Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homemaking Tip - Sweet Things



Last week when Grace and Henry came to stay I got to rock Henry a lot.  He loves to be held close and is so content when he is.  I think he looks just like a little smurf in this outfit.  He is such a sweet baby.

For Grace's birthday she helped me make Idaho Spud Cupcakes.

Last bit of evidence of a week filled with sweet things.

They are such a good cupcake.  We baked them in baking cups instead of cupcake papers and it made a huge difference in how moist they were (we made a few in cupcake papers for comparison).  From now on I'm going to start baking fancy cupcakes in baking cups.

Rocking content babies and moist cupcakes.  Life doesn't get much sweeter.

But then somehow it does . . .


 . . . because last night our kids called and told us to go to Lowe's and pick up a new dishwasher that they ordered for us as an early Mother's and Father's Day present.  So not only did I get to rock a sweet baby often and eat moist cupcakes last week, we have a working dishwasher today.

Calvin summed it up in this text, "you guys are the best.......I don't think you can get any better and then you do something like this.......thank you.....I love all of you......."

Sweet, sweet things.  All of them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Tried It - To the Future


http://ahavenforvee.blogspot.com/2013/03/corrie-ten-boom-quote.html

This past Saturday, Cali and I had to run a fruit salad to town at 8:00 am for a wedding.  Since the boys were still home asleep and the highway was empty except for 5 cop cars which insured we took our time, the car was quiet and we visited about a myriad of topics:  fruit salad, weddings, Easter baskets, what to have for Sunday dinner, the virtues of Costco produce vs. the unpleasantries of Walmart produce . . . and the future.

We determined that looking forward is important, but dwelling on the future is counter-productive. There are so many unknowns to prepare for in likely situations, let alone all the unlikely situations that are bound to happen that it can put your mind in a spin.  We decided we should prepare for the future the best we can, and that includes increasing our faith, but then to fully live today. It wasn't a new discovery, but it was our Saturday morning resolution.

I was looking through my Pinterest boards this evening and saw this one by Corrie ten Boom.  As a holocaust prisoner she faced such a bleak future (and even facing a good future can be daunting), and gave us a good example of how to live with the unknown.  This pin is a good reminder for me of the conclusion we reached on Saturday.  Here's to the future Cali (clink).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Memories - Going to Town




Last weekend we butchered one of the steers. Abe and Grace and Ray and Cali came to help. We pushed the old Model A car out of the garage and turned that space into a temporary meat packing plant.

While the men cut the meat, Levin climbed in and out of that old car and played “going to town.” When he would wander back into the garage and get underfoot, Abe would give him a penny and tell him to go to town and buy more hamburger bags, or rakes, or something, and Levin would run out and pretend to drive to town again.

He kept asking, “Gwamma, will you go to town with me?" After repeated askings, I swept out the sunflower hulls and mice rice from the passenger seat and said I would go.

He ran excitedly to the car and I called after him, "You have to be a gentleman and open my door for me."

He stopped, turned back around and said, "Oh! Oh! Ok! I'll be a gentleman," then ran to the passenger side, climbed up on the running board, worked and maneuvered the door handle till it opened, and then got down and ran around to climb in his side saying, “I’m a gentleman” over and over and over. It was pretty sweet.

After we went to town and bought more things (rocks, sticks, wrappers, weeds, etc) from "the lady" he asked me to drive home. I drove making old car putt-putt sounds, moving the gear shift around, pretending to honk the horn, and pushing in the clutch and brake. Likewise, Levin played with the knobs on his side of the car and made his noises.

I don’t care if that car ever runs. It is a great toy just like it is.

I remember when I was a little girl and we had an old pick-up truck parked out by the corrals. The truck bed was filled with syphon tubes. Childhood friends and neighbors, Bryce and David, and I played “going to town” for hours in that truck. I usually brought my doll and her blanket so we could go to town as a family. I waited patiently in the truck and bounced the baby while Bryce or David (whoever was playing the dad that day) drove us to town, went into the store to get tractor parts, and then drove us home. Sometimes we took a lunch with us and sometimes we didn’t. If anybody else wanted to play, they were our extra kids and rode to town in the back on top of the syphon tubes. Playing “going to town” was even better than playing “house.” That's why I'm so sure that Model A will get plenty of miles whether or not it ever sees the highway.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

#Because of Him - Morning Has Broken


We woke up this Easter morning to the doves cooing.  Then we heard the quail calling to each other.  And of course, the rooster crowed. The sun was bright and a quiet breeze blew through the window.  It felt like Easter.  It was so liberating after a winter of silence and a night of black.  

