Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Children are an heritage of the Lord

A couple weekends ago was the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Such an uplifting weekend.  I love how strong the Spirit is as I listen to the Lord's prophets and apostles teach us.

One of the talks that stood out to me was My Heart Pondereth Them Continually by Devin G. Durrant.  Specifically  his invitation to ponderize the scriptures.

What on Earth is ponderize?  Devin G. Durrant says:
"I invite you to “ponderize”3 one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.
There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week."

While listening to his talk about studying the scriptures I felt impressed that this is something I need to focus on doing.  Shortly after that my mind was turned to the subject of families.  Specifically the role of parenting.  This has been on my mind a lot this year.

I felt I needed to start off with a paragraph from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

This is the paragraph I was drawn to:
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Later I realized it was the scripture that I needed to focus on.

Psalm 127:3 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

Before pondering/studying this scripture, if you asked me what heritage meas I wouldn't have been able to tell you.  So I looked it up.
1. a special or individual possession; an allotted portion
2. an inheritance

I love the images this verse brings to my mind after reading these definitions.  Children are a gift from the Lord.  Something that was/is His, that He is entrusting to Zach and I.  This isn't something to be taken lightly.  It is a serious task we have been given.  Much we are asked to teach our children. 

I came to the difficult realization I was treating my children more like burdens.  All I saw was all the extra work they put on my plate.  The messes.  The dirty diapers.  Lots of laundry, Etc.  I wasn't treating them like the amazing gifts they are.

I wasn't paying attention to the joy in their eyes when outside playing.

I wasn't paying attention to their efforts to help, I just saw it as more for me to go back and fix.

I wasn't seeing their love for each other, I just paid attention to their fighting.

I wasn't seeing, or learning, the lessons only these two, sweet, busy boys could teach me.  No other kids in the world could teach me exactly what these two are teaching me.

Boy was that realization a hard pill to swallow.

I have been trying so hard to see my children as the wonderful, amazing, irreplaceable loving gifts they are.  Some of the best gifts my Father in Heaven has given to me.

I have been trying so hard to yell less.  Every yelling moment is a teaching moment, if I remember to stay calm.

I have been trying to better see the joy and triumph in their eyes when they make a new discovery/learn a new lesson.

I love how well these boys play together.  When the other isn't around (Wyler in school or James down for naps) they ask so many times where the other is, and how soon they will be available to play with.

These boys are so very quick to forgive.  They can be hitting and fighting one moment, and the next trying to entertain/free the instigator who was put in time out.  They are so quick to forgive and love on me after I get mad at them.  Something I need to learn to do more often.

I am trying to leave my electronics off, and not on my person, so that I can be more fully present for them.  The delight in their eyes when I get down on the floor and play with them is priceless (and at almost 34 weeks pregnant it is rare for me to get on the floor with them).

There are countless other lessons I have learned from watching my boys.  Far too many to list here.  And every day I see/learn more.

These boys of mine are truly a priceless gift.

It is a fact I need to remind my self of daily (sometimes multiple times daily).  It is so easy to just see the negative in life (don't know why, but it seems so much easier to focus on the negative... seems the whole world is like that).  So easy to just see everything as annoying, tiring, mundane work.

But the more I work towards seeing the good, beautiful, positive things around me, the easier it gets.  The beauty starts to outshine the negative.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Answer Me This: Happy Independence Day!!!!

I've missed the last 2 weeks of Answer Me This, and I am determined to get it done this week.  So I am wrote it up earlier in the week to be sure it was all ready to go... Hope to remember to update it after all our 4th of July festivities so I can tell you what we did this year, and not just in years past.  (Yay! I remembered to update this!)

1. How did you celebrate the 4th of July? (Or, for you international types . . . Do anything fun this weekend?)

Here in our little town the morning starts at 5:30 am with the firetruck wake up call.  (I've heard out-of-towners grumble about this tradition and call us a stupid little hick town for waking them up so early.)

There is a parade shortly after that, yet I have never got myself and the kids ready to go out the door that early.  As usual we didn't get out the door anywhere near close to when they had the parade..

There are a few other activities such as swimming at the college, races, etc.

Then the big county wide parade starts at 10.  This is the parade we went to.

We then went to Papa and Grandma Hansen's house to swim, eat, play, and watch the fireworks show.

We usually sit at my in-laws to watch the fireworks (they are a few miles away from the show) and so the fireworks are too small to get pictures of, and not good enough to attempt a picture.  I wish I could take credit for the above one.  (However even if we were closer to the fireworks I doubt I'd get a good picture, as all my night photos are crazy blurry.)
2. Do you sunburn easily?

