Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What Are You Giving Your Sweetheart?

Image courtesy of

Dear Fellow-Wives,This morning I came upon a wonderful article about remembering our husbands during this busy time of year. I knew I just had to share it with all of you! Here's just a sampling. (To read the complete article, follow this link.):

'Julie and April were helping in their children's kindergarten class a few weeks before Christmas, as they discussed all the antics they had been through to get their kids the perfect Christmas gifts. They laughed and giggled about all they had done to find just the right gifts, and to make their kids' Christmas extra special. One of them had driven to four different locations of the same store just to find the specific longed-for toy that was a must-have on her son's Christmas list.'

'The tone changed a bit when Julie said, "So, what are you getting your husband?" They both chuckled when they simultaneously quipped, "We know what they want, of course."
This was quickly dismissed as they pondered the necessary and practical gifts they needed to find for their husbands' Christmas.' 

 'Upon further reflection it disturbed them to realize that their husbands' gifts had been mostly an afterthought, eliciting nowhere near the same level of excitement and anticipation of their gift-giving to their children. It was alarmingly clear where their hearts and minds were. They had reveled in the anticipation of their children's reactions to their Christmas creation, but thought little of their husbands' response.' 

 'They determined that their husbands' Christmas gifts would be something that evoked at least as much excitement and eager anticipation as they felt in giving to their children. They knew that what their husband's really wanted and needed the most was their time and attention. The desired gift may not even be tangible, but instead be gifts of Appreciation, Admiration, Attention and Affection.'

My prayer for every wife this season, is that they will honor their husbands, and give a gift of the heart. :-)


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A New Blessing

Avalon Noelle

Joined Our Family

on Thursday, December 4th, 2008

at 8:08 AM

Weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces

We're so glad she's here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Random Thoughts on Motherhood

Lovely Shower Gifts from Generous Friends

I am due with Baby #10 tomorrow. 

(As if any baby gave a hoot and a half about when their "due date" might be...)*sigh*

I am excited, nervous, tired... all of those 9-month-pregnant-lady things. I am also so excited to NOT be pregnant, that I am willing to go through labor and delivery.Shouldn't that count for something? (Okay, body, get to work! *wink*)

I am feeling that my baby-bearing days are over, and that makes me sad and relieved all at the same time. I realize that I am no Michelle Duggar (LOVE her, by the way) and that the Lord is not going to require me to run faster than I have strength. My older kids are needing more mothering and mentoring from me. And it does feel like our family is pretty complete.

I want to follow the Lord's plan for me and my family. And I love babies and have relatively easy pregnancies. But I am beginning to feel my age, and I can see that the needs of my big kids are falling by the wayside, at times, because babies require so much of this mother's time and focus.How does one gracefully give up the baby years and move forward with mothering?In a way, the potential for change in my life scares me. I am now an EXPERT on birthing, nursing, changing, training, and mothering babies. (ha!) I've been doing it constantly for almost 15 years! Can I also be successful at guiding my youth into adulthood? Can I really be able to help them face life? Then again, if I don't do it, who will...?

I guess motherhood is not just about having babies. All children need a loving mother throughout their lives. It is humbling to know that these ten people are not only here because of me, but that they will continue to grow and learn and make decisions based on what they are taught by me-- in both my words and my example. Of course, I've always known this, but now I feel that I'm awakening to the reality of my future mothering life. One without new babies in it to fill my time, and garner most of my attention.

It almost feels like starting over. With my first baby, I was 19, enjoying life as a newly-wed and college student. And then the babies just kept coming, and suddenly, I'm in my thirties and wondering how the time has gone by so fast.

Something I know for sure: children are a gift from God-- each and every one. And I feel humbled and grateful that the Lord has entrusted me with so many of his wonderful children.

I am anxious to meet our sweet baby #10. She is really going to be loved.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

United for Freedom and Family...

This is not a "political" blog-- I do not consider preserving marriage to be a political issue.

The harassment inflicted upon peaceful, family-loving citizens is speaking for itself. The protesters assembling in anger across the United States do not love freedom, are not thinking generationally, and are willing to strip the freedoms of religion (a first amendment right, which inspired the very colonization of this continent) and democracy from the good, voting people of this country.

No, we should not stoop to their level and attack with venom and hate. But we should be free to let our voices be heard and validated by our votes, especially when the vote sounded a clear and direct message FOR traditional marriage in not only California, but in multiple states across our great nation.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Victories for Traditional Marriage!!!

I am so very VERY grateful that the people of Arizona, California, and Florida chose to protect and honor traditional marriage in their states. I am rejoicing for these results today!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Standing for Truth and Righteousness

I will be voting today, and keeping a prayerful vigil that the Marriage Propositions in California, Arizona, and Florida all pass.

Please, wherever you live, get out there today and VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How the Media Effects Youth

 A recent article on comes as no surprise-- at least not to me! The article (linked below), titled "Study links sexual content on TV to teen pregnancy" said:

"Researchers... found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years."

