Friday, September 25, 2015

Bragging Rights... ;)

...So many simple, sweet joys in life! ... SO BLESSED! :D

Today one of my 20 year old sons suggested we have a family picnic at a nearby park. So we did. :D I LOVE that my young adults WANT to do things with our family!!!

Yesterday a couple cool things happened as well (I'll save the biggest and best for last)...

Miles and I rode around the lake, and I did it in 1 hour and 39 minutes... AND I felt GREAT, had no soreness, and did it in just four minutes longer than my record time! Either I am getting back in shape faster than I realized, or the dark chocolate and Gatorade gels I had before and during the ride gave me a ton of energy! ;D Anyhow, I know it doesn't REALLY matter, but I'm so excited about it so just had to share! :)

The bigger and better thing that happened was that when Miles and I got home, Devry, Dausen, and Levi were all in the driveway cleaning and vacuuming out the suburban! 

We recently put the Suburban up for sale, and just as we were about to go biking we got a phone call about someone wanting to look at it; so I asked Dausen to clean it so Miles and I wouldn't have to miss our much needed bike ride. :) 

With a cheerful yes, we left with confidence (we KNEW we could count on Dausen; he is a hard worker and is ALWAYS reliable!) 

I only asked Dausen to do the work, since Levi had studies and Devry tore a muscle behind one of his knees - making it really challenging to walk and stand...

I thought it great, though, that Levi and Devry helped as well, regardless of not being asked, regardless of difficulty (Devry's torn muscle) regardless of having lots of homework to do (Levi), and regardless of Dausen being cheerfully willing to do it all alone. And they did a very detailed, AMAZING job! 

And then there is the full time Missionary service going on! Mindy is serving the Lord full time in Japan! :D 

(Photo below - the day Mindy went to the Spokane Temple in preparation for her mission service...) 


What great kids - All of them! :D 

I am a blessed mama, and I love my sweet family, so much! :D 

Corine :D

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mindy in Japan! :D

Mindy arrived safely in Japan. Here's the proof! ;)

I received the above photos with a nice letter from the Japan Tokyo Mission President. :)

A few days later (on P-day) I received the following photos from Mindy! :D (only a few came through, sorry!)

Grocery Store in Japan

The yellow bike is Mindy's. She is REALLY happy about it! :)

Mindy is so happy to be serving the people of Japan. She LOVES them, and says so much good about them. :) I'm so happy for her - and for them to have her!!! :D

She is currently in Kisarazu, which is a little town in the area of Chiba South, and the southern most part of the Tokyo Mission. She is SO HAPPY to be RIGHT THERE, as it is smaller than the rest, and near the bay. She is super excited to be near water and have the breeze from the ocean to cool the air! (Mindy LOVES water!!! Which I think is just dandy, because I happen to love it, too! :))

The people there seem to be as fascinated with her as she is of them. They frequently comment on her white skin and beautiful teeth. I think she is enjoying the attention. ;)

By the way, Mindy is teaching children to speak Japanese! :) The church has free classes and the Missionaries teach them. She is REALLY enjoying that!

The next pic is of Mindy and her roommates at the MTC. I accidentally added it here, and liked it so well I left it! :D

She probably took photos of Japanese friends as well, but these were the only photos she sent that I could see. No worries... more to come! :)

Corine! :D

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Don' t Judge Me Because I Sin Differently than You." Where do I Stand?

There has been A LOT of talk lately about tolerance and equality. And about what constitutes a sin, and what doesn't...

Many seem to think that to be tolerant and treat others as equals; one must give in to, or agree with everything a person believes... 

Some erroneously believe that to not support anything that another wants (gay marriage, for example), is an act of animosity. These people simply do not understand that one can not support the breaking of God's commandments, and still be honoring and obeying God. But one CAN STILL LOVE those who choose a lifestyle that they do not agree with. Animosity and intolerance have NOTHING to do with the belief that something is morally wrong.

We are ALL in a fallen state; and ALL have tendencies to do things that are NOT in keeping with the commandments of God. 

We ALL have things to give up. 
Passions to bridle. 
A cross to bear. 

