Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Arrow of Light

In cub scouting, there are several ranks. In LDS cub scout packs, we don't incorporate Tiger Cubs just because of the nature of our program, but we start 8 year olds as Wolves. The first rank you receive before you can progress is that of Bobcat. It's simple to earn Bobcat, you just learn a little about cub scouts and what different symbols mean and who/what you should interact and respond to, and how to know if someone is acting inappropriately with you as a child. That can be done in a day if you really want to and have good memorization skills.
So after you earn Bobcat, you start working towards your Wolf rank. It takes a year to complete that and during that time you learn lots of things and experiment with lots of things and have fun with lots of things. The Wolf rank is fun to earn.
After Wolf is Bear. Earning the Bear rank is a little harder than the first 2. You have to put more of the things you learn into practice, you have to account more for the accomplishments you make...but even still, it isn't really HARD to do. It takes a year to complete this rank and lots of fun awards along with it, and then you progress to Webelos.
Webelos is actually a combination of words: We'll Be Loyal Scouts.
In community packs (those sponsored by schools or clubs or other organizations), a boy spends 2 years as a webelos. In and LDS pack, a boy spends 1 year as a webelos and then he moves up to 11 year boy scouts. While you work on your webelos rank, you do a lot more work. There are science experiments, more effort in woodworking, home repairs, creative experiences,... lots of extra stuff that an older boy can handle if he listens to his leaders and does his best. There are 20 activity pins in the webelos book. To earn his rank, he only has to do a portion of those and some extras within those categories. Then he can also continue working and earn his Arrow of Light. This is the highest rank a cub scout can receive and it is one that can be worn on his boy scout uniform...the only one (other than his religious knot). It isn't so easy to do, and he has to participate in a scoutmaster's conference to get here. He does less of this work at home with parents and more of it in den meetings where he accounts for his progression to his den leader. The Arrow of Light is special, particular to me. I love the symbolism that goes along with it.
Now, if the boy does all these things including completing all 20 of those activity pins, he is eligible for the Super Achiever Award. That hasn't been earned in our pack before, so that makes tonight special for us.

Morgan swam in water over his head...he did it for 100 feet! That was the toughest requirement that child had to face, and it was SO hard for him. He did it though... and he has received his Super Achiever Award and tonight he also received his Arrow of Light award. I'm so proud of him!

To make it extra special, Tommy and I made the arrow he was awarded. The arrowhead was one Manti made, I did the special beading on the shaft and Tommy put the entire thing together. I think it looks so pretty!

The rest of the ceremony defined the cub scout promise, which states:
"I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people and to obey the law of the pack." His leaders stood up front with him and broke down that promise he made as a Bobcat and used scripture stories as reminders to things in his life that call for him to apply those principles. The first leader described the use of a compass as it relates to his Duty to God, and the use of the Liahona....a special compass from ancient days. She presented that Liahona to him (and it has a real compass inside AND it has some scriptural phrases in it too....way cool). Then the second leader was his sister. She asked him about heroes, and then told him about Captain Moroni being a heroic leader of other heroes. She described the Title of Liberty Moroni made and what it said and what he did with it. She described these things as they relate to his Duty to His Country. Then she gave him a small version of the Title of Liberty (Tommy and I made that...Manti used to make these out of his own t-shirts. I wish he could have been there and could have made one for Morgan!)
The third leader was Wanda Johnson, one of his Webelos leaders. She presented him with an electric candle that was on, and described the symbolism of the light that shines in him and his promise to Help Other People. The fourth leader was to be John Johnson, but he was sick and unable to attend. One of Morgan's best friends surprised him, so his friend and the friend's dad was there. They are dedicated scouts and awesome examples of what a scout is, so I asked the dad to stand in and do the 4th part. He agreed and then presented Morgan with a card with the Articles of Faith on it, reminding him that one of these articles of faith claims we choose to honor, obey and sustain the law of the land.
The last part of it was Tommy and I presenting the arrow we made to him. It was a sweet moment as I handed the arrow and Tommy told him to go forth and be faithful, following the straight path.

Poor kids hands were full, so he set things on the table and just held his arrow. He was so proud of himself, and so excited.