Young people are being morally attacked on all sides. Television shows, movies, and social networking sites like "MySpace" and "Facebook" portray lewd behavior and loose morals as "normal," "desirable," and "no big deal." How much heartache and regret could be spared if only we encourage our youth to abandon the world's ideals, and look inside themselves for their God-given talents and gifts?Some hard questions I've been asking myself include:
  • Do our youth spend so much time being "busy" with extra curricular activities, that they have no personal, quiet time to commune with God, and ponder on their personal beliefs and testimonies?
  • Do we allow things in our home that teach our children ideas that are contrary to what my husband and I have taught them?
  • Are we letting the morals of the world creep little by little into our home and family culture?
  • What can we eliminate TODAY that will allow more peace, harmony, and light to fill our home?
I've come to the conclusion that most movies, even if they're "fun" or "cute" or "funny", do not need to be seen by our family. Our Youth will still have lots of interesting things to talk about, even if they're not "caught up" on the latest television programs. My children do not need to be active on social networking sites in order to have friends. And each child only participates in activities away from our home and hearth that will lift them and bring them closer to God and the fulfillment of their life's missions. They do not require all kinds of lessons and activities in order to become "well-rounded" or educated.

Our children will not be deprived if we close our doors on the world. In fact, we will be doing our families a huge favor if we "abandon our cottages in Babylon" and turn our backs on the "Great and Spacious Building."

With the Lord's help we can do it-- and the futures of our children will be even brighter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Great Article on Marriage

Dear Friends,

One of our readers, Amy H., sent me a wonderful article about protecting traditional marriage.

Three states will be voting on adding amendments to their state constitutions next week, and I hope all my readers in Arizona, California, and Florida will get out there and vote to keep marriage a sacred union between one man and one woman. Our vote does count, and we can make a difference in the world our children and grandchildren will face.

(It was written by an anonymous lady residing in California-- if anyone knows who we can credit for it, please e-mail me at libermama at gmail dot com. Thanks!)

The issue of same sex marriage is heating up, and the camp campaigning against has spilt ink decrying the practice as an “abomination” against decency. This is a shame. Homosexual couples are not an abomination. They are self centered. 
It’s not that they are alone. The entire modern American culture has become consumed by self centeredness, convinced that any tradition, law or practice was created solely to fulfill the personal desires of the population. Translation: It’s all about me and gay couples are no different. They speak passionately about equality to marry, the need to proclaim their love in front of friends and family and present their arguments as a rebuttal to the past practice of forbidding mixed race couples from marrying. It’s all very rousing, but ends by missing the point of marriage. Equality has little to do with it - we do not allow children or blood relatives to marry. Proclaiming your love in front of an audience is touching, but marriage is not your personal fulfillment factory. 

Marriage has a very narrow job-description, but in doing that job, it has a wide effect on societies that respect it. It answers the question “Who will take care of this child?” by 1) removing the man from circulation so he cannot get other women pregnant, 2) creating a safe space for a woman to give herself to a man and 3) ensuring that a woman will not go through her pregnancy and raise the child alone and poor. In short, it sanctifies the sexual act by forcing a man to pay for the offspring that might result from his sexual activity. The benefits - the child gets two parents to support and protect him or her, the man has his energies engaged in a worthwhile project, and women are cherished. You must admit this is better than the current craze of disposable sex, where women and their children get dumped into poverty because the man has moved on. 

America’s unfortunate history of forbidding mixed-race couples from marrying fully supports the application of marriage as a protector of women and children. If anyone needs the legal and economic protections of marriage, it would be the woman marrying outside of her race. If society, her family, and her new in-laws frown on the relationship, she and her children will still be supported and protected by the bonds suggested by her marriage. Marriage is blind to color, social status or economic level. Its main job is to make certain the man is bound to protect and support his wife and children, and turns a deaf ear to any secondary arguments regarding the suitability of the match. It doesn’t give a hoot what the Country Club will say. If the couple is married, that is all that matters to the law. The wife and the children are blessed as legitimate, primary family members that deserve protection.

Obviously, homosexual couples do not have the same need of this protection. A household made up of two men will not suddenly find itself scrambling to provide for a new baby in nine months. Gay adoption is indeed an issue, but should we weaken the description of marriage in order to accommodate children that are largely available only because of the dissolution of their own families?

There is no magic tool that will perform every job. It is best to get the one tool that is specifically made to perform the exact job you are attempting to do. Marriage is just such a tool. It is designed to link sex to a protective environment that does not exploit women. Let’s keep it that way. It really is NOT all about you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Safely Gathered In-- Part Two

Today, while perusing The Prudent Homemaker (a wonderful site by a wonderful lady), I found a link to a very inspiring "you-can-do-it" talk on food storage given by Vaughn J. Featherstone. I wanted to share an excerpt from that speech with you today:

This morning I would like to discuss food storage. Let me suggest three or four things we can do. Start by taking an inventory—take a physical count of all of your reserves. This would be a great family home evening project if you’re prepared. If not, it may be terribly embarrassing to you in front of your family. Imagine how the powerful testimony you bear concerning a living prophet must sound to your children, who know that as a family head you have been counseled for years to have a year’s reserve of food on hand. We need to know where we are. Every family should take an inventory—get all the facts.

