/brush for a few seconds to get rid of any white dust that appears.  also, this kind of gives your hair some body.
  • shake the can again and then take a section of hair just beyond either side of your part, spray your new "part" and then blow dry and brush lightly.  i like to blow and brush the hair the "wrong way". again, this creates some lift and volume.  leave it hanging the wrong way for a few minutes or hit it with a shot of cold air from your dryer to set it.
  • again, repeat with the other side of your "normal" part.
  • finally, repeat with the crown of your head.  i usually do two sections back here. i couldn't really think what to call it, so i took a picture.  i pointing to the top/back of my head and i've already pulled up a section.

now on to my reviews of the grocery store dry shampoo products that i have used.  please note: if you have blonde hair, the white specks and white dust that i will reference in my reviews of each product might not be as big of a deal for you than it is for my brunette self.  


pros:
  • doesn't smell like you are fumigating your house. 
  • has a pretty pleasant smell.
  • doesn't leave hardly any white specks or dust in your hair.
  • hair will last at least 2 days before needing another washing.
cons:
  • need a little spray touch-up daily
pros:
  • when following the directions, it will leave a few white specks in your hair, but they are easily removed with a brush and blow dryer combination.
  • controls the oil in your hair well.
  • can usually get one more day of unwashed hair
cons:
  • get ready to put your gas mask on when you spray it.
  • when following the directions, it will leave white specks in your hair, but they are easily removed with a brush and blow dryer combination.
  • unless you spray a lot of it (leaving lots of white specks), your hair can still look a little greasy and flat.
  • have to use daily until i wash my hair.
#3 - is tresemme fresh start waterless dry shampoo

 pros:
  • doesn't smell bad, doesn't smell good.
  • works really well at controlling oil.
  • adds body to your hair at the roots.
  • can usually get 2 more days of unwashed hair.
  • only need to use it once until i wash my hair again.
cons:
  • doesn't smell bad, doesn't smell good.
  • it leaves a ton of white dust in your hair, which takes a lot of work to get out. sometimes i can't get it all out and i end up scratching my head all day....
in conclusion...
my favorite right now is #1 (i promise i didn't plan it that way!)  i like that it has a pleasant smell and that it doesn't leave a lot of white dust in my hair.  plus it does what it is supposed to.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

zucchini lasagna

A while ago I pinned this on pinterest:

I was intrigued, but time went by and I forgot about it.  Until my husband's cousin brought us some zucchini and yellow squash and then i knew i would make this.

Here's my version - I made some changes to the original recipe, but you should click over to skinnytaste and read her directions because she has some very helpful hints.


Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
16 oz cottage cheese
1 bottle spaghetti sauce
1 egg
3 medium zucchini (i used 2 and included 1 yellow squash)
16 oz Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions
  • Start by cleaning the zucchini.  Then slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Lay these on a flat surface and lightly coat with salt to draw out moisture.  Heat grill (I used my indoor grill for ease) and grill each zucchini slice for about 4 minutes.  Remove from grill and place on a paper towel to draw out more moisture.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a frying pan, add olive oil and grill onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are tender and turning translucent.  Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  • Drain the excess fat from the meat mixture.
  • In a separate medium bowl, beat egg.  Add cottage cheese and spaghetti sauce.  Combine well.
  • In a 9x13 baking dish, spread out a small amount of the sauce mixture (just enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan).  On top of sauce mixture, lay out a layer of zucchini.  Then spread out a layer of 1/2 of the meat mixture.  
  • Add another layer of sauce (about half of the remaining), followed by a zucchini layer and finally another meat layer.  Cover with a layer of zucchini.
  • Top with the Mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Make a tossed salad and some garlic bread and you've got yourself a meal!


The hubby loved this and so did I.  The kids had a hard time getting past the fact that there weren't any noodles.  Next time, I would only use the zucchini and leave the yellow squash for something else.

dry erase quiet books for church (or other quiet times) customized to your needs!

the other day i was cruising around on pinterest and came across a pin for dry erase quiet books.

you can make these books for anything.  it doesn't have to be for church stuff.  you could print pages with a child's name to help them practice writing, or it could just be coloring pages or whatever.  the possibilities really are endless.

here is my version and what i did.


all you need for this project is
  1. a 3 ring binder
  2. sheet protectors
  3. dry erase markers or crayons
  4. pictures from the friend magazine (or anything really)
i had plenty of random 3 ring binders hanging around as well as some sheet protectors.  i had a few dry erase markers, but they were the fatter kind, so i grabbed a pack of skinnier ones while i was grocery shopping.  I also picked up a 3-ring binder pocket to hold the markers.  for an eraser, i just used a folded paper towel.


