Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Well, kind of. He's a particularly emotional kid to begin. High highs and low lows. He gets overwhelmed easily, especially if he's tired, hungry or worn out. And he was all of those things today. They came straight from school where they'd been taking the TAKS test for two days straight. Starting in 3rd grade, kids are required to pass the TAKS to move onto the next grade. It's heavily stressed here, and I've actually had students cancel lessons (3rd and 4th graders!) so they could study. Weird.
Anyway, we were working on his recital piece. I admit it is a challenging piece for his skill level. He was tired and stressed out. I was a little stressed because Dean was screaming his head off in the computer room with Matt, so I probably had a little edge to my voice. I kept telling him to stay focused, look at my hands, pay attention, just take it one measure at a time. I could tell he was in his Eeyore mode, and about half way through I said, "Forget it. We can't work on this anymore. You're too worn out. Lets just play some music games." I don't know if the tears came from his frustration or relief, but a few slipped out. He enjoyed playing on my large staff mat, and kind of cheered up a bit.
I was always up for a challenge, but I'm finding those students to be rare. It's hard to find the line between high yet realistic expectations and overambitious/outrageous expectations. Any ideas on how to successfully do that?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
- Crockpot pork roast, roasted potatoes, peas (done)
- Homemade pizza, broccoli
- Chicken satays, Israeli couscous with grilled veggies
- Bean, rice and pork (left over pork) burritos, salad with left over guacamole and pico
- Cheese ravioli, Mariana's Rolls, artichokes
Monday, April 28, 2008
Length at birth: 21 3/4 inches
Weight at 2 mo.: 13 lbs. 10 oz.
Length at 2 mo.: 24 1/2 inches (77%)
Weight at 4 mo.: 15 lbs. 14 oz. (65%)
Length at 4 mo.: 26.5 in. (90%)
Head circumference: 16.5 in. (36%)
Weight at 6 mo.: 17 lbs (37%)
Length at 6 mo.: 27 1/2 (81%)
Head circumference: 17.25 (48%)
So we just got home from his well visit. And once again I find myself mildly irritated. I can't quite put a finger on why I'm not perfectly satisfy with the doc., but there's something that chaps me slightly. We actually went to another (highly recommended) pediatrician at his 2 week check up and I disliked him even more than her, so we switched back. I LOVE her office atmosphere, the staff, and her nurse is the best. But every time she (the doc) starts talking, I find myself on the defensive. She's really nice, so I can't figure out why. Is it because she doesn't have kids herself? Is it because she seems to think milestones are set in stone? There are other possible reasons. Maybe it's all of them. Maybe it's none. Matt says it's no big deal and doesn't think we should change pediatricians again.
Anyway, she was concerned that he'd only gained 1 lb. and that I'm not giving him iron supplements. Also, she was surprised that he was sitting but hasn't yet rolled from back to front. I tried to explain that he HATES his tummy. He can twist his body all the way around from back to front, but he doesn't ever go the last little bit to his tummy. Why would he if he hates that position? When I place him on his stomach he immediately flips over. Whatever.
At his 2 month check up she told me he needed iron drops because winter babies tend to not get enough. That seemed odd, but I went out and bought it, gave him one disgusting "rusty nails" dose, and decided to research it further before I gave him any more. I found this blog and read the lines, "Iron supplementation is not usually needed and may in fact be detrimental to the breastfeeding baby in the first half-year after birth. Excess iron tends to saturate lactoferrin and thereby diminish its antiinfective properties." Now, I know this is from a breast milk advocating site, but there were lots of sites that said similar things. So I decided not to give him the iron supplement drops. And because I make my own baby food, he's not getting "iron fortified" commercial food. I've been scouring the internet looking for answers on this. The responses are pretty polar. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. My initial reaction is to not give him the drops until we see if he really is anemic at his 9 mo. check up when they do the blood work. Any responses?
As for him only gaining a lb. and needing to come in for a weight check in a month and a half, GIVE ME A BREAK! You've all seen him. I'm not worried. She also mentioned supplementing his feedings with formula if at his next weigh in he hasn't gained much. Too bad lady. Until he's in the negative numbers or starts losing, I'm going breast all the way. Period.
Anyway, he was doing a funny head shake today. All I can think is that he was imitating something I do that makes him laugh. I really love this little boy more every day.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I decided it would be a good maiden voyage for my new Kitchen Aid. I found a recipe a long time ago for Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, so I thought I'd try it out. FAILURE! The dough was SUPER-DE-DUPER runny and it never rose properly (due to my error. The recipe didn't specify the type of yeast, but I should have known that it needed instant. I had active dry and should have proofed it first.).
That was yesterday. Today was a new day that called for a new recipe.
I actually ended up using a brioche type recipe from my Kitchen Aid Manual. It turned out splendidly. The rolls were a nice texture, they weren't overdone, and the whole pan cooked evenly. The only thing I'll change next time is add a little more cinnamon/sugar to suit Matt's taste buds.