Second, decide what is needed to bring your present reserve levels to a year’s supply. Then make a list and prepare a plan. Consider first, what are the basics?—wheat (or grain from your locale), sugar or honey, dri
ed milk, salt, and water. Most of us can afford such basics. Buy them from your monthly food budget allowance. The Church discourages going into debt to buy for storage.

Now that you know where you are and where you need to be, the third step is to work out a time schedule for when you will reach your goal. I suggest that one year from today we ought to have a year’s supply of food in all active—and many inactive—members’ homes in the Church. Where food storage violates the law of your land, then abide the law. However, even in those cases we can plant gardens and fruit trees and raise rabbits or chickens. Do all you can within the laws of your community, and the Lord will bless you when the time of need comes.

Now here are some suggestions how: 

 1. Follow the prophet. He has counseled us to plant a garden and fruit trees. This year don’t just think about it—do it. Grow all the food you possibly can. Also remember to buy a year’s supply of garden seeds so that, in case of a shortage, you will have them for the following spring. I’m going to tell you where to get the money for all the things I’m going to suggest.

2. Find someone who sells large bulk of grains, depending on your locale. Make arrangements to buy a ton or so of grain.

3. Find someone who sells honey in large containers and make arrangements to buy what you can afford on a regular basis or buy a little additional sugar each time you go to the store.

4. Purchase dry milk from the store or dairy, on a systematic basis.

5. Buy a case of salt the next time you go to the store. In most areas, 24 one-pound packages will cost you less than $5.

6. Store enough water for each member of your family to last for at least two weeks.
Where the foods I mentioned are not available or are not basic in your culture or area, make appropriate substitutions.

Now you ask, “Where do I get the money for these things? I agree we need them, but I’m having a hard time making ends meet.”
Here is how you do it. Use any one or all of these suggestions, some of which may not be applicable in your country:

1. Decide as a family this year that 25 or 50 percent of your Christmas will be spent on a year’s supply. Many families in the Church spend considerable sums of money for Christmas. Half or part of these Christmas monies will go a long way toward purchasing the basics. I recall the Scotsman who went to the doctor and had an X-ray taken of his chest. Then he had the X-ray gift-wrapped and gave it to his wife for their anniversary. He couldn’t afford a gift, but he wanted her to know his heart was in the right place. Brethren, give your wife a year’s supply of wheat for Christmas, and she’ll know your heart is in the right place.

2. When you desire new clothes, don’t buy them. Repair and mend and make your present wardrobe last a few months longer. Use that money for the food basics. Make all of your nonfood necessities that you feasibly can, such as furniture and clothing.

3. Cut the amount of money you spend on recreation by 50 percent. Do fun things that do not require money outlay but make more lasting impressions on your children.

4. Decide as a family that there will be no vacation or holiday next year unless you have your year’s supply. Many Church members could buy a full year’s supply of the basics from what they would save by not taking a vacation. Take the vacation time and work on a family garden. Be together, and it can be just as much fun.

5. If you haven’t a year’s supply yet and you do have boats, snowmobiles, campers, or other luxury possessions, sell or trade one or two or more of them and get your year’s supply.

6. Watch advertised specials in the grocery stores and pick up extra supplies of those items that are of exceptional value.

7. Change the mix in your family’s diet. Get your protein from sources less expensive than meat. The grocery bill is one bill that can be cut. Every time you enter the store and feel tempted by effective and honest merchandising to buy cookies, candy, ice cream, non-food items, or magazines—don’t! Think carefully; buy only the essentials. Then figure what you have saved and spend it on powdered milk, sugar, honey, salt, or grain. The Lord will make it possible, if we make a firm commitment, for every Latter-day Saint family to have a year’s supply of food reserves by April 1977. All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment. Miracles will take place; the way will be opened, and next April we will have our storage areas filled. We will prove through our actions our willingness to follow our beloved prophet and the Brethren, which will bring security to us and our families.

I LOVE this talk! Sisters, I really think that we CAN be more prepared, if only we take it one step at a time. I admit that I have a long way to go, but I'm working on it. That's all we can do, right? :-)Here a link to the entire talk: Food Storage by Vaughn J. Featherstone

P.S.-- Please feel free to post about your progress in the comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Power of a Loving Wife

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
(From The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare)

Many, many women I know react with a shudder when they hear the speech made by the character of Katherina in the final act of Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew.” Because of current society's view of men and women and marriage, I was once a woman of a similar mind. Throughout the sixteen years of my marriage, I have done much study and reading on the subjects of womanhood and what it means to be a good wife. I have found for myself, that Katherina's words are not only accurate, but that if they are applied in a marriage, greater happiness can come to the home and family.