for the pictures, you can either round up your old friend magazines and tear out the pages or you can print them from the friend website, which is what i chose to do.  the easiest way i found to do this is to:
  • go here and click on the issue that you want to print from.
  • at the top of the page near the month and year of the issue, click on the download button (see below for a picture).  click on the download button and choose a .pdf format. this will download the whole issue to your computer in a .pdf format that you can scroll through the pages and print the ones you want.   when you are done, just erase the .pdfs from your computer.
  • print as many pages as you want.  i printed the coloring pages, hidden picture pages, and the fun stuff pages.  you can do as many as you want.  i did about 2.5 years worth to make 4 good sized books.
once you have them printed, put them in the sheet protectors in your binder.  i sorted my pages according to age level.  my youngest only has coloring pages in her book.  the other books have a couple of coloring pages but are mostly filled with activity pages.

my finished books

in the original pin, she had also purchased dry erase crayons.  i didn't see any of those at the grocery store, but you can pick some up on amazon here.

**Update 07/27/13 - went to staples and picked up some of the dry erase crayons and they are awesome! definitely worth looking into getting some of those if you are going to make a dry erase book for a younger child.

i did a test run of the dry erase coloring book this past sunday with my youngest.  she did great with it but i think i will definitely look into the dry erase crayons.  i was a little worried about her drawing on herself or the church benches and hymnals with the markers.

i didn't bring the other books for the older kids because as a rule, we don't allow the older kids to draw and such at church.  they will get to use their books for general conference sunday and stake conference.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

family home evening - what are the duties of the aaronic priesthood?

last week for family home evening, i gave the lesson on "what are the duties of the aaronic priesthood?" to help prepare our son for receiving his ordination to the aaronic priesthood in august.  

preparation for the lesson:
  • i cut a sheet of poster board in half and wrote "Aaronic Priesthood Duties" on it.
  • then i got online and printed out pictures of the following (i just googled these terms adding "lds" top the end):
    • a deacon passing the sacrament
    • a tithing and fast offering slip
    • teachers preparing the sacrament
    • a young man home teaching
    • priests blessing the sacrament
    • a priest baptizing someone
    • you could also print out a picture of young men performing service, a young man ushering at the chapel doors, but i wanted to keep it simple
  • print out word strips with the 3 priesthood duties listed in the duty to god booklet.
    • administer priesthood ordinances
    • serve others
    • invite all to come unto christ
this was the outline of our family home evening:
  • welcome - jared conducting
  • opening song: children's songbook #89 - the priesthood is restored
  • opening prayer
  • wiggle song for clara (we usually let her decide what the wiggle song will be and this time she chose - i am a child of God
  • lesson by mom
  • testimonies
  • closing song: children's songbook #166 - a young man prepared
  • closing prayer

after our opening song and prayer, i reviewed what we had learned the week before when dad taught us about what the priesthood is.  we reviewed that the preparatory priesthood is the aaronic priesthood and the higher priesthood is the melchizedek priesthood.

then i had everyone look up doctrine & covenants 107:99
 99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his aduty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all bdiligence.
we talked about what the word duty means and what diligence means.  i told them that in order to do our duty, or in other words take care of our responsibilities, and to do them diligently (with our whole hearts) we had to know what those duties are and why we are doing them.

i introduced the 3 word strips and taped them on the chart, talking about what each of them meant as i presented them.

then i asked the kids to help me think of specific things we see the aaronic priesthood do.  as they listed them, i taped the picture to the board and we talked about what that ordinance or service was and why it was important.

by the time we were done, this is what our poster looked like. not the prettiest poster in the world, but it got the point across.

lastly, i showed them the back of the duty to god book where it reads...
“Behold, thou art my son; … and I have a work for thee” (Moses 1:4, 6)
we discussed that Heavenly Father loves each of us and want us to help him.  we help him by helping others and the priesthood is all about helping others.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

mother and daughter vintage picnic




last week the girls and i, along with my mom, went to my ward's mother daughter picnic.  we ate yummy croissant sandwiches and salads, made and decorated fun hats and got our picture taken.

what a good time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

my oldest will turn 12 soon

and in my church when a boy turns 12, he has the opportunity to be given the aaronic priesthood.  this is a big step for him and we wanted to make sure he understands what this means and what is expected of him.


a friend of mine posted a "12 days of priesthood" on her blog that i thought was a really great idea.  nathan and i had decided to implement the idea of a "gift" each day leading up to his ordination.  we also wanted to focus our family home evening lessons on the priesthood leading up to the big day.

