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Showing posts from January, 2016

Kindergarten Wisdom

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I was picking the twins up from kindergarten today.  I was a little bit concerned about the call I had gotten from the school earlier, telling me that Freddie had a bit of a spill on the slide and scraped up his chin.  Georgie saw me coming towards the school and ran to meet me, as usual.  I catch him, spin him around a bit and give him a big hug.  He loves this, and I have to be on my guard or I'll get bowled over!


Freddie walked over more slowly, and I was ready to offer condolences and kisses.  "Let me see your chin, sweetie."  I tipped his head up and looked at the road rash on his chin and the swollen lower lip..  I gave him a big hug and braced for the meltdown.

The first words out of his mouth surprised me.  "Mom!  You know what?  I have a crush on Margaret!"  His soft face drew itself into puzzlement.  "Wait, no," he said breathlessly, "I mean, I have a crush on Bridgette.  An' she has a crush on me.  An' she likes to play with me…

This Game We Play

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Last night, my sweet niece posted this little witticism.

Yes, yes!  I still feel like I'm running around with no clue about what I am really supposed to be doing.  Or more recently, I have a pretty good idea (or sometimes just a vague understanding) of where I need to be ending up, but I haven't the foggiest how to get there from here.  Or that I know where I am going, but every path takes me further from my end goal.  Sigh.  I think we're all on the same page in this game of life.  But it does get different as you get older.

25 to 35 - still no tutorial, but you figure out how to level up. On the 4th level you realize you've been going in circles on the 1st level this whole time.  And everyone is yelling at you that you are going the wrong way, no matter which way you turn.

35 to 45 - found some online tutorials, but they all say different things and none of them actually work for you.  And they still say you are going the wrong way.
45 to 55 - realize that when you t…

Mission Monday

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Today I am grateful for people who do things they don't have to so that other people will be happy.  Ben's mission president's wife routinely takes pictures of the missionaries she sees and posts them on social media.  I don't follow her, but some of the other moms of missionaries let me know when she sends out pictures of our boys. Here's one of a soccer match the missionaries got together and played on their weekly preparation day.


She also took a few short videos of the game and more pictures of the group's activities for the day, including a clip of Ben and the others singing.  Ben remarked that they had to drive an hour out of the city to play on an actual turf field - I guess they usually play in the dirt.
It makes me happy to see random pictures of my boy, especially when I know she doesn't have to take pictures like that.  She just does it.  And I'm grateful for people like her.
Read more about the soccer game here, and keep up on Alec here.

The Storybook House

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I was bored the other day.  Yes, I had things I should have been doing,  but nothing on the A list, or even the B list.   Trent took the kids to play laser tag,  and I stayed home to watch over my dad,  who has been wobbly and falling a few times lately.  I cleaned the bathroom (because I got some cleaning supplies that don't make me sick from the chemicals!), and then sat.  And got bored.

I opened up my laptop and,  on a whim,  stayed looking to see if there were any good houses for sale in our area.  And then I saw it.   My dream house.


I had to put the sparkles on the picture because I always get stars in my eyes when I think of this house.  It looks like something from a storybook, doesn't it?  I always expect to see some princess coming out the front door, or find something magical in the gardens.  Actually, the first time I walked through the back yard, I did stumble across a tiny, bubbling stream.  I'm sure it was enchanted water.

We found the house several years ag…

Mother Promptings

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My mother told me a story about her mother.  The family was in the living room, doing whatever the normal things were to do.  Grandma Amy was doing sitting in her chair, probably busy with some handiwork.  She embroidered and crocheted beautifully.  The three girls were there in the room, but I think the older three boys were gone.  The oldest son was in Vietnam, where he flew helicopters on rescue missions.  

Without warning, Grandma Amy jumped out of her chair, spilling everything to the floor, and ran upstairs.  My mother said she remembered looking around and seeing the surprise on her sisters' faces.  Grandma Amy just did not jump and run like that.
After quite some time, she returned to the room, her face pale and grim.  She explained that she didn't know why, but she felt compelled to pray for her boy in Vietnam.  She knew he was in some kind of bad trouble and needed to plead with the Lord to help him.
Later, she found out that he was indeed in peril at that exact mome…

Mission Monday

Oh, how I love hearing from these boys!

They email on Mondays, but due to the time difference between here and halfway across the world, I get emails late Sunday night. If they ate getting to the Internet cafe (or cyber, as they call it in Madagascar), I'll start getting emails as early as 11 pm Sunday night. Sometimes I'm still writing to then at that hour, if our Sabbath had been more busy than normal, or if I've just been slow in getting to writing.

More commonly,  I'm already in bed when I hear my phone make its happy little "you have mail" sound. Then I have a decision to make. Do I smile and close my eyes and have happy dreams about my boys, saving the letters to read until the morning?  Or do I go ahead and indulge, reading by dim smartphone light, knowing that now it will take me forever to get back to sleep?  I've done it both ways.  Honestly, there isn't a better way to start a Monday morning and a new week than by reading letters from my b…

Patient Outpatient

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I'm hanging out in the hospital with my dad today.  This is his second surgery within a month, and we'll have two more to go after this.  He's had some challenges with his eyes, and these four surgeries will clear that all up.  (How many bad eye puns can I come up with without even trying?)  None of the surgeries are very serious, and all of them are out-patient stints at the surgery center of the hospital, so I am very glad it isn't more intensive.
Still, it takes all of my day, plus most of the next couple of days to care for him.  Not that it's totally  a bad thing.  I get a couple of hours to myself in the hospital, where I can read any book I want to.  Without interruptions.  That is, if you don't count clanging hospital beds and constant foot traffic and the ever-present murmur of conversations that I try not to listen to and sometimes succeed.  But at least not the demanding Mom kind of interruptions.