When we, as wives, ask ourselves how we would like to be treated, can we honestly say that we would enjoy being nagged or corrected? Why has “shrewishness” become the normal state of wives in the media, and even in our homes? As women, we have the role of mother to play, but we should never begin to use those methods with our husbands. If we expect marriage to be an equal, loving partnership, then we should never overstep our bounds and push our husbands in to the role of a child. Nagging, complaining, and correcting our spouse places them lower on the family hierarchy, and serves only to erode and destroy the relationship between husband and wife.

Some might say that when a wife plays the feminine role and submits to her husband, that she is becoming the “child” in the relationship. The difference I see, is that when one chooses to become humble and meek like a little child, they are following the path that Christ has set when he said, 
“... Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 KJV) 

We can choose to stand, arms crossed, and insist that the other person is the one who needs to change. The result of that experiment would manifest itself rather quickly in the form of hostility, resentment, heartbreak– but never can produce change, love or respect. We can choose to be “right”, or we can choose to heal that most important and precious of relationships—our marriage.

In the play, “The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare points out a great truth of human nature: People live up to the expectations others have of them. And that truth reverberates not only in the Bard's work, but also in Proverbs, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV) I feel that the role and story of “Sly” in the beginning of the play open our thoughts up to the logic behind the above philosophies. Then later, Katherina changes of her own free will and choice into a person that can have much more influence and power in her home and marriage than being a shrew ever could give her. (And more than it ever gave her in her childhood home.) To my mind, Katherina saw the opportunity to turn over a new leaf, and found the love that always had evaded her in the past as a result of her choice to be humble.

Over time, in the midst of my study and pondering on the role of wives within a marriage, I came to the conclusion that I contribute more to my marriage, home and family when I fill the role that God has given me. I love my husband, and I want to stay happily married. If I were to try and take on his role, or to attempt to reduce his role to that of a child, our relationship would strain, then crumble, then die. Love begets more love, and sarcasm, complaints, and general “shrewishness” creates hard feelings and avoidance. 

I have asked myself, on several occasions, “Do I allow my husband to fill his God-given role as provider and protector? Do I treat him as a MAN, the head of our family, or do I follow the trends of society at large, and leave my husband feeling useless? Do I expect him to step in and take over my work, when what he needs from me is soothing, loving care that will give him the courage to face another day outside our home “slaying dragons”?

Men want to provide for their families. They want to protect us, and they want us to let them be who God designed them to be. We can show our love and appreciation for all they do by creating a haven for them at the end of a long day of “painful labour both by sea and land” for us and our children. 
One of my favorite stories portrays this idea beautifully. I want to include an excerpt from it here:
Men are such queer things, husbands especially. For instance, they want us to be economical, and yet they love to see us in pretty clothes. They need our work and yet they want us to keep our youth and beauty. And sometimes they don’t know themselves which they really want most. So we have to choose. That’s what makes it so hard.”
Just after we were married, my husband decided to have his own business so he started a very tiny one. I helped my husband in the store, but we would both be tired and discouraged after a hard day at the office and we didn’t seem to be having any great success. The house got run down and dinner was always a hasty affair, and soon we both started complaining and bickering with each other.”
Finally, we decided that maybe I should stay at home and let him take care of his work at the office as best he could. And then I worked in my house to make it a clean, shining, happy place. My husband would come home dead tired and discouraged, ready to give up the whole thing. But after he had eaten and sat in our bright little living room, and I had told him all the funny things I could invent about my day, I could see the change in him. By bedtime, he had his courage back, and by morning he was all ready to go out and fight again. And at last he won.”
There was a queen once, who reigned in troubled days. And every time the country was on the brink of war and the people ready to fly into a panic, she would put on her showiest dress and take her court with her and go hunting. And when the people would see her riding by, they were sure all was well with the government. So she tided over many a danger.”
And I’ve tried to be like her. Whenever a big crisis comes in my husband’s business, or when he’s discouraged, I put on my prettiest dress and get the best dinner I know how, or give a party! And somehow it seems to work. That’s the woman’s part, you know, to play the queen.”
(“When Queens Ride By” By Olive White Fortenbacher, published by Walter H. Baker, Co., 1932, Agnes Slight Turnbull, editor and compiler.)

I also want to share one last quote that I came upon the other day. It was given by a woman I admire very much, who was married to her sweetheart for well over 60 years before she passed away:
I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don’t be a whiner.”  
(Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things [2003], 31; emphasis mine)

I hope that I am the kind of wife my husband needs most. I try to put his needs before my own, and build him up to my children. I strive to make our home a haven where his efforts are loved and acknowledged. I show him affection in the ways that he needs and appreciates. I do my best to be frugal and careful with the hard-earned money he provides for our family. And though I have a way to go, I try to let him occasionally see me at my best, and not always at my worst. (*grin*)

I sincerely hope that I am becoming more like the reformed shrew, Katherina, from “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Making People, Not Things, a Priority

Today I read an article from the Christian Science Monitor, and found it so nice and refreshing to read another article why children should be valued and welcomed into families. Below is a quote or two, and the then a link to the actual article:

"I've heard the argument that children use up precious resources. But as far as I'm concerned, my children are a resource."