I like to imagine what that first Easter morning felt like.  Hopeful.  Happy.  Full of relief.  Like you could breathe again.  Like you wanted to sing.

Because of Him we are not held captive to darkness and discouragement.  Because of Him morning has broken. 






Friday, April 18, 2014

#Because of Him - Good Friday


Much as I love this picture, when I see it, I realize some are missing.
There are the unborn, but Clara, our oldest granddaughter, is also missing.
She died shortly after birth.
But because of Him, death has no sting and the grave has no victory.
Because of Him we can find peace and happiness, even joy, in sad times.
Because of Him we have Good Friday.


Calling the Friday before Easter “Good Friday” has always been a contradiction to me. Had I been invited to be on the holiday naming committee, I think I would have suggested “Sad Friday” or something like that.

Today, throughout the Christian world, is celebrated as the day Christ was crucified. Last night is remembered as the night He spent in the Garden of Gethsemane, and tomorrow the day He lay in the tomb before His incredible and glorious resurrection on Sunday.

Knowing that Christ suffered all things gives me great comfort and courage that He can guide me through all things. Though the Atonement is complex and difficult to fully comprehend, it also teaches simple lessons that help us. Here are a few:

Jesus Christ gave us an example of courage as faced his fears and troubles: 

One of our family’s favorite memories is a ride called “Splash Mountain” at Disneyland. One night, the ride re-opened from repairs unexpectedly. No one in the park knew it was open but Ty, Abe, and their two little cousins. They came and excitedly told those of us who were watching the parade and we all raced back to the ride. We rode it again and again and again . . . over a dozen times within an hour. As Thomas S. Monson points out, the ride centers on Brer Rabbit finding his laughing place–his happy place–and the song:

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, 
My, oh my, what a wonderful day! 
Plenty of sunshine, headin’ my way, 
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!” 

plays over and over while you ride a boat through a myriad of animations representing happy times. Right before the ride ends, your boat plunges 50 feet into churning, troubling waters. There is one small sign before you go over the edge that warns: “You can’t run away from trouble; there’s no place that far!” and then PLOP! you plunge to the waters below.

That is a fact. We can’t run away from trouble. There is no place that far, for trouble is a part of this life and is even among our happy places. But, we can learn how to face our fears and troubles by watching how the Savior faced his. When Jesus Christ went into the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew the trouble that awaited Him. He knew it was time for Him to face the purpose for which He was sent to this Earth–to redeem all of us from Adam’s fall–which also happened in a Garden.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36)

It was a daunting task to accomplish the will of the Father, but Christ did. We can follow His example and face our troubles and challenges with courage and strive to do our Heavenly Father’s will over our own.

Jesus Christ taught us the power of prayer: 

The night Christ went to Gethsemane, He told his disciples a couple of times to pray so that they could overcome temptation. He also said that when He was in agony, He prayed more earnestly.

We recognize prayer as a source of power, even my little nephew, Pal, understood that power when he was only three.  Still not talking clearly, one night at family prayer he said, “Bless Dad, bless esse, bless ache, bless in, bless arr, bless iee, bless om, bless spoons.” At this point his parents and five siblings began to laugh.  He looked up from his prayer embarrassed and said, “Oh, not bless spoons.” Then, worrying that he hadn’t gotten his point across, he went around the room again blessing each one in his family two more times (Dad, esse, ache, in, arr, iee, om). At the end of the prayer he unfolded his arms, smiled, and then spontaneously his dad, mom and each brother and sister (Jesse, Cache, Justin, Calder, and Maddie) leaned over and gave him a hug. All felt loved by three year old Pal because he prayed for them, and all loved him in return for his simple heartfelt prayer in their behalf. That night in the Garden the Savior prayed for us, in our behalf, and He prayed earnestly for us. We can comprehend His love more fully because we know of the love that comes by praying for each other and being prayed for by each other.

