Wednesday, December 15, 2010


For my next favorite thing about the Christmas season--those of you who know me well probably figured it would not be long before I started talking about candles. 

Christmas candles are absolutely wonderful!  Both I and my husband look forward every year to the first week after the Thanksgiving holiday.  We go out to our nearest department store and buy a small, inexpensive package of "Christmasy" scents.  We have them burning pretty much constantly when we're home.  It makes the house smell so wonderful!  Our favorite this year is called "snowflake".  My daughter predicted it would smell like laundry detergent, but it doesn't!  It smells wonderful--kind of spicy, but not too much. 

A comment though on some of  the scents--I have NEVER been able to find a candle trying to smell like a Christmas tree that actually smells like a Christmas tree.  We found one this year.  It's wonderful!  The same smell without the nasty cleanup and crawling underneath the prickly branches to add water.  YAY!!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 favorite things

It has been suggested to me that I post a "12 days of Christmas" theme.  I thought it was a fabulous idea!  So you should receive a favorite and a tale each day until Christmas--hopefully

As I was contemplating what to write about, I was thinking back over all of the things I love about Christmas.  The lights, the ornaments, Santa, snow, etc and trying to decide where to start.  I believe my first favorite thing about Christmas would be the clothes.  I adore seeing everyone in Christmas themed clothing--men in their neckties
Little girls in their pretty dresses
And ladies in their sparkeldy sweaters
How can you not enjoy all of the wonderful outfits and colors?!!  So just remember when you get dressed to go shopping, some folks are just going out to enjoy people watching!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Prayer and Depression

It seems lately I've been experiencing a bout of minor depression.  I believe it's due mostly to life in general (funny how that works).  I've spent quite a bit of time kicking myself for allowing such a pity party, which contributes to the sour mood I have going.  During this time,  I have kept saying my prayers, reading my scriptures, and trying to remember how ridiculously selfish it is to feel sorry for yourself.  I even neglected my new"ish" blog posting habits, which again, added to the guilt and general bleckiness I've been feeling. 

Even though I felt for sure I deserved to stay home today and wallow in my lovely blanket of miserableness, I  got up, got dressed and went to leadership meeting (I serve in the Relief Society Presidency of my branch).  The Branch President gave a spiritual thought that I felt was "just for me".  He quoted Richard G Scott by saying "Our characters are forged in the service of others" and several other things that reminded me to get over myself. 

Then, in sacrament meeting, our Stake President issued a reminder of our temple covenants to consecrate our time and talents to The Lord.  That was below the belt :)  I started to cry (this has been happening lots the last few days) and had to leave the room for a moment to blow my nose and clean up a bit. 

After church, I received a blessing of comfort from a few of the wonderful, worthy Priesthood holders in our branch.  This helped almost immediately, which is wonderful. I consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life to have access to such worthy Priesthood holders since I do not have the Priesthood in my home. 

So what's the point of all of this?  Well, I'm just thinking of our Relief Society lesson we received today regarding lines of communication.  I tend to not open my heart to Heavenly Father when I'm feeling this way because it just seems so silly and stupid to feel sorry for myself when I have been given so so sooooo many blessings.  In short, I feel ungrateful.  Thusly, even though I am still saying my prayers, I am not "there" and my listening is affected.  If I had kept my lines of communication open and honest and as humble as they should have been, I could have felt much better much sooner.

If I knew that one of my children didn't come to me with a problem they really needed my help with because they were ashamed or embarrassed, it would make me quite sad that they did not realize my love for them in any instance.  How much more then, is Heavenly Father saddened to watch us do that same thing?  To sum up, I suppose in all of my trying to be what I should be, I missed  a vital point.  Love.  Heavenly Father's love.  Hopefully, I will remember a little sooner the next time and save a few tears for happy occasions rather than pity parties :):) 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missing Out

Today my husband and oldest stepson are traveling 2 hours north to visit the Little Bohemia Lodge.  For those of you who may not know, this is where the famous shootout occurred between the police and Johnny Depp :)  Not really--between the police, John Dillinger, and BabyFace Nelson.  It is a cool place and we have all been wanting to go there.  However, it was not a doable thing for my daughter and myself to tag along.  So we stayed home to do things like laundry, baking, and getting ready for a Stake Standards Event that the parents are invited to (I get to go to the planetarium with the kids----super duper YAY!!!)  Here are some pictures of Little Bohemia Lodge then, and now.  Enjoy!  I know I'll be enjoying the planetarium! 