Basic Sweet Dough
3/4 C. low fat milk
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C. butter
2 packages (or 4 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/3 C warm water
3 eggs, room temperature
5 1/2-6 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
To turn it into cinnamon rolls:
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cube softened butter
- Dissolve yeast and 1 Tbsp of the sugar in warm water in the mixer bowl. Let it proof while going to step 2.
- Place milk, the rest of the sugar, salt and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to luke warm.
- Add lukewarm milk mixture, eggs, and 5 C flour. Attach bowl and Dough Hook to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 2 min.
- Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C. at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 mints, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 min. longer.
- Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, and let rise in warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled.
- (My instructions to get this dough to cinnamon rolls) Roll out to a decent sized rectangle, spread butter all over, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture all over the top.
- Roll up and slice into 1 1/2 in. rolls with floss.
- Place in greased metal baking pan with a little room to expand. Cover them and let them rise another hour or so.
- Bake in a 350* oven on the 4th rack from the bottom for 14-15 min. (That's how it was for my oven at least. Every oven's a little different.)
The Kitchen Aid had a good (second) maiden voyage run.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
In the way of diet...well, I don't diet. Unless you count my Isagenix shake that I have for breakfast or lunch about 4 times a week. I don't count it since I don't use it with the mindset that it's diet food, just good food. Plus it's not really "low cal" or anything, just packed with good nutrients. I kind of just eat what (and as much) as my body tells me to. Some days I am ravenous and eat a lot. Some days I don't eat as much. I try and eat balanced meals and snack on decent things (like string cheese, granola bars, fruit, nuts, celery and PB), and that's about it.
As for exercise, I change it up quite a bit.
- I have a video (seriously, a VHS video! Who even owns those anymore?) The Firm (abs) that I do probably 4 times a week. The work outs are quite short so I tell myself, "If I do nothing else, I can do 5 -10 min. of abs!!"
- I jog (sometimes with Dean during the week and on Saturdays without) about 1-3 times a week.
- Dean and I walk 1-2 miles almost every day. Sometimes he's strapped to me in the Bjorn and sometimes we go with his stroller.
- I do a yoga workout (Brian Kest's Power Yoga- The DVD has 3 awesome workouts about 1 hour a piece), generally 1-2 times a week. It is an awesome video if you have done yoga before. I wouldn't say it's really a first time beginner DVD. I love that there are 3 workouts. They are really great and I don't get bored of them. I have another yoga DVD by Baron Baptiste and boy does it drive me crazy! I hate his routine.
- And then there's the mama workout. Dean's a big boy! I'm constantly lifting and carrying the 20 lb (guestimating here) young'un. He also thinks it's fun to sit on my tummy while I do sit ups. And he likes when I bounce up and down and do plié type lunges while holding him.
I tried on about 15 suits today at Target since they were on sale. It was a little frustrating. If they fit in the chest, they were wrong for the body and visa versa. This was the second to last suit I tried on, and since it was a decent fit for both, I went with it. The little holes in the front were questionable, but overall it's one of the most modest suits I've ever owned...it's one piece with a little skirt attached. The skirt is kind of nice because it means I don't have to worry if I've used VEET recently or not. I seriously can't wait for the day I can get a full Brazilian laser hair removal! (I know, I know. TMI!!)
I think I'll keep the receipt for the suit and look at Kohls as well.
It's funny. Pictures are never as flattering as the image I see when I look in the mirror. I'll just chalk it up to bad photography angles. hehe.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- If you start a post, save it, and go back to edit it another day, it will post it waaaayy back in its proper chronological order rather than posting it as your most recent. You can manually change the date and time by clicking on the "post options" link on the bottom left corner of the composition screen. That brings up another little tool bar. On the right hand side you can enter the corrected day and time.
- If your header picture is bigger than you'd like, you can shrink or crop it in a couple different programs. Photoshop and HP Image zone (if you have an HP scanner) are the two I use. The pixel size of my current banner is 925 x 250. In photoshop you can go to Image and then Image size. Make sure that constrain proportions is checked or your picture will end up disproportional.
- Ok, last time I avoided giving real html help because blogger is very particular about using code in posts. I will attempt it here. While writing a post you can use the little cheat buttons up top for links, bold, and italics. If you want to do those in a comment, you have no such help. You need to use html tags. <> brackets denote a tag. To close a tag, you must use the / and whatever the beginning of the tag was. (As I am writing this, I'm noticing that blogger is making it difficult and erasing part of my tag, even if I use spaces.) Sorry if this doesn't make sense. I know there are escape characters to preserve code so you can see it, but I haven't gotten that far in my own knowledge of html. So, if this description is just a bunch of rambling that makes no sense, tell me in the comments or in an email and I'll email you an attachment that should hopefully be more clear. Hopefully.
