Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Can Tell it's Nearly Fall, Because I Feel Like I'm Falling!

School hasn't started yet here in the tip of the state that I live in. Here, we have a good week into September until that change in routine comes. I'm glad. I'm not ready for school yet; and I'm the teacher!!!!

I remember when the kids were little and they went to public schools. The day before school started, I swear it still felt like summer! The air was warm even in a breeze, and nothing was ever quiet. But almost overnight, about the morning that school started the air suddenly got crisp, cool, and chilly. I recall kissing them goodbye at the door, or walking them to school in the cool morning air, and suddenly needing a light jacket. Not only that, but everything was suddenly so peaceful; even with the sidewalks covered with a multitude of kids of all ages, there was a general hush in the air and everything was quiet as if the earth stood still to savor the sweetness of the change of routine, seasons, and settings.

And so I am surprised that this year, though I am still not quite ready for school... the air is cool, the wind is a bit nippy, and the house is oh so quiet; there is a feeling of change in the air that is so thick it is almost tangible; I think if I got a knife out I might actually feel resistance as I slice through the cool morning air.

Things are changing. And it's more than just a sudden drop in temperature; other changes are taking place, too.

I can tell it is nearly fall, because I feel like I'm falling... as gracefully as leaves fall off of trees from a cool fall breeze ... into a new world... a new life...a new season... a new place of being. And I have a peaceful feeling that though I don't feel ready yet... I will be.

I don't know what this new school year will bring, but I can feel it coming. And this time, I am letting go of a bit of anxiety before it even starts. This time, I am remembering that things change... but change is good. This time, I am trusting in the Lord a little more than I have in the past. This time I am going to put my best foot forward as I go about teaching my kids... and just remember that as long as I trust in the Lord and not just on myself... He will guide me, and everything will work out great!

Not just with schooling, but with all aspects of life. There are always uncertainties in life. There are questions that go unanswered. Longings left unmet. Challenges left to mudde through. But if we simply live our lives with faith in Jesus Christ, and do the things He counsels us to do; everything will be OK. He will guide us to do our part, and then if we hand things over to Him... he will take care of the rest. He will bind up our broken wounds, heal us, strengthen us, enlighten us, and lift our heavy burdens so they feel light. He always does. Nothing is too big or too hard for Him.

I'm always comforted when I remember that I don't have to have all the answers, and I don't have to try to fix everything. I just need to live my life the best way I know how, and just go on serving and enjoying life. That's why we were created; we were created so that we can be happy. And today - I am so shocked and delighted to again realize how simple it is to attain that happiness. Just obey the Lord, and let Him take care of the rest. I need to constantly turn my life back over to Him... because with each area in which I really let Him into my life...  the changes He makes are so amazing and so beautiful. :D 

Happy Sabbath to you all.
Corine :D

PS Enjoy the beautiful changes
that only God can make.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Very Unexpected Blogging Surprise

I will admit, Lately I have been just a little discouraged with myself; writers block, and lack of free time have both been issues for me. I haven't been thrilled about my last few posts and have thought of deleting them.

And so it is with great surprise that I discovered a blog award was given to me. (I am sure this award was earned prior to the past week or so.  ;)

And so, even though I am still going through writers block (among other things)... I must take a minute to thank Jules @ Trying to Get Over the Rainbow...  for the sweet award that she gave to me and my blog.



It is so nice to know that others are not as hard on me... and do not expect as much from me... as I expect and even demand from myself. I'm sure this is true of all of us.

Thank you Jules, for this sweet boost forward. For you... I think I can keep on blogging. ;)

PS I have just celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary. I started writing a blog about it, and accidentally posted it before it was done so took it back down; Perhaps I'll finish writing and put it up.
I hope the writing is "lovely." ;)

PPS I will be passing on an award shortly.
TTFN!
Corine  :D 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Savory Moments ...

Moments I treasure....


*Watching Mindy take her brothers under her wing in the shoe store yesterday was a very sweet moment. She was so helpful that several customers thought she was an employee and also asked her to help them, too. :D She is such a wonderful girl.

*I also love watching Mindy in the kitchen as she experiments and comes up with wonderful new additions to our menu with her budding culinary talent and creativity (I knew I should have taken that photo of her working in the kitchen! Drats!). It is such a blessing for her to be working at a Cafe. :)


*It is so absolutely astounding to me to watch how quickly my sons are growing into men. One of the boys, Devry, weighed himself at a friend's house recently; he weighs 172 pounds! When we came home tonight, Devry and his dad arm wrestled together. Devry was excited to win his father in arm wrestling for the first time ever. They took turns winning, and Devry complained when his father "cheated." It was fun to watch. :D





Devry's first victory... Dad's first loss to his son...
(monumental moments for both ;)

Devry claims dad is "cheating" by using his body weight.

Dad takes the stand "What ever it takes!" and redeems himself. :)
(Though he does win without cheating, too. ;)

*Rollerblading moments... This is how I exercise, and I love it! :D Rollerblading makes my body sing! ;O

Today on my way home from rollerblading, a neighbor saw me blading and asked what size of shoes I wear. He then asked about the condition of my blades; I told him the insides were worn out, the paddings have huge holes in them. It was then that he opened his garage and pulled out a pair of used blades for me, which are not worn out on the inside, and are also a little bigger than my feet, but the same size that I am used to wearing while rollerblading. The next couple of minutes I bladed a bit longer, just to try out my new roller blades. I was in heaven! This was another wonderful moment in time. :D

Sorry. So far I have no photos of me rollerblading. (Insert imagination here.) ;o


*Hugs are so wonderful! :D - In case you don't know it, Dausen took many years before he was comfortable being touched enough to comfortably initiate hugs (AS); (Even now, if you aren't close to him you may still think him to be that way. But he is NOT! :D) Now days, Dausen randomly and frequently hugs me :) - of his own accord :) - with the most wonderfulBIGSTRONG, and Love filled hugs... just out of the blue as he walks past me as well as before he goes to sleep each night; and with each hug he he tells me with power and sincerity, "I love you, mom." I feel as if I am in heaven, with each and every hug, and each and every "I love you;" he is so sweet and good.  :) He absolutely MELTS my HEART! :D

And finally, I must mention one other moment, not from today or yesterday as the other moments mentioned here have been, but from another day not too long ago; this is another priceless and precious moment which needs to be recorded and remembered.I am a very blessed wife, mother, and woman.  :D



*On July 7th, Levi got to go inside the Spokane Temple and do work for the dead (it was his first time). A few minutes after he got home he announced to me with great importance (as if he were surprised that I didn’t run right over to him the instant he entered the door. – Come to think of it, it surprises me, too!), "Mom. I just got home from baptizing the dead." This was said in a tone that implied... "Don't you want to talk about this monumental occasion?"

