Daily Life

No Place Like Home

The weekend was long and finally over. It was a good weekend. I was at my parents house and I was with my kids but Alex was home and I was not. I love my parents and I am incredibly grateful for all their kindness and hospitality. I’m just a homebody though and like to be home. And I am super glad to be back home with my husband. And not just for help with diaper duty, though there is that.

Monday was my niece’s birthday and my sister had rented an 18 foot blow-up bouncy water slide. It was so high. I had an excuse not to participate, thank goodness, because I am so afraid of heights sometimes. My oldest five kids are not afraid and they were climbing up and sliding down for hours. I don’t know how they could walk after that. Maybe today they will be sore. It was probably the most fun birthday party I’ve ever been to. The kids played with their cousins all week and the party was a good way to end our stay.

We drove home that afternoon and got there right on schedule. Yes, I had a schedule I made and kept. We had to go pick up our fair entries and premiums. Once the kids saw that they were excited to have more entries next year. I was excited just for the ribbons. It was a fun experience.

Once all that kerfuffle died down I got down to business and assembled the IKEA furniture I had been pining after for ages. Last time I’d done the assembly I had to basically assemble everything twice or more times. I remembered that and this time I only did it once! Yay! I still have a couple more things to put together and then to the task of putting everything away. Like there isn’t enough to do. I have a bunch of errands to run on top of meal planning and grocery shopping.

Covid hit my county this past weekend. I’m wondering where it came from. I’m also wondering how it will effect the school year. The school board already pushed the start date back two weeks to implement teacher training on a new platform. I have six kids in school this year and the circus that is distance/ online learning is not something I look forward to. So much uncertainty. This year has been a tough one. I know there are tons of people who will be glad to see it go. I guess we just make the best of it all and do the best we can. There isn’t much else we can do.

Daily Life, Thoughts

The Chosen Makes You Think

So this past week I finally sat down and watched The Chosen. My husband and I and some of our kids watched it over the course of a few days. It has been awhile since we had a series to watch together. Again, I have pretty high standards. I don’t tolerate much swearing and immorality even though the story “is so good”.

I’d seen this series advertised and I didn’t give it really a second thought. Then I saw a gal I follow on Instagram saying she finally gave it a good try and got hooked and binge watched it multiple times. Okay I thought, I’ll give it a shot. I downloaded the app and started to watch it. I got maybe halfway through the first episode and I was hooked.

It was so good!

Do I think that it is 100% accurate? No. But what I do think is that it is good.

For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

Moroni 7:5

I was praying and wondering if it was a good thing and the answer I got was “If it brings you to Christ it is a good thing.” Good enough for me.

I am excited for Season 2. The first one made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel more of a longing to have more of a relationship with my Savior. He is my elder brother. The Chosen I don’t think took away from the deity of Christ, but rather showed him in more of a 3D perspective. It reminded me that He knows me and loves me and understands what it is like to go through mortality.

So this weekend if you have some time and even if you think you don’t, you should give the show a chance.

Daily Life

Missing

Last night and this morning were stressful. There is a holiday around here where we celebrate our pioneer heritage and some celebrate with fireworks. I didn’t use fireworks and never saw any but we sure heard them. For over two hours. Boom! Boom! Boom! I am half deaf and didn’t know they were going on until later.

After prayer we sent the kids to bed and the dog wasn’t sleeping where she normally does. We’d left her out back to go do her thing. We looked all over inside the house. Called outside. Walked around the neighborhood. Drove around the neighborhood. She was nowhere to be found. I told the kids she’d probably be home by morning.

I was wrong.

I had gotten up several times in the night to check and see if she was outside the front door. She wasn’t. I prayed and worried myself sick. At just before six as the sun was about to peek over the horizon I got up and dressed and got Michael up and had him come with me to drive around and look for our dog. No sign of her. We figured the fireworks scared her away. We always put her in the house during fireworks. This year all the festivities were canceled due to covid so I didn’t think about it.

When we came home from the first drive of looking I put a notice out on Facebook about what happened and a picture. A friend suggested I call the police. I did. They didn’t have her but would let me know if she was brought in.

I was restless and teary the whole morning. I had done all I could. It was a waiting game now. I sat at the table making rolls and Benjamin came up behind me and gave me a hug. He said it would all be okay and that she would be home soon. It was so sweet of him and I really hoped for the kids’ sake that it was true.

A few hours later a friend commented on my post that a woman on another Facebook page had found my dog. Yes! My stomach had been clenched tight for hours and it finally relaxed. The woman called me and we confirmed that it was indeed Skylar, my dog. I kept crying but this time tears of gratitude and happiness. We went and picked up Skylar. The people who found her said they found her in the back corner of their yard just shaking. She had managed to get herself over a mile away through lots of fields to where she ended up. When we got to her and saw her we were so happy. She jumped in the van right away. The kids were petting her and talking to her. Lauren and I were crying. I think the dog was relieved, too. She doesn’t do well when we’re gone and to be lost probably put her over the edge. She stuck closer to me than usual the rest of the day.