- To make a word bold, put the letter "b"(without the "") inside the first set of <> and in the closing tag, delete the spaces I have between all the characters: < >word < / b >
- To make a word italicized, put and "i" in the first set of <> and delete the spaces in the closing tag: <>word< / i >
- To create a link is a little harder, but I will try and help you here. The only space that should exist in this little string of code is between a and href. Blogger erased it, so just know that the letter "a" (without "") and a space should precede href.
- < href = "http://web address"> link word < / a>
- The first picture you upload will end up being the picture on the bottom. If you don't want to do a lot of rearranging, upload them in reverse order. To move pictures in html mode, look for the beginning and end of the tag. The beginning starts
with "a onblur" inside <> and ends with /a inside <>. Cut and paste the code wherever you want it in the post. This will preserve the code and you'll be able to enlarge the picture by clicking on it in the finalized post.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The picture I have up as my banner was one I took today. He was totally cracking us up with his faces. He's such an expressive kid.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So what I decided to do was make a list of 5 meal ideas, what I have on hand, what I need to get, and what I can do earlier in the day to get dinner prepped. At least 1 meal needs to be an "easy" meal. Something that takes little to no effort for those days that dinner's just not going to happen. The rest can be moderate to difficult. It's nice to throw in 1 meal I've never tried before, to give us a little variety. I love trying new things, both cooking and eating, and Matt gets burned out on food really quickly. So it's imperative I keep things "fresh".
Oh yeah, at least 1 meal needs to be vegetarian, and I am trying to vary the meat.
Anyway, I am not going to assign any 1 meal to a day. That way I can still have a choice in the matter, and if I don't feel like _______ then I don't have to make it. Also, I am allowing myself the freedom to change the meal so long as I use whatever ingredients I bought for the meal I am replacing. I will have two "free" days to do things like left overs or date night or whatever happens to arise.
Here are my loose plans for this week:
- Marinated grilled chicken, corn bread, marinated green beans (L.S. we really like this recipe!)
- Black bean enchiladas, roasted salsa, and salad
- Scottish meat pies, peas, mashed potatoes
- Bean based nachos, salad, pico de gallo (my easy)
- Baked penne with roasted vegetables
Monday: Grilled chicken, corn bread, and green beans turned into grilled lemon-lime chicken soft tacos with yellow squash. The marinade I chose just lent itself to mexican. I ate the squash inside my tacos; Matt ate his on the side. The corn bread fixin's will last forever, and the beans were partially used tonight.
Tuesday: I made a slightly altered (I seriously can't cook straight from a recipe!!! I have to make it my own!) version of #5. I added green beans to the roasted veggies (good addition), left out the mushrooms (Matt's not a fan of cooked), doctored up Prego with sausage, a lot of garlic, basil, and oregano and let it simmer for almost 3 hours. This was my new recipe for the week.
I'm usually not a huge fan of pasta (I know, what's wrong with me?), especially if it's just red sauce. Matt only likes red sauce. So, this was a good variation on red sauce that kept us both happy. The cheeses were a bit expensive, but they made this dish AWESOME! We both really liked it. I've never bought fontina or smoked mozzarella, but they were both great.
Well, yesterday we had our first really warm weather of the year. It was 89* and since we hadn't turned our A/C on, it was over 80* in our house. I was really feeling the effects of the heat. I had a head ache, my stomach was nauseous, and I was just energy sapped. After my 3 piano lessons it was all I could do to muster up energy to play with Dean, put him down for the night, and finish making dinner. I couldn't face the few dishes we had. I couldn't bring myself to put away groceries (you know, the ones that are still sitting on my table). I was beat. (We broke down and turned the air on later in the evening.)
It was a little frustrating since I've been trying so hard to keep up. And then it hit me. One of the hardest parts about being a homemaker is that you never really finish anything. No matter how many times you do laundry, you'll have to do more. No matter how many dishes you've done, there will be more. There will always be more dust, more vacuuming, more of everything. It's not like you can just finish a project and move on!
So, I guess the moral of my story is, I should try and stay on top of things so my house isn't overrun by muck, but it really doesn't matter if I miss a night of dishes. Sometimes a girl's just got to sleep.
We were both in bed with lights out by 10:30 last night! And I did feel much better this morning.
I guess those dishes and groceries are calling me. And I think Dean just woke up as well.
Ah the life.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
What I really want is a video of is his hand clapping. He discovered how to clap his hands on his own two days ago in Home Depot. I think he liked the beeping of the little lifts and the bird chirping.
Friday, April 18, 2008
She also said if for some reason that did fall through, we could have it at their house.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
"Hello Celia - As this is a non-church sponsored activity, use of any church building must follow a designated process. This is true for either the stake center or the LF building. Attached you will find a link to the building schedules (both buildings). At this time the appointment is unconfirmed, and below are the steps you will need to take in order to have a confirmed appointment.2) Comply with the section below on non-church sponsored activities3) Send an email to me with confirmation of #2 above, and then we will book your reservation as confirmed.Can I reserve rooms in the building for non Church sponsored activities such as weddings, wedding receptions, etc?