But we are here to learn to do so

God has a great deal of confidence in us and desires that we "put off the natural man, and become Saints through Christ." 

We ALL have struggles and weaknesses to overcome.

I believe that God GIVES man weaknesses, just as he gives us strengths. Not so we can give in and say we can't help ourselves, but so we can learn to FIGHT for what is right and to OVERCOME. And so we can LEARN TO OBEY GOD against all odds! AND have the opportunity to NOT JUDGE OTHERS.

For some, depression is a struggle. Some overeat. For another it is chastity before marriage with the opposite sex. For another it is chastity or fidelity after marriage. For some it is a gay or lesbian lifestyle, or simply same sex attraction. The list of struggles is endless. And I believe that each is uniquely our own... the challenge that God knows we need, to grow and to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Our weaknesses and struggles do NOT make is bad! They make us human. It is not a sin to struggle. Only to give in to that struggle. We all sin and fall short. And we all need the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to repent, change, and be made clean or whole.

Why then, do people treat other people like they are some kind of plague for having a struggle that they can't understand? Do they not realize that their struggles are just as incomprehensible to others?

Have you ever thought about how SEVERELY IMPERFECT we are compared to God

While in my youth, I compared my sins to others' sins and thought mine were smaller. After all, I reasoned, I sinned in areas that were really quite difficult NOT to sin. While others had sins that I thought were EASY to avoid. :o

As I grew older I realized sins that were easy for me to avoid were challenging for others. And to my surprise, some things that were a challenge to me, were actually quite easy for others.

And I came to believe that in God's eyes, we are all equally loved, equally flawed, and equally capable of overcoming and being made clean through Christ.

God doesn't care what our struggles are. He only cares that we do our best to keep His commandments and to overcome! 

And He wants us to LOVE each other, and not think we are any better or any worse than anyone else. He wants us to cease to find fault, or to judge, and just focus on doing our best to keep His commandments, and help others in their efforts to do the same.

I believe Christ set the example of supporting commandments AND PEOPLE... by condemning sins, not sinners...

The Savior ate with sinners.
He told the woman who was taken in adultery, "neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more."

Can we separate person from performance, as Christ does with us? To boldly say, "That isn't right. But I still love you."

I think we need to train ourselves to SEE others as children of our Father in Heaven who are every bit as loved by him as we are; and who THE LORD EXPECTS US TO TREAT with the KINDNESS and LOVE that we desire to be treated with! :)

This holds true whether one simply has a tendency to sin, or follows through and sins. We still need to SEE them as someone who can be made clean, and is no worse than we are. We must be humble and kind to follow our Savior.

I hope we can all fill our hearts and minds with more tolerance for people and where they are in their stage of progression (not tolerance for sins), more kindness to all, and more love for people (not for sins). ;) In other words... Don't judge people. But sustain the Lord and His prophets, and be honest about what truly IS a sin. Then do your best to repent of your own sins and just love others!

I've rambled enough.
Corine :D

UPDATE: I have mentioned both sins, weaknesses, and struggles here. Please know that I don't consider struggles to be sins! 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mindy in the MTC :)

Life has been amazing!!!! :D

Guess where Mindy is RIGHT NOW? :D OK. I'm not going to tell you until the end of this post. The rest of this post can give you a big hint. But don't be too hasty in your guess, you may be wrong! ;)

On May 8th, Mindy spontaneously called friends to meet her and her family at a local park and hear her read her mission call letter... She hoped to go to Japan for years, but decided to just put the idea out of her mind and just be happy to go where ever the Lord wanted her. It would be fun to find out where she was going with friends and family present! :)
Mindy reading her mission call letter - GOING TO TOKYO JAPAN! Oh my gosh, it's a DREAM COME TRUE! :D
In June, Mindy went to the temple to make sacred covenants to serve the lord and keep his commandments. What an amazing experience! :) 