Our Father in Heaven sends us help: 

Jesus felt overwhelming agony when He took our pains and sins upon Him. We have all felt that horrid feeling of being alone. Heavenly Father sent Jesus help while He experienced that agony. In Luke 22:43 it says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” Our Father in Heaven sends us help, too, even when we have done wrong. I’ve seen good friends, sisters, brothers, in-laws, parents, spouses, fellow church members, fellow community members, and neighbors love and nurture those who have done wrong and help them until they were strengthened. We understand what it feels like to be helped and comforted by those around us—gifts of strength from our Heavenly Father—and we can graciously accept their help as Christ did.

Christ asked us to remember Him: 

Before the Savior went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He had the Passover meal with his apostles. While there, Jesus broke the bread and prayed over it and then passed it to his apostles saying:

“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Jesus told his disciples He would be going away from them, but that He would send a Comforter to them while He was gone. That Comforter reminds us of Jesus.

We remember our birthdays, we remember when it’s time to eat, and we remember when it is pay day . . . surely we can remember Jesus. I’m grateful He remembered me that night in the Garden when life was tough and busy for Him, and I've found remembering Him makes me happier and more successful.


Though there is still much to comprehend about the Atonement, what I have learned allows me to love the Savior and recognize Him as the “Way, the Truth and the Life.” I often envision our journey here on earth as if we’re all climbing a very steep mountain. We’ve passed the draws, the streams, the meadows and trees below, and now we’re on the steep part. The fall could be fatal, it is definitely scary. The cliffs are sharp and the path is narrow. But there He is–Our leader, the One in Front, the Savior. He calls encouragement to us as we climb. He says, “It’s ok . . . you can do it. Just follow me. Don’t look down—look up, look to me—and you can make it. Walk in my footsteps and you won’t fall.” And then, He leads the way and He doesn’t take huge steps that I can’t reach, and He doesn’t take little steps, He takes perfect steps—one right in front of the other so that I can follow. He wants us to successfully make the climb by following His footsteps, and then enjoy the view from the top with Him.

You know, I think “Good Friday” is a better name than my suggestion after all. Though initially so very painful, I’m grateful Jesus remembered us on that sad, sad day and made “good” for all mankind. 

Happy Good Friday everyone.



Monday, April 14, 2014

#Because of Him - 14 on the 14th of 4-2014

Because of Him, we can have an eternal family.  

Jane:  Holding Henry in the back yard on a perfect spring day.

Calvin:  standing with Phil who came to help with work equipment.
(Jane speaking here.  Phil has also become a good friend to Calvin.  It was
fun to have him eat supper, have family home evening, and spend the night
with us.  He helped me with one of my homework assignments as well.)

Abe:  Sorry this is so late and so lame, but here's my picture:
In Idaho doing a recon for training and this is my lovely hotel room.

Grace:  Enjoying a wonderful walk with wonderful company
while spending the week in Moses Lake while Abe's in Idaho.

Henry:  Loves giving good morning smiles.

Joe: this isn’t a picture, but it’s pretty close.  This is consuming all of our time right now.
We are staging the hospitality tent on the 18th green this year for the golf tournament in the area.
It’s a big deal, or so I’m told. it starts Thursday.

Ande:  But I don’t want to unload the groceries!

Zeph greeting me as I made numerous trips to and from the car.
His emphatic glass pounding and smiling made unloading groceries bearable.

Eliza: Enjoying sitting up now.

Michelle:  favorite meal to prepare….leftovers!

Ty: Having a modified picnic for family night in the garage (it’s been pouring all day today).

Afton: We learned about our bodies in family night.
We did lots of things with our bodies: clean and jerks, somersaults, squats,
pushups, rode bikes, and even a special “bum exercise” that Afton made up.

(This is where the Follett family pictures go.)


Because of Him we have a family . . . I am so grateful.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#Because of Him - If I Had a Palm . . .