(Photo taken from the following website...  http://lds.org/temples/main/0,11204,1912-1-95-0,00.html)

I was thrilled with Levi’s apparent enthusiasm for what he had just done. It was definitely something worth talking about, and understandably something to be eager to talk about. And so we talked. I learned that he was a bit nervous... but also excited. And more importantly... he felt really good about what he was doing.

This is a kid who is "cool to the core!" IE. both physically and spiritually! ;)
(Photo taken in 5th grade.)


I love to see the desire he has to serve people who he doesn’t even know. - It is SO COOL!  :D

I continue to see the kid in him as well as the emerging young man. The combination is astounding.
But perhaps it is the Lord, Levi is happiest to serve. Levi frequently mentions a Sunday-school lesson in which he gained a tremendous desire to serve His (our) Father in Heaven. Of course, Levi knows that in serving any of God's children... anyone, he is serving the Lord. I am SO THANKFUL for Brother Ball, (his Sunday-School teacher,) for reinforcing that lesson with the spirit. When the spirit delivers a message... it. is. awesome! Levi's resolution and desire to serve has been greatly magnified since that monumental day in Sunday School. :D

In this photo (taken in May of 2009), Levi was reaching out to help me up the mountain. The profile picture of myself on this blog is of myself coming up the mountain behind him. Levi has always been a gentleman, has always treated me with respect and kindness; and always wants to be there for me anytime he thinks I may need help.  He is so sweet! :D

These are enough "moments" to mention for now. I wish you all many happy days,
filled with many sweet and savory moments. ;D

Monday, August 23, 2010

Circle Journal; My First Entry

WARNING - If you are a member of the Circle Journal that I am a part of, and you want to be surprised when you see the journals... then you might want to leave this post now so your surprise won't be spoiled. I posted one of the entries that I made here on this post. For anyone else who is interested... read on. ;)                                                                                                            

Hi! :D I'm shipping off a circle journal belonging to another gal,... the first circle journal I have ever had the privilege of adding to. And I am so excited about it I just have to tell everyone about it!! :D  I was planning on shipping it off to the next person in the circle last week, but since I was reminded that the deadline had been moved ahead this month, I did what I tend to do and procrastinated. :O And so I am shipping it off in a few minutes.

The theme for the journal I sent off last month is Faith in Every Footstep. I had fun starting that one and am anxious to see the finished product when it arrives back in my possession about a year from now, after other women have added their journal entries. I will show you the journal entry I added to my own book along with the rest of them next year (I already have a post scheduled). ;)
   
The theme for the first journal which I received in the mail, (and am about to ship off to the next person) is A Blank Slate. Since I will not be seeing the rest of this book, I'll go ahead and show you the journal entries that I made today.





I don't know what happened to that scan; I'll try again..


Not much better. But I'm dealing with a very slow, half gig notebook, so this will have to do. (I will rejoice when my computer  is fixed! ;D

TTFN! Corine :D

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Healing Through Christ


In a blog that I recently wrote, I gave reference to a talk that I gave a few months ago on the subject of healing. A couple of my readers made comments about wanting to read the talk I wrote; so here it is. :) I also listed a few links to some really incredible talks that were either used to help me create my talk, or simply inspired and taught me along the way (though I could not even begin to cram all the great talks I read into one talk, so much of what I read is not in my talk).

In addition to a copy of the outline of my talk, I am also including a few links to some of the talks that I can recall reading in preparation for this talk (which have much more info than I could squeeze into this talk!). I wish I could recall the names of all of the talks I used:

Broken things to Mend

Lessons on Healing  - healing hurts

He Heals the Heavy Laden

Come Unto  Christ

One Among the Crowd

I don't remember all the talks I used (I read around 10 talks, many scriptures from the Bible and the book of Mormon, and the book The Peacegiver, written by James L Ferrell), and haven't found the copies of talks that I pulled up and printed to read, so I simply did a search for other talks to add to this list.

Various links to other healing talks...  - At this link you can also type in any work in the search to find articles on many spiritual subjects of interest. I hope you enjoy searching and learning!

And here is my talk (minus a good works cited... sorry)...

Healing Through Christ


Good morning! :D I’m happy to be here with you today and to have the opportunity to speak to you. I hope and pray that I might say something of value to each of you – that you will be uplifted and receive what ever your hearts need at this time. I pray that I will hear the Holy Ghost and say the things that you need to hear.

My assignment today is to talk about a story found in the book of Mark, chapter 5 verses 24-34. Here we read about a woman who had suffered for 12 long years with a medical condition – a bleeding condition. She had spent all her means, going from Dr to Dr looking for a cure – but none was to be found.

After exhausting all avenues for healing to be found on earth, she remembered the Lord, Jesus Christ.

She knew that Christ had healed many people of their infirmities, and had great faith that He could heal her, too. So one day when she knew Christ was walking among a crowd of people, a crowd so thick that Christ was constantly touched, bumped, and as the scripture put it, Christ was ‘thronged” about by many; this woman sought Him out… quietly, resolutely, and completely unnoticed by anyone; then she touched the hem of his garment with full belief that by doing so, she would be healed of her infirmity.

