Monday, May 30, 2011

Who Are YOU?

Look at what I found! This calls for celebration, and a reminder to get back to Monday Media day! This video features one of my favorite songs... which I have listened to since I was a child. This is my new favorite rendition of it. :) I really hope you enjoy it! :D

Friday, May 27, 2011

Simple Tools to Help Homeschoolers Keep THEMSELVES on Track...

Spontaneously and very suddenly finding myself out of town (see PS if you don't know what is going on)... and leaving behind homeschooling youth - at the end of the school year - really got me thinking about our homeschooling... And I'm afraid I simply must take a few minutes to brag about my boys. :o  :D

I realized after arriving here at my mom's place that I did not even feel inclined to say a single word to the kids about their schooling or even write them a note.

After homeschooling for several years now - I'm incredibly thankful for the progress made... Believe me, homeschooling is a lot of work. And there were many times when I felt like a failure and was tempted to send them all back to public school. I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father was there to help me keep going, and for teaching us and giving us tools and strength to continue on and eventually to even get pretty good at it. :)

I was able to leave town knowing that my youth can be responsible, and not have any trouble knowing what to do while I am away. I appreciate this so much that I thought I should share the insights and simple tool we use which makes this possible with other homeschoolers.

The tool I am referring to helps my kids to be completely self directed and responsible with their schooling;  one must not discount it for it's simplicity... It is just a very simple check off list of weekly and daily subjects to study (we started out having the kids place a check mark indicating done, but now have them place #'s in the chart indicating pages studied or time spent depending on the subject). The chart clearly shows the days of the week and the subjects that are to be done on each day. This serves both as a reminder and record keeper for the kids. It also serves as a tool for accountability; anyone who looks at their records knows how much work they have done.

This chart is incredibly simple, but it helps the kids to do all their work consistently because they can't forget anything; and they know they are expected to do their schooling and chores before anything else. They love knowing what is expected of them and not having to wait for me to tell them what to do next. I love how they do most of the record keeping, and especially how it helps them to take the responsibility for getting an education.

Once my kids got that check list in their hands, they soon began doing their studies first thing early in the morning (and they are actually getting better at this over time!). After they have completed everything on their lists, they spend the remainder of their designated schooling time studying anything they want to learn about or developing any talent they desire to develop further. They are required to stick with focusing on learning for about five hours each day (the length of time may vary with age). The time that they finish schooling depends upon when when they get around to starting... (which is usually an hour before I require them to start!).

Why do we do it this way? I like my kids to learn that there are consequences to their actions (be they good or bad). When one chooses to procrastinate, it becomes clear to him that he has made a choice which affords him lesser privileges and is regretful later... At such times, I say nothing, except in reminding him to keep track of his study time while he is developing the habit of doing so. When he sees siblings who disciplined themselves to start on time... end on time, his desire to also be through with his studies early in the day serves as a silent encouragement for him to start early as well (I love this totally silent and positive peer pressure!). If they start late, I compassionately insisted they finish anyhow (this happens seldom, and less frequently as time goes on). When they start early, I praise them for being so on top of things. :)

Because of the things my boys have learned through the natural consequences of their own actions, it wasn't long before all three of the boys were waking early and starting school before they were required to. The boys who went to early morning seminary hit the books the moment they returned from Seminary at 7:30 AM, even though they weren't required to until 8 AM. The son who is too young for Seminary began hitting the books while his brothers were in Seminary, around 6:30 or 7 AM. Eventually, I began to see the boys who attended Seminary getting a bit of their studies done before Seminary.

I am so proud of these boys for their remarkable dedication and responsible behavior. I really can't take any credit for what these kids are doing. But there are a few things I have done to try to encourage an atmosphere of learning in our home...

One thing I do is try to set an example of seeking out learning by talking about my own love of learning, and by studying in front of them to set an example of continued learning.

Another thing I have emphasized to them off and in in life, is that they are the ones who are responsible to see to it that they get a good education, and that if they want to be smart and be prepared to work whatever career they desire to work - they need to take the responsibility of making sure they learn. I can make sure they have books, and time to study, but they will get out of their minds what they put into them... No one else can make them learn.

