Showing posts from March, 2015

Easter Week Celebrations

I was wondering whether we should focus on Easter this week, as it is Holy Week.  Or maybe preparing for General Conference, since we get to listen to that this weekend.  Or maybe just all the wonderful things I heard about the family at last weekend's Women's Conference.  So many choices!

I decided to treasure Women's Conference in my heart, listen to past Conference messages for morning scripture study, and do Holy Week as outlined by the beautiful singing group Mercy River, here.  IT's a great way to remember the last week of Christ's life with activities that are fun for children.

They celebrate Palm Sunday, Mad Monday (turning over the tables in the temple), Teaching Tuesday (going over some of the parables taught), Spy Wednesday (Judas conspiring), Passover, Good Friday, Spirit World Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

We'll be following the seder ideas we found last year at PowerofMoms for Passover.

So far, the kids have really enjoyed it, and it has been a goo…

Mission Monday

This week marks that halfway mark for Alec's mission.  That seems really strange.  In some ways it seems like he just left.  But more often, it does seem distant - probably because we moved and I just can't see him "sitting over there like he used to."  I do miss him, and I hope the next year goes just as fast as the last one has!

From South Africa:

Well, this is it, hump week for the mission. It is so wierd to think that this week marks the one year mark. It has been a good year so far and is looking like it is going to be a good year coming up.

...we have a ward! Not a branch, and it was so cool to be in a ward again. I almost forgot what being in a ward was like. It is going to be way different when I get home back (home) and have like 200-300 people in one ward, so awesome to think about. The work is definantly moving along here and it is just getting started. I love being a missionary! I wouldn't change/trade it for the world.

From Madagascar:
This week has …

A Stitch in Time

A long time ago, there was a lovely young woman who was engaged to be married.  She was bright and talented, often entertaining her friends and family with performances on the piano or organ.  She excelled at school and earned high honors for her time there.  She dressed nicely and was quite pretty.  Her intended, though not well known to her family, was said to be fun and charming.  She was about as in love as any woman could be, and happily spent her time planning for their upcoming married life.  
Her trousseau became well-stocked as she purchased a set of white china and kitchen sundries for her new home.  Her mother busily crocheted colorful edgings on white cotton pillowcases.  A favorite sister-in-law, married to her eldest brother, began cutting fabric to construct a quilt for the new couple.

She took dozens of fabrics in muted pastels and deeper reds and blacks and began cutting them into small pieces.  Each scrap had to have an exact shape to fit into the particular pattern…


The fruit trees here are overgrown.  I remember when they were planted, even though I was only four years old.  They were supposed to be semi-dwarf trees, and stay small enough that the fruit would be easily picked.  They were placed in a line across the backyard, like ducks queuing up to get into the ark.  2 apple, 2 peach, 2 plum, 2 apricot, and 2 pear trees, all sunk into the ground by my gardening grandfather, as a gift to his daughter at the purchase of her first house.
We watched those trees grow along with us, always wanting them to be bigger so we could climb them.  And then they started producing fruit and we spent many hours picking and cleaning and cutting and cooking the bounty into jewel-toned jam.
Every spring there was a (mostly) friendly tug-of-war between my father and mother about who would prune the trees.  I don't think either of them really wanted to do it, so they each wanted the other to take care of the job, but they each thought the other would do it wron…

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can

This boy is on the track team this year.  And last year, although I didn't post any pictures of that.  In fact, our family has contributed to the track team for several years now: Ben participated all through junior high and high school, as has Chris.  They are all fast runners.  
They get their speed and strength from their father, who likewise loved to run.  He never was on a running team, but he enjoyed it.  In fact, when he felt a cold coming on, he would buy a case of oranges, eat as many as he could handle (which was a lot), and run until he couldn't run any more.  He was convinced that the combination of the two explained why he never fell very ill, and his mild symptoms didn't last more than a day or two.

Me, I wear the shirt that says, "If I'm running, you should be too because something is chasing me."  I don't enjoy running.  At all.  If you do, kudos to you.  I'll sit and watch you and cheer.

Ben and Chris are mid-distance runners and ex…

Happy Birthday, Opa

I made a German chocolate cake for this wonderful man for his birthday.  I'm so glad we get to see so much of him!

Mission Monday

We've been following the aftermath of the hurricane in Vanuatu in the news lately, because Ben's mission companion is from there.  It looks like the whole country is nearly leveled.  Ben told us that his companion's home island "was hit the worst, and he still hasn't been able to get through to find out if his family is ok yet... We're all praying for him. He's super hopeful about it. He's actually beaming and laughing ALL the time. He's a huge stud."