"When, later in life, we parents will be the ones who need constant care, it's our children who will be providing it; let's hope there are enough of them to go around."

"Despite world population growth trend lines, birthrates are falling in Europe. Even here in the US, the number of births per woman hovers right around replacement rates. A relatively small number of couples choosing to have four or five or even 12 kids isn't likely to skew those numbers much."

"My kids aren't status symbols, but to me they are a symbol of sorts: Children represent opportunity for the love, compassion, and support that's learned within families to be shared with the rest of us."

"It's time our entire culture shifted its priority away from things and back toward people."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where do we stand?

So did you do an evaluation? Is there room for improvement in your food storage? I know there is in mine!

This weekend, I cleaned out my pantry and-- after a trip to the store-- organized our dry goods. I found that I was storing too many non-food items in the pantry (like canning jars and grocery sacks). So I had to make room for the actual food! (duh...) But it's okay, we're learning, right? We're making progress and that's good!

In my last post, I got a comment from a great lady named Hannah who has an AMAZING preparedness blog at  They are doing what I was starting to do in a much more organized manner. I highly suggest you check it out! They give clear, step by step instructions on how to get prepared for whatever is on the horizon in these troubled times. They have a multitude of recipes, and free printable lists.

And now, some suggestions from Sister Wendy DeWitt's booklet on food storage, for adding on to the LDS Church's One Month Food Storage Kit ( link here) :  

If I were to begin adding items to the one month kits they would be:
1) Sugar, Dry Milk, Salt, and Macaroni
2) Yeast and a wheat grinder
3) Basic pantry items: baking powder, unflavored gelatin (mixed with water this is an egg substitute in baked items!!!) dried onions, cocoa, vinegar, vanilla and spices (garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, crushed red peppers, seasoning salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper) Now the flour can be used to make things like wheat and oatmeal muffins, cinnamon bread, spice and chocolate cakes, and rice pudding.
4) Bottled meats
5) Dehydrated  or canned fruits and vegetables
6) Soup bases (like boullion)
7) And don't forget the WATER!!!
Happy preparing!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Safely Gathered In- Part One

Lately I have been feeling more of a push to get my family and home prepared for emergencies. (read: FOOD STORAGE, etc.) And with the economy going who knows where, I'm feeling it would be wise to get back on the "preparation bandwagon" and put into action all the things I've learned-- and sometimes done-- over the years.

A couple of things have inspired me again in my quest for preparedness. First was a survival experiment (simulation) done by a lady I met online. Luckily, she did blog a bit about it, and you can read about the experience here:

One of the things that she discovered, is that what we think might be enough for our family to live on, is not usually accurate! (I found that, too, when we lived with similar circumstances-- more on that further down!) Her "Suffering Simulation"  got me thinking, so I did some looking around "YouTube" and found a video that features LDS women explaining their food storage supplies, and how they gather, store, and use their food storage. I was especially impressed with the last lady on the video. I could see that she was probably the only one who had a full year's supply of not only food, but all the non-food necessities, as well. Here's a link to the video:

Just about one year ago, my husband and I attended an amazing fireside done by a great lady here in our area. Her name is Wendy DeWitt. She handed out a booklet that helps figure out how much we need to store of certain foods, (complete with recipes) and talked about all the different ways to store a variety of foods. She did give all of us who attended permission to share what we learned from her. She just wants to get the word out, and I feel the prompting to spread the information, too. So keep an eye out for her great ideas in the future!

Lastly, I wanted to link back to some of my former posts on food storage and some lessons we learned in our home when we were going through a time of scarcity.

We CAN prepare ourselves and our families for unforeseen troubles. Remember, if we are prepared, we have no reason to fear! So let's get started, shall we? Let's start with a small goal of 3 months storage and go from there.

I'll be back with a new "All Safely Gathered In" post next week. Until then, I have a challenge for all my sisters: * Take time this week to go through the food storage you have and WRITE IT DOWN in a notebook or binder that you will set aside for food storage/preparedness. Record what the food is, and how much you've got. Then walk around your home and record where you can store some food.