This is Mindy in front of the Spokane Temple right after she received her Endowments (made sacred covenants to keep the Lord's commandments and remain faithful to the end! :D) What a BEAUTIFUL time we had! Miles and I were with her, and a couple missionaries also joined us. She just wanted us there her first time, so we didn't invite people to come. It was a truly sacred experience and Mindy was SO HAPPY! :)
On July first, Mindy got on a plane (for the first time ever) and headed to the Mission Training Center in Provo Utah. There, she has been making new friends, building good memories, and learning the Japanese language very rapidly (though not as fast as she would like - but probably faster than she realizes ;o). She is having the time of her life among a group of very valiant young saints (like herself)! It is simply Awesome!!! :D

The first letter from Mindy came with a request to gather her friend's email addresses so she could write them on her mission. I did that. Then they gave her an IPad and the recommendation that she write only family. So... It REALLY would have been nice if I had made a nice blog for her to post her letters on. But I didn't. :o (Like I had time for that! ;O) I decided today is a good day to get on the ball and at least share photos of her adventure at the Provo Mission Training Center. :)

So... Here are photos of Mindy and her new friends. She is SO HAPPY to be a missionary!!! :D

Fourth of July in the MTC was AMAZING! Mindy wrote a lot about the wonderful devotional they had in which they talked about how religious freedom brought about by this country gaining independence, laid the foundation for a free nation in which the gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored upon the earth again. Independence Day is TRULY a BLESSED day! :)

I sent a few packages to Mindy in the MTC. In this package I sent my own water bottle. It is insulated and nice, and I loved it and took it with me everywhere! But I thought of Mindy in Japan and thought an insulated water bottle would keep her water cooler on hot days, so I sent it to her. She cried when she saw it. Isn't that sweet? :) I love my emotional, sweet, and very thankful daughter! :D

Mindy had made SO MANY FRIENDS in the MTC. She has two companions, who are also going to Tokyo Japan, and after a few weeks, she also gained two more room mates! :) These girls seem to be having a LOT of fun! Mindy has sent photos of them doing EVERYTHING together... even photos of them cleaning on service days! :)

Notice this name tag has her name in both English, and Japanese.

One of Mindy's self made flash cards to help her learn the language. 

Mindy and her companions!

Mindy and a new friend.

Mindy with companions, again.

The next two photos are of Mindy and her room mates. Do you think they are having any fun? ;o

LOL - Oh yeah! :D

Mindy sent zillions of photos, but I just randomly grabbed a few to share here. And with this goodbye kiss (I really don't know what they are doing in this photo, but that's what it looks like) - I will say good bye and end this post. But first I need to tell you WHERE Mindy is, RIGHT NOW. Did you guess?

Mindy and her companions are on an airplane ON THE WAY TO TOKYO JAPAN!!! :D

I am so excited to read her next letter WRITTEN FROM JAPAN! :O   :D

Corine :D

Monday, August 24, 2015

Levi, My Mini-Missionary :D

Hi all. :) Levi has had a very busy schedule this past couple of weeks! He had a river rafting trip with other Priests (16-17 year old Mormon boys preparing for missions). Followed by a week long mini-mission in Cheny Washington with his good old buddy Elder Keppner. :D ...and his companion Elder Bowring. These guys are great, let me assure you of that! It was fun to hang with them when we met up to hand off and then pick up Levi. :D

Almost matching ties, as Levi and Elder Keppner both have the SAME favorite colors! Red and Black! Imagine that!
Hi Elder Bowring! Your tie is nice, too! :D Even though it isn't red and black, we think you're pretty OK! ;)
Miles and I had a good time picking Levi up to bring him home. "The gang" (as Elder Keppner called us) had a party in the parking lot during hand off! ;)

Levi had a great time and learned a lot. This should help him to know what to expect when he does his full time mission around a year from now (though he said it is just as he imagined it - I suppose lots of interactions with Elders over the years has helped with that). More importantly, I think the experience probably inspired him to start studying and preparing more fervently. ;P Am I right Levi?  Levi? :o LOL - Don't worry Levi, I know you're gong to do great at accelerating your preparations for the real deal! ;D

Levi got to go to Cheny Washington for the mini-mission. AND then he got to go camping with the family for the weekend. Despite loving it all, he is SO READY to be HOME! And I am so ready to work him some more! ;D Let the slave driving begin! :) (JK. Well, maybe not! Maybe I will wait a week and let him rest a bit, cause I'm really nice that way. ;0 he he)

