Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Winter Life


Puppy still has to go out...

Something we got to experience was winter with a puppy.  Everytime he had to go outside we got to venture into the tundra with him because we don't have a fenced in yard.  We kept Steve's thick down coat by the back door and his boots because everyone could slip into those and brave the cold with the curious puppy.

Some walks with Pippin were warmer than others, and we tried to be sure he went for a walk in the late afternoon, when things were a tad warmer.

Sewer problems...

Yes, we had our sewer pump give up the ghost.  We had to contact the company out in Salt Lake and send a technician to replace it.  It costed a pretty penny, but we won't focus on that.  It's just so nice to have working plumbing!  
The next morning after our pump died, the house started to smell like sewage.  We opted to go elsewhere to eat.  First, though, we all had to use the bathroom, so we drove to the hotel down the street where my mom works and used the restroom.  When we got there, we could smell the most delightful continental breakfast.  Mom asked if we could pay to eat there, and her boss let us go ahead and just eat for free.  God bless them and that hotel!  We seriously wouldn't have had a better breakfast buffet than what they served there.

Amara loves the waffles

There were so many delicious options!

Lily also loved the waffles!
Amara made us a reminder sign on the bathroom door so that no one accidently flushed!

Stake Relief Society Fun...

Know what's awesome about being in the Stake Relief Society?  You get to go to activities with the entire stake and enjoy getting to know the sisters!  We were asked to speak at the Relief Society birthday parties in the Uinta River ward and in the Tridell ward.
Uinta River ward's theme was Oh how you are "Souper Kneaded!"  We gave talks centered on that theme and then we had a delicious soup dinner with home made cinnamon rolls to take home!

Below is my talk for your reading enjoyment.  I'm not sure why it's formatted with a center alignment, which is distracting to me, but oh well! 

Aloha Sisters! 

Listen to these pleading exclamations from our prophet President Russell M Nelson. My dear sisters we need you!  We need your strength, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices!

No one can do what a righteous woman can do!

Women shape the future!  

Jeffrey R Holland stated, “May we labor side-by-side with the Lord of the Vineyard giving a helping hand with his staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees.”

Our prophets understand that there is a labor to be performed and they are delivering the message that the Lord really needs us!

Do you believe that? Do you believe that the Lord can really use you? Do you believe you are good enough and wanted? Do you believe that the God of heaven and earth really wants your imperfect efforts and limited abilities? I find it interesting to note that God who can do everything and anything chooses to use us to accomplish his work. Yet, as we have observed in nature, one tiny effort done by many accomplishes amazing results. And as we have observed through accounts in the scriptures, and possibly our own lives, imperfect people working in tandem with God accomplishes miraculous things!

One way the Lord "kneads" us is in ministering. When you’re making bread do you know what kneading is and why we do it? Kneading is when you work the dough usually by hand for the purpose of developing and combining the proteins which adds strength to the final product. The kneading process warms and strengthens these protein strands eventually creating a springy and elastic dough. If it is not kneaded enough, it will not be able to hold the tiny pockets of air and will collapse. In hand kneading, the dough is placed on a prepared surface, pressed and stretched and turned repeatedly until the dough is elastic and smooth. You know you have kneaded enough when you can press your thumb into it and the dough bounces back.

I like the imagery of this. Kneading is a work worth undertaking to achieve a dough that is strong enough that it won’t collapse. Can you see how we are like dough and how the Lord takes the time to work us to develop us and give us strength? Can you see how when the Lord works us in ministering that we are both warmed and stretched by his hands? As we are placed in a prepared assignment, the working begins and it can press your time, stretch you out of your comfort zone, and turn you about repeatedly, yet we all desire the strength it will give us. 

Many of you are going through hard things in your lives. Perhaps you lack the feeling of security, perhaps you’re adjusting to the loss of a loved one, perhaps you feel your life is out of balance and you have great life decisions to make, perhaps you’re raising children and trying to establish good habits, perhaps you have health challenges, perhaps you’re feeling inadequate in your calling, or perhaps you have people who are dear to you who have turned away from God.  My dear sisters you need the Lord! You need his strength, his conviction, his ability to lead, his wisdom, and his voice. No one can do what the Savior can do!  Women may be the ones who shape the future, yet the future depends on if we women allow the Savior to shape us!

Sisters, let’s act! Let’s work with the Lord! Let’s get in there in his vineyard with him and begin nourishing in any way we can. This does not mean to begin adding countless items onto your to do lists! It means doing as sister Joy D Jones said and “seeing each task that you all are already doing as a privilege and opportunity to serve the Lord whether you are in the midst of deadlines, duties, or dirty diapers.”