We don't each need a big store room or fancy shelves to store food. I'm betting you have some space under beds, in closets, basements, crawlspaces, or under stairs. Write those spaces down, considering the potential of each. And feel free to record what your "ideal"circumstances would be, but recognize that we cannot afford to freeze up and panic due to our perfectionism. We are just going to do what we CAN right now. So, ladies, find a notebook, some paper, a pen or pencil, and start evaluating! We CAN do this, little by little. Who's with me?! On your mark, get set, and... GO!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“The Freedom to Fail is the Freedom to Succeed”

I grew up believing that failure was unacceptable. From the time I was tiny, I learned that mistakes were unpleasant things I needed to avoid at all costs. Being the eldest child in my family, I wanted to please the adults around me, so I did all I could to excel at everything I attempted. In most of the arts-- especially the performing arts-- I was successful. But those things that fell short of my expectations were discarded and pushed completely out of my life. (Math was never one I could completely avoid, but I sure tried!)
I have always had confidence and ambition in my talents, and I worked hard in my youth to meticulously develop and grow them. I joined all the groups I could, performed regularly, and practiced constantly. But I look back on those years now, and see all of the challenges, (such as academics) that I casually abandoned because I did not see immediate success. In the areas of study that interested me, or were intuitive, I thrived. The subjects that would have challenged and pushed me were given up, if they were even attempted at all. I wonder now if I would be a different person today if I had pushed through the unpleasant failures and turned them into successes. Could I have overcome those things that did not come easily to me?
This tendency to reject the difficult and focus only on my strengths is a behavior I still struggle with today, although running a household and being a parent have brought more balance to my expectations. I have been forced by failures and circumstances to learn to “lower my standards” and find joy in the little victories, rather than expecting perfection in my efforts. One of those unchangeable circumstances I've faced is that housework is never done, and never CAN be done. I've finally realized (after 16 years of running a home) that there will never be any accolades or parades in the streets for doing the dishes or for placing clean underwear in drawers. 
With nine children, I can not take care of household duties and children on my own. Though my husband is a great help, he cannot be home with me throughout the day. It took years of reading homemaking and parenting books, that helped me finally let go of my stubborn determination to be perfect (while wallowing in guilt daily that I could not attain what level of perfection I felt I “should” be attaining). 
For example, some of these epiphanies came from Marla Ciley “FlyLady”, her e-mail list and book, “Sink Reflections.” She talks a lot about giving up our perfectionism, and accepting that “Housework done a little at a time still blesses my family.” I learned that a mere fifteen minutes on a task could put me that much closer to a clean house, and it made me feel good to accept my limits, and not demand so much of myself. Then, because I freed myself from my unbalanced expectations, I was able to accept the contributions of my children with more gratitude and praise, and with less comments about how they could have “done it better/right”.
Parenting is another area that has changed my perspective in a big way. When my older children were small, I now realize that I expected far too much of them. At the time, I really was trying to be a “good” parent by demanding adult behavior of my little ones. We were always complimented on how “well-behaved” our children were, and that just added fuel to the fire of my pride! Then, when those children grew, and more little ones were added to our family, I came to realize how fleeting childhood is, and recognized that I had done my 0lder children a disservice by expecting too much, too soon. 
Luckily, we found and implemented the TJEd principles in our family culture, and I was able to back off of my conveyor belt mentality. Then recently, my husband and I took a good look at “Love and Logic” principles, and tried them in our home. Our relationships with our children have improved an hundred fold, and we have finally been able to let go of our impractical ideals of what their “success” should look like. Like Ralph's dad in the book Little Britches, we are now letting natural consequences and real work, rather than the contrived, teach our children. And we've saved our relationships with them in the process. Their confidence is soaring, and they are going far and above our expectations in their efforts because they are choosing their own paths and overcoming their own obstacles. All we had to do was teach them correct principles with love, and then stand out of their way to allow them to fail or succeed on their own.
 Today, I am still finding a fine line between giving something up out of discouragement, and being able to accept my limits and say “no” to things that are not right for me, at present. (Not being able to say “NO” is another weakness of mine for another blog entry...) But as I look back at where I've been, and can see how far I have come, I am finding that I can more easily accept my failures and learn from them: I can endure many pregnancies; I can teach  a Shakespeare class my way, without guilt or apology; I can fulfill my duties at church, and learn valuable lessons in difficult circumstances; I can study my scriptures and pray and take a quiet hour each day to commune with God; and yes, I can even survive writing a paper for my Five Pillar book group! 
I hope that my children are watching, and that they can see that the difficult things in their own lives are challenges they can tackle, without abandoning them. And I'm watching and learning from my children, as well. I can honestly say that my failures are giving me the freedom to succeed, too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Marriage Protection Amendment

Dear Friends,

Those who are familiar with this blog know how strongly I feel about the family and the traditional roles of fathers and mothers.

Marriage is the essential ingredient in any successful society, and now is the time for the many who believe in marriage to stand up and make a difference!

The following is a very uplifting and inspiring message that we can share with others. Let's make this message spread like wildfire! We need to share the link via e-mail, post it on your blogs, get it "out there" any way we can. We must stand together and make our voices heard.

The institution of marriage and the families of today and the future deserve it! VOTE TO SAVE THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE ON NOVEMBER 4th!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Something Positive!