- All private parties (members) that request and schedule to use any McKinney Texas Stake building(s) for the purpose of weddings, wedding receptions, receptions or any other event/activity that is not Church sponsored, will be required to conform to the Hold Harmless Undertaking set forth by The . This amounts to providing liability insurance for the event/activity. ( Click here to download Hold Harmless Undertaking form ).
- As well as providing liability insurance (proof thereof) the Church will require a $100.00 deposit to be held by your Bishop. This deposit is for the purpose of assuring that no damage or cleaning issues remain upon completion of the event/activity.
- The deposit check is to be made out to Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the. The deposit check will be returned if no damage or cleaning issues are evident upon completion of the event/activity.
- Your respective WBR (Ward/Branch Building Representative) needs to be involved in helping monitor the event/activity that takes place."
Sheesh. I have to have liability insurance??? And all that other stuff? Ok. So that is out.
Then I tried other routes. The music store I buy my music from has a recital hall. I have enough points earned up there to get a 1 hour rental free. Great. But the day I had need is booked all day! And all use of the facilities must happen during normal business hours, so we must be finished by 6 PM! Not so good.
Brainstorming, I decided to call the Jr. High choir director. I teach a couple of his choral students, so I hoped maybe he could just let us use his classroom for 1/2 an hour. He was very kind and very prompt, but the answer he received from the Principal was that I have to call central campus for permission. OK. So I just called and I was transferred to a leasing office for the school disctrict. I don't know how much they charge, but I'm guessing it's more than I want to pay.
Community center is $50/hour with a 4 hour minimum!
YMCA has no piano
A recital hall rental in downtown McKinney is $100 an hour
I have 12 students and their families. I'm planning on 40 people, so there's no way I can just cram them in my tiny living room! I considered moving our piano out to our patio slab and setting up chairs outside, but Matt says it's WAY too heavy and is worried we'll rip up the kitchen linoleum and/or hurt the piano. I am quickly running out of options here!!! Any other bright ideas out there?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
"Do not let [opportunities] pass by, saying sometime you'll try, just go and do something today!"
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
FLOUR TORTILLAS—makes about 18- 5 in. tortillas or 10-12 larger tortillas
3 ½ C flour
approx. 1 tsp Salt (I use kosher)
¼ tsp baking powder
½ C shortening
1 ¼ C very hot water
- Mix dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening until it is crumbly like a piecrust mixture.
- Add in the water and mix until there’s a nice dough.
- Break into golf ball sized pieces, cover and let rest about 5 min.
- Roll on a floured surface into 5 in. rounds.
- Cook on a cast iron skillet (consistently best results for me) or non-stick pan without oil, or in a regular pan that's lightly oiled.
- These generally bubble a bit. Flip it once. The second side takes less time than the first.
Pork roast- pretty much any cut, but butt will be more tender than loin if I'm not mistaken
1/2-1 can soda, depending on the size of the roast and your crockpot (I've used Lemon Lime and caffeine free Coke, but I'm sure other kinds would work.)
splash of liquid smoke
sprinkling of kosher salt
additional optional ingredients: chili powder, chipotle chilies or ground chipotle chili powder, cumin, garlic (fresh or powder), etc. You know, anything that tastes like Mexican food.
- Put the roast (whatever size you need to feed your family) in a crockpot
- Cover with soda-the amount isn't super important, but I like it to be about to the half way point of the roast.
- Sprinkle enough kosher salt to make a thin layer across the top of the roast
- Splash with 3 or so drops of liquid smoke.
- Cook on low anywhere from 9-18 hours (the longer you go the more fall-apart it becomes). Since I can't think super far ahead in my meal planning, I'm usually closer to the 9 hour end.
- Shred the roast and let it sit in the juices.
- I like to add my additional ingredients after it's cooked so I can do it to taste, but by all means, do it the way you like to do it.
- Serve with a fork or slotted spoon so you don't get unwanted juices on your tortilla.
I love cannery beans. If you don't have them available in your area, I'm so sorry.
even parts dehydrated beans to water.
For the two of us I use 1 cup of each. Sometimes we eat it all. Sometimes we don't.
- Bring water to boil.
- Stir in beans, take off heat, cover, and let sit about 5 min. or so.
Here are my tricks if it doesn't end up like you like:
- If it's too thick for your liking, add a little water, salsa, taco bell sauce, cheese, etc. And heat just enough to make it warm enough to eat. You know, anything liquid that goes well with your flavors.
- If it's too runny, put it back on the stove and let it boil down a bit while stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom. It will thicken up some.
Serve this with lettuce, olives, salsa, cilantro, guacamole and/or anything else you just love on Mexican food.
She said I can still participate in the contest, but I just can't be eligible to win for another 3 months. That's good with me. It's fun to do a free page.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This past weekend we were able to hear from living Prophets and Apostles. As the world seems to be getting darker and more confusing, they offer us light and hope. That light and hope come through a loving Father in Heaven who wishes to bless us, Jesus Christ who has atoned for our sins and pains, and the Holy Ghost who offers direction.