Well, enough of that. I'm just so happy to have Levi for a son. I'm thankful for ALL my sons. Each is so great in his own way and I am SO proud of them all! :)

TTFN! And I'm excited to tell you a bit about Mindy in the MTC soon!
Corine :D

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mom's Special Keepsake Binder! :D ~ Tributes to Mom! - And Learning HOW to Teach :)

I am SO EXCITED about life! :) I'm really not certain WHAT I will do with it, but life is changing here, DRASTICALLY (soon, I can feel it coming!) and Miles and I feel sort of inspired to just START OVER and DREAM again, and change things up a bit! :) We decided to pretend we are newly wed's and plan out the second half of our life together! ;D

FIRST, though, I HAVE to write more about my mom! :D And, I should probably do something with her belongings and get the room emptied out for my kids to use again. :/ Yeah... I'll be glad when THAT is done! :/

Anyhow, I ALMOST started, this evening. I took a few things out of her room, then came across her big huge fat binder of Keepsakes... Letters her kids and grand kids wrote to her (including me and my kids). Photos. Cards. Pictures kids drew. Some journal entries mom wrote about things dear to her heart and letters to her kids... Mom's TREASURES! :D She LOVED this book that she made!

Of course, I was immediately distracted. :D I opened it, and saw something that I wrote ABOUT HER a few years ago. Then another, And another... Letters, too. :) It was great! There are writings in this book written by other family members as well (of course). But I was surprised to see what I had done and completely forgotten about.

One year on Mothers Day (in 2011) I wrote a tribute to my mom HERE ON THIS BLOG! You can read it from the following link... Tribute To My Mother

I also found poems that I wrote about my mom. I think I'll share them here this week (after I take time to scan them or copy them onto the computer). For today, I hope you will check out the link and read the tribute I wrote about my mother 4 years ago. But first, I'd like to share with you what I learned from reading them...

***It's funny how we can acknowledge things, like picking up pieces of a puzzle, examine them, and hold them up for others to see, without even putting the pieces together and seeing the whole picture ourselves. 

I did this. I picked up pieces of my mom's life, and held them up for others to see, four years ago in this writing...  Tribute To My Mother   Today as I read my own writing, I saw another picture/message. A New, unwritten lesson emerged from the pages... 

I grew up and wanted to teach my kids to do what I learned to do. Some of what I wanted my kids to learn they grabbed onto. Others lessons I somehow failed to convey. 

You know what I realized? I didn't DO what mom TAUGHT me to do. I realized that when I was a girl I DID WHAT MY MOM DID. I did what she did, with me, and even by herself. She taught me by example. 

And my kids were not so different. I realized today that the lessons I failed to convey, were the ones my kids didn't SEE me living (though sometimes I lived a principle in a way they didn't see it)... 

I led a different life than my mom led. I went to school part time. I worked part time. I was busier than mom was, more thinned out and had less time. Some of what I did as a girl, I didn't make time to continue. Other things, I began after leaving home, being influenced by my husband. :) 

Perhaps due to limited time (or maybe that is just how I am) but... I wasn't an expert at any of it. What I did while raising my kids I may not have even been proficient at, but they saw me do it, and what they saw me do, THEY began to get proficient at... :)

I love photography. Never got very good at it, but my twins did! :) They learned to LOVE taking photos, though, by watching me. And their love drove them to take photos, and get really good at it. :D

I love to sew. I didn't have a lot of time to sew a ton while raising kids, as I did when I was at home with mom, but I loved it. When Mindy was little, I always made Halloween costumes for her. I was too busy to sew her everyday clothes, but I always made costumes for her. Guess what Mindy learned to love to do? :D Mindy saw that I loved to make costumes (she saw what I DID), and she learned to love it too! She became an amazing costume designer! She also cooked with me. It was a bonding time that we shared. And guess what, Mindy loves to cook! :D Her dishes are occasionally, terrible! ;0 BUT she LOVES to cook! :D And more often than not, her food is AMAZING! I'm not kidding, that girl can cook very well! :D