Immediately, the scriptures tell us, Christ felt great power go out of him. The exact words being… “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’”

The disciples, seeing all the masses of people touching Christ were confused about this statement, not understanding what had happened. But the woman knew, and she knew that Christ knew. We can only imagine what she must have been thinking and feeling at that moment – I am overwhelmed with emotion when I consider the possibilities of what she must have been experiencing. But the scriptures tell us that she “fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.”

It was then that the disciples and others witnessing came to realize what had transpired. As soon as the woman spoke, the Savior spoke these words back to her, “Daughter, they faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of they plague.”

There are many lessons to be learned from this story. We could talk about Christ and the life of virtue which caused him to have such amazing power to heal. We could talk about having virtue in our own lives, and of increased power for good that we would have as a result of living virtuous lives. We could talk about the Priesthood power, and of how living righteously increases the capacity that a Priesthood holder has to use the Priesthood power for the good of others. But today, I want to focus on lessons from another point of view in this story - the gift the woman had of being healed. There are several points I would like to make in reference to healing.

First, this woman obviously had the gift of faith to be healed as spoken of in the Doctrine and Covenants 46:19. A gift that I’m quite certain the Lord desires for each of us to develop and obtain; for we are all in need of healing.

This woman’s faith astounds me. I imagine all the people there… -seeing Christ, -touching Christ, and knowing that each and every one of them must have needed healing in one way or another. But they were not there seeking healing, as she was; or it was simply not their time to be healed, or perhaps they did not have the same faith that this woman had. She was, (as Dennis B. Neuenschwander put it in his talk titled, One Among the Crowd), “the one faithful among the crowd,” who had faith in Christ to be healed.

Second, I find it interesting to note that though the woman in this story possessed this gift of faith to be healed, she also knew that it wasn’t enough to simply have faith to be healed. If so, she would have been healed at the hands of the Doctors without so much as a prayer, or perhaps even in the privacy of her own home without going to anyone. But she knew what she needed to do - she realized that to be healed, she first and foremost needed to go to Christ; she came to understand that Christ is the healer. And she quietly and resolutely pressed forward toward Christ with complete faith that He would heal her.

We can learn from this. We may not live on Earth at the same time that Christ lived upon the Earth; we may not be able to walk the road to Galilee as He once did; but we can still… spiritually, come unto Christ, just as the woman spiritually and physically came unto Christ.

Since we are all in need of healing, this is an important lesson for us all. We are all broken in one way or another. We are all in need of repair. In the May of 2006 Ensign issue, there is a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles titled…Broken Things to Mend.

Here brother Holland lists some of the things that many stand in need of healing from. Brother Holland came to the same conclusion about what is needed for healing to take place that the woman in the book of Mark came to – namely… our need to come unto Christ and rely upon Christ and His Atonement to obtain healing. In this talk, He speaks of the many instances throughout the scriptures where Christ admonishes, “Come unto me.” And he talks about how to come unto Christ.

I would like to quote a paragraph or two from this article to you now…

“Are you battling a demon of addiction—tobacco or drugs or gambling, or the pernicious contemporary plague of pornography? Is your marriage in trouble or your child in danger? Are you confused with gender identity or searching for self-esteem? Do you—or someone you love—face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises. In that regard Alma’s testimony is my testimony: “I do know,” he says, “that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions.” 13

"This reliance upon the merciful nature of God is at the very center of the gospel Christ taught. I testify that the Savior’s Atonement lifts from us not only the burden of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair. 14 From the beginning, trust in such help was to give us both a reason and a way to improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation. There can and will be plenty of difficulties in life. Nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ, who knows His voice and strives to do as He did, finds a strength, as the hymn says, “beyond [his] own.” 15 The Savior reminds us that He has “graven [us] upon the palms of [His] hands.” 16 Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion and Atonement, I promise you He is not going to turn His back on us now. When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.

“Brothers and sisters, whatever your distress, please don’t give up and please don’t yield to fear. I have always been touched that as his son was departing for his mission to England, Brother Bryant S. Hinckley gave young Gordon a farewell embrace and then slipped him a handwritten note with just five words taken from the fifth chapter of Mark: “Be not afraid, only believe.” 17 I think also of that night when Christ rushed to the aid of His frightened disciples, walking as He did on the water to get to them, calling out, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Christ’s answer to him was as it always is every time: “Come,” He said. Instantly, as was his nature, Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waters. While his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind could toss his hair and the spray could drench his robes, but all was well—he was coming to Christ. It was only when his faith wavered and fear took control, only when he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the ominous black gulf beneath, only then did he begin to sink into the sea. In newer terror he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

“Undoubtedly with some sadness, the Master over every problem and fear, He who is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment, stretched out His hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” 18

“If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”
(To see his works cited, or the rest of his talk, just click on the link to his talk in the list of talks above.)

No one is immune from sin, sorrows, or infirmities; we all go through some of each of these. Thus, the gift of faith to be healed is a gift that we all need, and we all have the privilege and opportunity to seek after it.

With that in mind… how do we “Come unto Christ” so that we too may be healed?

Brother Holland provides several steps that we can take to help us to come unto Christ.
The first step is found in Alma 32:27 – Desire to believe…

If we don’t yet believe we can be healed – we can start by desiring to believe, - then let that desire work in you, even until you do believe.

Thinking of times in my life when I needed healing, I realize now that there was a time when I thought I had to fix everything. I didn’t realize that I was relying upon myself to do things that I wasn’t capable of doing. Thankfully, I learned that I had to have faith in the Atonement, trusting that Jesus Christ would heal me, rather than just begging Him to help me to know what I needed to do to be healed. In other words, I needed to realize that I could not heal myself. I needed to pray, not only to know what I should do to be healed, I also needed to ask, in faith, for Him to heal me… to acknowledge that He is the healer, and believe He would heal me.