We are promised D&C 82:10 that if we do his God’s will, he will bless us. That is a conditional statement. He will bless and sustain us if, and only if, we take action and follow the guidance He has given us. We must do our part. There is only so much that others, can do for us. At some point we have to take responsibility for our actions, our hearts, our choices. The Lord can afford us opportunities, Christ can wait for us with a healing touch, and the spirit can guide and direct, but they will never force us; we must take action and do what it takes to receive their blessings. In James we read, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We come to church, we listen to conference, we discuss ways we can improve, but do we actually DO those things? Or are we deceiving ourselves about our dedication to and standing with the Lord? We each have to search our hearts and scrutinize our behavior to answer that question.
Today I am going to speak on a few ways we can be doers of the word that we might set our houses in order.First, we must live within our means
The last year we were at BYU, I had the opportunity to TA for yoga class. As an assistant, my main job was to make sure the students didn’t hurt themselves by doing moves incorrectly or too advanced for their level. On one particular occasion I noticed two beginners who, throughout the class, immediately went to the hardest variation of the poses rather than doing the beginning or intermediate modifications. It never quite worked out for them. They attempted the pose, couldn't maintain it, and got frustrated. They were comparing themselves to students who had been practicing yoga much longer than they had. They didn’t want to start at the beginning and build up; they wanted advanced perfection instantly. I knew that if they continued in their behavior, they were going to hurt themselves or quit out of frustration. In my mind I kept saying, “Do your own practice. Don't try and do someone else's practice. Work with what you have and where you are, not where you want to be or where your neighbor is."
That experience made me realize that living within our means is a mindset that affects multiple facets of our lives. It is a competitive attitude that compels us to wear the best, have the best, want the most, and achieve the highest-level RIGHT NOW.
However, we have to take life one-step at a time. The most efficient and long lasting progression comes gradually, “line upon line and precept upon precept”. We must start at the beginning, master one thing and move on to the next step, not the last step. Christ himself followed this pattern. “And he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fullness at the first.” We must be diligent and live our own lives as we remember, “it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength”
In all reality to be the best, wear the best, and have the best means that we must compare ourselves to others. Comparison then prompts that little pride button inside us...
C.S. Lewis said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, cleverer, or better looking than others. If every one else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” 
Secondly, we need to get out of debt
Pride is one of the main reasons we tend to live beyond our means financially. We often over reach our limits and are not satisfied with necessities. We want to be comfortable, fit in, and keep up with our neighbors or friends. Meridian Magazine recently interviewed a Washington economist and member of the church, Stephen Studdert. When asked about American debt he said, “Our debt is a ticking time bomb. Last year, for example, we Americans, as consumers, spent $20 for every $19 we made. One doesn't have to be a Ph.D economist to figure out we can't sustain that for very long. At all levels, the government, corporate and personal level, we have been spending money we don't have.”
When asked what we should do about it, he said, “We ought to feel an urgency, but not a panic. It is interesting, if we listen to the words of President Hinckley and others of the General Authorities over the past years, how many times have they kindly, but firmly said to us, get your houses in order? And while you and I can't on our own fix the nation, we can certainly take care of our lives and our own houses and our own families. We have to be serious about getting out of debt individually and as families. We ought to be serious about not taking on more debt. We ought to be serious about living within our means. We ought to be serious about higher education for the best employment we can qualify for, and we ought to be serious about things like food storage and family preparation. Because financing [is] so readily available, [we splurge].”
Our Bishopric recently read a letter from our current First Presidency urging us yet again to set our houses in order. We must evaluate our lives and our spending habits and change our ways if needed. Are we using prudence and wisdom when it comes to credit card debt and financing? Are we buying expensive and unnecessary items when we can’t afford them? Even if we can technically afford them, do unnecessary purchases dip into our emergency funds or tithing?
Now here’s the kicker: if we’re falling short in this area, are we willing to change? The Prophets, speaking for the Lord, can only warn, prod, and ask that we do these things. It is our responsibility to actually do them. I know that Matt and I have had 4 or 5 home evening lessons on 72-hour kits and food storage. We’ve made lists and talked about doing something, but we have yet to actually do it. Ultimately we can plan and talk about it all we want, but unless we actually take action and get our houses in order, we will not reap the blessing of being prepared and following the Prophet’s counsel when hard times come.
How do we get out of debt? This is obviously too big of a topic to try and tackle in a 15 minute talk, but I will mention a few ideas. First of all, we must avoid taking on new debt. If we can’t afford it, and we don’t need it to live, we shouldn’t buy it. As said in one SNL skit, there is “a unique program for managing debt. It’s called ‘Don’t buy stuff you cannot afford.’” Second, we must be wary of store gimmicks and credit cards that make promises such as no interest or payments for 2 years. Once the introductory term is over, chances are you will be hit with outrageous fees and interest, creating yet a bigger black hole of debt. Third, there really are only two ways of changing your debt to income ratio. One is to get more money. The other is to cut spending. It is not always possible or reasonable to get more money, but it is almost always possible to cut out luxuries. It may take some redefining and re-prioritizing, but it can be done.