The kids think that I don’t like the dog. I really do and I hope they realize it now. She is with me pretty much all day and though I sometimes need a break, I do care about her.

When we got home we said prayers of gratitude. Gratitude that she was returned to us so quickly. Gratitude that she was alive and unharmed. Gratitude for the help of others in finding her.

I really hope she never goes missing again. She will definitely be inside on all firework holidays and days surrounding them from now on.

Daily Life

There is Peace

I don’t think I wrote about this so I will try again.

I had been struggling. I could see myself getting off track. Nothing major but I could feel myself distancing myself from God. I don’t know why exactly. I was being a stubborn and petulant child. I wasn’t enjoying the feeling of it either but my stubborn pride would not let me fix it. I told myself “not now, I’m not ready” which is a very sad mindset. But just like when my children are upset and refuse to be comforted I patiently wait until they are ready. I am sure that my Heavenly Father does the same. How hard it must be for Him to patiently wait for so many of His children who refuse to be comforted to finally- hopefully- come to Him.

I finally am coming back around. It has been four months since we’ve been to church. Church makes it easy. You just show up and share the job of teaching each other. Sometimes you just show up and learn. But at home it is all on me and Alex to teach our children. We made it a priority to have church at home every single Sunday. It is work. It is good work, but it is work. There is no one to carry you along. No one to make sure you do it. It is all on you. It has been an opportunity to see what our priorities are and are we willing to follow Christ when no one else will see it?

Like I said, I was getting off track. I didn’t feel the spirit like I needed to because I wasn’t doing what I needed to. I started doing what I needed to. I started praying more and with more thought and sincerity. I started to study the scriptures more earnestly. I started listening to more uplifting podcasts and religious material. I got back on track and it will be a daily effort to stay there.

In the scriptures Christ commands us to pray always that we will not be tempted. He didn’t say it because it sounded like a good thing to say. He said it because it is imperative. As I follow the news daily I am astonished at how much we need the Gospel of Christ. It really is the only true anchor we have in a world of shifting values and daily changing opinions and “truth”.

It might have been easy to just float along as a Christian up until a few months ago but it feels like we are being sifted now. Where do you stand now? Are you firmly rooted in Christ or are you wish-washy, still trying to grasp the world? It has been interesting to watch these days unfold. It was prophesied that in the last days before Christ would return that men would call good evil and evil good. I never understood how it could be possible really until now. To me it feels like time is running out. Chaos seems to multiply daily and it is time to choose a side. As it says in the scriptures, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

I hope that things are going well for any who read this. I hope there is peace in your life. This song is so beautiful and if you have a minute or two to listen to it I highly recommend you do so.

Have a great day!

Daily Life, Sunday

Gardens and Family

The weekend was so busy!

Friday and Saturday was spent on errand running and yardwork. Usually I am the first one on the block to have my flower garden in. Not this year. I was the last. I don’t think I’ll do that again. The nursery near my house was completely out of flowers. We came home and loaded the kids into the van just to get them out of the house and to make the yearly pilgrimage to our usual nursery for plants. Most of the kids enjoy it. They all get to pick out several flowers for the gardens and they have fun doing it. My flower gardens are never the same color year after year. I also have what I have dubbed my “odd” garden. When the kids pick or random flowers I have no idea what to do with then so I plant them all in this one garden so they can look at their choices. It’s always colorful.

Gardens always look so sparse when the flowers are just babies. (And I did spray those weeds and yes, there is still a lot of work to do. So much work!)

In my front garden- sorry, no pictures yet- I had two daylily plants that have been getting bigger every year. I finally divided them. I dug them out and Alex and I chopped them into three or four each and spread them farther apart in the garden. Yay! Now I’ve got more foliage going on. I’ve just got to wait for the tulips to finish dying back for the year. They are taking forever and look very haggard.

Luckily, the one flowers, Alyssum, that I grow every year reseeded themselves because both nurseries were completely sold out of them.

Enough garden talk.

Sunday, Father’s Day, was pretty laid back. We took our time getting ready for church (actually I hadn’t washed Alex’s white shirt so we waited while it washed) and then finally at noon we had church. Michael gave a talk about the importance of having a father in the home leading and supporting the family. While he was talking a circus broke out. Gideon’s nose started bleeding and it was a bit of a mess. I think Michael kept talking through it all. Haha.

Later Alex made his own dinner. He had a specific meal in mind and made it. I was good and he didn’t make too big of a mess. Marinated chicken cooked on the grill and roasted vegetables and rice. I made oatmeal cookie sandwiches with marshmallow frosting. Bit of a mess because the frosting was sticky but it tasted good.