Palm Sunday.  What a kind way to start the Savior's last week on earth by allowing those who believed in Him to show their appreciation, devotion, and love while He was still with them.  

Had I been there laying palms in His path, one thing I would have made sure the Savior knew is how much I love Him for never losing sight of what is important.  Never.  He came with a purpose to redeem us, and while our eternity hung precariously in the balance, He didn't let us down.  He didn't get side-tracked.  He didn't worry about meeting His needs or conveniences first and then if there was enough time or energy left to look after us.  He did what we needed Him to do and He did it willingly and humbly.  I love Him for being patient as I learn, and experience, and fail, and come to know Him.  And, I appreciate that even though I didn't get to lay a palm, I can still express my love and devotion by following and defending Him.  

Because of Him, I love and live. 


Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Memories - Sugar & Spice



Calvin has rediscovered cinnamon toast.  He goes in spurts:  one year with, three years without.

See the cinnamon-sugar Tupperware shaker?  It is close to 35 years old and has moved at least nine times. It's like a cat.

Calvin's ex-wife was a Tupperware dealer.  A week after Calvin and I were married, and as I was putting our new wedding and bridal shower gifts away, I found several pieces of Tupperware in the kitchen drawers and cupboards.  I carefully, and thoughtfully, and deliberately threw each piece away.  No more first-marriage mementos in my kitchen.  But, somehow this shaker missed the freeing frenzy.

I told Calvin several days later, long after the Tupperware had been hauled far, far away, that I'd tossed it. He groaned, "Jaaaaane, whaddya do that for?  My mom bought me that Tupperware after I got divorced so I'd have stuff for a kitchen."

Whoops.  Sugar and spice and everything nice is not what insecure second wives are made of.
     

Sunday, April 6, 2014

52 Blessings - Instagram


Calvin and I miss not having the kids close.  We are very grateful that they have good lives where they are and that we see them as often as we do, but sometimes we still like to imagine that they live a half mile away and the grandkids can skip to our house (after they finish crawling of course).

With two sons in the military and two sons-in-law whose businesses aren't represented in our town, neither hopping, skipping, nor jumping to the grandparents is going to happen at this house.

But, what we do get most days of the week are pictures and videos via Instagram.  And for that technological nicety and luxury, we're cognizant and grateful.  It's the next best thing to them being here.


Michelle:  Eliza and her hero.

Ande:  Zeph put all his waffle pieces in his bib pocket to hid them
and is only eating the whipped cream.

Cali:  Because a sweet potato can never have enough holes and little boys love to stab stuff.

Grace:  Happy Birthday to the best dad in the world today!
#henryloveshisdad   #7weeksold

Abe:  He's got his mama's eyes.

Ty: If you give a girl a bow....she'll ask to wear all of them.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life in Our World - 6 More for Another Saturday

One.


The butchers came Thursday to slaughter the steers.  I was not sad to see Red go.  You couldn't turn your back on him when you filled the water trough for fear he'd take you.  The other day when I walked into the chicken coop where there was only one flimsy piece of chicken wire between me and him snorting, pawing the ground, and throwing his head around, I wondered who was the bigger fool, me for thinking that wire could stop him or him for letting that wire stop him.

But he's gone now and much as I didn't like him personally, I'm very grateful to him for his meat.


Two.
  

You'd never believe the Perez yard.  It has at least 50 rose bushes and a backyard complete with sink, patio, fountain, and bolted down tables and chairs to host parties for over 100.  Clif recently had back surgery so the YM and YW of the Branch went to help them do yard work.  There are many things I admire about our YM and YW, but one thing is that they know how to work hard.  It doesn't matter whether we're cleaning someone's home, cleaning someone's yard, or hosting a yard sale, if they're there, they're really there.  They come at the beginning and stay till the bitter end.  They don't complain and they stay on task.  We got a lot done.

Clif and Vira fed everyone pizza and rootbeer floats when it got too late to work.


Three.


We spent a lot of time cleaning up the yard this week.  This pile is probably 5 feet tall and 20 feet long and we burn at least ten times this amount every year.  I feel like a beaver dragging and piling and it's a bit daunting when you're only on pile one.  But Calvin and I are a good team, as long as I get to throw away and burn he's happy to use the power tools.  Give the man a tractor, chain saw, or lawnmower and he creates lots for me to burn and throw away.  