Wow.  How would it be to have such frightening news about your home and family, and still manage to be upbeat and hopeful?  I regularly lose hope over the smallest of things.  I think I need to be more grateful for what I have.  And even when things don't go my way, I'm going to try harder to be upbeat anyway.  What a great lesson.

From South Africa:

Well, this has been an interesting week. That and a crazy one at that too. Transfer week was this week, and I had to move all the way across…

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

I need to call my brother.  He has plans to take my dad for the weekend, and we are connecting to figure out how to make the transfer.  I like talking to my brother.  He's a good guy.  All my brothers are awesome - I'm so blessed.

But my phone won't call him.  I've called him before with no problem, but when I try to call him now. an automated voice says that calling mobile numbers is barred.  Barred!  What a great word!  I'll have to use that on my children.

I'm sorry, but due to your recent report card, playing computer games is barred.
I'm sorry, but the state of your bedroom floor means that playing with your friends today is barred.
I'm sorry, but potty language at the dinner table is barred.
I'm sorry, but anyone speaking to me right now is barred.

I can call my husband on his cell phone, and I can make other calls, so it's just his phone that is not working for me.  Barred.  I'm on the phone with the customer service department (and have …

Happy Birthday, Opa!

It's birthday week.  Again.  Gotta love this sugar high.

And it's my dad's birthday.  What a wonderful man he is.  I love being able to see him on a regular basis.

We all went out to dinner to celebrate - me and my brothers and our respective spouses.  Spices?  These are good, good people.  Having these people as family - forever! - is one of my biggest blessings.  And that handsome guy on the right side - he started all this.  It's all his fault.

Love you, Dad!

Happy Birthday, David!

We've had a bundle of birthdays in the past while. Since I have not yet died due to cake overdose (but  been close, a few days), I will share them here.

David just turned 14. Fourteen!  He usually requests corned beef because it is so plentiful this time of year, but this time he switched it up. His request for birthday dinner was alfredo pasta... with Spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spammity spam!  He got his wish, and I didn't even have to go grocery shopping, thanks to one lonely tin of the gelatinous goop I found hiding in the pantry. The enormous bowl of pasta turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  They ate it up... literally. The secret ingredient is a dash of nutmeg, if you must know. It's not quite alfredo sauce without it.
I made a party cake with an old cake mix I found in my mom's food storage. It looked like a fun one - white cake with colorful sprinkles. Just for fun, I baked it in a big metal bowl instead of a flat pan. But when I tried to tip t…

Mission Monday

It's transfer week!  I had a feeling that we would be seeing the last of Port Alfred in South Africa, and I was right!  As I was posting their letters on the blogs, I was amazed to see that they have been out for 30 weeks and 50 weeks!  Wow.

From South Africa:

For the other news, I hate transfers. Having to know that you are not going to see people again sucks. I got the news on Saturday that I am being moved to Paarl. It is about 45 min east of Cape Town, so that is where I get to go.

And I have to say thank you for all the birthday wishes. Elder Weber and I had an awesome birthday week. Mine was on Tuesday, his was on Friday. So much fun! I'm going to miss Port Alfred, but a new adventure awaits me.

From Madagascar:

No big email this week. There's not enough time.

First things first: Happy birthday Opa! Have the most fantastic day! I'm always thinking of you over here!

Malagasy Morsel is tara. It means late and it's what I am right now, so I'll write you all…

Pi Day

Yup, we're a bunch of nerds around here. We have to celebrate Pi Day 3.14.15 because we only get to do it once in a hundred years. So at 9:20 - ish in the morning (3.141592...whatever), we ate breakfast pie. How lucky we are to have a guy who will get up early and make good stuff like this!  Thanks, Trent.
Of course, we did round out the day with apple pie (my dad's favorite) and banana cream pie (Trent's favorite) and coconut cream pie (my best!)
Happy pie eating!

Polka Dot Dresses

We've been getting American Girl doll catalogs in the mail.  Angel has fallen in love with the dolls and their colorful clothes.  She is especially smitten with the idea of having a matching dress with her dolly.  She had been asking for a doll with blond hair for a while, so when I saw this one at Costco for a-whole-bunch-cheaper, I snapped it up.  For Christmas, I made them matching nightgowns.  The Angel was thrilled.
Recently, I was innocently walking through a store (and it wasn't even a fabric store!) when this pink polka dot material called to me.  Nay, it jumped off the rack and grabbed me.  It screamed, "Take me home to your daughter and make matching dresses for her and her dolly!"  What could I do?  I bought some yardage, brought it home, and let it sit in the bag for a few weeks.  Take that, screaming fabric.
One night, I got industrious and cut out the pieces for both the big dress and the little one.  Then I let them sit for another week or two.  Gah. …