For years I wanted to do triathlons. I began biking with my husband years ago. But to do triathlons I needed to run and swim as well. So, just a few short years ago I started running then swimming as well. The swimming I did between 5-6 AM while the kids were sleeping one summer. The biking I did twice a week. The running I did the most. Perhaps three times per week, year after year.  And when I came home from running I always told them with excitement how many miles I ran and how GREAT it felt! :D 

My kids were half grown by the time I started. Interestingly, though, ALL FOUR of my kids NOW RUN! My daughter was first. She watched me go to school to become a Nutritionist. I didn't get to finish my schooling yet, but I DID get to show my kids to see that I LOVE to watch what I eat and to try to be healthy. Mindy changed her diet, began exercising, and TRANSFORMED her life - the pieces began coming together for her at the age of 18. Because she knew I knew about health, she began talking to me about it and asking questions. :) 

Several years went by before the sons caught the bug. But Devry eventually caught it, too, shortly before leaving home last summer. When we got together we talked about health and nutrition! :D Devry also talked to his brothers about being healthy over the phone, then moved back this summer and got them eating healthier and exercising as well. Both Levi and Dausen are very new runners now. But they run! :D Dausen also lifts weights regularly. Levi just told Devry today that he wants help with a weight lifting program (his first). I'm excited to see the day when they actually come to LOVE it, too. Then they too, will inspire others! It will most likely happen; they are on the path already! :)

I stopped playing the piano when I was 16. Boys and dating got in the way. :o Fortunately, having my mother live with me reminded me to play again. I now play, even if just a few minutes a day. I just started playing again a couple weeks ago. By the way, Levi wants me to teach him now. :)

What have I learned from reading again about my own mother? 

I used to think that a BIG part of teaching was doing. 

Today, I came to realize that example IS THE TEACHER. 

I wish I had realized this years ago! I now believe that BEING a good mom who TEACHES requires taking time to DO the things I want my kids to do - and making sure they can see me do it...

Mentoring isn't about saying "do what I say, not what I do." Mentoring is about SHOWING THE WAY THROUGH DOING. And being there to answer questions and be the cheer leader that they need when they start DOING! :) They aren't going to ask someone who NEVER RUNS questions about running, or ask someone who never plays the piano questions about playing the piano. DO things, and your kids will start asking you questions and following your lead! :) It's quite simple!

PERSONAL APPLICATION: So... the kids (young adults - once a mom always a mom!) that I have a tough time convincing to read the scriptures daily...  I decided to stop reading in the privacy of my bedroom, and start doing it IN THE FRONT ROOM, where they can SEE me reading and taking notes. This means I need to change the location and time of day to make myself an example.  

I realize this is no guarantee; people have their free agency! But example TRULY IS the ONLY way to teach/reach! So if I desire to teach, I need to let the prospective students SEE me DO. :) 

I can be a teacher by showing the way. 

It is their choice if they want to be the students or not. 

But they will never be inspired to BE the student... to learn, to do, or be, something that they don't see others LEARNING, BEING or DOING... 

Well, enough rambling.

I am excited to share with you a poem I wrote in 2006 about my mother, titled My Mentor, My Mom. I will share that with you here on this blog in the next day or two (or week). :P

I also wrote another poem in honor of my mother in 2003, titled All That I Am I Owe to You Dear - which I will also share with you soon.

I have said more than enough for today.
See you again soon! :)
Corine :D

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a Little News, From Before June 7th - Closer to Current! Getting Closer! ;o

Hi! :) I have been a terribly inconsistent blogger (I know, nothing new as of the last couple years! :o). I have some catching up to do... My mom moved in with me the last day of February, and being consigned to a bed, my job as care taker was consistent. Oh how BLESSED I was to be able to do it! Mama passed away, and now that the funeral is behind me, I am TRYING to get back into the swing of a new life! (I DO still need to go through her belongings though, and give the bedroom up to the kids! :o). 