Calvin also rototilled the garden and fixed the watering system in it.  He expanded the garden.  It has 20 rows instead of 16 and they are all five feet longer.  Aye yi yi.  In theory you downsize when your family leaves home.  We defy theory.


Four.


A good friend called earlier in the week and asked if I wanted an old quilt.  I drove right over to claim it and she gave me several other antiques while I was there.  This rocking horse was one of them, along with an old oak highchair and a set of three, ceramic, yellow, kitchen mixing bowls (with a white stripe around the top.  The littlest bowl was filled with old marbles and the biggest one is a perfect fruit bowl on the dining room table).  I came home and everything fit perfectly in the spot I had imagined.  Greed didn't exceed need.

Calvin burnt our pressure cooker steaming tamales a few years ago and we have needed another ever since.  She also gave me a pressure cooker.  I felt so very pleased with my new things.


Five.


We listened to the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.  Like fellow Mormons the world over, we anticipate the first weekend of April and October because of General Conference.  Calvin and I got up early and worked in the yard for a few hours and then came in and watched the first session on tv.  After the first session, we hurried back outside and worked for a couple more hours before the second session.  Same story between the second session and the Priesthood session tonight.

While listening to conference, I cut out nearly 100 flannel board figures.  My friend Melanie no longer wanted them (I wouldn't have either with 5 children and the cutting time required) so she gave them to me.   It was a perfect General Conference activity for a grandma with sewing scissors.


Six.
the hospital receipt for Calvin's birth


I finished another class this week.  It was a history class writing narrative biographies and I wrote mine on Calvin. What an enjoyable project.  I had to use non-family sources as well as family sources and include at least three generations in the telling of it.  Even though the assignment is complete, the project isn't.  The maximum amount of pages allowed was 40 and he's still done a whole lot of living since page 40.  I'll finish it up this summer. 


How about you?  What's new in your world this week?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday Tried It - An Old Recipe


http://www.pinterest.com/pin/285345326361712723/


Gordon and Sandy built our home and lived in it for twenty years before we bought it.  Even though they only live 10 miles away, once we bought the place they never came back.  It was too hard for them to see twenty years of footprints stomped out by a new herd.

Last year one of their sons drove his wife out to see where he grew up.  He showed her his hand prints in the cement by the garage and other places he remembered as a boy.

After 15 years, Monday evening Gordon and Sandy finally drove by, looking at the house and property from a distance. We were outside working and saw the car go slowly by, sometimes backing up for a closer look.  Not recognizing the car, Calvin (as good a watchdog as Dan) finally walked out to the car and flagged it down. Lo and behold it was Gordon and Sandy.  We talked for an hour and expressed our thanks for making such a great place for our family to live.  Calvin invited them to come back and get raspberry starts.

Today Gordon and Sandy came to get the plants and a big piece of petrified wood that Sandy had regretted leaving.  I made this Pinterest Applesauce Cookies recipe to share with them.

I like trying old recipes from newspapers:

I like to envision the woman who submitted it in her apron cooking in a simple kitchen with staple ingredients. I like to imagine her sharing the recipe with her neighbors at a community social.  I like to imagine her creaky linoleum floor, with a few worn spots, and an itty-bitty refrigerator with metal ice-cube trays in the tiny freezer compartment.

I like to imagine the woman who clips the recipe from the newspaper, too.  How she sees the recipe then goes to her kitchen drawer that has scissors and string in it.  She carefully cuts the recipe out (and how her husband probably scolds her that night because there's a hole in his newspaper) and puts it in her recipe box.

All this I get from a newspaper recipe.

This recipe isn't anything special, but it is good like the picture says.  I do think it has too much clove in it (when a recipe calls for as much clove as it does cinnamon, beware). I doubled the recipe and and baked them as a cookie bar then frosted them with cream cheese frosting.  It was a good enough recipe to share, so I sent a plate home with Gordon and Sandy.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Memories - What He Drives.