Don't those chairs look inviting?  I would love to sit there with a glass of lemonade and watch the wildlife go by! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

I've gained some new insights on prayer and the Atonement

This week I've been studying the Atonement as I do fairly often.  We hear it spoken of so much that I feel as though I'm missing something in my studies and, I did have something new hit me this time.  I'm probably the last on board with this,  but the comment that The Savior took on not only our sins, but our troubles and sorrows particularly hit me this time.  So He would know how it felt to be "us".  Does that really mean that every time I feel I've been inadequate, He felt that?  Every time I allow myself to be burdened with guilt over past parenting errors or not fulfilling my calling to my best capabilities or whatever, He felt that  too?  Every pity party?  Every betrayal?  Every hurt feeling?  Disappointment in myself and/or others?  I'm not sure about anyone else, but for me and how often I've allowed myself to slip into the "depths of despair", that's quite a load.  Not to mention the fact that I've added to it especially regarding the  parenting issue by feeling that no one could possibly understand the extent of my disappointment, grief and guilt over this one issue.  As one who has suffered a lifetime of serious issues with self esteem, this concept adds to the disappointment I have in myself for allowing those feelings to creep in, now knowing I added to the pain and discomfort of  my Savior.  But it helps at the same time knowing He knew and felt I was well worth the effort.  Yet another layer.  I am grateful that we so often receive reminders of The Atonement and grateful there was enough love for all of us that our Savior felt we were all well worth the effort.

And a small note on prayer.  I've also been trying to pray more specifically and intricately for the help I and my friends and loved ones need.  I can just testify it absolutely works!  SKW (a brother in our branch) testified this past Sunday that you receive inspiration more specifically when we pray more specifically and by name so I decided to try it out and put even more effort into my prayers.  I have been blessed this week beyond measure.  I have been strengthened and humbled by the power of a simple "please help _____ to be able to feel the spirit and gain a desire to do the things they should be doing".  I am once again in awe of the power within our grasp and the amazing blessings that are available to us. 

Because no post would be as fun without a picture--here is a picture of myself and a group of sisters in front of the St. Paul Temple in October.  What a wonderful day we had!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What I love about scripture reading

Have you ever noticed, no matter where you are reading in the scriptures, no matter what is going on in your life, there is something for you to identify with?  For instance, Read 2 Nephi 1.  Now this is Lehi speaking to his children before he dies.  However, if you read it with any situation or struggle on your mind, the advice still applies.  Plain and simple---keep the commandments, blessings follow--don't keep the commandments, life is sure to be extremely blecky.  We know that each commandment we follow has specific blessings if obeyed and specific consequences if disobeyed, but are we sure exactly what the blessings and/or consequences are?  Which blessings am I willing to give up for a moment's disobedience?  It's a risky game.

I've been praying for help recently on a struggle my family is experiencing, pleading for guidance on how to find my way through and I kept coming back to the same thoughts----keep doing your best and living as you should.  Then I read the 1st chapter of 2 Nephi and received the same advice.  It seems simple, but when you're mid adversity, "hang in there" isn't exactly the response everyone desires.  But it inevitably is the answer.  Just a few thoughts.  :) 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thought Provoking

I stumbled across this thought provoking blog post earlier today and was compelled to share.  Please visit the link below to be reminded of a sacred privilege.

Brave Suffragetes

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Very Proud Budgeting Moment

Things have been a little tight financially around here lately and may not let up for a while.  So I've had to learn how to be more frugal, separate wants from needs, and   ugh   make a grocery budget.  I have had a grocery budget all along, however, some cutting was necessary and now we're down to the bare minimum.  I've NEVER been good at this.  EVER!  But lately, I'm getting such a kick out of how inexpensively I can feed my family.  I do the shopping every 2 weeks and this week is grocery week.  I spent over an hour researching the sale ads via the internet, making a meal plan that is coordinated with sale items, etc.  This trip needed to be even less expensive if possible.  I withdrew from our account $40 less than my actual budget.  2 hours, 3 grocery stores, and $160 later---2 weeks worth of supplies sitting on my kitchen floor waiting to be put away.  YAY!!!   I do have one question though---why does strawberry jelly in a 32 oz jar cost $1 more than the grape???????