They really seem to get this concept, because they find topics on their own to study, don't argue with me at all about not wanting to do their studies, and they actually TELL ME they are glad I "make" them do their school work. This always sort of shocks me when they say something like that because I DON'T have to "make" them study; all I do is kindly say, "school first" if they try goofing off before studies are done.

On rare occasions, one may beg for the day off. And on VERY rare occasions, I let them all have the day off... simply because life is to be enjoyed, and we enjoy playing hooky on occasion! ;D

But for the most part I tell them that I wouldn't want them cheated out of something as important as an education. I have a testimony of CONSISTENCY. Sometimes I hear them talking to each other when they notice examples of what happens when people don't study. They are so thankful that we do study. Their attitudes about learning are great blessings, which is incredibly exciting to me! :D

If you haven't started a checklist in your homeschooling... you might want to try it! The checklist is a tool which constantly reinforces the importance of prioritizing, learning, and taking responsibility for one's own education and future, and it helps student to never miss a subject - without ever having to tell  the student what to do. :) With this checklist, we do group study first, then the kids do their individual studies in whatever order they wish to. I try to give them as much control as possible over their educations. I don't hover...

As my kids learn to manage their own educations, they learn skills to help them to better manage their own lives. I love knowing that the skills my kids develop as they govern and direct their own schooling as much as is possible, spill into all other areas of their lives. I know they are learning to be more responsible and hard working etc. I am eternally thankful for every tool my kids have been blessed with to help them to learn and grow and become smart, self directed people.

Do you have tools to help your kids to keep THEMSELVES on track? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section! :D

PS. As you may already know... I got a call about mom being sick at 9:30 PM one night, and found myself packing all night and leaving the house at 4 AM to go take care of her. (By the way... in addition to missing my family, I MISS YOUR BLOGS SO MUCH! It seriously pains me to not have much time to read them!! I hope you miss me, too. ;0) Family and friends who are praying for mom... THANK YOU SO MUCH! The good news... mom is doing great! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apart, but Still Together...

My mom is sick, so I left home and family and traveled to mom's to take care of her. She is doing much better now, but recovery is a roller-coaster and she still needs me.

I sent an email to my husband yesterday morning. I told him the days feel longer when you are away from home and family and that I miss him and our kids more than I cared to admit. I told him I wish he would call me more.

After that, he called me.


In the same day.

Once, just to tell me a joke. :D

Then he sent me an email.

At the end of the day, he called a third time... This time with news of the fun he and the kids had together playing doge ball ("kill ball" if you want to be more descriptive) for family night (Family Home Evening). And with the happy news that they cleaned house first! :D And then he offered an invitation for me to join the family over the phone...

"We're about to have family prayer and scripture study. Would you like to join us?"

It may sound strange, but I was ecstatic! :D

The most recent snapshot of the family... taken by the kids cousin Ashtyn.
For a few brief moments... I was going to sit and listen to my family on speaker phone, and be a part of what my family were doing again.

I loved hearing the kids talk to each other in the moments preceding the prayer and reading. It was unlike any family gathering we have ever had. The little noises didn't bother me; I loved them. :) I didn't care how quickly they got reverent... (either they were faster than usual, or I was relly in a different mode!) I just really enjoyed hearing their voices.

And I felt incredibly lucky to see the leader that my husband has become. :)

An incredibly blessed and thankful woman... :)

PS. I'm so sorry I haven't had much time to spend in the blog world since I have been taking care of mom (or before that when I was sick... or when I was taking care of my home and family! Whew!) I miss you all! As mom recovers and I get more time, you will see more of me again, and I will be thankful to see more of you, too. :) See you again soon...

Corine :D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Lately I have felt somewhat frustrated about not getting around to doing some of the things I want and need to do. On some days, I have felt down right OVERWHELMED. So I've been doing A LOT of thinking. I am thinking about how I am spending my time. I've been thinking about goals. And I've been thinking about priorities.

Sunday, I even gathered my family and talked to them about priorities... and of the importance of evaluating the activities in our lives by listing the things we do in categories, such as "Essential," "Necessary," and "Nice to do." (I'm so thankful for what I learned in church that day which inspired this!). I even got out the large dry erase board, and we did this activity as a family.