Third, we must pay an honest tithing
Elder Sheldon Child spoke last Sunday morning on a connection between finances and tithing. “Tithing is a commandment from God, and when we obey His law, He is bound to bless us. We are living in challenging economic times...But regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, if we first pay our obligation to the Lord and then use wisdom and good judgment, the Lord will help us manage the resources He has given us.”
There are 3 important points to what he just said.
- We must pay tithing before other debts and obligations.
- It doesn’t matter how much or how little we make as long as we use wisdom and good judgment.
- The Lord is bound to bless us when we obey him.
Elder Child went on to quote President Heber J. Grant. “I want to say to you, if you will be honest with the Lord, paying your tithing and keeping His commandments, He will not only bless you with the light and inspiration of His Holy Spirit, but you will be blessed in dollars and cents; you will be enabled to pay your debts, and the Lord will pour out temporal blessings upon you in great abundance.”
Fourth, we must teach our children
As Elder Nelson reminded us last week, “The Church is to assist and not to replace parents in their responsibilities to teach their children.” We are responsible to teach our children through both word and example. Once we align our actions and attitudes with the Prophet’s counsel, we will be in a better position to teach our children to do the same. It’s good to occasionally take note of lessons we are actively teaching our children.
Some questions we could ask ourselves include things such as:
· Are we teaching our children to work? To budget? To pay tithing? To prioritize? To save?
· Do they understand the need for moderation in all things, including cell phone usage, texting, clothing purchases, and cars?
· Will they be in for a shock when they are on their own, when you aren’t supplying them with an open money line?
· Do they understand the danger of credit card debt, financing and interest?
And you youth can ask yourselves this:
- Are you continually badgering your parents to get you the coolest gadgets, phones, computers, and clothes, regardless of price?
- Are those items necessities or wants? Do you know the difference between the two?
- Do you know how to manage your time and money wisely?
While is moving out on your own may be far off, it is in your childhood and youth that you establish good habits, temporal as well as spiritual.
I was lucky to grow up in a large family. My parents both worked very hard to meet the needs of their seven children. They were faithful in their tithes, and while money was often tight, we never lacked for the necessities. During my youth, they taught us the importance of working hard, balancing our time, and saving our money for necessary items. My hard work in high school led to scholarship offers at multiple universities, including a half-tuition academic scholarship to BYU. In addition to my high school classes and extra-curricular activities, I taught piano lessons throughout high school. By my senior year I was teaching 20 students. It was challenging at times to maintain balance in my life, but I can honestly say that I learned to appreciate hard work, budgeting, and the actual value of money and savings. When I moved out at 18, I was responsible for supporting myself. Because of the lessons and habits I learned in my youth, I was able to pay my way through college and make it out with no student debts and money in savings.
Lastly, the Lord instructs us to
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
Elder Nelson reminded us that while salvation is an individual matter, “Individual progression is fostered in the family…The home is to be God’s laboratory of love and service. There a husband is to love his wife, a wife is to love her husband, and parents and children are to love one another…Our Heavenly Father wants husbands and wives to be faithful to each other and to esteem and treat their children as an heritage from the Lord. In such a family we study the scriptures and pray together. And we fix our focus on the temple. There we receive the highest blessings that God has in store for His faithful children.”
We are able to establish a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, and order by establishing good spiritual habits and traditions in our families. As we make an effort to do and teach these things in our homes, the Lord will bless every member of our family with opportunities to feel the spirit and become personally converted. The Primary General President, Sister Lant put it well when she said, “We must be willing to open our hearts and minds, accept the Lord’s way, and, if need be, change our lives. Our personal conversion comes as we begin to live the way the Lord wants us to live—steadfast and immovable in keeping all of the commandments, not just those that are convenient. This then becomes a process of refinement as we strive to make each day a little better than the last. Thus our traditions become traditions of righteousness. If our parenting is based on the teachings of the scriptures and of the latter-day prophets, we cannot go wrong. If every time there is a challenge our hearts turn first and always to our Father in Heaven for direction, we will be in a safe place. If our children know where we stand and we always stand on the Lord’s side, we know we are where we need to be.”
As we go through this life, we may find ourselves in situations that look bleak and overwhelming. During those times if we look to Christ, listen to the Prophet and Apostles, and obey the commandments we will be blessed with a light in the darkness. Our minds will be enlightened as to how we may overcome our challenges. As we actively become doers of the word and set our houses in order, our homes will be filled with the joy and peace of the Lord.
 D&C 11:13
 Ephesians 4:11-14
 D&C 93:12-14
 Mosiah 4:27
 C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity (1960), 95
 Meridian Magazine, An LDS Washington DC Insider Says America is in Danger http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/080306dangerprint.html
 Sheldon Child, “The Best Investment”, April 2008 Conference Talk, Sunday Morning Session
 Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation”, April 2008 Conference Talk, Saturday Morning Session
 D&C 109:8
 Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation”, April 2008 Conference Talk, Saturday Morning Session
 Sister Cheryl Lant, “Righteous Traditions”, April 2008 Conference Talk, Saturday Morning Session
Friday, April 11, 2008
Here's what I've been working on.