Annoyingly yes.  I burn, then peel, and am just as white as I was before, if not whiter.  It is nearly impossible for me to tan.  And I live in southern Arizona, so you'd think I'd have a little tan, but no.

3. Hot dogs. Yay or nay?

After watching a show on how they are made, no way!!  Unless they are the ones from the meat counter at Bashas with out all the nasty additives in them.

I couldn't bring myself to post a picture of hot dogs being made, too gross looking.  If you really want to know Google/YouTube it.
4. Have you ever personally set off fireworks?

I've held sparklers when I was a kid.

And watched parents/older siblings/older cousins set off firecrackers.
But I have never lit one myself.

5. Have you ever jumped off the high dive?

I did, and it was one of the scariest, yet strangely fun things I did at that pool (the only pool I've been to with a high dive).  

It was about like this one.

I don't mind heights.  I think it is cool to look down from somewhere high up.  I am just terrified of falling.  So why I went on the high dive, I have absolutely no idea.  But I ended up jumping about 3 times...

6. Do you do anything weird in your sleep?

I snore.  Some days worse than others.  Zach hasn't told me anything else weird that I do, so no idea.

Next week's questions are:
1. At what temperature do you keep the thermostat set? Summer, winter, day, night?

2. What is your favorite frozen beverage?

3. Where do you keep your keys?

4. Have you ever really been lost?

5. What is the last movie you saw in the theaters?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Answer Me This: Summer Plans, Park Rides, and Smells

Wahoo!  Kendra at Catholic All Year has reinstated her Answer Me This series!   If you aren't familiar with it, on Sunday Kendra asks random, fun questions about us.  Then the following Sunday she answers the questions, and post the next weeks questions.

Now I am a day behind in getting this posted, but hopefully I'll keep up from here on out.

1. Any big plans for the summer?

My awesome brother is coming home tomorrow!!  I haven't seen him for 2 years.  He has been serving a church mission in Eugene, Oregon.

Nothing else too terribly exciting.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

If you put salt on a birds tail you can catch it.
The air in Mexico would smell different than here in the USA.  I was so disappointed the first time I went to Mexico as a kid because it didn't smell different.

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

Never been to one.  Someday though.  Closest I've been to is the county fair rides.  I would have to say the Ferris Wheel.  (the only other rides I've been on are ones I took the kids on... not exactly that fun for me)

4. What's on your summer reading list?

Radical Homemaking
Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath
Harry Potter books 5-7

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

I am pretty sure I dozed off on the bus the last day in Scottsdale a couple weeks ago.  Luckily it was only a slight doze off, and I didn't miss my stop.

6. What is your favorite smell?

Rain.  Desert rain.  More specifically the rain on the creosote.
Fresh baked bread

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Monthly Mission: June Edition

Wow it has been way to long since I did an official monthly mission.  The last several months I've been focusing on health, fitness, and surviving the first trimester of pregnancy.

Yep, baby #3 is due on Thanksgiving Day.

I think this month I am going to focus on less time spent on electronics, and more time spent with family, actually keeping up with housework, the projects I've been putting off, etc.

Basically I am going to focus more time spent in Real Life, and less time in Virtual Life.

And when I do spend time on the computer I am going to make it more worth while.  No more browsing stupid stuff on Pinterest.  No more checking Facebook 10 times in 10 minutes.

Sunday computer time I want to focus on family history and listing to/reading the most recent General Conferences.

Tuesday and Friday I am going to focus on my food blog, Cookies 'n Cows.

The other days' computer time will be spend researching my current project, posting here, quick Facebook checks, etc.  Oh, and I'm limiting the time I get to spend doing all that too... 1 hour.

Let's see if I can break my computer addiction.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Colors of my Life

Last summer I skimmed through a Decorating for Dummies book, and decided I HAD to go find the perfect color palette for my home.  I spent the next few days looking at different color palates, trying to create my own.  Nothing seemed quite right.  Then I ran across this:

This is the one!

I fell in love with it immediately.

Each time we went to a home improvement store (aka Home Depot or Ace Hardware) I would try to find the paint sample card that most closely matched each shade.  That way I could have it with me, without having to pull out my phone.

Then I put it away and mostly forgot about it for about a year.

One thing I've come to realize over the past year is that I already pretty much do anything I can in blues, greens, and yellows.  Why not just use this as the palette of my life?  I can use it not just for my house, but my blogs, my wardrobe, just about everything...