In the "essential" category, we listed things which were basically essential to getting back to our Father in Heaven - like praying and studying our scriptures. In the "necessary" category we listed things we really must do to survive both temporally and spiritually, like house work, earning money, school and continuing to learn and develop talents etc. And in the "nice to do" category we had things like quilt, watch movies, etc.

I think I made it clear that though there are probably many things which would be categorized the same way for all of us... there are also many things which would fall under different categories for different people. I also gave the example that though I list quilting under the "nice to do" section, people who must make their own quilts to keep warm. will place quilting under the "necessary" list.

As I asked the family to add things to the list which they thought might go into each category, I was surprised that Devry thought exercise should go into the "essential" category. That explains his sudden devotion to taking walks and running. :D While I placed exercise in the necessary category, I can see his point of view. After all, as David O McKay (a prophet of God) pointed out... "the man who takes care of his body also takes care of his spirit." Exercise keeps depression at bay, and makes a person healthier and MUCH more able to do both the necessary and other essential things. Exercise can honestly take a life from drab to fab!

*Here again, I told the kids it is important that each make his own list according to his own personal life needs, and that none of us judge another for his priorities being different than our own.

After we made a short list together as a family on the dry erase board I had everyone do this activity for themselves personally in their journals. One son didn't want to do it, so I told him,
"that's fine; you can do it tomorrow for a writing assignment."
He sighed and immediately decided to get a head start on his schooling for the next day! lol! (I love homeschooling!)

After the lists were made, I encouraged my family to strive to spend the greater portion of their time doing the things which are essential, then necessary, then nice to do... or rather, to do these things in order so that the most important things always get done and when we leave this life we will not have regrets that we have not done the things which matter most. Not only that... but this life will be so much more rewarding and fulfilling as a result of doing the things which matter most.

One of the kids didn't think he would have any time left to do the things in the "nice to do" list if he did the others first. So I pulled my favorite analogy out (which was also shared again with me in RS that day at church) and shared it with the family.

In this analogy, we likened the "essential" activities to large rocks, the "necessary" activities to pebbles, and the "nice to do" activities to sand. I reminded them that if you place sand in a jar first, then pebbles then rocks, the biggest rocks and pebbles won't fit. But if you place the rocks in first, then the pebbles, and the sand last, it is amazing to see that it somehow ALL FITS.

Our lives are like that. If we simply do what ever we want to do when ever we want to do it (with no order or without prioritizing), unfortunately there never seems to be enough time to do the things that matter most. But if we do the things which matter most, first, the fun things somehow still fit into our schedules. Let's face it... there is something in us that DRIVES us to make time for the things we love to do! The "drive" to do the necessary and essential just don't seem to be nearly as strong.

 (BTW. If you have never actually seen the jar example, you may want to try it... it's awesome! :D I was absolutely amazed when I first tried this and discovered that it really is true! First, fill the jar with big rocks, then pebbles, then sand. Then dump it out (knowing that it all fits, because you just did it!) and do the reverse... sand, pebbles, then rocks. They won't fit! :o

People who accomplish A LOT, do so because their priorities are in order; they do what matters most FIRST. This is encouraging to me, because it gives me hope that with a little better prioritizing, I can accomplish a lot more! :D Who knows... I may just get these businesses that my husband and I just joined - up and running! :)

I am choosing to access my priorities - now - and set goals to help me utilize my time better and accomplish more in life...  And I just can't wait to see what comes of it! :D

October 16, 2011  - ADDITION: 
 “We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform”
First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Finally Ran a Half Marathon! :D

Thanks to my friend, Valerie, who invited me to train with her, coached me in running, and drove me to the event with her... I finally ran my first half marathon! THANK YOU VALERIE! And we did awesome! :) (Kendra, you were right... half marathons are a blast! :D)

As I ran, I would look at other runners and smile at them. Valerie told me that she smiled the entire run on one of her past events, and of how much it seemed to impact other runners. I was inspired by that and really enjoyed adding my own twist to it. Now and then I would get into a short conversation with one of these marvelous runners who I had never met before. We would cheer each other on, then continue on at our own pace.

I didn't know it at the time, but after the finish I would see some of these people again; and we would have the choice moments of calling out to each other with a warm hello and a hearty "we did it!" Those brief moments in which our eyes and hearts seemed to connect with each other in sincere congratulations would be major highlights of the event. They had run too... they understood.