I thought Granny, Aunt Kitty and Aunt Lee might want to well as whoever else gets lost on the internet and ends up here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Friday was a pleasant day for the most part. [insert that shark music "duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn"]
We took a drive into Atlanta to go to the LDS bookstore. My friend is getting baptized and I wanted to get her a gift, and of course, they sell stuff PERFECT for shipping goodies to Manti. So we do our thing and then head back towards home, stopping at the scout shop on the way. Morgan has earned his Arrow of Light award (the highest rank in cub scouting) and will have his ceremony this week. He is also being awarded the Super Achiever Award which denotes that he has earned EVERY activity pin a webelos can get. He's super because he has done it in 1 years time instead of the 2 years time that community cub scouts get. Yes, I'm proud. So I got him something special to show him I'm proud of him. He's the only cub scout we've had to do that in all my years of cub scouts.
We finished our shopping and got on I-285 headed home. It was 5 o'clock rush hour and it was ugly. When we got on I-20, traffic was even worse.. it was awful! I was tense and didn't notice much of anything else except what was right in front of me. I don't remember where along the interstate we were, but at some point I hear this softly spoken,... "Fire in the hole!"....followed by giggles....and then "JARED! My eyes are burning!" I barked at them asking what they were doing. Morgan said he was dying and Jared was laughing so hard at this point that he had no answer. I didn't get it (remember, I was focused on traffic) so Jared tried to help me understand. He whispers again "Fire in the hole!" and Morgan hollers "GET AWAY FROM ME PLEASE!" I looked up in my rear-view mirror and Morgan is trying to climb THROUGH the car door to get out of it and Jared is sunk down in his booster seat just beside himself in laughter. Before I could ask anything else, I figured it out. This horrid smell that resembled sulfur but with a rotten smell about it found its way to the front seat of the car.
I think I turned green. Tommy started giggling,....
Do you know how long a drive it is from Cobb Pkwy to Villa Rica?? looonnnnnnng!

If that wasn't bad enough, today is a quiet and calm Sunday afternoon. Want to know what my 2 little boys are doing? If these pictures don't tell the tale,...nothing will.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baby Sinclair - Yoshi - ??

So a few weeks ago (I think it was a couple Saturdays ago, not sure anymore), we went to the flea market just because we could. It was right after payday so we had a few dollars we could throw away on fleas and that always makes it more fun.

We walk along and come to the section where this little tiny Asian woman is always always selling cheap toys. We usually avoid this section because its such a BIG section and has NOTHING of value EVER. I don't know why I didn't turn and go around the other way...but we went through this lady's section and just barely saw her tiny self bending over with something. She had turtles in her hand. They were about the size of a half dollar,.. no maybe not that big,...maybe a quarter. They were seriously tiny! She was putting them in those little tiny "aquariums" you usually find those little crabs for sale around the beach living in. I asked her how much, and they were barely anything, so I got one for Mesa (who thought she was going to die of boredom if she didn't get a pet turtle SOON!) and Jared pipes up and says "what about me? I need one too, ya know!" SO Jared got one too.

Well Mesa fell in love with hers and from her research, she's certain hers is a girl. It's name is Shelly. Jared was not willing to call his a girl, and according to Mesa's studies, Jared has a boy (whew!) so he named his Baby Sinclair (yeah after the Dinosaur show that was on tv eons ago). He decided that was hard to remember, so he changed the name to Yoshi (the turtle on the Mario Brothers video games). Last I heard, he was having a hard time remember that too and wanted to change it, but didn't know to what.

We have this little bitty turtle in our house and I refuse to feed it. To me, it was just a pet rock. It's not even MY pet rock, so I shouldn't have to feed it! I feed the fish in the aquarium that the same child just had to have (so got it for his birthday)...and that's not fair, so I laid down the law and Jared feeds it. This crazy little pet rock KNOWS Jared! It actually has a personality! It comes to Jareds voice and knows when Jared is close by and might feed him! He'll run back and forth and chase Jared from side to side. When I let the boys get him out to "play with him", he actually chases their fingers around too! I'm shocked! So I had to take a few pictures. Thought you might want to see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Birthday #22

I'm trying really really hard not to focus on the fact that my boy will spend his entire year of age 22 totally out of my sight and reach. I won't even know what a 22 year old Manti is like or how he hugs. Nope, not thinking about that at all. [Sniffing back up those tears.]

Since he's so far away and turning 22, I decided it was MY birthday to celebrate how I wanted to. So I did, and I started planning weeks ago. Thought I'd share my "story" with you.

I've never done a real traditional type of birthday thing with my kids. They don't get to pick what kind of cake they want, and they aren't ever sure if they'll get a cake or not! One year, Manti had a watermelon instead of a cake. We put candles in it and sang and all that...but it was a watermelon. One year I made him a fruit pizza....candles again. I did make him a cake once...and decorated it to look like a bloodshot eyeball. So truthfully, you just never know for sure.

How would I carry on with that tradition now?
He loves peach cobbler. He LOVES peach cobbler. My mother-in-law taught me how to make it in a simplistic manner, so that's what I wanted to send him. He eats so much mexican style food that something southern slid in there should gain his notice, right? I thought so too. That's what I wanted to give him....just two problems.... over 1000 miles and mission rules.