Take what you’re doing and turn it into a way to glorify God. It is this small change in attitude that will nourish all those around you.  It is the essence of living a ministering lifestyle. 

Sister Michelle Craig said that resolving to follow the Spirit’s promptings changes the way I think about “my time“ and I see people not as interruptions but as the purpose of my life. 

Our stake president has also offered a similar sentiment emphasizing that we need to remember to place our priority on people before our projects.

In Galatians chapter 5 verse nine we read that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” With that in mind, may our ministering alongside the Lord allow us to recognize our growth within ourselves, like leaven, and spread to all those around us. May it afford us the strength that we all so desire. May we offer ourselves to be kneaded or “worked” in this grand effort that the Lord needs us for.

Me and my 2nd counselor, Carol.

Tridell ward focused on planting the words of the prophet deep in your heart.  They had us come and bear our testimonies concerning the restoration.  We got some flower seed packets and had a delicious dinner and desserts.  I loved getting to know everyone.

I brought my mom with me!  She loves these activities as much as I do.
Yummy brisket, sweet potato casserole, veggies, and a roll.

Judging the 5th Grade Science Fair...

I had the chance to judge the science fair at Steve's school again.  I love seeing all the projects and listening to the children describe what they did.

Here's what happens when you microwave different candy.

Here's some bacteria that is around your house

Steve's classroom door was decorated for Dr. Seuss Day.  He and his students drew pictures and came up with a fun poem.  They won the school contest.

Oh! The BEAUTY of a winter morning!

The field in front of my house looked so mystical this morning.

Family Fun...

We went to see the movie Sonic, which was fun.  Then we went to dinner at Denny's.

The zesty nachos are quite yummy at Denny's.

Lily's burger was big with bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns piled on.

Our favorite dessert, Chocolate Lava Cake!

One of our family home evening lessons focused on gratitude and we each made gratitude trees.



Lily taking Amara's picture in our backyard

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St. Patty's Celebration!

St. Patrick's Day was great!  We did a little study-up on St. Patrick & leprechauns & Irish history via YouTube.  Then we wrote stories/poetry about leprechauns. I will share these pieces with you here, however, please keep in mind that this was a creative exercise and not a worked over piece that any of us were polishing up for publication. :)

Lily's Poem: 

The Leprechaun

March 17, 2020 (for school)


This short fellow is usually found

Dwelling in a tree, or a cave, or the ground

Captured, he’ll grant you wishes, three

Escaped, he’ll cause mischief with glee

With small, nimble hands he skillfully glues

And hammers, and nails, and makes buckled shoes

Quickfooted and fast, he dances all night

To wild woodland tunes played by fairies and sprites

Amara's Story

 Once upon a time, at the base of a rainbow, stood a little hut. And in this hut, lived a greedy, grumpy, leprechaun. He sat in his hut, counting gold, and making shoes. He hardly ever left his small home, not because he liked his home, but because he couldn’t bear the thought of leaving his gold. He only went out when he was on the verge of starving, having no food. He would rush away from his little hut, hurriedly pick all the berries, mushrooms, and anything he could find that was edible, and rush back home, eager to look at his gold once more. Now, this leprechaun didn’t realize it, but he was lonely. Because he was so grumpy, he didn’t have any friends! Nobody wanted to be friends with such a greedy person. This leprechaun was named Rusty. And now, he is in his little hut, stacking gold coins. “Nine hundred and ninety-nine, one thousand!” Rusty sat back on his stool, letting a wide grin spread across his face. He was contemplating how long it would take him to make another pair of shoes, when a small leprechaun with ragged clothes knocked on his door. Rusty’s grin vanished, and he opened the door with an irate look on his face. The small leprechaun cowered, and squeaked “please can I borrow some sugar?” Rusty furrowed his eyebrows even deeper. “I don’t care. Just leave me alone.” He slammed the door, mumbling about how annoying some people are. When he sat back down, with his tools, he heard yet another knock! He threw his tools on the table, and stormed up to the door. He flung it open and shouted “I DON'T EVEN HAVE SUGAR!!” when he looked down, he found a little dog. He glared at it. “Well you’re not who I was expecting.” And he slammed the door. A few days later, the dog returned, this time, he slipped through the door before Rusty could slam it. He snapped up some berries left on the table. Rusty lifted a finger, and was about to shout at the dog, when it left. Rusty clenched his fists, and went back to work. The dog kept returning, always entering, eating a few berries, and leaving. Eventually Rusty got into the habit of wearily opening his door at 3:00 pm, letting the dog eat. On the 17th of March, however, the dog came in, ate a berry, and curled up by the fire. Rusty thought about kicking the dog out, but just let him sleep. Rusty began to care for the dog, taking him on walks, and feeding him. He named the dog shamrock, and Shamrock helped Rusty become less greedy, and taught him the importance of friendship. Rusty no longer sat in his hut all day, counting gold. Instead he went outside, and walked shamrock, or played ball with him. Rusty began talking to his neighbors, even becoming close friends with a few. And every time saint patricks day rolls around, Rusty and Shamrock celebrate the day they met.