so, a couple of weeks ago we sat down and had a pow-wow just the two of us to discuss what this would include. this is the list we came up with for family home evening topics.  nathan and i will take turns teaching the topics and nathan got us started with, what is the priesthood?  i may or may not post what we did for a few of these fhe lessons.  we'll have to see.

july 8 - what is the priesthood?
july 15 - what are my duties as an aaronic priesthood holder?
july 22 - how does worthiness affect priesthood power?
july 29 - what are the keys of the priesthood?
august 5 - how does the priesthood bless me?
august 12 - how was the priesthood restored?

a lot of these questions were covered in the "come follow me" lesson in june.  you can find the lesson outlines here and here.  these were the topics that we chose, they are by no means all inclusive, but we felt that they covered the basics and would provide jared with a good foundation.

we also decided the we wanted to do our own version of the "12 days of priesthood".  this is what our outline looks like as of right now.
we may do some tweaking as the days get closer, but i tried to take into account weekends and family home evening nights.  i've already given the grandparents a heads up so that they could start thinking about their letters.

see more about our 12 days of priesthood by clicking here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

a good friend's act of service

today started out as a slow day at home.  a few hours into our cleaning of the house, there was a knock on the door.  it was nathan's friend, kent.

a few days ago, he was on hand to hear me complain a little bit (maybe more than a little) about the current state of my yard - and more specifically my lawn.  well, he had taken time out of his saturday to come over and fertilize it for me.

i am so grateful for good neighbors and friends who see a need and fill it without being asked!


good thing he didn't realize i was snapping this picture!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

kim's bridal shower

my cousin kim is getting married in just a few short weeks.  last weekend we celebrated with her at my mom's house.

and apparently i forgot that i have a blog that i like to post pictures on and only took 2 pictures of the entire event...

thankfully my mother snapped this one of kim and i.

here is kim getting ready to play a game!

and here is kim post-game showing me her wad of gun.  bet my mom didn't get this shot!

it was really great to see kim and get to know a little bit more about tyler (the guy to whom she's gonna get hitched).  i wish her all of the happiness in the world because she certainly deserves it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

a new perspective and mom's fridge quote

a few days after i wrote about struggling with my priorities, a friend of mine wrote this post called "I Am Not Dead".
go to raisinglemons.com to print a copy for yourself
after reading her post and reflecting on what i had written earlier, i realized that i'm okay.  i am down and bleeding after a BUSY month. it has certainly been alright for me to lie there and bleed.  now though, it's time for me to get back up and fight
.
her post also got me thinking about the quote on my mom's fridge that confused me while growing up.  the quote read
 "Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig."  
while this can be taken both literally and figuratively, i only understood it in the literal sense as a teenager.  as an adult i'm starting to see how this applies to me and my time and efforts.

the problem with teaching a pig to sing it that pigs don't sing!  they aren't supposed to sing.  that is not their purpose.

sometimes we may want another person to understand or know something that is either beyond their limits or beyond their abilities. sometimes we want to teach someone a skill that they don't have the maturity to grasp (thinking about my kids here).  other times we think that if a person just learned to do this or that, life would be so much easier for them. sometimes we want someone to change a habit or attitude that is inconvenient or is hurtful to us.

everyone has their own talents and skills.  while organizing might be easy for me, others struggle with it.  while others can craft and sew masterfully, i can't sew a straight line.

while most of the time i believe that intentions are good, you can't teach something to someone if they are unwilling and/or unable to learn it.  and besides, just because we think that someone should master that art of whatever-it-is we are thinking about, doesn't really mean that they should and we may not even be the most qualified person to teach them.

i wonder how many pigs i am trying to teach to sing right now.  people that i think i am trying to help, but really i am wasting my time and annoying them.  how much time and energy am i investing in wasted "pig singing lessons"?

i wonder how many people are trying to teach me to sing?

found this ecard here
Funny Reminders Ecard: Never try to teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

horseback riding with my mia maids

warning, this is a long post because there are a lot of pictures....

for our class activity last week, we arranged to go to our friend brother harris' home and ride his horses. the girls had a great time and so did i!

it's been a little while since i've been on a horse.  we used to have a horse when i was in jr high, but it was a stupid horse and it bucked me off once.  my knee is still numb from the incident.

anyway, here i am enjoying my turn.



i was really proud of my girls.  some of them were scared and they saddled up anyway and had a great time.











after horse riding, brother harris got his mini "rootbeer" out for some cart rides - he even let the girls drive.






















i may have enjoyed driving the cart a little too much!


afterwards we held their "pet" fox for a minute.






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