I have made a habit of getting to know his companions too. I figure if I can charm those boys, perhaps they'll be nicer to my boy and his life will be a little easier out there. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, I don't care,..I'm doing it anyway. So far, it's been successful, and I've come to really care about the companions I've gotten to know. This particular one is a great kid who LOVES to do birthdays "right" for his friends. Luckily, I also got to know his mother (we both subscribe to same email list for missionary moms) and she helped me. She talked to her son about making the cobbler for me. One hurdle to jump: transfers happened before the birthday! Scary for me because the companion was on deck to relocate! I prayed super hard and asked for him to stay through this one last transfer and then he could go if that's what the Lord wanted. I'm so glad that's what the Lord wanted!! So the companion stayed and I sent his mother my recipe. I explained it in detail how it should look and feel and come together. He was really nervous too! Last week, I put together a box for his birthday. It had his birthday presents in it (a little momento from his childhood from Tommy, a flash drive full of family pictures for his digital picture frame, and a new digital camera) plus a few snacks and the ingredients for the cobbler clearly marked for his companion. His old camera died on Saturday, the same day my box got there. I got an email about that,!

So Monday morning, the boys get up. Manti gets in the shower and his companion starts baking a cobbler SOUTHERN STYLE. Manti got out of the shower, got dressed, got ready to start his P-day and was called into the kitchen. He walked through the doorway and saw a banner saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Would you believe it,...he actually wondered whose birthday it was!?! The companion put 2 oven mitts on his hands and handed him the cobbler and said happy birthday to him. He said the cobbler smelled SO GOOD. The companion asked if it looked like mine and he laughed and said no, but it tasted good and they ate it for breakfast. (Of course it was different....elevation and humidity differences saw to that.)

Shortly after that, they go to the library to email their moms and we get to hear all about it. Thankfully his companion really DOES like me and he has taken care of me where pictures are concerned. He has taken lots of pictures of Manti for me and sent them to his mother who turns around and sends them to me along with journal entries her son sends her to give details that Manti seems quite deficient in.

So does this make me forget that I'm missing an entire year out of my child's life? Nope! But it does warm my heart to know that I was included in at least this much of it. And in Manti's email, he told ME happy birthday too,...because it's a day he shares with me.
Now can I have my tears back?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Barrel of Monkeys

Did you ever see a more HANDSOME barrel of monkeys?
I didn't think so :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Nobody makes you crazier, happier, sadder, smarter, stronger, or more challenged than family. For all the emotional ups and downs, we keep them around because without them, we can't experience joy.....and because of the lessons we learn from them, we wouldn't know what joy was.

This past weekend, we had a big family reunion. Most of our family was there with a few exceptions we really missed. A lot of fun was had, many smiles, some misunderstandings but even more growth and learning..... thought I'd share a few pictures from it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Want My Mama!

My mother raised 4 independent and capable children. None of us really NEED to call on our mother to take care of things for us. She did a great job with us and I owe her much thanks for that. But... I want my mama.

I've gotten almost everything done before the wedding. All the flowers are finished. All the ribbons are tied. The dress is nearly done. Tommy's pants need hemming and my dress needs some taking in. I need to bead one more thing for the veil and practice on her hair. I hope the mail carrier brings the moccasins in time. I hope I don't run out paycheck before I gas the car up, buy stuff for the punch, get the last few pieces of clothing she needs (slip, etc) and ties for the boys. I think I need some Kleenex too because I'm full of butterflies and tears.

Saturday night, Tommy got sick... all over the bathroom....projectile...for 2 solid hours.... lots of bleach... he's still in bed, not much help. I have to work Monday and Tuesday. Mesa and John have to go sign a lease, have to get their marriage license (no, they didn't procrastinate that,...Georgia has some craziness that made this be put off till the last minute), they have to get some electricity turned on in that house and start moving stuff over there....

This morning I got a bottle of Rescue Remedy and took a dose. I think I'm going to take another one. It's the only thing helping my nerves right now.