I hope I haven't been too negative here lately. Sometimes, it's easy to get bogged down in in this day and age, but I thought I'd cheer things up around here a bit, and let anyone who visits here know that life and motherhood can be sweet and full of joy!

Last night, a great lady I admire shared a quote with me from Stephen R. Covey's book "First Things First." It has helped remind me why I became a mother in the first place, and gave me the courage to move onward and upward, while finding joy in the little things-- or little ones-- in my life.

To set the scene, Mr. Covey said this to his daughter who had just become a new mother and was feeling overwhelmed: "Just relax. Relax and enjoy the nature of this new experience. Let this infant feel your joy in the role of mother. No one else can love and nurture that child the way you can. All other interests pale in comparison for now.." And then he added this comment: " the short run, her life was going to be imbalanced... and that it should be."

I'm so thankful to be a mother, even on those days that make me wonder what on earth I was thinking! LOL! We can do this, fellow mommies, if we only look for help from our Maker.

The babies will grow, and will someday be gone. But the lessons we are learning now about motherhood and charity will stay with us always. So kiss those little peanut-butter smeared faces, and snuggle those wiggly little bodies. This too shall pass, and we'll be so grateful that we were a part of it all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Family

As mothers, we live in an interesting age and time. Society seems to value children less and less-- why?

I have lots of personal opinions, *wink* but for now I will only say that I believe that God will help and support those who choose to be parents.

Of course, being a mother of a large family, I can accurately say that circumstances are not always easy and never ideal, BUT I have seen how parents trusting in the Lord and His plan for families, no matter the size, has miraculous results.

In the following article, statistics are shown that women are having fewer children, if they decide to have children at all:,2933,405942,00.html

What will the future bring? Hopefully, families will not go the way of many parts of Europe, and drive themselves into extinction.

Julie B. Beck, President of the LDS Relief Society (a women's organization with hundreds of thousands of members), said it this way:  
Mothers Who Know Bear Children Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are "becoming less valued," in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets... have declared that "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force." President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that "in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."
Faithful daughters of God desire children. In the scriptures we read of Eve, Sarah , Rebekah , and Mary, who were foreordained to be mothers before children were born to them. Some women are not given the responsibility of bearing children in mortality, but just as Hannah of the Old Testament prayed fervently for her child, the value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection.
Women who desire and work toward that blessing in this life are promised they will receive it for all eternity, and eternity is much, much longer than mortality. There is eternal influence and power in motherhood.

Bearing and raising children is not popular in today's world. Venues and services cater less and less to families with children.

For example, there was a recent story in the national news about airline services that separate children and parents from those traveling without children. Many people, including parents, lauded the idea. But what does this say about society's view-- that children are a "nuisance" and should not be heard OR seen?! Are adults without children so easily annoyed that they cannot tolerate non-adults? Why?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach talks about this issue in a recent article here:

It is my view that as society continues to disregard the value of children, that cultures, traditions, and morals will continue to be lost. What ideas and thoughts get passed down if no one bears children? Who takes care of the future elderly? Who then moves into influence and power if people today refuse to provide the earth with the people of tomorrow?

There ARE people in today's society who value children and raise large families. Their children will be the ones to create the world of the future. While my husband and I did not have a large family in order to change society, the things that we are teaching our children though our family culture will have an impact on future generations.

Don't get me wrong-- it is NOT without sacrifices! But hopefully my children will realize and understand that children are of great value, that families can have an impact for good, and that each one was welcomed to our home with open arms.

Family size is really immaterial-- it is the attitude that is really important. Do we feel our children are bothersome? Do we speak negatively about them and the care and attention they require? (They DO hear our complaints, even when we think they don't.) Do we resent the sacrifices that come with being a mother? Are we so focused on the annoyance of the moment, that we lose sight of the grander scheme of eternity?

We're all guilty of these tendencies, but we CAN choose to change our hearts and our attitudes. We can choose to see ourselves as the great mothers of nations or as martyrs of our "what-could-have-beens." Will our daughters and sons want to be parents someday, or are we telling them that children are just too much trouble to bother with?

Children are an asset-- not a liability. If we can help ourselves AND others see that, we very well could change the world. One mother at a time...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why Men Don't Court Women Anymore

I read this article on another blog, and loved how the author clarified my same thoughts on this issue.

Ladies, do we allow our husbands to "court" us? Do we treat them as MEN, the heads of our family, or do we follow the trends of society at large, and leave our husbands feeling useless? Do we expect them to step in and take over our work, without letting them be our knights in shining armor?

Men want to provide for their families. They want to protect us, and they want us to let them be who God designed them to be. We can show our love and appreciation for all they do by creating a haven for them at the end of a long day of "fighting dragons" for us and our children.

And here is another article about the way society, especially the media, continues to emasculate the men in our lives by portraying them as weak-minded, crass, and unneeded.