Second – Though not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions, we must repent of anything we are doing which contributes to the problem - and forgive others for anything they are doing or did which contributes.

In my own quest for healing in my life, I have found that I need to constantly look at my life and identify what small things I might be doing which contribute to situation(s) which promote or advance the need to heal; what do I do, which is disobedient to the Lord, or perhaps just foolish? What small acts keep me from fully coming unto Christ? These things don't always look like sins. They are often very small... often simply doing something that doesn't feel right, or that we have a feeling to avoid. It is very important that we don't rationalize not obeying the gentle, quiet messages from Christ (whether He speaks to us from scripture, prophets, or as the still small voice which speaks to our souls).

We are given examples of this in the Garden of Eden. Before partaking of the fruit, both Adam and Eve were innocent. They had obeyed the Lord perfectly and Satan had no power over them. But careful study of the scriptures shows us that even just one act of heeding to Satans temptations, rather than to the Father... causes Satan to have power over us to enslave us to do his awful will. In D&C 29:40 we read,

“Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.”

So – Adam was tempted of the Devil, he obeyed the Devil, thus breaking a commandment of God, and thus, he became subject to the will of the devil.

Did it affect him immediately? We can see as we look at the conversation Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden with Christ, that their sins did affect them immediately…

“And I, the Lord god, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, if so thou shouldst surely die?

And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.” Moses 4:17-18, Genesis 3:11-12

“And I, the Lord God, said unto the woman: What is this thing which thou hast done?

And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Moses 4:19, Genesis 3:13

In James E Ferrell’s book – The Peace Giver, Brother Ferrell expounds upon this scripture story, pointing out that just one sin, and Satan had the power to blind Adam and Eve to the responsibility they had to their sins; they both seemed to think that since their actions were provoked by another, that they didn’t do anything wrong. Unless we know what we do wrong, how can we repent? What can cause us to come unto Christ if we don’t even fully know we are doing wrong? --- Hardships? Maybe being cast out of the Garden, and having to live a life of hardship… Hardships tend to bring us to our knees and help us to come unto Christ even when we are blinded by Satan and do not see clearly our sins (we may see our sins to some degree, but tend to rationalize them, or think they are not as bad as the sins that we don’t commit, thus not bringing ourselves to repentance the way hardships bring us to repentance).

“Third,” (brother Holland points out) “in as many ways as possible we try to take upon us His identity, and we begin by taking upon us His name.” This starts with making and keeping sacred covenants with the lord, beginning with baptism and ending with temple covenants. It also includes partaking of the sacrament and other covenants we make along the way, which remind us to be true followers of Christ by doing the things that He does.

2 Nephi 31:13, 17 teach us these principles: “Follow the Son, with full purpose of heart,… with real intent, … take upon you the name of Christ. … Do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer [will] do.”

For some, healing may be needed because of mistakes made or sins committed;

For some the need for healing is emotional, for others physical…

For some healing is needed because of choices that others have made which have caused pain and damage in one’s life.

Regardless of the reason for the need to be healed – we can all learn from this woman’s great example. We can learn from her great faith to be healed. We can learn from her quiet resolute determination to go to Christ for healing, even when others around her did not have the same goal in mind.

We can be comforted as we remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ went through all that we go through; because of this, as Elder Oaks said,

“He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us (see Luke 10:34). Brothers and sisters, the healing power of His Atonement is for you, for us, for all.

***I believe we can all develop the gift to be healed – and be healed, just as the woman who touched Christ’s garments was healed - through Coming unto Christ and having faith in His Atonement. I know this to be true. This is a gift that the lord desires us all to have, and He paved the way for this to happen for each and every one of us when He suffered in Gethsemane.

I bear you my testimony that I know Christ lives and loves us. And that it is for the purpose of healing us each and every one of us that Christ came to Earth. Through the Atonement of Christ, we can be healed from our pains, sorrows, infirmities, and sins. He already paid the price. He already paved the way for us to be healed. He is filled with virtue and power enough to heal us all. There is no end to his matchless power and love for us.

May we follow the example of the woman of Galilee who went to Christ to be healed?

May we press forward with resolute determination to come unto Christ and bask in his healing love… this is my prayer for each of us here, and for our families; in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Corine :D

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just for Laughs... :D

In an effort to have greater balance in my life, I am spending less time blogging. But since I am still slightly obsessed with blogging (just slightly... :), and just had to post something without having to spend much time or effort on my part, (he he :)... I give to you, (Roll the drums, please!) Hillary Weeks!

For those of you who have small children at home... May you find a bit of humor in this, knowing full well that we all love family, and Hillary and I both LOVE (honestly, truly, and sincerely...) being mom's. I'm sure you understand! :D


Corine :D

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Day With Toddlers...

I haven’t spent SO MUCH TIME… accomplishing SO LITTLE… and still been SO TIRED… in a long time.

Yesterday I tended two little sweat hearts – a four year old, and a one year old; and boy did they keep me busy - simply by doing the kind of things that one and four year olds do. Some of those things can absolutely drive a person to drink! (Actually, I don't really think that... I just liked the phrase; I've never actually ever had a "drink" in my life... despite all the little kids in it! ;)

One of my brothers in law says that God made kids cute so we wouldn't kill them. I think that's a bit drastic, too (though absolutely hilarious... don't you think? :) After all, despite all the crazy little things that little ones do, they are still, so absolutely addictively lovable! So lovable, that one can experience amazing things from the hands of children... which if they were at the hands of adults would leave one steaming fire and brimstone. But with little ones, we just laugh it off and find ourselves wanting to hug them all the more.

Here are a few of the interesting experiences I had, which had I had them with adults... would have been horrible, but since they were with little ones I can honestly say I actually look forward to future visits:
*Scoured the house for tiny items that could be used to cram into one's nostrils, or might be found enjoyable to suck on despite the fact that they are serious choking hazards (most of this was accomplished between the phone call that a one year old was coming, and the moment that he arrived).