My favorite color is blue, Zach's is green, not sure what the boys favorite colors are... I think yellow and red, but it changes every day.  So this palette pretty much covers all our favorite colors.  It's perfect.

Or so I thought.

Now I look at it and think it is kinda... well... I don't know.  Something is missing.  It's kinda bland.

Recently I have been seeing very similar palette, but with pops of coral in it.

I mean, look how well the coral goes with the blues and yellows... It is the perfect pop of color! And this isn't even the best palette I found.
I am falling in love with coral.  Never thought I would...

I realized that this color palette I fell in love with just needed some sort small of pop.  Like coral.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guys, I'm Going to Italy!

**Update 3/16/2016**  This is my most popular post on this blog.  In less than a year it has had 1442 views!  I am super curious as to what brought you to this post.  Please let me know in the comments, because I've tried several Google searches and this blog isn't on any of the first few pages...  I am super curious!!  Pinterest?  Search Engine?  Someone who randomly comes back to this post 5+ times a day?

It's gonna be a few years (at the soonest), but I am going.

I have been reading Christ Brady's book A Month of Italy: Rediscovering the Art of Vacation.

It is an amazing, fun book about the Brady family's month long trip to Italy.

Withing two chapters I was convinced I am going to Italy someday.

Two chapters later I wasn't just going to go for a week or so visit.  Nope I am going for a month.

The amazing views he describes are enough to get anyone to want to go.

OK so he doesn't talk about this guy, this just came from a quick Google/Pinterest search of Italy I did a couple weeks ago.

Don't you want to go see these places?

Do a quick Google Image search of Italy and you will find so many more gorgeous reasons to go visit.

About half way through the book it finally dawned on my why I really want to go to Italy.

More than just the vistas.

The Italians are a laid back, don't cram too much into your schedule, do everything right the first time type of people.  In America's fast paced, the busier you are the better, culture it sounds heavenly to go somewhere where taking it slow isn't going against the current.

He talks about how they take their time with their tasks to be sure it is done right, instead of rushing from one job to another, not being as thorough.  They take pride in a job well done.

The old men sit outside the cafe's talking, playing games, and just people watching.

Everyone is kind, friendly, and patient.

Doesn't that sound like heaven compared to our busy, fast paced lives here?

I want a month to reset, and reconnect with life.  Wouldn't you?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, (money wasn't an issue), where would you want to go and why?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monthly Mission: March Edition

And now for March's Monthly Mission!

This month I am working on two aspects of my health.

First thing I am working on is to change my perspective on food, and fully commit to a traditional food diet.  You can read more about it at Cookies 'n Cows.

Also I am determined to start sleeping better.  I have a tendency to stay awake way too late.  Once the boys go to bed the house gets so quiet.  In the evenings I don't worry about cleaning, so it is time for me to sit back, relax, and enjoy myself.  But then I don't want to go to bed.  Because that means morning seems to come that much quicker.  Which means I have to face the messy house and other responsibilities.

This month I am putting an end to that.

Lights are to be out, all electronics off, by 9:30 pm most days of the week.  I'll give myself one late night a week, most likely Friday nights.

Here is to a healthier, well rested, happier me this month!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Learning to Love the Desert

Parts of this post have been sitting for a couple of months waiting for me to finish it, and then decide if I was brave enough to share.

About a year and a half ago (shortly after James was born) I started struggling with postpartum depression.  When it first came on I was super stressed about my Mom being in the hospital that I didn't even realize I was dealing with that.  It took about a year after Mom got out of the hospital for me to finally admit to myself that I had depression.  I tried so hard to fool everyone into thinking I was happy and nothing was wrong that I fooled myself.  Once I did realize what was up I was able to shake the depression in just a couple of months.

But even though I haven't been dealing with depression since then, I have been dealing with general negativity.  Which I also tried to hide... except from Zach.  Poor guy had to put up with grumpy me off and on for several months before I realized just how grumpy and negative I was.

One of the things I have been having the most difficult time with is, the fact I live in the hot, dry, ugly desert.  During one of my more grumpy, negative moments I started a blog post all about how much I dislike the living in the Arizona desert.  And, surprisingly, when I went to write down my complaints all I could really come up with was four things I don't like.
  • I hate how mind numbingly (or should I say meltingly) hot it gets in the summer.
  • I hate how there is a 0.0000001% chance of snow in the winter, unless you want to drive 1.5 hours up the mountain.
  • I long for lots and lots of green with little watering because of the amount of rain.
  • Everything has thorns or fangs
Recently I have come to the realization that if I can't learn to be happy here then I won't really be happy anywhere.  Even if it were cooler, greener, and snowed in the winter.