I want my mama :(

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flowers- CHECK

One by one, I'm ticking things off my list and am almost at the end. THANK GOODNESS! Yesterday morning, Mesa and I got up early and got to Hobby Lobby when they first opened so we wouldn't have a lot of other people in our way. We went up and down the flower aisles and picked flowers out one at a time till my hand was full. We got the handle piece and the lace "cone" the handle settles down inside of and some pretty silvery ribbon. All together,.... $70!! Her dress alterations don't cost that much! (at least so far they don't....knock on wood)
Today I worked on assembling her bridal bouquet. Want a peek?
I've also finished the corsages for the Moms and Grandmas. In this picture, you'll also see one boutonniere done. I haven't finished all of those yet. SORRY GUYS! So want to see those too?
I'm thinking I'll go back and add more babys breath to these.
I forgot to take pictures of the bridesmaids flowers, but they are done too. They get long stem white roses with ribbons. They are simple, yes.. and I'm not paying off any credit cards doing this. I've been lucky and smart in a lot of areas. Yes,...I am saying my prayers and giving thanks!
We're almost at the finish line!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bridal Shower

Mesa does not enjoy the spotlight, although she does enjoy individual attention. So that made her bridal shower quite tough on her nerves, but she was a good sport.

Her maid of honor planned games for us to play... one of which was to dress Mesa up in a toilet paper wedding dress. So out came the pack of toilet paper rolls and the younger girls gt busy dressing her up. They wrapped the paper around and around here. I pulled her hair up (it started off down) and pinned it up for her. And while I was there, I made her a veil and put it on her. The veil is one of her favorite parts of the wedding outfit, so I enjoyed doing it. She actually looked pretty wrapped in paper LOL! She won't let me put it on facebook,...but she said I could blog and put it here! She thinks nobody reads this ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cool & Cooler

I'm a cub scout. I'm proud of being a cub scout. I LOVE CUB SCOUTS! I wish I had been one as a kid and wish I could stay in them for as long as I want to!

So yesterday, cub scout leaders (as well as several other positions that interact with young boys in the church) attended a large area (multi-stake) training session called "Little Philmont". I got to go and I drug my whole family with me since Mesa is my assistant den leader and should have been there, and Tommy wasn't comfortable with me driving by myself to Sandy Springs for an all day thing. That meant I didn't have a babysitter and the boys went too. I made Morgan wear his uniform also :) Manti would have! This particular meeting was pretty cool because of who the speakers were.

Anyway, we started with a general session, that led to break-out sessions and we could choose 2 classes and then a lunch break and a general session to wrap things up. Well we arrive at 8am as we're supposed to. We got inside and learned that the first hour was a "meet and greet." I so hate those.... let me tell ya,... I HATE those! I can't even stand when we do things like that in classes at church! I seriously hate that. So we all just sat on our bench the entire hour, waiting for it to start. Just about 10 till 9, this man in a suit walks up to us. We had seen lots of men in suits....mostly stake presidents or young men presidents or bishops....people without a large reason for wearing a uniform. They all milled around and socialized and we just sat. This one man though walked down the aisle in our direction and glanced at our family filling up the bench. He did a double take and stopped. He held out his hand to shake hands with Tommy and said "this looks like a family of scouters. Nice to see it's important enough to make it a family affair." Tommy thanked him and introduced himself, then he introduced each of us one at a time. The man kept smiling and looking at us real close. Then he says "so this is your whole family? And you love scouting this much?" And I said "well its all but one of us. Our oldest son is an eagle scout, and he is currently serving a mission, so he's not here with us." The man's face lit up and he smiled bigger and asked questions like where was he serving and how long had he been out and was he loving it since it is dramatically different than Georgia. We answered and the man just smiled more and more....and never told us his name. Someone came up an interrupted him so they could have a minute of his time (you know how people with no manners do) so this man looks back at Tommy and I with this apologetic look on his face and it was striking how noticeable those thoughts were on his face. He stepped off with the other person and I looked at Tommy and said "who do you think he was?" Tommy said he didn't know, maybe the Young Men's General President......
And then the meeting started with our stake president introducing the key speakers, Elder Gay, the area seventy, and Brother Beck....the YM General President....the man who stopped to speak to our family.


Ok so that was an awesome experience, don't ya think? but I can top that still.