*Changed a couple of diapers…

*Washed the table after lunch, for five minutes, only to grab the chair afterwards and realize that there was more food on the chair than there was on the table; the washing continued. :D

*Marveled over the amount of food that spans the length of the body of a toddler from the top of his/her head, down to the tips of his/her feet after, "eating" (supposedly); of the sheer amount of food that clings to the clothes;... and at what an amazing miracle it is that the said child STILL SOMEHOW MANAGES TO GROW!

*Rescued a 4 year old from eating poison berries which grow on the tree in my yard.

*Marveled at the miracle that rescuing children is so manageable that children do somehow stay alive.

*"Tried" (for what seemed like eternity) to get the one year old to take a nap. Witnessed his eyes fly open (after finally drifting closed for just a tiny fraction of a moment) at the sound of the dog barking. I then resorted to singing to the one year old, (an enjoyable attempt at lulling him to sleep). After the grand sound of silence for only a fraction of a second at the end of each and every song... witnessed the one year old emphatically demand, “Song!” I continued singing… for a long time. He stayed awake.

*Had my 12 year old watch the 4 year old while I attempted to get the one year old to sleep in a house he had never slept in before (with a babysitter that was just too much fun to sleep for, I might add. ;D). The twelve year old really did try to keep the four year old out of the garden.

*Upon giving up on getting the one year old to sleep… transplanted 4 plants from my vegetable garden which the four year old pulled up by the roots; hopefully he pulled enough of the roots up for them to live.

*Finally... I resorted to sitting on the deck and watching the kids play. I took photos of them and had a blast doing it! This was one of the very best parts of the day.





 


 




 



*Showed the one year old photos of himself on my camera; then listened to him shout for joy, "Baby! Baby!" as he patted himself on the tummy.



Set aside a bit of knowledge I acquired while earning my nutrition degree and let the kids stuff their faces with peanut M&M's - simply because I consider such occasional splurges to be, "good for the soul."




*Made 7 layer burritos for dinner for my family as well as the family of the said children. It was so great having friends over! Even if I did burn some of the meat and mush the black beans (I was distracted! My friends were here socializing with me the last few minutes of preparations. Did I mention that I forgot to spice the beans? I NEVER forget to spice the beans. And, I also NEVER mush them!)

Note: My 7 layer burritos have always been (until last night) absolutely, out of this world… spectacularly delicious!!! Last night, they were, perhaps OK. Oh well. Days like this just keep it real. ;D 

PS Did I mention that though I absolutely loved having these adorable kids over, I also have a new appreciation for the stage of life that my children are in... thus the stage of life that I am in? However, I do think I'm going to have to borrow these little ones from their parents now and then so I can get my "kid fix" too. I have a feeling though, that they will be perfectly willing to let me! ;)

To all of you with little ones... Hat's off, you rock! Thanks so much for sharing your little ones with the rest of us!

PPS No time to edit this... hope the mistakes are few (lately they have been many due to using a tiny computer that I'm not used to... I even missed the "e" in "read," making it "red." Please excuse my haste these days; As rabbit pointed out in Alice in Wonderland... "so much to do and so little time to do it in!"

Happy day to you all...

Corine ;D

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Flourishing As Families

For those of you who have read several gardening blogs already - please hang in there. Though some of it may seem redundant... there is more, so hang in there for another great (I hope :) gardening post. Yours truly, Corine :D

As you know, this summer I started gardening again. It has been one of the most wonderful daily experiences for me. I often look upon my garden with wondering eyes... I am in awe at it's beauty, and more importantly... at the lessons that my Father in Heaven teaches me through gardening. I now see the counsel to grow a garden as more than a means to material goods/food. I see it as a means of communication from my Father in Heaven to me; I see it as a tool that a loving Father in Heaven uses for providing sweet lessons that pierce not only the ears that hear, but the hearts, minds, and souls of those who follow His counsel. I am blessed, because I garden.

I have learned many wonderful things from gardening. One of the lessons that I treasure is the lesson I learned from my cucumber plants. I had never planted them before, so was careful to read the directions on the package and do just what they said to do. The directions said to plant the cucumber plants together in clusters of 6-8 seeds per hill, later to be thinned to 3-4 plants per hill. The seeds were to be planted 4-6 inches apart, and each hill was to have a distance of 4-6 feet between them.

I planted my seeds according to directions (with the exception of not noting the distance between hills to be 4-6 feet - not 4-6 inches... lol  :) - but that is another story), and waited for my garden to grow.

Daily, I watered and tended my garden. When the rains came down too hard, I placed tarp over the garden to prevent the seeds from drowning. When it didn't rain enough, I watered it more. I was consistent and regular with nurturing this garden each and every day; I even had a set time in which to do it; just as the sun was setting (my favorite time of day :). If ever I was away from home at sunset, I would make up for that watering first thing in the morning as the sun was rising (my second favorite time of day). Things were going good, and soon my tiny garden began to flourish; it was growing beautifully, and I was proud of it.

Then one day I began to notice two plants growing outside of the hills. They were in the center of the garden, spaced about 4 feet apart from each other, and they were flourishing like mad! They made the other plants seem small, malnourished in comparison... quite inferior to themselves. I watched them in awe. How was it that they were so big? They weren't even on hills... and yet they flourished.

It wasn't until the two star plants grew very large that I realized - they weren't cucumbers. Overnight they surpassed the size of cucumbers and I didn't have the time to even consider picking them. Nor were they the right color. Cucumbers, I thought, were dark green. These were very light green and very unfamiliar to me. It was then that I realized - they were some type of squash... and I had been critical of my cucumbers and transplanted some of them from hills to flat open ground with lots of space like the squash plants had... expecting them to then flourish and grow the same way the squash had grown. But they didn't.

Instead, the transplanted cucumbers went into shock. They did not flourish. They even slowed down on growing and part of the plants died before recovering; they lost part of their leaves and strength for a time. And they never did grow to be big like the squash plants; because they weren't squash. They could only be the best cucumber plants they could be... and trying to make them grow like the squash plants would only stunt their growth... not spur them on.

