Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Passing of a Prophet

President Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, prophet, seer and revelator, died Sunday evening at the age of 97. President Hinckley was the prophet for most of my adult life, and it has been a blessing to be able to hear and follow his counsel. President Kimball was the prophet I from my childhood, but I remember so much more that President Hinckley said and did. The six B's, which went to the 9 B's, all of the temples that were built and dedicated, his sense of humor that went hand-in-hand with his amazing spirituality.

Andy and I were privileged to hear him and Sister Hinckley speak at the Sacramento Area Conference 11 or 12 years ago. It was held at the Arco Arena, which was filled with people in their Sunday best eager to hear the words of a living prophet. He was an amazing example of leadership tempered with humilty.

This is how I will always remember him: "I am no longer a young man filled with energy and vitality. I am an old man. I'm given to meditation and prayer. I would enjoy sitting in a rocker, swallowing prescriptions, listening to soft music, and contemplating the things of the universe. But such activity offers no challenge and makes no contribution. I wish to be up and doing. I wish to face each day with resolution and purpose. I wish to use every waking hour to give encouragement, to bless those whose burdens are heavy, to build faith and strength of testimony."

He has left such a legacy.

One more quote from the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley: "We honor best those who have gone before when we serve well in the cause of truth."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Moon is Whole! (And other happenings in MO)

As we were driving to Brian's basketball game on Tuesday, this is what we saw on the horizon.

OK, so I didn't actually take this picture. Not that I couldn't have, since, you know, my photography skills are so awesome {snort}. I stole this picture from Wikipedia. But this is exactly what the moon looked like Tuesday night, hovering right above the horizon, a huge, orange orb suspended from heaven. Joe spotted it first and said, "Look! It's a Whole Moon! Wow, the moon is whole!" We all agreed that, yes, the moon is whole. And it's FULL, too. He then said, "Yeah, and it's shaped like a 'suh-phere' (sphere), too." The things you learn in Kindergarten. And from kindergarteners.

So, in know-it-all Mommy fashion, I told him that a sphere is a circle. Then my know-it-all 4th grader had to correct me by saying, "Technically, a sphere is shaped like a ball."

I really need to go back to school. Am I smarter than a fifth-grader? I don't think I want to find out.

According to Wikipedia we were seeing a Wolf Moon, not just your regular, run-of-the-mill whole moon. The Wolf Moon is a full moon that occurs in January. Its name comes from hungry wolf packs that would howl outside the villages of Native Americans. Cool. Sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.

We woke up this morning to a balmy 7 degrees Fahrenheit. It's cold. I'm glad the wolves aren't howling outside our village. Brrr.
The know-it-all 4th grader just won first place in her grade for her Smoky the Bear poster contest. Then she won first place in the district competition. 6 dollars total. She shrugged and said, "Cool, I'll add it to the rest of my money." The girl has more money than I ever did at her age, and more than I do now. She saves every cent. Her cousin talked her into spending some on a shirt and jeans one day. Cousin said, "Aren't you tired of my hand-me-downs?" Natalia said, "Nope!" I had to return the clothes a couple of days later, since Natalia decided she would rather have the cold hard cash in her hands than non-hand-me-downs. She's so practical.
Brian's in the middle of basketball season. I would post a picture, but every time I take one of him on the court, it's like a picture in a great big cave. The lighting in gymnasiums is not ideal for photos. It's so fun to see how much he has improved each year that he's played basketball. Andy was kind of disappointed when Brian was told he would be a substitute. On the "B" Team. I said,"What do you expect? There are only 2 seventh graders playing on the combined 7th and 8th grade team, and the 2 seventh graders are substitutes." And he's played at least half of each game, and played well at that. I keep telling him he needs to be a little more aggressive, though. Maybe it will come with age. Or maybe he will just take after his Auntie Tara. hee hee. I'm hoping he grows into his size 11 feet, though. He's taller than I am now, although Andy likes to say "That's not saying much." So I'm vertically challenged. You wanna make somethin' of it?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Speaking Whale

You can't judge a book by it's cover...

I'm on a binge. No, not my usual chocolate binge, and not chips and salsa or ice cream either. I'm on a reading binge. This isn't unusual for me, but it has happened less and less since I've been a "grown-up". One reason it doesn't happen as often is because when I start reading a book, I don't want to put it down until I've finished every last morsel. Er, I meant page.