Anyhow... I love my mom SO MUCH, and can not begin to tell you how THANKFUL I am that I got to have her here with me! :) Nevertheless, time was VERY LIMITED. So much has happened that I could not make time to write about! (Or I wrote in my personal journal about but failed to share it here). So I decided to post a journal entry to get started on "catching up" ;o After that, I'm going to write about my mom some more! ;o You can read it or not, but I just really need to pay tribute to that great woman who gave me life. :) Talk to you again soon. Corine :D


"So much GOOD has gone on around here!!!! :D

Devry has been visiting our family again and is now talking about staying for a while – yeah and wow! WE LOVE HAVING HIM HERE! :D He has gotten his brothers on an exercise program and helped them to improve their eating habits. He has grown in so many ways since he moved out 10 months ago and it is so great to see how well he is progressing and maturing. I love that he is still the same helpful person he always was… taking care of friends and family when sad or in need of any kind of emotional support. Mom (aka. Grandma) also now calls on Devry regularly when she needs assistance. What a sweet young man he is! :) By the way, Devry is also helping Mindy with an exercise program that she can use while on her mission... :D I love that kid!!! :D
Speaking of which... Mindy got her mission call!!!! :D

~ Mindy will be serving the people of Tokyo Japan! :D ~

Mindy loves the people there, and I am SO HAPPY FOR her to get to go and serve the Lord and his children there!!! :D She sent for her passport and eagerly awaited the day when she would hold it in her hands. And how fast it came!!! Every day she prepares for her mission in several ways from one of her lists of things to do to prepare for her mission. What fun to watch! :)
And even better than going on a mission, Mindy has done something even bigger… she has gone to the temple of the Lord and made sacred covenants with the Lord there. This is a very big step in one’s spiritual progression. :)

Miles and I are SO pleased that Mindy has prepared herself spiritually for this big step in her life! We went with her when she made her covenants, and what a great experience it was! :D 

With our girl in front of the Spokane Temple :)

A couple missionaries who have been friends of our family were also there with us… Elders Keppner and Molder - Both served in our ward at different times and became great friends of the family, and are now companions together in Spokane! How cool is that? :D It was SO GREAT to have them there with us! :D  

GOOD STUFF going on over here... GOOD STUFF!!! :)

Dausen and Levi are also doing very well… I still call on Dausen regularly to help me care for mama – and Levi regularly volunteers as well. Levi is also busy with Sea Scouts, and just took part in a community service event, in which he took people out sailing for free all day long at the Coeur d’Alene beach all day Saturday. It is so great the way he serves in the community so much! All the kids help out with grandma as well, and are so blessed to be able to have her here in our home with us.

Speaking of which… This past week has been FABULOUS for mom! :D She is now on a solid nutritional supplement program which has replaced medications that were giving her problems. It is ABSOLUTELY MIRACULOUS to see the improvements that have come as a result of these changes! There was quite a bit of stress and sadness preceding the changes (while she was on the drugs she had hallucinations, depression, anxiety, memory loss, and downright craziness!); but now that the changes have been made she is so happy about her new improved mental and physical health!!! :D And I am so happy for her! God has truly blessed mom with a drastic improvement in quality of life and we are constantly praising Him for making these changes possible! :D

This writing is getting long, but I must tell one more important thing…
Three of my 7 siblings were able to come visit our family this past weekend! :D …Eli, Carolyn, and Nathan. They were not all here at the same time, but what a wonderful thing it was to have them here!!! J I am SO THANKFUL for my relationship with each one of them! I love my family so much and am so thankful for their love and support. :D
Thank you, family!!! :D I love you!!!! :D

LOL - Goofy faces! Even mom did it! :D FUN! :D (Nate's idea... I blame Nate! ;o) 

I don't know what I did with the current photos of  mom with Eli and his family. Here is one from years ago! :D

One more thing before I wrap this up… Levi is writing a FABULOUS book, and has two new chapters to read to mom (grandma), Mindy, and I. We love his book! What a highlight it is in our life to watch his amazing book unfold! :D We’ll let you know when he finishes writing and get’s it published for all to read."

Well, that's the end of my June 7th Journal entry. It tells a bit of what went on around her lately. ;)
Can't wait to tell you more!!! BE BACK SOON! :D

Take care; talk to you all soon; and love you all!
Corine :D