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friends and Memories

I  have a friend (surprised?) , we'll call her Shorty since she really is rather short.  Shorty grew up in Wisconsin, but left to pursue her career. About 5 years ago, she moved back up here to live with her mom, who needed a caretaker.  Shorty and I became fast friends, however, I really never made much of an effort to get to know her mother.  Since Shorty was the primary caregiver, she planned most of our time together outside of  her home.  I never even thought twice about this.  Shorty's mother passed away a little over a year ago.  I attended the funeral and have had opportunity since then to learn quite a bit about Shorty's mother.  As I have learned, she was an absolutely remarkable woman.  One I would have been more than proud to know. 

On a related note, my brother passed away about 5 months ago. We did not have a close relationship as we have not lived as adults in the same town or even within 500 miles of each other.  Upon his death, I had opportunity to spend time with his closest friends and visit his home.  I was surprised to find many things out about him that, as his little sister, I would never have known unless I had had a relationship with him as an adult.

The point I guess I'm trying to make is that it is almost never a bad idea to put yourself out there.  To take a risk in getting to know someone or allowing someone to get to know you.  This is a mistake I have made in the past.  I am not good at making new friends and I have a hard time trusting new people.  What have I got to lose?  I have been hurt in the past by some I thought were friends.  Just like everyone else.  How many chances of a lifetime have passed me by because I was too closed off to allow someone to get to know me, or myself to get to know them?  This is a goal for myself I have been working on the past year or so, and it's working out well so far.  I have a close friend or maybe even 2 (which is quite a big deal for me).  Do I say things that are inappropriate?  Yep, absolutely!  Do I ever stick my foot in my mouth?  Yep, absolutely!  Do they?  Yep, absolutely!  Do we talk about it and move on?  YES!!  And the friendship is always better for it. 

Just some thoughts I've been having today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cats and other animals.

We have cats in our home.  3 of them.  I have not historically been a "pet person" or "animal lover", but my husband owned a cat when I married him so I suppose I had to deal with it :):)  As a child, I was like other children in wanting a kitten or a puppy, but didn't really spend alot of time with any pets that our family had and I have been afraid of dogs in particular for as long as I can remember and for good reason. 

In the last couple of years, however, I have become very close with a lady (we'll call her gorgeous, just for fun, but she actually is gorgeous!)  who owns 2 big dogs.  Tucker-a Lab/Australian Shepherd mix,  and Jackson-a St Bernard.  
Now I realized early on that if I wanted to be good friends with "Gorgeous", I was at least going to have to learn how to be around these dogs.  Don't they look horribly scary and threatening?  I think they do!  I first met Jackson when he was 10 weeks old and not puppy sized per se, but St Bernard puppy sized.  We made fast friends and now he is my best buddy.  I look forward to my visits to the home of Gorgeous and her outdoorsy husband and love to see the dogs come running out of the house at full gallop to say hello to their buddy Wendy.  YAY! 

Now what does this have to do with cats you may ask?  Well, I had never been "friends" with any of the 3 cats in my home until lately since I made friends with Jackson and Tucker and realized that Hey!  pets are people too ya know!  And since then, I've had much more fun with the kitties and I think they like me better too!  However, I still HATE that my husband tries to squish with me on my side of  the bed so as not to disturb the cats that have camped out on his side.  UGH!  But aren't they just the most precious kitties you've ever seen?  Well, top 5 anyways? 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Question of Age

Our youngest child and only daughter, age 13, has always always ALWAYS been the first one up in the morning.  Bright and early, bright eyed and bushy tailed (whatever that means) and impatiently waiting for the rest of us zombies to crawl out of bed. 

Lately, however, I've noticed somewhat of a shift.  Here's an exchange my husband had with my daughter this morning.

husband--pushes open door to her bedroom quietly to see if she's awake

daughter--(sleepily) it's like 6 am , what are YOU doing up?

husband--look at the clock

daughter---UGH!  It's not even 8 yet, go back to bed!