This time, it all started with these three books: Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Young adult Vampire novels. Not my usual reading material, but Tara had been bugging me for months to read these. They were always checked out at Boonslick, and I didn't want to buy any books that I wasn't sure I would really like. So, Tara brought them home with her from BYU. Our last night in Nauvoo I started reading Twilight, the first in the series, and I couldn't put it down. Much to Andy's irritation, I read it on the car ride home, and when we stopped for a potty break I tried to get New Moon from Tara. Weeelllll, she left it at Mom and Dad's house! I had to sit the rest of the ride home contemplating what was coming next. Argh! My sweet sister ran the book {New Moon} over to me that night, and I read the whole thing without stopping. I fell asleep late, woke up early, and climbed back into the recliner to start on Eclipse. Monkey woke up early and wandered out, saw me sitting where he left me the night before, and exclaimed, "Mom, did you stay up all week?"

Needless to say, I couldn't stop devouring these books. I had to make it to the end, had to find out what happened. Would Bella get her wish and become a vampire? Would she choose Edward or Jacob? I had to know! I read all three books, around 1500 pages, in just over 24 hours. A binge.

Then I wanted to read some more. I read Beauty, an old favorite from my junior high days, and some of the books from Natalia's Mark Twain award list.

Natalia has been trying to read all of the books {20} on this list to be eligible to attend the Literature Festival and meet some of these authors. Two of her favorites have been The Naked Mole-rat Letters and Gentle's Holler.

Brian, who does not really like to read much, is reading The Lightning Thief, which is another good book and is on the Mark Twain award list, too. Bob and Lorraine gave him the book when we visited with them in California this past August. I found him book two, The Sea of Monsters, and three, The Titan's Curse, as gifts for his up-coming birthday.

Joseph has been reading whatever he can sound out. Kindergarten is such a fun time! It has all started to click. Now, watch the Speaking Whale clip in the post above. That is exactly what Joe sounds like when he is sounding out a word. I can't help but crack up!

Monkey was reading his favorite book to his pre-school friends today: Are You My Mother?
So sweet! He knows it by heart, almost word-for-word, since I had to read it to him every day for weeks.

So what are you reading? Need some more ideas? Michelle has some great recommendations from her favorite authors here. I've read a few, but I've added a lot of these to my list.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


The latest and greatest "Cousins" picture. We're just missing Austin in this one. Tara took it this Sunday before flying back to BYU on Tuesday. sniff sniff. We miss you, Auntie Tara!
I'm getting ready for a lovely weekend away! Not that I won't miss the kids and Andy, cuz I will, I sure will. But I'm headed to Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend scrapbooking retreat! Yay! I'm planning on getting a ton done, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008! Now get working on those resolutions!

In 2008 I resolve to:

1. Lose 40 pounds
2. Never, ever, ever yell at Andy or the kids again.
3. Keep the house clean at all times
4. Read church lessons before they are taught.
5. Keep up with the laundry
6. Exercise every day.
7. Go back to school.

OK, who am I kidding! I’ve already broken 2,3, and 6 and the year has barely started!
If I try to stick with these, I’ve just set myself up for a fall.

At church this past Sunday the talks were on “Goals and Resolutions.” I’ve been having an internal dialogue running through my mind for the past few weeks on just these things. I’ve failed at my resolutions every year as far back as I remember. How can I make goals and resolutions and not disappoint myself when my grandiose plans go awry?

I’m a planner. I love to map out the day exactly how I want it to go. Then I remember that - Oh, yeah, I have 4 kids and a husband who can’t read my mind and will not cooperate with anything I DO plan. Then those feelings of frustration get the better of me, and we’re all miserable.

So this year I am drawing up an outline; something less specific, a little more general than those resolutions listed above.

1. What general areas do I want to focus on?
A. Intellectual
B. Physical
C. Social
D. Spiritual
E. Familial {OK, I really don’t use this word, but I wanted it to go with the others. This will be goals to do with family life.}

2. How do I keep myself motivated?
A. Little things count!
B. Enjoy the journey.
C. Don’t spread myself too thin.
D. Don’t think “I’ll be happy when this or this happens.”
E. Make a conscious effort at all times, but don’t stress the setbacks.
And, to quote from this article:
I will appreciate what little progress I make despite my shortcomings.
There, that little disclaimer should cover me!
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