Today was treated as Fast Sunday because next week is General Conference. The service started and it came time for testimonies, so Brother Harcrow started the meeting with his and then he sat down. Nobody got up. It was SILENT (wish it was always that quiet!) in the chapel! The father of the family sitting behind me was trying to encourage his children to get up and share their testimonies. He kept saying "it's your turn!" to each child one at a time and none would go, they just laughed at him and said they didn't think so. My boys were being so reverent, I was impressed, and didn't think much more about it. The silence just kept going though! So I looked at Morgan and said "guess YOU could go up there." I was teasing a bit,... but he took me literally and said "what would I say?" About that time, a man got up and started sharing his testimony, so I told Morgan to listen to the things he said and see what his mind thought of. The man got into details about how he developed a testimony of this one aspect of the gospel through reading a particular book and he commented on the contents of the book. I saw on Morgan's face that he was totally overwhelmed and lost. So I leaned over and whispered to him that Brother Barron had told us he had a testimony that he wanted to share and he was describing HOW he came to get that testimony and was explaining what it meant to him. Morgan said "so what could I say?" I told him he could say anything he wanted as long as he was telling us about his beliefs and what his heart told him was important for others to hear him say. I told him to start by telling us he wanted to share these thoughts and then tell us things like he's grateful for his testimony and he could say he was grateful for Manti serving a mission and how much he loves his family...(you know the typical things kids will say in their testimonies). So Morgan got scared. He was physically shaking,... but he jumped up and headed to the stand. Someone else got there first, so he sat down and waited his turn on the stand. That person ended and Morgan popped up. He said he wanted to bare his testimony because he knew the church was true and was so thankful to have a brother serving a mission. He told everybody how much Manti had taught him before leaving and how kind and loving he had been with him. He told us he wanted to be like that one day. He said Manti's example was an important part of Morgan's testimony, then he ended and all but ran to the bathroom he had to go so bad. I had tears....I admit it!
So we sit for a bit and listen and Jared leans on me....not just to take a nap, but leaning HARD to get my attention. When I looked at him, he said "I'm scared to go up there." I told him he didn't have to, so why was he scared. He said he wanted to go up there and was scared because he didn't know what to say. I told him he could go if he wanted, but that he had to do it all by himself. I stood him up and turned him to face me so he could see how many people were behind us....lots! I asked if he thought he could talk in the microphone to all those people (he's never been willing to talk in teh primary programs). He said he could but what did I want him to say. I told him I don't tell kids what to say. If you can't do it by yourself, then you shouldn't go up there. I told him if he wants to, I would go up and sit till he's done. I told him he can say anything he wants that tells people about what he believes and what is important to him. I asked if he had a testimony about Jesus and about missionaries and if he was thankful that Heavenly Father put those important things in his life. He said YES and that he could do it, even by himself. So I got up with him and we walked to the stand. Someone beat us up there, so we sat on the bench behind the bishop. We waited and then it was Jared's turn. He got up and suddenly all these big men were pulling out the stool that only gets used for Primary programs and the podium was moving down. Jared grabbed the microphone and planted his lips right on it and started telling us he wanted to share his testimony, he knows the church is true, he loves his family and is glad Heavenly Father put us together,....he still knows the church is true,.... and ends in Jesus' name. He then bolted off the stand and out the door...he had to go potty too.

Well he was out of the room before I could stand up, so now I'm on the spot and have to speak too, so I got up and it was SUPER brief! I expressed appreciation for my children's teachers and examples who were a part of planting those seeds of testimony in them. I said I've always known of their role in my children's lives, and how they were a part of sending Manti on a mission and Mesa to the temple to marry a worthy young priesthood holder. I expressed my gratitude for being called to work with cub scouts that I could return some of those teachings to THEIR children and that was about it. I went and sat down. In just a few minutes, JOHN got up and went to the stand! Now I'm dumbfounded! John is a convert, recent one! He's never born his testimony before! He can talk your ears off too, so I was thinking "what on EARTH will he say?" but he did such a great job. He commented on it being nice that his future mother-in-law looked at him as a WORTHY young priesthood holder. He wrapped it up in about 2 minutes and was back in his seat.


Towards the end of the meeting, another young boy wanted to go follow the example of my boys and he shared a testimony too. After church, we're driving home and Morgan has heard umpteen comments and compliments on his bravery and good example and expressing his heartfelt feelings (and tears) for his older brother like that, so he was proud of himself too. We're driving and he says "I think we expired other primary kids too today!" I nearly fell apart laughing and asked him who did he kill? He didn't say anything....I asked if maybe he INspired the other kids....he turned red and was suddenly a little more humble :D

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wedding update

We're right at 1 month before the wedding. What's been done?
  • engagement pictures taken
  • invitations made
  • most invitations mailed (and we know more people than we have stamps for, so the bulletin board at church got an invitation too)
  • photographer scheduled
  • dress purchased
  • cake planned for
  • bubbles purchased (and basket for them to go in)
  • veil purchased
  • vases/picture frames (with pictures already inserted)/pottery purchased
  • bridal shower planned
  • registered at Walmart and Target
  • Jared's suit purchased
  • ribbon purchased
  • wedding band purchased
  • mints (handled by Kitty)
  • tablecloths (handled by Mama)
  • some kind of candies (handled by Cindy- John's stepmom)
  • blank thank you notes on hand

What's left to do:

  • alter dress to be temple appropriate
  • dry clean the dress?
  • decide on jewelry
  • get suit for Morgan and one for Tommy
  • figure out flowers for bridesmaids/mothers/grandmothers DONE
  • get marriage license
  • get temple clothes (my dress from my sealing may work, cross fingers!) Dress DONE, portions of needs DONE (thanks Mom!)
  • bridal bouquet doing this 3/28
  • figure out punch/nuts/dishes/plates/napkins/cups paper stuff (THANKS MOM) punch bowls & ladles (THANKS MOM) punch I can handle, nuts (THANKS SIS. G!)
  • beaded piece for the veil
  • get ribbons on bubbles doing this 3/28
  • put together flower arrangements (after purchasing some more) Need extra ribbon, but came up with a great alternative....growing in my own yard!!!