Items I had to use:
- Silver (double sided) paper-had a blue back checkered I never used
- Silver patterned paper (double sided)- had a cream back I used for the border on both quotes
- Chip board key- used a black permanent marker to color it
- Striped ribbon- used on the quote corners
- Ribbon with circles- this didn't go at all with my design. It had a blue back, so if you look very closely at the pictures, I used a tinsy-tiny bit of the blue back as a side border.
- Pearl stickers
Thanks for all the help Erin!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I've also been working a lot on my page in a bag for April. Pretty close to finished.
Now that he can roll over, we've been working on Dean's new trick. Sitting. He's definitely getting stronger and learning to sit better. At least he can stay up for a few seconds on his own before he face plants.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Dean surprised me with a new tooth. (Bottom left front.) He didn't even fuss about it really. It had totally broken the skin before I knew he was really teething. His sleep wasn't interrupted (6 PM to 6 AM, fed him and put him down for 1 more !), no fever, not much extra fussiness. I don't know if we'll be this lucky with his other teeth, but it was nice for this one.
The weather was nice enough to go jogging.
I got to practice the piano for almost an hour.
I got all of my recital copying done, and I bought Dean 5 new outfits since he doesn't have many summer clothes in his size.
My 3 piano lessons all went really well. Two of the girls were really excited about their recital songs.
Matt surprised me with a new appliance. But not just any new appliance. THE appliance. The one I've been lusting after for a couple years. You know the rule where you're not supposed to give a woman kitchen appliances as gifts? Well I am the exception to that rule! Next I will ask for a wheat grinder! ;oD
Anyway, back to this awesome, awesomeness of a gift I received. There was a coupon for a Kitchen Aid at Costco this month, but Matt was unsure if he really wanted to get it there since they have their own line that's not sold elsewhere. After researching it out more, he decided it best to get the best, and found one at a decent price on Amazon! So, with his parents chipping in, they got me the best Kitchen Aid possible for home use. Oh the pizza, the bread, and the cookies I can make with this!!! And to top it all off, there was a rebate for a free ice cream maker attachment. Sweet goodness. This is my surprise face when he told me it cost $700! ( It didn't really cost that much.) He also made my traditional better-than-sex cake. Yum. He forgot to get a #7 so he used the 2 from our last year's "26" and 7 little candles.
From my mom this morning:
"What an exciting day it was on April 7, 1981. After a day and a half of labor the doctor told Dad that you would probably not arrive until 6 AM. Ah, the joys of a posterior baby. But Dad thought I had had enough and laid his hands on my head and gave me a blessing and wahla! you were born! At the time I thought it was weird that all the nurses and the doctor started running around like crazy acting like they were so surprised. I thought, what did you think we were here for?
1990: Girls, girls, girls. This was a slumber party if I remember correctly. In my journal I wrote, "I had 14 girls at my party. Eric got mad at the girls. It was fun." HAHAHA. I believe he had a state baseball game the next day and was mad we were so loud. I also remember having a hard time falling asleep and Bryan, my oldest brother tried to teach me the "tense your body/relax your body" trick. It didn't work then for me and still doesn't work for me!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Also, he loves his jumperoo if he's not too tired. $20 well spent.
Oh, and I love that he's able to soothe himself with his fingers now. Helps a lot at night and at nap times. This is how I found him after one of his naps this week. At naps he usually has hold of those two fingers on his left hand, but he'll occasionally go for the thumb on the right. He reminds me of his cousin Large S.
Law of Common Consent is to bring unity of faith. Time to prepare for salvation and exaltation is now. Development of faith and repentance are individual matters. Salvation is an individual matter, but individual progression is fostered in the family. Eternal life is a conditional gift. Resurrection is an unconditional gift. Parents, teach importance of God in your children’s lives. Teach them to honor their parents. How? By persuasion, long suffering, meekness, love unfeigned, etc. (scripture D&C) Salvation is individual matter. Exaltation is a family matter.
Traditions: not enough to be good, must be good enough. Are our traditions making it easy for our kids to follow the Lord?
Need less critics and more models. Never be satisfied with less than your best.
We need to have more compassion.
Testimony is not a travel log, health log, sermon, profession of love for family, etc. What do we mean when we say “I know the gospel is true.” Contrast it with I know it is cold outside. (sci- proof). I know I love my spouse (subjective). Scientific method won’t yield spiritual knowledge. We know spiritual truths by spiritual means (God via Holy Ghost). We can be just as sure of this knowledge as we are of other methods (ie scientific). How do you gain a testimony? Not passive but a process.
- desire to know
- ask god in sincere prayer
- bear it
- Partake of sacrament each week so we may have the spirit with us. The spirit will then make known to us the truth.