Tonight for family home evening we started spring clean-up in the yard.  Calvin sawed while I hauled, and I raked while he mowed.



I was cursing and blessing that new, orange lawnmower under my breath as I raked.  Cursing it because it cost so much and blessing it because it eats rocks for lunch.  And then . . . and then . . . and then I remembered this picture from our photo album.  Calvin with another red-orange machine . . .


Calvin's first car circa 1972

. . . I can't decide what I think is the funniest:  Calvin's skinny belt, plaid bell-bottom pants (are those cuffs, too?), frilly shirt, bow tie, or part down the middle of his hair.  All I know is that I keep giggling while I'm typing this post and seeing this picture.  Calvin is reading a book while sitting on the couch next to my chair.  Every time I laugh he says, "What?" and I laugh more.  Then he re-explains, "It was a nice car, Jane -- and that's a Butch-Cassidy-and-the-Sundance-Kid shirt, those were nice shirts -- that car had air conditioning, a cassette player, and white leather interior.  It was a sports car, Jane."

Well 42 years later, Calvin's not quite so sporty (he says I didn't meet him until after he'd been humbled in life) and he drives a lawnmower instead of a 240 Z.  And here's the crazy thing, that lawnmower cost $200 more than the car.

Of course 240 Z's don't eat rocks for lunch either.


(Jorden Jolley mentioned on Facebook that she's glad to see Calvin still likes to wear red plaid.  Ha.  I never even noticed that.  Those pants make so much more sense now!)

52 Blessings - Belonging

cheering on our young men in the church basketball tournament

I’m grateful to belong to the of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a great blessing.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given me fellowship. 

We call each other Brother and Sister and our congregation is considered our ward family.

On Monday we went to a funeral. We had never met the woman, but we know her son and his family well. They are a part of our ward family, so we went to mourn with those that mourn.

Brother Jensen was at the funeral as well. When Brother Jensen meets you in a crowd, or on the street, or in the driveway, or at a funeral he tells you a joke to say hello. Monday after the service, he came over shook my hand and told a joke. But, he forgot the punch line. Try as he might he couldn’t remember it. He walked off shaking his head trying to think of it.

Thursday night at 9:00, Brother Jensen called. He answered my hello with, “First a ring then you wake up.”

I said, “Pardon me?” and he repeated a little louder, “First a ring then you wake up. That’s the punchline.”

I laughed heartily even though I no longer remembered the joke, because there is just something funny about a delayed joke from an eighty year old brother at 9:00 at night.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship, but also opportunities to discover and build talents.

On Wednesday we taught the Young Women a lesson about honesty and helped them make a flannel board story they could take home to teach their families. I made a big batch of caramel popcorn (from a recipe that I’m fairly certain is in every Mormon cookbook published since sweetened condensed milk was invented) to use as an object lesson. Being a member of the LDS church has giving me lots of opportunities to teach and develop teaching skills.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship and opportunities to discover and build talents, but it’s given me experiences to serve others.

Saturday was bow day. Five young men plus Brother Tucker, Brother Roylance, and Brother Clark came and worked in the shop while Calvin helped them make their bows. At noon they came in to eat. We had hoped to have a wiener roast, but it was too windy, so we had pasta bake (all right, all right, it was goulash) instead. When the boys started the bows a few weeks ago, I suggested to Calvin that the boys come in the house to eat rather than eating in the shop. I thought of those boys, some who live in chaos, and doubted they seldom if ever have family meals together. I thought everyone ought to have that experience. So they do. They come in together, laughing because Calvin and Brother Roylance are teasing them. They wash their hands at the kitchen sink and ask what they can do to help. Yesterday all nine of those bodies crowded around the kitchen table. Down the middle of the table was the oversized pan of pasta, a wire basket of hot breadsticks, and a bowl of green beans. After a blessing was said on the food and the men had filled their plates, Calvin had everyone go around the table and give an appreciation to the man sitting to their left. It was down-right neighborly and good for everyone. Seeing those men fill their plates again and again, and listening to the conversation was very satisfying. For dessert they ate a cookie sheet full of chocolate chip bars.  I learned to cook for a family as a girl, but I have honed crowd cooking by feeding my church family.

  • Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only given me fellowship, opportunities to discover and build talents, and experiences to serve, it’s also given me understanding of the laws of God and great peace from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Saturday night I attended the General Women’s meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hundreds of thousands of women across the world attended (or tuned into this meeting). It wasn’t necessarily what was said, though it was inspiring. It wasn’t necessarily what was sung, though the songs were beautiful. It wasn’t necessarily seeing the mothers holding their little daughters’ hands, or young women standing with confidence and hope, or the older sisters sitting comfortably next to each other, though each scene was tender and sweet. It was all of it. It was a massive group of women gathered together to learn from sight, sound, and example graced by the Spirit of God. I felt peace in a muddled and troubled time of history. I sat quietly crying inside as I participated in the meeting because the Spirit felt so calm and beautiful.


Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not like a club I participate in weekly, it’s a way of life. The teachings, doctrines, and covenants apply every day.  And it's a daily challenge to live what I know and believe.

But the best part is that everyone is invited to participate in and belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's not a church for an exclusive few.  It's for everyone.  I'm grateful to be a member.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Memories - Sunday Dinner


Sunday dinners are one of my top 100 "good things."  There is nothing quite like coming in the door after church and smelling the roast, or meatloaf, or lasagna, or chicken in their final minutes of cooking.  It's like a congratulatory nose high-five for making it through three hours of church and its attendant responsibilities -- keeping a toddler contained, a baby quiet, a lesson taught, a talk given, a withdrawn teenager involved, a song sung, or usually a combination of them all.  The oven says, "Well done church-goer, welcome home."

Joe, Zeph, Ray, Calvin, Henry, and Abe waiting for the final touches of
Sunday dinner while watching the final minute of a bb game.

On Sunday, Calvin and I made a quick  trip to Seattle to see Joe, Ande, and Zeph who were there for a friend's wedding.  As the family sat around Ray and Cali's dining room table I thought of what a familiar sight and routine Sunday dinners are . . . and how I never grow tired of them.

We started the meal off with "cheers."  Ray and Abe always include a toast at family gatherings. Yesterday's topic was "something we look forward to in Spring."  It's always fun to hear what is on others' minds -- new life, baby calves, chicks, and pigs, being outside, strawberries that taste like strawberries, working in the garden, the sun, birthdays, Easter, Hope -- and clinking goblets around the table.  My favorite part yesterday was watching Levin with his plastic cup and over-sized bib. It's hard to ration sparkling lemonade to nine individual sips when you're two years old, but by the last couple of toasts he knew to excitedly raise his cup because it meant one more sip.  When the last toast was made he cried for "more cheers," interpreted as more lemonade.  Seeing his enthusiasm I expect he'll carry on the tradition of his father and uncle.

I was in charge of the dinner yesterday and it wasn't fancy, in fact it wasn't even very good, but it didn't matter.  It was the fact that we were together and investing in family and each other.  After dinner Abe, Grace, and Henry had to get back home.  Calvin, Zeph, and Levin went to the bedrooms to take naps, Joe and Ray fell asleep on the family room rug and couch, and Cali, Ande, Atlas, and I visited at their feet. When everyone woke up we ate a wonderful blackberry bread pudding that Cali and Ande had made for dessert (perhaps the most important course in Sunday dinner).

The day was satisfying on many levels.

Today in class my high-school students all told of one of their favorite family activities.  There were some pretty fun things shared -- trips to Yellowstone, Hawaii, Disneyland, a cruise to the Bahamas, camping.  As the kids told their memories, I remembered several great experiences our family has had.  But when it was my turn to share a favorite family activity I said, "Sitting around the table each night to eat supper and eating Sunday dinner together."  When it boiled down to it, I found that simple tradition, repeated over and over, actually trumped the other memories.

One young man said he didn't like being with his family (it is a pretty contentious lot) and he does everything he can to avoid being with them when they're together.  His experience provided a stark contrast for those who do have good family memories.

Here's to Sunday dinner.  And supper together.  And families that like each other.  Clink.


*If you'd have been eating with us, what would your toast to Spring have been?