I need to learn to love the desert.  I need to change my attitude, and quit looking for the bad.

So instead of a whole post dedicated to how much I don't like living here, I thought I would write about why I love living here.
  • I love the smell of the rain in the desert.
  • Nothing beats our sunsets.
  • Except for our Sunrises.  (Or so Zach says, it has been far too long since I've been awake enough to pay attention at dawn.)
  • There is beauty all around, you just have to look a little closer.
  • Having a desert themed/friendly yard (less plants, more rocks) makes yard work so much easier.
  • It makes our trips up the mountain/to somewhere cooler and greener that much more special
  • Amazing mountain views
  • Most of our family lives near here.
  • Did I mention the smell of the rain?  (Thank you creosote bush!)
  • The heat is a dry heat, which to me is better than being hot and muggy, with no chance of your sweat cooling you down.
  • Squash and zucchini grow really well here, which make for really good dishes (well for the first harvest or two... after that this particular bullet could be moved to the list of dislikes...)
  • Not all the poky, prickly, thorny plants are ugly.  There are some fantastic cactus formations.  And many have beautiful flowers.
  • If you haven't seen a desert night sky you need to come visit me.  You have no idea what you are missing out on.
  • The heat of summer makes autumn that much more welcome.
  • The desert comes to life during the spring.
  • Without the desert you wouldn't havWile ECoyote and The Road Runner

Just writing the list of why I do love the desert has already started to help me see the beauty here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Saga of Rocky the Goldfish

A couple nights before Christmas Wyler's nursery leaders brought him a gold fish, with a note "We fish you a merry Christmas!" We went and got a gallon tank, and a two other goldfish as tank mates.  Wyler and James were pretty thrilled to find the fish when they woke up.  The smallest fish, the one from the nursery leaders, was promptly named Pebble (a feeder fish), and the other two (both fantails) were named Rocky and Boulder.

By the end of the first week poor Pebble went the way of the toilet.

A week and a half, or two, later Boulder started to develop black gills.  Within about two days of his gills turning black he too was flushed.

I did some research as to why Boulder's gills turned black, and I discovered it was due to ammonia poisoning.  I had a way too small tank for just one fish, let alone three.  And all tanks need to cycle to become an ideal environment for fish.  Cycling is where the ammonia breaks down into nitrites, then that eventually turns to nitrates.  The nitrates help turn the waste/ammonia into nitrates so the water doesn't turn toxic.  And the cycling process can take up to 6-8 weeks to happen.  Many people use fish to speed the process up, as their waste fills the tank water with ammonia.  Unfortunately the process is bound to kill the fish, so people usually use cheaper, hardier fish to do the job.
I got a little testing kit to help me make sure the water didn't turn too toxic for Rocky, but toxic enough that it would cycle.

Finally, about 8 weeks later (aka last week), the tank was almost all the way cycled.  Rocky had survived the long, difficult, toxic process.  Rocky survived the process that killed his tank mates.  We decided we named him well, Rocky the Fighter.

Night before last I came into the kitchen to see the fish tank had been overturned, and there was no sign of Rocky.  I quickly ushered the culprit (who I previously constantly had to keep pulling his hands out of the tank) out of the kitchen, grabbed a couple bath towels to throw on the main water mess, then started to hunt down Rocky.

It took a minute or two, and I had no idea how long it had been since he was dumped out of his tank.  I found him under the stand we keep his tank on.  Yep, he was going to be flushed.  Just laying there, not even flopping.

But wait... his gills are moving...  He's alive!!

I picked him up as quickly and gently as I could, ran across the kitchen and got him in a cup of water until I could get his tank set up again.

He survived being out of water for 2.5+ minutes, being stuck in a cup of cold water, barely big enough to turn around in, then put in a bigger bowl of cold water, then being moved back to his tank of slightly warmer water.  I was afraid the shock of all that would do him in for sure.

I don't think I've ever seen him as active as he has been since the accident.  It took a near death experience for him to realize how awesome life is I guess.

Now lets hope he survives the next 8 weeks of his tank re-cycling...

Then after we have moved and settled into our next house we will get the proper size tank for him.  So hopefully he will survive that tank being cycled...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Monthly Mission: February Edition

February came and I realized that I hadn't put any thought into what my Monthly Mission should be until today.