I didn't start out running with the highest of expectations. I even delayed registering... up until the night before. I walked into late registration the night before mentally dragging my feet, and hoping that I wasn't running too soon after being sick (I was sick for about a week before the run). I didn't expect to run any great time, but I went ahead and registered because for two months... I HAD TRAINED; and I though I was again unsure that I could do decently well so soon after being sick... I knew that if I didn't run, I would ALWAYS wonder if I could have and should have run that race.

So when the race started I had only two goals... 1.) Don't walk (which I had learned to do from training with Valerie). 2.) Finish the race. Oh, and and I really shouldn't leave out... pray that my knee would not become too inflamed. (I had a sample packet of anti-inflammatory gel in my pocket ready to save the day!)

I started out running easy, but gradually, a spirit of competition grew within me - not with others so much - but with myself. I knew I could go much faster than I had been running and wished I had pushed and paced myself from the beginning. I also knew I couldn't go back in time, but that I could look at the remainder of the race and run it they way I wanted to.

So I started to push myself a little more. Finally, rather than being way at the back behind a huge pile of people, I began passing people (who no doubt passed me long before that). The large piles of people who were ahead of me gradually moved behind me. I was moving forward, and it was fun!  :D

With about three miles to go (ten miles into the marathon) I did a little math, and though I had ran both slower and faster than a 10 minute mile pace, that was my average. I decided I wanted to finish the race by pacing myself and maintaining that 10 minute-mile average. I figured I could finish the race in about 2 hours and ten minutes from the start of the race if I did this, so that became my new goal - my focus. And I would really need this new focus to get me through some of the mental obstacles in the next three miles ahead of me.

One of the major mental moments came when, after running over 10-11 miles, I saw ahead of me a bridge... on a hill... on the marathon path... and it looked steep (I think I was simply delusional from fatigue :o). This was just at the point at which I ran out of water. I saw some people slowing down to a walk and I understood why. Mentally, it looked really uninviting after having just ran 11 or so miles! I was tempted to walk, too. I even began to slow down BEFORE reaching it; just looking at it was mentally exhausting!

Thankfully, a wonderful little voice spoke loud and clear within my mind... To my surprise, that hill wasn't nearly as steep as it looked. I ran up it just fine, and cringed at the thought that I actually slowed down, simply from anticipating an experience to be awful.
"Corine, do not slow down. Keep running; you can do this!"
Though running up that bridge wasn't the awful experience I anticipated it to be... the last two miles were tough; the last mile was REALLY TOUGH! But I now had a goal, and it wasn't just to finish... I had a time in mind.

 I just kept thinking...
"Two hours and ten minutes"
...over and over again as I ran.

As I neared the end of the race, those now sought out people who stood on the sides calling out "water" "heed" were no where to be seen. My legs ached, my heart pounded. At this point, my watch beeped incessantly, letting me know I was running without oxygen (as if I need my watch to tell me that! Believe me, when you have no oxygen to burn the glucose in your veins... energy is hard to come by and you know it!)

I realize this may all sound dramatic... after all, I have no astounding time or grave disability to make the run so hard. But this is my story... and though it may sound dramatic - it is real - and it is mine. And I want to remember it, relive in the memory of parts of it, and learn from other parts. And besides... it's much funner to write if you write at least a little dramatically! ;o And so I will continue on with my dramatic story. :D

This was the part of the run (to the top of the hill) when I knew thought I HAD to have more water. I wasn't worried about it, sure there must be more water ahead... but kept on the lookout for it. Surely there would be more!

But there wasn't any more. And as I repeatedly looked at my watch, noting the time and the pace at which I would have to run to make my goal - I WAS DESPERATE FOR WATER! I had to really push myself to keep going that last mile or two without it.
"Just 10 more minutes and I will be to the finish,"
I kept telling myself, while glancing at my watch to see how close I might be to the finish line. Lack of water made it REALLY difficult to run. None the less... I kept running.