Ok, so what am I forgetting?

Not all of those things are too difficult,...but some of them worry me to pieces. Feel free to pray for me....or come visit and help with some of it :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random Spillage

My feelings are quite hurt today and since I don't see much improvement for another month and half at least, I figure I'm on my own to find better things to think about---or let wounds fester. I hate festering wounds, so enjoy my random thoughts in an effort to cheer myself. Perhaps you'll also find something cheerful to think about in the process.
This are Christmas cards the kids made for Manti and his companion. They are ornaments cut from wrapping paper and glued to cardstock. We used ribbons to help decorate them. The kids wrote letters inside each card. Both Manti and his companion seemed to like them and they sent letters and gifts back home for them.
These are "woggles" I made for my cub scouts. They were supposed to be learning to tie a few basic knots and some of them got so frustrated with it that I thought some cordage would be thrown and tears would fall. Luckily it didn't go THAT far, but I did feel bad for them because I've been frustrated before too. So at their next pack meeting, I had one of these for each boy. For them, it wasn't significant, but for me it was HUGE because this is not an easy knot to learn how to tie, and I did it. It took me a good little while, but I did it, and I did it 6 times! A few other adults were impressed that I figured out how to do it, and that made me feel good,... but the bigger thing for me was experiencing their frustration as I tried to learn a knot by following only drawings.
This is a poster that was in the foyer at church. I didn't make the poster, but I did plan the Preparedness Workshop with the help of one of my committee members (name witheld since I don't have her permission to put it here). I had low expectations for this event for several reasons: 1- it was right after a weekend of storms and our men were all asked to go help with clean-up. 2- it was on a weekend...people are oftentimes selfish with their weekends (myself included). 3- It's not a popular topic oftentimes. Well, we asked most of the auxiliaries leadership to take a subject we gave them and to make something of it. I got very little info back that they were working on it, (and that makes for reason #4) but they actually pulled it off quite nicely. One person said to me "if we teach even one person, we've done a good job." He was right,...and shouldn't I look at it as....every SINGLE person is worth the effort? I hope I'm worth that kind of effort to SOMEBODY, so they should be also! I was looking at it that Mesa and John might be "the one" so I just planned on them being the only one to come,... and was pleasantly surprised to see more than that.
We had our cub scout Blue and Gold banquet pack meeting recently. Our theme was Survivor, the tv show. In the show, the contestants work in teams to start with, so each family was a team and we got strips of cloth to wear to identify us as teams. We made family flags too. Then we played games. One game was to build a tower using a small amount of marshmallows and straws and get it to stand on its own 24 inches tall. When we succeeded, we earned our bowls. Then we chose a family member to stand on a can of pineapples and balance with one foot for a full minute. Jared won this one for us, earning us some cups. Then the last game was what you see Morgan finishing. We chose a family member (funny, they were all boys) to fish gummy worms out of a plate of chocolate pudding. When you found them all, you earned your family forks...and then you could eat dinner. It was a fun night and as you can see, Morgan was great at his part in the games.

I think this is funny. We were watching tv the other night and I kept noticing a splotch on the screen. I got up and went to look- it was a gigantic ant! Seriously, that thing was huge! When I realized that, it was sitting on someone's face,... and more faces kept getting graced by that bug. I finally took a bunch of pictures of him. The ant was watching TV with us LOL! I circled him to make sure you could see him too.
This is me. See my medal? I have achieved and received the LDS religious award for scouting's adult leaders called On My Honor. It is an award that requires 3 years of service and an interview with the bishop to obtain,...and I did it! I am very proud of this!

Ok, I'm out of ideas and still feel like saying things I shouldn't if I want to keep the peace, so I think I'll go cook supper now. Thanks for reminiscing through my recent history with me. I guess perhaps I AM a bit cheered, so maybe this was somewhat successful after all.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Teaching with M*A*S*H

I'm the mother of a bride-to-be... that alone can be "nuff said," but my story continues.