I thought about my children as these things came to my mind. I thought of how I worried about my twins when they were little because they were not vocal like their big sister was. I thought of how upset I was that they needed speech therapy at 3 years old, because they spoke only 3 word sentences at 3... while their sister spoke fluent, mature, adultlike conversations at only 1 or 2. I thought of how I stressed and worried and tried to make them like their sister... and of how their talents were ignored and undernourished because I tried to force them to spend less time on the subjects that interested them - and more time on the subjects that I thought they needed to flourish in, which did not interest them.

I thought of my daughter and of how she is so slow and steady in her work habits. When she was younger (and when I was younger and "less wise" to put it kindly) I thought she should should work in a whirlwind... like I, and all of my family growing up did. I thought she should wear herself out and not give herself breaks until the job was done... like I did. :O That is, until I developed injuries and got burnt out - thus discovering the wisdom of pacing one's self, and being kind to one's self. Mindy was a great example of how slow and steady wins the race... and of never stopping until she reached the finish line; enjoying it all along the way. 

And as these, and other examples flashed through my mind... I realized that like those cucumbers that I tried to force to be like the squash... I had had times in which I tried to force family members to be like someone that they were not meant to be - someone that they could not be - and some one that they should not be.

I realized that I should have stuck with the directions given on the package rather than relying on my own intelect. I realized that when I follow the directions given in the scriptures and from the living prophets... my family flourishes; but when I do not, growth is stunted.

I was humbled to learn that Heavenly Father gives to us, His children... His children, to raise as if they are our own; and sometimes only he knows what kind of seeds he is planting...

I was humbled to know that these children are His Works of Art... His Masterpieces, not mine. He creates the seeds... we mearly plant and water them. He created the seeds and only He can see their true potential. He gives these children to us, not so that we will try to turn them into something they are not... but so that we will learn to care for them and love them and nourish them... and learn from them. He gave them to us so that we can experience the joy of nurturing them and watching them grow... and watch them  ENJOY the process of becoming what He created them to become.

I am deeply humbled. I realize more than ever before that these children are HIS... they are not mine. I can take no credit for the beautiful people they are becoming... despite the transplanting I have done. Thankfully, they have a loving Father in Heaven who has given them the strength to withstand the shock of the transplanting... and will help them to catch up, and grow, and become what they were meant to become... despite the many foolish mistakes that we as parents make along the way. And in the process of making these mistakes - we are blessed to become better people ourselves. Our children - His children - agree to come to our homes and let us make mistakes that will shock them and temporarily stunt their growths... so that we can grow.

Can you think of a more loving and selfless plan? Is it any wonder that we love our Father in Heaven? SO MUCH? Is it any wonder that we love our children... who are so giving and so selfless with us.. SO MUCH? Is it any wonder that as we grow to adulthood and become parents ourselves  - we come to understand and respect our parents in a way we never imagined possible?

Heavenly Father loves us. He wants us to be happy, and so He has given us all families. Some have begun raising families of their own, and some have not - but all of us have families from whence we came. And it is my testimony that if we love them for what they are, and don't try to make them something that they are not - we will live to watch them grow, and flourish, and become the wonderful people that their Father in Heaven created them to be.

My family is beginning to wake up, and we have church to prepare for at 11:00 this morning, so I will say good bye for now.

Happy gardening in the garden bed of your family!
Corine :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gardening Can Be Confusing...

Hi! :D So much to do and not enough time to do it all in... So busy, I haven't even examined my own garden closely enough to recognize my own plants. :O... Do you remember that post in which I showed you my garden... "How Does Your Garden Grow?" Did you see the WEED that I proudly displayed? LOL... YES! You heard me right. WEED!

I was out watering my garden a couple of days ago when I looked closely at the "potato" plant growing in my compost pile... the one I was so impressed with because it was so much bigger than the other potato plants... the one I was surprised lived, due to the very overly high nitrogen content of my compost... the one that I proudly displayed (since it was so much bigger than the others were); and I realized - it was a WEED!  In fact... it looks NOTHING like my potato plants... so I don't know why I ever thought it was one (oh... maybe it is because I threw some eyelets in the compost - doubtfully wondering if they would do anything. I suppose since I was sort of looking for a potato plant I sort of found one. :O). So today, it is with much laughter and humility that I present to you...

- One of my weeds...


- And one of my potato plants...


 - And the reminder to myself to be careful about what I look for... because I just might see it - even if it isn't there!  ~  :O

And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and show you the whole garden as of now...


It is a small garden, and I haven't gardened in years - so this is no brag session. But I am still so happy to be gardening again and I'm sure to get quite good at it with time. ;)

By the way... does anyone know what THIS is?


Among all the small plants that I planted in this garden, two plants have really flourished. At first, I thought they were cucumbers. I thought that perhaps I had planted the other cucumbers too close together, and that these two seeds fell in the center of the garden, and having room to grow they did better than the others. I even recklessly transplanted many of my cucumber plants so they would have room to grow and flourish like their neighboring "cucumber" plants (note the very small transplanted cucumber plants in the front of both gardens. They are just getting over the trauma of being transplanted and therefore a bit smallish. There are other small transplanted cucumber plants throughout the garden on the right as well).


But now that I have produce... I realize they are some kind of squash. They look like a cross between zucchini and cucumbers. Before they got this big, I wondered if I dropped two zucchini seeds next to the cucumber plants and the bees cross pollinated them simultaneously giving me a cross breed of cucumber and zucchini. I am - once again - humbled by my ignorance.  :O

As I contemplate the cucumbers that I transplanted because they weren't doing as well as the squash (which I thought were cucumber plants... there fore I expected the cucumber plants to be just like the big squash plants) I can't help thinking about my children and their life missions. I wonder if we ever compare children with each other... thinking they should all do and be certain things, like their bigger sisters or brothers, or like their parents, aunts or uncles; when really, they were created to be and do something entirely different.