Lani's Story

Once upon a time, in a very green place lived a happy family of leprechauns. This family was very good at dancing, shoe making, and music playing. Each night by the fire they would pick up their whistles and fiddles, their drums and their spoons, and make merry music to move to. They'd take turns trading off dancers and musicians. It's a good thing they used their days in making shoes because what all that dancing did to their boots and buckles!

One day grandfather noticed they were in need of shoe nails, so he had to venture into the human market to get more.  The leprechaun children and grandchildren helped Grandpa get ready. He would need to take off his orange suit and orange coat, the one with seven rows of 7 buttons, and disguise himself. They wouldn't want a human recognizing Grandpa as a leprechaun and kidnapping him because they wanted to Rob his family of their gold.

Soon enough Grandpa was ready. He had on a tall black hat and a suit of brown. Under his coat the grandkids had stuffed loads of rags to create a hump near the top of his back. This would make him look old and slouched indeed! You see Grandpa was only 3 ft tall, as most leprechauns are, and though he was spry and healthy, he would pretend to be a very old human.  In his hands he carried a thick walking stick, as a part of his disguise.  His youngest son, Tom, had the bright idea to put a pebble in his shoe to slow him down and create a bit of a limp. Grandpa liked this idea, but decided to hold the pebble until he was ready to limp around.

His purse carried only one gold coin, all he needed to buy plenty of shoe nails. And off he went.

"Bye!" His family waved him off. 

"Hey Grandpa," called Tom, "watch your step!” and he laughed wholeheartedly until he was rolling on the ground in laughter

"Thanks. Will do, Tom!” Grandpa called back over his shoulder.

He walked quickly following the path to town. Suddenly in his path lay a curious fishing line. He almost didn't see it but the sun had cast a perfect day upon in at just the right moment. 

"What's this?” Grandpa examined the line closer. It was taut. He pinged it with his walking stick and with a snapping rustle a basket of leaves fell upon his head. 

Startled, Grandpa rushed away from the leaf pile, but in his frenzy he tripped over what was another fishing line. He threw his stick and caught himself just as a basket of feathers dumped a flurry of floating snow upon him and the ground all around.

"Mischief!” Grandpa grumbled. Then he remembered the words of his son, Tom. He decided the shoe nails could wait and he tore down the path back to home. He was so annoyed. He couldn't wait to teach his son a lesson! 

He flung the door to Tom's house open wide and with a boom came a bucket of honey right on Grandpa's head dripping gold from his hair to his toes! 

Tom laughed wholeheartedly, this time falling to the ground in mirth. 

”Happy April Fool's Day!” Tom choked out between his gasps of laughter.

"You're the fool" his father yelled as he feel upon Tom smothering him in sticky golden honey. 

Tom called for his dad to stop, but he was just getting started. He rubbed honey through his hair, smeared it across his face and rolled all over him until his clothes and shoes we're plastered.

As the sweet revenge faded, the two of them were panting, neither smiling, and both upset.

"Look at my new shoes! I can't dance in these." Tom complained. 

"What were you thinking, Tom? Such dasteredly tricks! It's September. April isn't for months!  Are you insane?" his father queried.

Just then Tom pulled out a book from his pocket he had been reading entitled, 'April Fool's Fun.' 

"It sounded funny when I read it." Tom admitted. "But I guess it wasn't as funny as I thought. Now I can't dance until I get new shoes. I suppose I deserve it. I feel bad. Sorry Dad."

Understanding his sons sincerity, Grandpa leprechaun replied, "Apology accepted, son. Now, let's get down to the river and get cleaned up. Oh! And let's take that book with us and start a fire with it."

Dinner and Decorations

Later, we made an Irish dinner. The girls made Irish Soda Bread & I made Colcannon- a dish of mashed potatoes w/ cooked cabbage & onions stirred in & a pool of butter in the center.  I left the bacon on the side for Steve instead of stirring it in.

Irish Soda Bread



Carrot Coins

Amara made darling place settings for everyone, decorated the center of the table 2/ a construction paper cauldron she had made and filled it with jellybeans she received from her Young Women's leader.  She also made fortunes for us, when we were done eating.  So cute and creative!