My daughter is doing all she knows to do to be worthy of the kind of marriage she wants. Anytime you make good choices and "Choose the Right," you also have an adversary to be mindful of. Mesa knows this, and this is the biggest choice she's ever made, so she is fully expecting the worst possible struggles to deal with. A few times now, she's been quite emotional and told us about having to face such demons and conquer them just to have something simple like a night out to dinner with her fiance. I started noticing a pattern develop and wasn't sure what was the best way to teach at first, I said nothing.

It seems like when Divine Intervention steps in with me, it happens in the shower, although it has happened in a few other places too. I guess my Heavenly Father knows me well enough to know when I'm in the shower, I'm focused and He can slip in and talk to me in undeniable ways. He's so smart.

Thursday morning, I had gotten into the shower and had nothing on my mind except getting clean and getting ready for the company that would soon be at our house to swap cars out and get some things taken care of. That's a far cry from thinking about tv shows or my daughter, right? Well I thought so too,.... but in the midst of the water spraying on me, I was able to recall with a lot of detail a tv show I hadn't seen in YEARS. It's an episode of M*A*S*H. Do you know the show? There 2 characters in this show, Hawkeye and Honeycutt, who are best friends. These two guys start the show with Hawkeye playing a prank on Honeycutt. Honeycutt doesn't appreciate this prank at all and is rather perturbed. He tells the hysterically laughing Hawkeye that he WILL get even, and he'll do it when Hawkeye least suspects it. Hawkeye thinks he has this covered...he'll just always expect it, then he can't be surprised! Sounds like a plan, right? So he spends his day watching out for Honeycutt behind every door and every noise. He gets more and more jumpy as the day grows and ultimately, Hawkeye is unable to sleep, unable to eat, unable to walk past a leaf blowing in wind for suspecting Honeycutt is about to get him. Things DO happen to him too... he does trip over something,.. his lunch isn't cooked like he wants,... little things that always happen in life. Hawkeye drives himself crazy just waiting for his friend to prank him, and at the end of the show, he tells Honeycutt to just get it over with and do something! Honeycutt very nonchalantly tells him he doesn't have to,... he got himself. Hawkeye just stares in disbelief.....Honeycutt got him, but he did all the work.

It's a tv show, but it is REAL in ways I hadn't thought of before.
Satan is doing the same thing. Sometimes, he lets us get ourselves. Why should HE do the work we're willing to do for him? He doesn't care if we realize we're doing it or not,...just so long as it gets done. And perhaps we'll even think up things that haven't occurred to him to dream up FOR us to deal with. I'm sure he appreciates that.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize the things that happen in our lives as just a part of life,... something that happens solely because it is a reaction to an action. It isn't a personal thing, it's just a thing. Sometimes those happen JUST COINCIDE with our feelings, and its easy to assume it's all happening to us because demons are out to get us.

I think it's important to see the hand of God in everything around us. He's not making things happen to us, but He is allowing us to choose our perspective with it. Sometimes a flat tire is just a flat tire. Sometimes a cold wind is just a cold wind. Sometimes it might be more, but is it "more" as often as we think it is? or are we just pranking ourselves?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Learned Something New

I've taught other people for about 10 years (no wait, it's more!) how to create graphics on their computers for internet use. I've taught all sorts of things even, like making simple webpages, decorating up blogs, making printable stuff (business cards, greeting cards, invitations, etc).... never have I been the student though! I just go off and figure it out for myself and DO IT. Then I explain how I do it for others, and apparently I've got a knack for saying in kindergarten language so ANYBODY can understand it. I've heard of people throwing out user manuals because I made more sense than those manuals, ... and was more entertaining in the process. That does my ego go, but it still means I'm not learning any faster than my playtime allows. [You know what playtime is, right? That thing we had 10 years (no wait, it's more) ago!]

Recently I opted to try out a class. It was in my comfort zone in some ways and not in others. The program is called MyPaint and it is intended to be one you do all the drawing yourself. Templates don't work so well in this program, and all the painting and shading and such is on you too. You get brushes to get different paint styles to work with, but the creativity is all on you. I had huge doubts about myself because I don't draw that well..... but.... take a look at this background on my blog (the daffodils). I drew that :) Yep,.. I literally painted this entire thing with my mouse and my laptop trackpad! So I had to sign it at the bottom too :D

I won't torment you with it forever.... I know I signed it at the bottom and it probably isn't so easy to read on it, but how else could I show off? I'll draw something else sooner or later to replace it with, so enjoy the daffodils!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cookers Licenses

A few days ago, I was at work, Tommy had to run a couple errands, and Mesa was home with the boys. The boys were having one of those kinds of days,....the kind where you are surprised that either one survives long enough to get a bath that night! Mesa didn't know what to do, and out of frustration, she tries a separation method. She took the underdog of that particular fight (Jared) and had him come to the kitchen to help her cook supper. Both of my little boys like to cook, so Jared lit up and was thrilled to get to help.
Of course, that means Morgan got jealous and wanted to participate. Mesa was trying to keep the boys separated, so she told Morgan he couldn't help this time because he didn't have a "cookers license." (Imagine the look on Jared's face as he smirks at morgan for not having such a coveted item.) Morgan, of course, WAS devastated to learn he didn't have such a thing and had to sit out this time. When I cam home from work, I got to hear all the cranky details from all sides. I had hoped it was over now that parents were home,..... was not......