I hope we do not "transplant" our children from growing where they are planted - in effort to make them bigger and stronger like their siblings. I think it is especially easy to do with children who are not like ourselves. As we watch them grow there will be stages along their growth cycles that we do not recognize because we are different than they are and are expecting them to look the way we looked, or perhaps the way a sibling looked. I hope that in our family gardening we will remember to water, nourish, and tend them; but let them grow where they were planted and not compare them to others or try to make them something they are not.

Sometimes I feel slightly clueless in areas of both gardening and parenting. But I do know that if I water and care for the garden, and nurture the kids with love, time and teachings... they will all grow up to be something wonderful! And it sure is an adventure! In fact... it's actually a greater adventure than it would have been if I had known what they were going to be.

My how life has a way of making itself interesting! ;)

~ Once again, happy gardening! Corine  :D


PS I have some lovely lettuce and various swiss chard growing behind the other plants. The lettuce is a little bitter, but the chard is absolutely delicious! I love that stuff both raw in a salad, and steamed with butter and salt. It is absolutely
D-e-licious!  :D

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Happier Family...

The past couple of days have been filled with sobering moments for me. I have things to reflect upon... things I need to do better in as a mother. This summer has been a really strange one for me in my life. For the first time in my life, I actually lived completely spontaneously and failed to plan at all. Somehow in all that spontaneity, lately I haven't spent enough time with my kids. A little spontaneity is great... but too much is just too much; some things need to be planned and not left out of living. I feel deeply humbled because I realize that the lack of nurturing and attention in our home lately has caused some friction and tension among family members that shouldn't have been here, and that had I been magnifying my calling as a mother – our recent family life would have been much happier.

With the recent tension and unhappiness in the house, yesterday and the day before, I began to glance through a pamphlet about 3 simple ways to become a happier family. As I glanced through that little booklet a couple of ideas stood out in my mind: spending one on one time with family members, and showing love in ways that are recognizable to the ones you love (we don’t all recognize love, or feel loved by the same actions - I wish I had realized this years ago).

In addition to reading and thinking about what I need to do for my family, my husband and I also began to pray individually and together about our children and how to help with the recent relationship struggles and behavior issues we were seeing. We were praying for our oldest son especially, as he had been very angry and sad the past couple of days, (though he seems to be very unaware of his behavior).  It really excited me that we both quickly received the same answer - loud and clear - that what our kids need is one on one time.

Later that day (yesterday) the same contention that had been in our home prevailed. The same son already mentioned was still struggling severely as he had the past couple of days. He called names, he complained, he said he thought we all wanted him to be miserable and that his family was ruining his life etc. It was really tough. I could see that he actually meant and believed what he was saying and wished intently that I could help him to realize that what he was saying wasn’t true. I wished that he could know and feel how much he really is loved, and know that his family really does want him to be happy.

I had compassion on him, but still did what I thought needed to be done – I grounded him from his friends for the day hoping to help him to notice his behavior and try to treat his family better. At one point, he sat in a chair… in tears and very upset… as he talked about how family members were trying to make him angry (his perception, which I disagree with) and about his frustration over being the only one punished. I encouraged him to consider his own actions and what is right, even if he thinks others are being mean to him. I think I failed to validate his feelings, worrying too much about trying to teach him to be accountable for his own actions and not rationalize. But I did care. I sat on the floor at his feet… wishing I could wrap my arms around him and comfort him, but knowing that he was still very angry at me and didn’t want to be touched by me. I would only touch him as much as he would allow… just a little on his feet. All these thoughts and feelings were going through me. I wanted to help so badly, but felt powerless.

And then I realized what was happening. I was trying to discipline / teach him… with love yes, but in a way that HE could not feel my love. The gentle touch which was allowed by him was good; I know that when I touch him, somehow he feels my love. But the words were not getting through. As I sat listening to my son, and saw him cry, my view began to change from seeing a stubborn and guilty boy, to seeing a boy who was kind and good, and hurting too much to see his own behavior. I then remembered the ideas in that little pamphlet; *one on one time, and *showing love in a way that HE recognizes.

I had been sitting on the floor at his feet, telling him with words that I loved him, and that I cared. I disciplined with love in my heart. But it wasn't enough.

The dilemma I faced was that I was trying to show him I love him by telling him with words; even though WORDS do NOT tell HIM that he is loved the way they tell me, that I am loved. Though I thought I showed him that I love him, through discipline and words, neither register fully as actions of love to him. The problem was not what I was doing... the problem was – I wasn’t doing what HE needed me to do for HIM to feel loved.

I knew I could not take away consequences to his actions. But if he didn't feel loved - that discipline was going to do absolutely no good. He would be angry at me instead of being reflective about his actions. He first and foremost needed to feel loved. He needed to feel understood... to have his feelings validated. And, I had been too busy lately; I hadn’t given him the time that he needed to feel loved.

***So I told him I felt that he needed a break... some fun, and asked him where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. His then dejected facial expression lifted up from the floor to look at me, and out spilled the sweetest sound of "really?" in shocking delight. There was a glimmer of hope and relief in his eyes, and I could see that the thick wall between us had quickly begun crumbling down. I asked him where he wanted to go. He didn't know; I grabbed my purse and assured him we would figure it out.

As we drove down the road together I made several suggestions; he made the final choice. I even got him a pineapple shake because shakes are what he loves (I secretly cringe each time I buy one for one of the kids… which is seldom because of the price; I never buy them for myself... EVER). We sat and ate together and talked. I knew he finally felt loved. I finally did something, just for him, something that he enjoyed, so he would know that he was on my mind and in my heart and that I really do care about him. And you know... his emotions just settled so nicely. :) He is happy again; he is kind again. It is absolutely amazing what a little RECOGNIZABLE love can do.