As I neared the finish line, I heard my name called out,
"And now we have Corine Moore, from Hayden Idaho!"
"Was that the finish line?" I wondered. No... there was another strip in the road to cross, the finish line was just a few feet further...
"Keep going!" I told myself, "You're almost there!"
I laugh now at how disappointed I was that I had to run a few more feet. LOL ~ I crossed that final line with total relief and stumbled over to the water station I had only dreamed about while running the last mile or two. I WAS DONE! Now I had the sweet opportunity of watching for my friend to cross the finish line, and looking for my daughter who I knew would be close by and looking for me. Those minutes of anticipation for these dear ladies were sweet.

Seeing Valerie cross the finish line was WAY COOL! She did AWESOME! I wished that I had a camera on me so I could have taken a photo of her crossing the finish line. I am so proud of her and so inspired by her!!! Valerie got me running and kept me going when my knee tempted me to slack off; she was my coach who showed me the way. SHE IS A DEAR FRIEND - AND I LOVE HER!

And seeing my daughter running toward me to congratulate me was AMAZING! She had such spark in her eyes, and such joy in her countenance; without even knowing my time, she told me with total sincerity that she was SO PROUD OF ME. That was a big deal to me. I thought it was neat that she was so proud of me ~ just for doing it. I also thought it was cool that she came to see me and cheer me on. :D Her support and love really made my day! ~ I LOVE THAT GIRL!!! :D ~ I am such a blessed mama! :D

And now  - I wish to record a few of the things I learned from my first half marathon yesterday...

*Goals - Set them. But careful not to set them low; you may just achieve them no matter what they are - high or low! I found it interesting to note that perhaps I had set my goal too low (perhaps not since I am a first time runner and only trained for two months). I think I finished a minute or so after my goal, or about that time (I will check once the results are posted). But I can't help wondering what I could have done if I had set a time goal BEFORE the race, rather than 10 miles into it. By the way, my friend Valerie finished only a few minutes off from her goal as well. Yeah Valerie! :D

*Listen to the people who have done it before. My husband filled my camel back with water. I had him dump a bunch out... sure I wouldn't need that much. I then dumped some more. Unfortunately I ran out of water, added a little more to it during the race, and ran out again. It would have saved a lot of time, and I would have had a lot more energy at the end of the race... if I had listened to someone who had experience.

On the bright side, I greatly benefited from listening to Valerie's counsel to pace myself and save the sprinting for the end. I didn't always do this... but I know that my efforts to do this really helped me to be able to keep running. :D I didn't walk for a single second of the race (though I did stop to stretch and get water a couple of times). THANK YOU VALERIE! :D

*I was also reminded (as I have been so many times before) that Heavenly Father is watching out for me and that He loves me just as He loves each and every one of us. I know He helped me to prepare for this run in many simple ways. I also had a cool experience after the race in which He blessed me in an obvious way (sorry... I'm not going to tell you the specifics). I feel SO special and loved by the many blessings which He gives to me so regularly, - usually through the power of the Holy Ghost, and through wonderful people who listen and obey. I love it when people are sensitive to the Spirit! :D I realize that most people do not realize how much our Father in Heaven blesses their lives, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the realization that I have so I can experience the joy of gratitude for my many blessings.

*When you "RACE," (if that is your intention) don't start out it a major pack! For the first few minutes I was in such a think crowd that I could barely move. I wasn't even running for the first minute, in which time I'm sure those who weren't crowded in could gain a great advantage if they wanted to (the race time started individually for each person the moment he/she crossed over the starting line). Those of us who stayed in a pack were only able to run a very slow jog.

*In reference to the above paragraph... I realized I might want to decide before entering another half marathon, if I am doing it for the experience, or to race against the clock; this decision will affect EVERYTHING. I experienced a bit of both - and the experiences I had as my mental mode switched were starkly different from each other.

Being relaxed about the time and outcome... simply enjoying the run... talking to people... encouraging other runners... connecting with them in a way I have never connected with people before was a sweet and amazing experience!

It was also a very cool experience to really get my head into running, pass people (who had before no doubt passed me), think about my heart rated and how much I could push it etc. That wasn't the warm and fuzzy experience I had while simply "enjoying" the run, but it was certainly a big thrill and major learning experience which I am happy to have had (I can draw a great deal of life similes from this experience.)