Table Troubles

There are a few challenges to moving into a house that you did not pick out.  We moved in so my dad would not have to move out.  We mostly fit, but there are a lot of parts about the house itself that just don't work out very well.  And some of them are challenging enough that if I was looking to buy or rent a house, this would not be the one I would pick.
One of them is the dining room.  There isn't one.  
This house does have a nice, big kitchen.  In fact, I remember hearing my mother say that it was one of the biggest reasons they bought this house.  The kitchen had a u-shaped work area with a large peninsula.  The other end of the room boasted enough space for a family table.  A dozen years ago, my folks remodeled the kitchen and took out the peninsula.  In its place they installed a large island and put counter-height chairs around it.  It is a lovely size for cooking and kneading dough and spreading supplies all around.  And it seats four diners very comfortably.  But t…

Mission Monday

I love Monday mornings, as I get to read letters from my boys.  Love them so much!  One has been out 29 weeks, and the other for 49.  Where has the time gone?  I'm chuckling, seeing a few British spellings that are starting to come from South Africa, like "rumour."  I bet that will increase in the next year!

From South Africa:

I love being a missionary! As I think about what has happened this week, it is amazing to see just how much the members are growing.

It has been interesting as Elder Weber and I have started focusing more on the members that we have in the past, and not just only focus on investigators. Our members have started bonding together in ways that are truly amazing. That and we have had more referrals from the members and less actives because we have been working with them, and let me tell you, they are solid referrals. Wow, is all I have to/can say. It is amazing what working with the members can do.

I found out that Madagascar has had yet another cyclon…

Walking With Opa

I just found this picture I took last fall, when the grass was still green and the trees still had leaves.  The sun was just as shiny today, but the air has an unfriendly bite which reminds me that it is not yet wholly spring.
My Dad and I cruise the neighborhood most days.  We try to go daily, but we usually make it four or five times a week.  When we first moved in with him (has it really been six months ago?  No, it's nearly been seven.  Wow.), he could make it halfway up the street before he needed to pause for a rest.  After waiting in the middle of the road for a few minutes, he would declare that his knees were shot and we would slowly shuffle back home.  Now he regularly walks about a mile around our neighborhoods.  

As we set out, he holds up his cane and leads the marching band.  Up and down, he waves it to the music, uses it as a golf club to whack at random rocks in the road, or holds it in two hands in front of him like an old Sinatra dance.  By the time we are heade…

Valentine's Weeks

They lasted.  Who knew that roses would last?  Usually they are droopy after a couple of days, sad-looking but still fragrant at four days, and begging to be removed before a week is up.  My sweet husband bought me an enormous bouquet of roses and lilies for Valentine's Day, and they lasted for more than three weeks!  I love the gorgeous fragrance every time I walk down the hall.
Can you smell them from this picture?  Mmmm...
Maybe he really loves me after all, to get me the magic kind of roses.  
Thanks, Dear.  I love you, too.

The Curse of the Bacon

We had a date.  We were going to a jazz concert at the local university.  "He would be home about dinnertime, and then his folks would come by and pick us up.  A good old double-date, in the back seat of momma's car.

Earlier in the day, I had been at MegaMall, cruising through the aisles with the twins.  Somewhere between new socks and and cat food, we came across the sale rack.  I'm a sucker.  I stopped for a brief moment (because I never have more than a brief moment when the twins are around) to peruse.  For something for me.  There usually isn't anything there that anyone would want.  If it was wanted, someone would have already purchased it, taken it home, and loved it, right?  But I found it.  A new shirt.  My mother would have called it a blouse.  It was woven, but as soft as your favorite old t shirt.  Fitted and flowy in all the right places, and the perfect shade of green.  I don't buy green very often because most of the time it is either a yellowy-neo…

Mission Monday

From South Africa:

(...the teacher in Sunday school) asked the question, "How would you define miracle?" That caught me way off guard. Over the course of the lesson, he showed, because one member asked why miracles had stopped, that miracles still are happening today. So I have been thinking a lot about how I would define what a miracle is and it has been really rewarding to dive into some of the examples of miracles in the scriptures.

So the question is, Without using a dictionary or looking it up, 'How would you define what a miracle is?'  I would love to hear what everybody thinks...

Miracles DO happen, ALL the time. All we have to do is look for them. They are all around us and they are amazing! I love being a missionary because I get to see lots of miracles in my day to day life. The Lord really does love us and wants the absolute best for us!

From Madagascar:

(We had a baptism) and our ward mission leader didn't show up to take care of everything, so there …