I've heard bickering for the past few days about "cookers licenses" and who deserves one and who doesn't. Yesterday, poor Morgan was still licking his wounds over the lack of a license and he asked me if he could take his cookers test to see if he was ready for a license. It was Sunday night, all meals were done, ..... I let him cook some hard boiled eggs. He did it by himself with me talking him through it from the sofa. He did just fine and we enjoyed them as a snack. Morgan gleamed with pride as only Morgan can do.

But now Jared hasn't gotten to prove HIMSELF yet, and he is jealous. *sigh* I can never win.
This morning I let Jared help me cook up some breakfast. He cooked the grits (something he isn't a fan of) and we served them up at the table. Jared got his bowl and added butter, salt and pepper. He ate it up as if it were chocolate, and asked for another helping! I was truly surprised by that! After we finished clearing the table, here comes that little smirky face saying "did I pass?"

These two boys tried their best to give me a deadline when I should have their licenses ready for them. I guess in some way it worked, because I've spent a couple hours tonight literally DRAWING cookers licenses for my boys. These aren't clipart, they are actual drawings I did using Paint Shop Pro. I'm pretty pleased with how they look,...and if you notice, Morgan's has brown hair and Jared's has blond hair. I think the boys will really like these when I print them out and present them tomorrow :) Now I'm wishing I could laminate them too! Maybe I'll do just that!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Christmas Elf

December was a hard month. I spent it sick. At first, I wasn't upset about that because I've not been sick since last year. About the middle of the month, my laptop crashed. Now I'm feeling sick. Actually, I managed to google up a virus in my avid search for clip-art. It was quite the nasty bug apparently, that came with friends. All those friends began eating files and disabling functions. I began to panic and called my brother in law (who I am SO thankful for!) and told him all about it. He says just bring it and he'll see what he can do. He was so calm. I want some of what HE takes!

By the time we got to Tennessee, the stress of life had managed to intertwine itself very neatly into my immune system and leave me quite defenseless. Daddy has a new dog, and evidently allergies can progressively get worse with repeated exposures,.... so I became instantly ill and stayed that way till we left.

On Saturday, we stayed with Catherine for a little longer than everybody else. I always love that time when its just us. We have such a different friendship as adults than we ever dreamed of as kids. Dave spent that whole day cleaning off viruses from my poor laptop. Late that night, he tells me it's clean, but it's a little handicapped. He says he'll reformat it and see if that helps, but chances are that its time to get a new laptop. So we leave it with him overnight to let him finish his magic and we head back to Mama's house for the night. The next day, we planned on going home because I was SO sick. I went to get my laptop from Dave, and find out just how bad it really is. I get back to Mama's and find Tommy's legs so badly swollen I figure it's best to stay there one more day to get his legs eased up and more rest in me. So I turn on my laptop to work on the Christmas gift I couldn't give yet,.... and find ALL my pictures from 2002 through 2011 are GONE. Now I'm devastated....and I started to cry... cried my eyes out. I just couldn't shake it either. If someone mentioned it, the tears came back. It was almost my last straw and I was feeling like I would need some medical intervention because I was headed to a bad emotional place. It occurred to me that this was Sunday and Manti's p-day is Monday. That meant I would be on the road and miss the chance to email back and forth with him. BUT,....I could send him an email and he could respond, and that would be SOME form of contact I could live with.

I went upstairs, got on Mama's computer and started an email. I told Manti all about my feelings. I told him how devastated I was and how much I hated life making me feel this way,... all the things you are NOT supposed to tell your missionary. Then I said to him that I knew all this was just bad feelings and that I had faith in him to teach me something better. I asked him to please tell me the good things about his mission, so that his happiness could be mine too. I asked him to tell me what was in the scriptures that build my strength and tolerance back up. I told him I knew I would be ok, but hearing that HE is ok and more than ok would be just the medicine to help. And i sent it.

The next day I got an email. It had pictures in it, and it had scriptures in it (telling me there must needs be opposition in all things) and it had comforting words just for me. He eased my feelings with his words and pictures. It was the birthday present I had needed. Only it didn't come from Santa,.... it came from the Christmas Elf....