I think I will do a few more of these runs... perhaps with one goal or the other in mind now and then. I wonder what other experiences and goals for running await me! :D

I know this is long, so I will end this post now.

PS. I will be adding to this post, the photos Mindy took  as soon as her camera is developed. I will also be getting a couple of photos from Valerie's phone camera. Stay tuned! :D

PPS. After the race I spent the remainder of the day with my wonderful daughter (all three of my sons and husband could not be there because they had a business event they had to work at all day; I'm so happy that the men in my family could handle the work and let Mindy be there with me). Mindy and I walked around River Front Park to let my body cool down as we took a couple of photos from her little disposable camera (way to go Mindy for bringing the camera!!!). Afterwards we celebrated together by eating out at Top of China. We then went to a women's conference called Heroins in History, talked, enjoyed each others company at home, then cleaned house together. To top it all off, Mindy massaged my legs to work out some of the soreness (isn't she great?). It was an awesome day!

Corine :D

*Shout out - for a fabulous Mothers Day series going on all this month on my friend Laura's blog "Living a Big Story."  Laura has invited mothers from all walks of life to share their stories on her blog this month. Click on the link below to check out her blog!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grattitude for the Present...

October 2 , 2010 (I don't know how this got reposted for the date of 7 months later...)

I am choosing to learn to live with greater gratitude... for and in the HERE AND NOW. I have been guilty of missing certain things from my past way too much, and of living in the past or the future, more than in the here and now. I have been incredibly blessed lately to learn the importance of living in the here and now; Heavenly Father directed me to several sources and experiences to help me with this.

The last source of this new education has been from the article The Best is Yet to Be. It is about Lot's wife (in the Bible) and her sin of longing for the past, and having more appreciation for the past than she had faith in the future.

I love this article! In the past I simply thought of her sin as being longing for riches and wanting to be in that wicked city she was told to flee from, and of course, disobeying the Lord by looking back. I never thought of her looking back longingly at the past, or of looking back longingly as a bad thing... until now. While it is good to appreciate the past, it is not good to miss it too much... It is better to have such faith in the future that we appreciate the past as beautiful stepping stones towards the future - which may now be the present - not as the beautiful stones that we had to resentfully leave behind (see the difference in perspective?).

My new goal is to not have anything in common with Lot's wife! I don't want to long for the past or the future. I want to appreciate the past, prepare with faith and joy for the future, and totally and completely enjoy living in the here and now.

I know that as a result of accomplishing this mental change, many blessings will come into my life. Another blessing of being in the here and now - mentally - is being able to see (and more fully enjoy...) so many more blessings that are already in my life (not just the ones I'm working for). I can enjoy the process of becoming... not just the end results (is there ever really an end result?).

Life is mostly spent in processes, so living in the now..., enjoying the process, is a really important key to living a happy life.

Here is a quote I love about the present that I would like to share.

The future is a mystery,
The past is history,
But today is a gift;
why we call it the present.

Life is so... good.
And as president Hinckley put it,

"Your future is as bright as your faith." ;D

Happy Living!
Corine ;D

May 10, 2011
I think I am accomplishing this goal... very well. :D
It is  so cool to find this writing, and notice the progress made. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Am A Mother ~ A Must See Media For All Mothers :)

Originally posted in March... Reposted today for Mothers Day... :) HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! :D

Hi. I found a fabulous video on one of my new favorite blogs Diapers and Divinity; I don't like to copy... but honestly, how could I NOT share this? It made me ball my eyes out because I can relate 100% with overwhelming feelings of grattitude for the choices I have made 4 times, to be a mother (The answer is YES. The twins do count as 2 choices, because I actually CHOSE to get pregnate with twins. Yes again, I actually PLANNED to have twins... but I don't think I'll provide the details here. ;).

I hope you enjoy this viedo at least half as much as I did DO!

Corine :D


Tribute To My Mother...

This is a photo of my mom when she was 15.  Isn’t she beautiful?

I love that my mother is beautiful... I know it doesn't matter , but I really do. :) Ever since I was a little girl, I remember looking at her in awe over how beautiful she is.