I made a good dinner and we ate together as a family again. Afterwards, we read from the scriptures together. But it took a long time to get around to reading the scriptures because everyone was laughing and joking (mostly Dausen… the comedian, who joked about needing to be naughty like his brother so I would take him out for a burger and a shake… I assured him that he was next – without having to be naughty! ;)). We all carried on with silly and fun conversation. We hadn’t been eating or reading together lately, and we were enjoying making up for it (we also committed to getting back to doing these things daily again!).

After dinner, we broke up into groups of two like we used to (a weekly event) for one on one time together. This way, even the kids get time with each other to strengthen their relationships with each other as well as with each parent.

The night ended peacefully and still today everything feels different – our home has a feeling of peace and love again. Thanks to a few minor adjustments with the routine of daily (and weekly) living, I'm sure my family is going to be just fine. Thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is a undeniable increase in the happiness and peace among family members again.



I am so thankful!!! :D

…Wishing you happy and loving days, too.
Corine :D

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunshine in My Heart ~ via Blogging... :D

Hi. :D ~ I wasn't going to blog this morning; I'm anxious to put on some roller blades and head out in the beautiful sun. But there is another sun shining and it is calling out to me for attention too, so here I am.

The sunshine I'm referring to is the sunshine in my soul that has gotten there by way of mingling with beautiful people, particularly in the blogging world... And I just need to thank all of you beautiful people who go about doing and saying kind things that spread this joy so abundantly.  :)

Do you remember that quote from Peter Pan, where Peter explains how to fly? It is one of my favorite quotes, and I think of it often as I read the happy thoughts of others on their blogs, or from other's comments on my blog. Peter says...
"You just think happy thoughts,
and they lift you into the air."
This photo of a girl running with balloons in her hands reminds me of this quote, so I stole it shamelessly from google to share it with you. ;) I like the sun shining in the background. I like how the step in her run is happy... so happy that you can practically imagine her feet bouncing gently upward... just enough that you find yourself imagining that those balloons can actually lift her up into the air.

To those of you whose blogs I read, and to those who read my blog and leave such great comments ~ you, like the sun... amaze and dazzle me, and more importantly, you uplift my soul. I love to sit down and read, only to find myself transported to a inner world of shear delight by the goodness that flows from your hearts and your words. You make the world a better place by your kind and loving examples and your cheerful and positive ways. I feel blessed to be associated with you... even if it is simply in the blogging world and not in the concrete/physical world we live in.

I am amazed as I go through life at how many absolutely beautiful and wonderful people there are . I love blogging because I get to catch a glimpse of so much good in the world and of so many beautiful people. I wish I knew you all!!! I wish I could get into a private jet and go visit each and every one of you!

I love to watch your strength as you battle and find victory over the "Goliath's" in your lives. I love to see you smile :D as you talk about it being OK that you have gone through hard times... that they have made you who you are and that you like who you are. I like who you are, too! I love to see you do inspiring things.

I love to see you share your happy moments, your funnies, your hopes and your dreams. I love to hear some of your thoughts and expressions of your innermost feelings. You are real. You are positive. And you make the world a better place.

Thank you all... for being you!
Thank you all... for taking time to talk to me!
Thank you all for the wonderful stories and thoughts that you share!

I just can't leave the house today without first expressing my gratitude.

Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

Your blogging friend, Corine :D

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I don't know what I am to write about this morning; I only know that I have to write.

I'm sitting here at my computer, looking out the window at the tree before me, covered in beautiful big green leaves and now little green berries. It is August now, and soon the berries will be turning orange with the fall season and become food for beautiful little winter birds. I can hardly believe that fall is already so fast approaching. School will be starting soon. Where has the time flown? This summer has breezed by me so fast I can hardly believe it. I have done so many fun things. I have had a little money to spend vacationing and playing. It has been a treat to savor. :) Life is going by so quickly and growing better and better by the day. It is almost startling to see the changes and how rapidly they are being made.

I think life is like this. Day by day the changes aren't noticeable. Looking at my garden it is not easy to see the changes in sizes of produce from one day to another... unless one looks very closely and tries to see it; and then one can. It is amazing! But how startling it is to me when I leave my home for even just a couple of days... perhaps only two or three - and then return to see my garden and notice with ease the vast growth of my garden. It astounds me. Stepping back for only just a moment I can see the change.

I can't help not comparing the growth in my garden to the growth in people's lives... in my life. There are expectations for life and self. Big expectations. Just as when I planted those tiny seeds I had big expectations for them. I expected them to grow to be large adult plants laden with produce. I expected them to grow up beautiful and strong. I expected them to be productive. And they are not failing me. :)

You know what feels good to me? Having high expectations for myself... but finally having the insight and skills to take life one day at a time with patience and joy ~ and just allow myself to be the best that I can be ~ whatever that is at any given time. Knowing that little by little changes are taking place, and I don't have to rush about frantically or panic over perfection. I don't need to stress about mistakes made, big or small. I just need to keep on pressing forward with faith in every footstep, and eventually I will look back on my life and see that I too... have grown steady and strong, just like the vegetables in my garden.

I was reading a blog this morning which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes which played a big part in helping me to keep my expectations high while balancing them with patience. It reads;

“Rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourself with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know how. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.”


President Gordon B. Hinckley

I know these words are true. Great things are brought to pass by very small means.

Life is good... it is SO VERY GOOD!

PS Even with a late start... I had to try (It is my nature... can't be helped. :)  I finished planting the LAST couple days of JUNE; but that was the best I could do with the time I had to build both the raised garden bed, and the garden. The plants are smaller and the produce less ripened than that of other gardens which got an earlier start; even still, I will reap a harvest! :D

Here is a collage I made the last couple days of planting (covered in dirt! ~ see small photo of my face - forehead even covered with dirt)... LOL ~ The garden on the rear had plant starts a couple weeks old... the garden on the front was finished that day and planted by seed. It's plants are still small and will be featured at a later date. :)


The garden at the rear (left)... Today...













Look for the busy bee in the next two photos...


Happy Growing in your journey though life...

Corine ;D