What are we teaching our sons and daughters about the roles of husband and father? Something to ponder today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Children are the ONLY Future

Germany is having a population crisis. When will people figure out that without children, there is no hope-- that children ARE the future? I really like this commercial they're now airing in Germany. But how sad it is that their government needs to come out and try to convince people that children are important?! I pray that our dear USA will never get to this place, but at the rate we're going...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Fun Quiz

Dear Friends,

I found a fun "30's Housewife" test thanks to my friend Suzanne and her blog at . (Hi Suzanne!)

I thought you might enjoy taking it!

My results are:

As a 1930s wife, I am Very Superior

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Article: "A Living Sacrifice"

The paragraphs below are taken from an article I read this morning that has quite simply, MADE MY DAY!!!

(After the excerpt below, there's a link to the article itself.) 

"Paul’s words sprang to my mind, words that had burned into me years before at the start of my fourth pregnancy, when I was wondering how I would ever manage another baby.

" 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service' " (Romans 12:1).

"Present your body as a living sacrifice. Sacrifice: the word comes from the Latin sancire, meaning to make sacred. That’s exactly what I was doing: offering my very flesh and blood to God, to meet his purposes, to fulfill the desires for children he had planted within me."  

Sunday, May 11, 2008


  I just thought I'd share some more of my favorite motherhood quotes in celebration of this wonderful day. May God bless you in your precious roles as mothers!

 “The spiritual rewards of motherhood are available to all women. Nurturing the young, comforting the frightened, protecting the vulnerable, teaching and giving encouragement need not-- and should not-- be limited to our own children.” -- Elder Russell M. Nelson

"Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society." -- Benjamin Franklin
Discipline is not just a matter of punishment for wrongdoing, but of teaching our youth not to do wrong in the first place.” -- Gordon B. Hinckley
Other things may change us, but we start and end with family." --Anthony Brandt
"She who is the mother and housekeeper in a large family is the sovereign of an empire, demanding more varied cares, and involving more difficult duties, than are really exacted of her who wears a crown and professedly regulates the interests of the greatest nation on earth." --The American Woman's Home, 1869

 "Survey our empire and behold our home!" -- Lord Byron  

"Please don't nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept your effort." --Gordon B. Hinckley (Ensign, November 1989, p. 96.)

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained." --Winston Churchill
The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers … exist for one purpose only — and that is to support this ultimate career.” -- C.S. Lewis
God has implanted deep in the souls of parents the truth that they cannot with impunity shirk the responsibility to protect childhood and youth. There seems to be a growing tendency to shift this responsibility from the home to outside influences, such as the school and the church. Important as these outward influences are, they never can take the place of the influence of the mother and the father.” --David O. McKay
"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity." --Margaret D. Nadauld (YW General President)
When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?” -- Neal A. Maxwell
"Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith." --President Boyd K. Packer
"How can you have too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers"  
-- Mother Teresa
"When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants discovering, God sends a baby into the world to do it. While most of the thousands of precious infants born every hour will never be known outside their neighborhoods, there are great souls being born who will rise above their mother gives us a Shakespeare, another a Michelangelo, and other an Abraham Lincoln. When theologians are reeling and stumbling, when lips are pretending and hearts are wandering, and people are running to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord and cannot find it - when clouds of error need dissipating and spiritual darkness needs penetrating and heavens need opening, a little infant is born." --Spencer W. Kimball

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fabulous Potatoes

 I grew up in Idaho-- Potato Country. And this dish could be found at almost any church or civic function. (They're also known as "Funeral Potatoes," due to their propensity for being served at funerals, as well.) I enjoy making this delicious casserole as a side dish, or even as the main course*. (In our home, we have to double the recipe.) Try them today-- I know your family will love them!

8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can (10 & 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream 3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and cook until almost tender. (Don't over-cook.) Drain and cool. Combine soup, half of the cheese (1&1/2 cups) sour cream, onions, salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes. Place in a greased 9"x13" baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Serves 8-10.  

*We like to add cubed ham before baking for a full-meal casserole. These are also wonderful served with a Baked Ham.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Greatest Forces in the World

Artwork by Jessie Wilcox Smith

One of my favorite quotes of all time was written by a man named E.T. Sullivan at the turn of the 20th Century. I hope it inspires you in your mothering efforts today!

A century ago men were following with bated breath the march of Napoleon, and waiting with feverish impatience for news of the wars. And all the while, in their own homes, babies were born. But who could think about babies? Everybody was thinking about battles.”

"In one year, midway between Trafalgar and Waterloo, there stole into the world a host of heroes. Gladstone was born in Liverpool, Tennyson at the Somersby Rectory, and Oliver Wendell Holmes in Massachusetts; and the very same day of that same year Charles Darwin made his debut at Shrewsbury, and Abraham Lincoln drew his first breath in old Kentucky. Music was enriched by the advent of Felix Mendelssohn at Hamburg”

"But nobody though of babies; everybody was thinking of battles. Yet which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies of 1809. We fancy that God can only manage His world with big battalions when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a baby into the world …perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."

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