My husband then obediently came back upstairs and got back into bed.  I only have one question about this interchange between my husband and my daughter---why can't I get him to obey me that well? 

funny, funny, funny

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stay on the Path

I have been studying this talk this week by Sister Wixom in this past conference.  When I am at work, I wear headphones and listen to the talks via the conference website at  It brings a little bit of perspective into my "cubicle jungle".  This talk I found an excellent reminder of the importance of righteous parenting. 

Sister Wixom states "if we do not teach our children, the world will".  That is so true and it does not take long either.  How many of us have met a toddler who parrots everything you say?  How many of us have tried something we don't normally wear or eat because someone we admire does it?  I know I have and more than once.  It is the same for our children.  We must teach them correct principles and be the best examples we can for them so they can identify Satan's pitfalls when they occur. 

I challenge anyone who reads my posts to also participate in the online study group I participate in.  I will include a link below.  And if you want to study on your own, do that too!  Our church website is an absolute endless source of reading/listening material. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It works!

I learned something this morning!  I'm up early and--surprise, surprise, I'm hungry!  I wanted something hot, but really didn't want to have to "do" anything.  (I know I'm hopeless, but who really WANTS to cook at 5:00 AM?)  I decided to finally try to scramble eggs in the microwave.  I never tried it before even though it's widely known such things are possible, I firmly believed they would taste blecky.  Well guess what?!  Not only does it work, they taste oddly just like scrambled eggs!  And it only took about 2 minutes in my particular microwave. 

And another thing I never believed but found out recently is actually true--Julia Child was absolutely right.  If you don't dry the meat, it won't brown properly.  So go buy some paper towels! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Have you ever had more than one big project going on in your life at the same time?  And all of them come to a "climax" so to speak at the same time?  That's what has been happening with me the last week or so.  I"m a working mom, a billing clerk, and have been given the wonderful opportunity to work on a very big, very important, very high profile project at the business where I work.  Not only that, I am the only person "on the floor" that is participating.  Others are IT people and manager types.  I am able to participate in executive decisions, explain processes on the floor and many other opportunities with middle to upper management types.  This week is the last week of the project before it is moved to production and I am feeling the stress!  It is a wonderful career boost to be the only one on the floor involved, but, if mistakes are made or something is missed, there's no one to share the blame!  This could be wonderful or disastrous!  Stay tuned! 
The other project I have is one at home of major "dejunking".  My husband and I have a very American blended family and throughout the 6 year period of our marriage, we have had any and every combination imaginable between 1-4 children living in our home.  It's a wonderful experience!  However, it does lean to the accumulation of much furniture which is now no longer needed.  We're beginning to try to minimize somewhat so that we have a little more breathing room so to speak.  It's kind of like when you move and you realize you have about twice as much stuff as you thought you had.  :)  Wish us luck!  And if you're in the market for used furniture, give me a call!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Sustain You

This week I've been studying this conference talk by Elder Holland.  It has given me a much needed reminder that every act of service we provide, no matter how small, is appreciated and important.  I love listening to Elder Holland.  He has a lovely way of reminding us of who we are and of our divine worth.  If you need a reminder as I did, please take the time for read, listen or watch this talk.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Going to the Temple

Just want to take a minute to say how excited I am to be going to the temple tomorrow.  I do go each month as we are counseled to, however, this month's trip seems especially exciting for some reason.  We are about 3.5 hours from Minneapolis/St Paul temple and it is always well worth the effort.  These are some of my favorite times.  The branch members meet early in the morning at the church house and take off on our adventure.  It's always a day of fellowship, reflection, and communing with The Lord.  I can't wait to go and feel the spirit so close!

St Paul Temple--Saturday, October 16--Be There, or Be Square!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finally! "Family" photos

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to schedule a photo shoot with a very busy beginning photographer.  She is a sister in our branch and she made the entire experience totally fabulous and positive!  She's getting really good and really busy though, so I'm glad I was able to get the members of our family who 1- are in Stevens Point and 2- will consent to having their picture taken to agree to the shoot with me.  Here is a link to her photography site.  If you are in or around the Stevens Point, WI area I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically encourage you to at least attempt to schedule some time with her!
I love this one of myself and Jessica.  I look pretty just because she's beside me!  

Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever seen?  Adam almost looks like he's even enjoying it!  What an excellent big brother!   
Isn't she gorgeous?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

Yesterday I tried  a new recipe.  Mexican Lasagna!  I was so excited to try this new recipe as it had been served at a Relief Society function by another sister and was a big hit!  I painstakingly, not even concerned with the future health of my fingers layered the beans, cottage cheese, and noodles in the dish and placed it in the preheated oven.  When time came to consume my glorious creation, I loved it!  Next time I think I will add some green onions so there is more "flavor", but other than that, it was great!  When I asked my darling husband how his dinner was, his response was less than spectacular.  "It's okay".  I was crushed as this is usually his "I don't like it but don't want to hurt your feelings response".  How can my husband be such a good husband for me and not like any of the same foods?  I almost never get mexican food, rice, anything remotely spicy.  Thank heavens for lunches and dinners with the girls!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Compliments and Self Loathing

In the past, and present for that matter, I have sometimes had trouble accepting compliments.  I believe it is a side effect from several things.  A teasing, taunting big brother who regularly called me "dummy" (who doesn't have one of those?), and some poor friend making decisions in early adulthood being just a couple.  When someone says something nice, it just makes me uncomfortable.  "No I'm not pretty YOU"RE pretty."  "Yes, my fried chicken is delicious, but not nearly as good as it should be."  Perhaps it's not my brother's fault at all.  Maybe in my mind, there's just always room for improvement.  I remember as a youngster always feeling I would grow up to be something fantabulous and wonderful, and, upon reaching the age of 30 (I'm looking at my 41st birthday later this week) thinking "this is it?".  I remember an episode at church one Sunday.  I was serving in the Relief Society Presidency and we were a relatively new Presidency so the Stake Relief Society President and her counselors had attended our branch in hopes of providing some assistance or maybe just to get a feel for the atmosphere.  In a meeting after church, there were some lovely things said about my lesson teaching technique and I just remember sitting in the chair with my hands up in a defensive mode.  It was like they were hitting me with their compliments.  After that day, I made a firm resolve to do better at that, so I came up with the lovely retort, "thanks, but I don't agree".  I'm sure that made everyone get in line to say something nice!  However, lately I've noticed myself without even thinking being able to say "thank you, yes that lesson did go nicely didn't it?" or something along those lines.  This is all thanks in large part, to a lovely lady named Helen, a lovely friend named Vicki, and a Heavenly Father with endless patience and understanding.  I find it interesting that, at least in my case, I don't realize how much I'm struggling with an issue until I begin to get better.  I'm that way with physical illness too.  I believe it is a strange phenomenon, but most likely, I'm just like everyone else.  Funny how that works, isn't it!  And I would just like to add that I absolutely love the way Heavenly Father lets us know he's aware of us.  There are tons of things if I just pay attention.  All of these little, seemingly meaningless events that mean so much to me each day.  I find it mind boggling how things both physical and spiritual are given to us at the precise time that we're ready for them.  Most of the time unable to see that they were given at the perfect time until later.  I find great comfort in the fact that someone who knows me so intricately and loves me so completely is the one who is taking care of me and guiding me to where I need to be.  Thanks!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My First Post

Okay, here it goes, my very first blog post ever!  I have a few friends who blog and I so much enjoy reading their posts and getting a view into their lives.  I thought I could do it too!  However, I thought my blog would be a little different in that all the things I want to share, but don't know quite who to share them with,  would be written here.  If you're reading this and you're a part of my life, don't get nervous.  All outside of family (and some in family) names will be changed to protect the innocent.  I am an avid member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and enjoy attending and participating in church service.  Does this mean I am a "polly perfect", "molly mormon"?  No!  I am actually the anti polly or anti molly.  I'm hopelessly flawed, I stink at crafts, I can't sew anything more complicated than a button (and sometimes that gives me trouble) I don't garden, can, or lots of the other things associated with those stereotypes.  I do, however, love The Lord, and am doing my best to be the best person I can be.  So here we go on our blogging journey.  I hope it is a positive experience for all of us!