I have been feeling pretty negative for quite awhile.  I have been having trouble seeing the positive things around me.  And it has been having a negative effect on my family.  Zach has been so good about trying to help me to be positive, and have a happy outlook in life.  But up until now I have been too stubborn to realize I needed/wanted to change.

After some thought and prayer, and perusing Pinterest I have become drawn to these quotes:





If you haven't guessed already my Monthly Mission is to develop an Attitude of Gratitude.

I am going to start a gratitude journal.
I am going to be sure to express gratitude to/for someone/something every day.
For this whole month I am going to avoid posting anything negative on social media.

What do you do to cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Iron Crafting + Pinstrosity Challenge = Crumb Topped Apple PIe

For my birthday Theron and Darla gave me a beautiful stoneware pie dish.  Of course I instantly started itching to make pies.  However I had to decide what kind of pie did I want.  A savory pie like chicken pot pie, or spaghetti pie?  Or what about sweet: chocolate or apple or such?  I flipped through cookbooks, I looked to Pinterest.  Too many yummy things to choose from!

Then I learned the themes for Pinstrosity's and Iron Crafter's first challenges of the year:

Pinstrosity's January Challenge is "A is for..... anything!"  It could be an item that starts with the letter A, or a color, or the material it is made from, or how ever you want to take that.  We are instructed to "Browse through your Pinterest boards, and then your sister's Pinterest boards, and then your high school BFF's Pinterest boards, and then your cat's previous owner's Pinterest boards, and then even the Official Pinstrosity Challenge Pinterest Board (we'll be adding ideas to it all the time) and find pins that fit the theme that inspire you. They can be food, decor, costumes, aprons, painting color schemes, etc. This month's theme leaves things wide open!"  Then we are to do the pin(s) we liked and send in the results, good or bad.

The first Iron Crafter challenge of the year is based on the traditional gifts for a 4 year anniversary (as this is the 4th year they have done the Iron Crafter challenges).  The traditional gifts are fruit or flowers, and the modern gift is appliances.

So something that starts with A, and has to do with fruit, flowers, or appliances.

That settled it.  Apple Pie was on the menu!  I pulled out my new Taste of Home cook book and flipped to the crumb topped apple pie recipe I wanted to try.  Then figured if I am sending it in to Pinstrosity I needed to find the pin... luckily it wasn't too hard to find on the Taste of Home website.

Doesn't that look simply scrumptious?

Here is mine:

We have been trying to cut processed foods out of our diet, so we don't have shortening.  And I haven't bought me any lard to use.  My butter pie crusts haven't turned out as well yet.  So I decided to try coconut oil (in its solid state), since it works well in my biscuit recipe.  Not going to try that again... The coconut oil didn't combine as nicely into the flour, and the crust was super tough.  My butter crusts turn out better.

Everything else I did just as the recipe says.  (Well I kinda patted the crumb topping after I sprinkled it on, so it didn't look as crumb like).

And it was super delicious!!  A major Pin Win in my opinion!

(Iron Crafters, does baking count as crafting?)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Monthly Missions

Instead of having New Year's resolutions, or a 101 things to do list, or a yearly theme/word I am going to take it one month at a time.

I am going to have a theme/virtue/word/habit of the the month that I focus on.  I am not going to plan all 12 months out now.  I am going to take it one month at a time.  During the last week of the month I am planning on evaluating where I am at in life, and seeing what I need to focus on the most, and that will be my next Monthly Mission.

For the month of January I am focusing on Patience.  I actually started this half way through December, but it is one I am still needed much improvement on.  Mostly in the parenting department.
All to often I find myself snapping and yelling at the boys.  I hate it.  I hate being mad/frustrated at them so often.

I was afraid to work on patience.  It seems that when I strive to improve a habit/virtue/etc. God gives me more opportunities to work on my issue.  Even though I feel like if I am given any more opportunities I'll snap and need to be put in a nut house.  I didn't want to have more opportunities to be patient.  I didn't want more opportunities to fail and yell at the boys.  I didn't feel like it was fair to them.

But my level of impatience wasn't fair to them either.  After several nudges and promptings from Heavenly Father, I realized I could take a really long time to learn patience the way I was going.  Or I could go through a relatively short refiner's fire and be better for it.  I could have the patience I need sooner.  After much thought and prayer I decided to go for it.

I have been reading quotes and scriptures on patience.  I've been finding articles about how to be a more patient Mommy and reading through them.

What are you working on this year/month/week?