- Gift of knowledge has a responsibility to bear so those with gift of believing on their words may receive their testimony.
- Be valiant in your testimony.
- Speak truth in love.
Each of us has 2 different channels to God. Governance (leaders) encourages obedience, and personal testimony that results in knowledge. Avoid arrogance and pride while testifying.
(He used to be my stake pres. back at BYU. We had an activity at his house once and it's huge. He has a leather bound set of his books The Work and the Glory.)
Need to assess condition of our hearts. Unto vs. into the heart. HG delivers msg unto the heart, but we must allow it into our heart. We must choose to open our hearts.
First presidency is made up of 3 presidents, not a president and two vice presidents.
Powerful talk on sexual abuse, healing, atonement, and Satan. The lord will help you but you must reach out for that help. You’ll be guided in your efforts to receive help. The perfect Judge, Jesus Christ will hold all abusers accountable for every immoral acts un-repented of.
Immortality is forever but is not the same as eternal life. Eternal Life is the greatest gift of God. It is the quality of life that God himself enjoys. Cookbook picture analogy. The product pictured in the cookbook can only be achieved when the recipe is followed exactly. Faith in the lord leads us to believe which allows us to see. Baptism a gate. Repent moment-by-moment as well as week-by-week when we take the sacrament. Be an integral part of the community of saints. In order to succeed we must be unified in our Savior. Always maintain faith in Christ. Pray, fast and read scriptures continually.
Story of Monson in Germany climbing 5 flights of stairs to visit a man.
Todd D. Christofferson (New Apostle in 12)
Born again. We are spiritually reborn through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our own actions as well as Christ are needed to be changed into a new creature. Don’t retain in yourself some disposition to do evil. Continue in the path of spiritual rebirth and the atoning power of Christ will cleanse you and temptations will lose their appeal.
Silver dollars. If we faithfully pay our tithing, the Lord will bless us and our needs will be met. Tithing is a commandment. When we obey his commandments he is bound to bless us. Violate them and we suffer everlasting consequences. Obey them and we reap everlasting joy. We’re living in challenging economic times, but if we look to the past we’ll see that there have always been times of prosperity and disparity. If we use wisdom and good judgment, the Lord will help us manage the resources we have. There will be enough. As you faithfully pay your tithes, you will be able to pay your debts and the Lord will pour out blessings upon you in abundance. Tithing will be the best investment you will ever make.
Nephi remembers his source of delight amidst affliction. Delight in the things of the Lord; it will give us cause to rejoice. Men and women should be nurturers. Miracles are real. They come in His way and on His timetable. Live always to be worthy of the Lord’s delight.
The quorum of 12 is made of ordinary people.
In’63 ordained to quorum of 12.
Continuing revelation. Awesome talk. Wish I could write down more.
Saying prayers vs. engaging in meaningful prayer. We must improve in our consistency and efficacy of our personal and family prayers. True faith is focused on Christ and always leads to action.
Do not lower your standards, be a standard to others. Doubt not, fear not.
How do we obtain spiritual light?
- Learn true doctrine
- gain pure testimony
- live the gospel courageously
Death is a passage through which everyone must pass. This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. “The day of this life” The person we are when we depart from this life is the person we’ll be when we arrive in the next. Today is the day to forgive others. Today is the day to repent of our sins. These are among some of God’s chief requirements for us.
When Prophets speak by the power of the holy ghost, it is scripture.
Demanding role of motherhood. No role in life more essential. No one right way of mothering. Many are able to be full time moms, many would like to be, some work part or full time, some work at home, what matters is a mother loves her kids deeply and prioritizes them above all else. It’s crucial to focus on the children the short time we have them with us. This eternally important work falls to mothers and fathers in an equal partnership.
If the simple things are being tended to, a mother’s life can be rewarded
- How do you reduce pressure and enjoy it more?
- Look for the shining moments of joy and satisfaction. Don’t rush past the fleeting moments.
- Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the next thing
- Don’t overscheduled yourself and children. Families need some unstructured time where relationships can deepen and you can play together.
- Find time for yourself to cultivate your interests. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well. Don’t be caught up in the mindless time wasting of tv, soaps, internet, etc.
- What can a husband do to support?
- Show extra appreciation.
- Have a regular time to talk with wife about needs.
- Give wife a day and break from her family responsibilities.
- Come home from work and take an active role with families.
- What can children do to help mother?
- Pick up toys
- Chores without being asked
- Say thank you more often
- Tell her you love her.
- What can the church do to help mothers?
- Bishopric and counselors be mindful of mothers and the strain of time and responsibilities.
Family is central to creator’s plan for the destiny of his children.
*A few times throughout this conference I felt a very strong witness that he truly is the Lord's Prophet. His stories about his heritage and his wife touched me and I really enjoyed his talks.* I loved the story about the note his wife left for her kids before she went to the hospital. "Dear children, please don't let dad touch the microwave, or the oven, or the dish washer," etc. hahaha