That morning I had received an email from the family history site I am a member of that said they’d found a hint for a relative. It was the 1900 United States Census. I love looking at the census records. This time was kind of the jackpot in one way but a really upsetting puzzle in another. In this particular census it had my great-great grandparents and their kids. (My dad’s dad’s mom’s parents.) The big shocker was there were two kids on there I didn’t know existed. I’ve been working on this family tree for over 20 years. Technology and indexing (connecting records to people’s name so they are searchable) is making more information available every day. If you haven’t ever indexed you should, it is fun to do.

Anyways, there were two more kids! An eleven year old boy and a one month old girl. The problem came in when that was all the information I could find. Alex and I spent a couple hours looking everywhere. Cemetery records, obituaries, and trying to find the 1890 census that the one kid would have been one year old in. Fruitless pursuit because it turns out that the 1890 census records were badly burned in a fire. The 1910 census we looked at was a sad record. The father had died and the two kids I had found, well their names aren’t listed as living with their widowed mother. The son could possibly be living elsewhere as he would have been 21, but we couldn’t find any mention of him anywhere but that one 1900 census. The baby girl would have been 10 but she was gone also. My great-great grandparents had 11 kids that we know of but only 8 made it to adulthood. It was exciting but incredibly frustrating and sad at the same time.

Before we turned in for the night Alex drew up the plans for the new window we are putting in. I need a drawing of the plans in order to get a permit. When the window guy was here I said I wanted the window to be the same size as the window in my daughters’ room. I had never measured it. Um, I should have. The window doesn’t look that big in the bedroom. It is 60 inches long! Alex drew the outline on the wall where we are putting the window and it takes up most of the wall! Its huge! I mean I am okay with it and that’s good because it is already ordered. I wanted the window for light because that room is dark and I am thinking that big window will definitely do the trick.

Daily Life

It’s Been a Couple Days With A Lot of (Little) Miracles

I’ve said this before and I will say it again (and again)- if you look for them, miracles happen all the time.

Earlier this week Michael said that he needed $10 so he could go out and eat lunch with his friend. I gave him a pickax and a spot of ground and he got to work digging. It was a patch of weeds that I wanted to plant grass in- grass os easier to take care of than controlling weeds. It took him a couple hours over a few days. He gained $10 and some muscles to boot. We all won.

I spent several hours weeding this patch of dirt. Two 5-gallom buckets full of weeds and rocks were pulled out of this patch. My plan was to get it prepped to plant grass seed. It would be a weeks long process growing grass from seed. Then one night I was done working on the yard when I checked my Facebook feed. A man in my church had posted that he had extra sod from a project. Free to whomever got there first. I grabbed two of the kids and we jumped into the van and headed over. It was still there. Over 60 square feet of sod. It really was a blessing. Saved me so much time. A miracle because it showed up right when I could use it.

I still have some work to do on it but that work was cut down significantly.

Next miracle. I have wanted some nightstands to match my dresser I got last year. I finally had the money saved up and I was planning on buying them and picking them up this weekend. I just couldn’t make it feel right. I tried and tried and tried. It just felt wrong. I kept trying to make it feel right because I wanted them and I couldn’t see a logical reason to not get them. But I finally gave into the feeling and like a petulant child said to Heavenly Father “Fine, I’ll do it your way though I don’t understand why.”

(As a quick aside, the store, IKEA, is in Salt Lake City, hours from my house and shipping is ridiculous but I would be nearby when visiting my family over the weekend so picking them up wouldn’t be a big deal.)

When I got home Saturday night I finally checked the news. Rioting and vehicles set on fire in Salt Lake City last night. I might have or might not have been in the area when all the chaos broke out. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been in harm’s way but I am grateful that I was able to avoid all of it.

Another miracle happened on the way home. As we left my parents house the weather that had been hot and pleasant all day turned into thunderstorms. About halfway home in the fading light and the worst part of the drive for it to happen, the storms let loose. I have a hard time seeing the road at dusk and the rain didn’t help. The winds picked up and I was having a hard time keeping the van driving straight as the big gusts would push the van violently. I told the kids to pray. I was praying and putting all my concentration into keeping us from crashing. There was literally nowhere to pull over and wait it out as we were in a canyon. It seemed as though as soon as the prayers were uttered the windshield wipers worked better, the headlights seemed brighter, the winds let up, the rain let up and I was able to see where we were going. Lauren said she noticed it too as she prayed. It was scary. The rest of the drive was still rainey, some parts a heavy downpour, but I was able to see well enough without panicking. The lighting flashing around us was amazing and we were able to enjoy the rest of the ride.

There were more, too, as I sit here thinking about it and though they seem small and possibly insignificant and some people would explain them away as mere coincidences or imagined threats, I choose to see them for what they are- God’s hand in my life, evidence that he cares for us and that he cares about the little things- the details. All we have to do is look.