I really don't like hospitals.  I think I went t…

Meeting the Queen

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I heard her voice before I saw her.  It was husky and low, but surprisingly gentle, like she had just spent the past 17 hours crooning lullabies to a nursery full of colicky babies.  I turned the corner and she was the one waiting for me, helping me. Helping me!  I had a nearly irresistible urge to help her, to wait on her, to peel her some grapes.

This woman is 108!  I'd love to hear her stories.
She was short and stocky, her perky head sitting atop her shoulders like a queen on her throne.  I'm not sure she even had a neck.  Her short, white hair was in precise curls around her head, and I'm sure not a hair dared to be out of place.  Her face was full of wrinkles and her perfectly lipsticked mouth was tight and prim, but her eyes sparkled and smiled.  She did not gesture with her hands, but with her head.  I was mesmerized watching it bob and point as she spoke.

The thing that really got me was her clipped British accent.  No, that was the first thing.  After that, I was …

Mission Monday

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I wonder how much the holidays sets the missionaries back by switching their concentration from what they are doing back to what we are doing at home.  I remember Ben said it was a bit hard and homesick last year for a day or two.  Good thing they bounce back!

Ben had a neat experience recently:

Just a real quick story for this week about S. and O. We found them my first couple of days here when we were waiting at a time and this guy next door heckled us a little and was very surprised when we responded to him in Malagasy. So then he talked to us a little bit, found out why we were wearing white shirts and ties and wondering around his neightborhood and he wanted us to come visit him. So we go to his house and teach him. His wife had just left him with his kid, he had a drinking problem and was out of money and had no job. Turns out his wife's parents had her and wouldn't let her go back until he had 40,000 ariary, about 13 dollars to his name so they knew that he could take c…

Eating is Good for You

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When I started this sick-of-feeling-sick journey, I did a lot of research.  I read about leaky guts and irritable bowel syndrome.  I found out about chemical sensitivities and food aversions.  I watched documentaries about better diets.
My current diet goes closely along with Forks Over Knives.  I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet.  That means I eat things that came from plants, instead of things manufactured in plants.
Sorting through blueberries before I freeze them for later
I eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  That's pretty much it.  No processed fake food.  No commercial yeast, sugar, fat, or dairy.  I'm staring to be able to digest the fat in nuts., but no other fats.  Yes, you can survive this way, and even feel better.  I do!
Don't believe me?  Here is what I ate today:
Breakfast:   Breakfast bowl with old-fashioned oats, Grape-Nuts, almond milk, and a whole pile of blueberries, pineapple, and banana
Lunch:   Brown rice and black beans topped with onions …

Healthy Me in 2016

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How could I make that rhyme?  Healthy teens and tween in two thousand sixteen?  Healthy beans?  Human beans?  I'm a queen in 2016?  Yes, I like the royal idea.  I need a crown.  None of your spindly tiaras, but a full-out crown for me, thankyouverymuch.


Yes, that may do.  The crown has nothing to do with health, however, and it may even cause headaches, so I'll go back to my original topic, if you don't mind.

About a year and a half ago, I started feeling tired.  Started, nuthin'.  I've been tired for decades!  But I started getting more tired.  And irritable.  And just... off.  I got my thyroid levels checked and they were fine.  I made a concerted effort to get more sleep, and that helped some.  I swore off sugar and that helped more.  But my body wasn't working right, and I knew it.  

I had a hard time falling asleep, and I would wake up several times every night,.  My vision was blurry.  I had mild stomachaches most of the time, unless I actually ate someth…

Big Family Christmas Parties

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We had a big Christmas party with my brothers and their families over the Christmas break.  Actually, we had three family parties: an adult one with Trent's siblings and parents that we look forward to all year, the big party with all of Trent's family, and the big but not-as-big party with my family.  Trent's parents have seven children, and there are nearly 40 grandchildren, plus a handful of great-grandchildren, so we are getting to be a pretty large group.  I only have four brothers, and no married grandchildren (Alec is the oldest of that generation), but we are getting substantial as well.  All the parties were enjoyable, but I'm only going to write about the one with my family because I was in charge of it.  And I didn't take any pictures of the others.

We met in my brother's church building because we needed the space for the activities we would be doing.  I wanted to just play lots of games.  We marked off a space for the little kids and build table-an…

Mission Monday

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No letters today!   Wow that's unusual to not hear from either of our missionaries.   And it's transfer day today, too.  I wonder if either of them will be transferred to a new area.  Alec will be, I'm sure, as the area he had been working in has been closed.  I'm curious as to where he might be going now, and if he will finish out his mission there.  Only three months until he comes home!

But no matter about the lack of letters. I'm still happy from being able to Skype with my boys on Christmas.  The brothers all had a good time visiting, too.

Chris visiting with Alec on Christmas morning
David and Eddie, with Georgie reading his book between them, chatting with Ben on Christmas night
Love them all!

Happy New Year!

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We rang in the new year with a sore throat or two.  Needless to say, we were not terribly festive.  We managed to stay awake all evening, which was a challenge.  I don't know why we can't end the old year a few hours early!  We even missed the countdown because of a confusion over the correct channel.  Oh well.  The new year came in whether we watched it do so or not.


Trent got a new game, based on a show he loves, so he played that with the kids.  Of course, we had to have a round of Disney Monopoly as well.  The twins are old enough now, mostly, that they don't throw the pieces around like a Tasmanian devil explosion anymore, so that's good.
For the first time in years - a couple decades, actually - I don't feel panic at the beginning of a new year.  People look back at the past year and hope the next one will be better, but I always had an anxiety attack, worrying like crazy that the new year would actually be harder than the old one was.  Those fears of mine we…