But it isn't her outward beauty that I'm really proud of, it's her inward beauty which overflows from her; it is her desire to do good and be good, to love everyone... that make her so incredibly beautiful to me.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always known that being good, trying to do what Jesus would do... is what mattered most to my mom. Even as a young child, it was quite evident to me that she derived a great deal of happiness from the good that her children did and became. And she has always had a big heart. No matter what her children may do wrong... mom's love is ALWAYS there in abundance. She hugged, kissed, loved, and nourished her children... It made me feel like there was nothing on this planet more valuable... than me.

This overflowing love which she has always had for me (and all her children), caused me to desire never to do wrong; though I knew she would always love me, I didn't want to make my mother cry.

And so it was my childhood quest to be as good a person as I possibly could be. And grown up or not, she is still my mother... this quest lives on! My mother has forever influenced me!

I have always been proud of my mom, and enjoyed time spent with her. When I was a kid, mom would lay on the floor in the living room and I would massage her back while we watched sweet chick flicks together. Her health was always a struggle, so this was something that I loved to do for her to help her to feel better and take away some of the pain; though I didn't need it, she massaged me too. :) A couple of movies that we watched a million times over during our massages were Heidi and What about Harry? We also enjoyed Little House on the Prairie, and in our later years (after I grew up and moved out of the house) we have enjoyed movies written by Jane Austin.

The thing we enjoy together most is just talking. I love talking to her because she talks about things that matter. Her influence on me can be seen in the books that I read to my children, our love for God and country, respect for life, and in the core priorities in my life.

Here are a few little tidbits about my mother...

My mother...

*Loves the color burgundy. Because of this, it was my favorite color much of my childhood; seeing it made me happy because when I looked at it - I thought of her. You may notice that I often use that color in my blog... for my signature. I go back and forth between burgundy (as close as the computer gets to it) and purple... my two favorite colors. :)

*Eats vegetables like they are going out of style!

*As a young mother, mom fed us kid brewers yeast and other "tasty" nutrients and vitamins... for being good. :) I developed a desire to take care of both my body and my spirt... from my mothers influence and care for me.

*Writes for several hours every day (Actually, I think she spends HOURS reading and writing every day.); she journals and is also writing a play about the worth of a soul. It will be fantastic!

*Her favorite books have to be... the scriptures!

*Plays the piano... and I mean REALLY PLAYS! Her best works are her own compositions; she is an AMAZING song writer and music composer!

*IS A PATRIOT. When I was a child, I remember mom (and dad) going to Constitution classes and such... she was a member of the Freeman Institute. And she and dad taught us to love and serve our country by doing our homework and voting in good leaders etc. (this little expert just doesn't do justice in portraying her patriotic influence!)

*Can't read my blogs very often (no Internet),
...but probably knows me better than anyone anyhow. :)

*Hasn't known what her natural hair color is for many years...
...but knows it is important to look beautiful. :) (LOL... I did NOT take after her when it comes to hair dying and makeup.)

*Isn't at all famous,
...but sings like she should be; she really should sing on American Idol. :)

*Cries when her children cry,
...even when they are rebellious and don't know it.

*Prays for her children daily,
...I often feel her strength.

*Listens without condemning

*Teaches the gospel by example

*Looks on the heart of a person and sees the best in them

My dear sweet mother taught me ...

to love the lord with my whole heart
to pray
to value study and learning, and to read from the best books.
to follow the Saviors example to the best of my ability, and repent when I fall short.

And she taught me to develop my talents, thank God for them, and to strive to use them to serve God and His children.

In my youth, mom and I also enjoyed sewing together a great deal. Mom also taught me how to crochet, cook, clean, sew, garden, play the piano... We made clothes for both of us and I felt quite happy with my skills. When I babysat for friends going out of town, they were shocked and delighted to know that I could look through their cupboards, and without a menu or recipes, I could figure out meals to make from scratch. Before I left home at 18 years old, I was proficient at all of these things. I left home without hesitance or fears; I was completely prepared to take care of a family and home; and I knew it.

I tell you these things - NOT TO BRAG - for it isn't myself who deserves the credit. I owe all of this to a selfless mother who so diligently took the time to include me in all of her homemaking affairs. Life with mom was a top notch homemaking education.

Thinking of it now, I am inspired to try to live a little more like she did - and get back to doing more of the wonderful things that she taught me to do... to enrich my family's lives so my children will be so blessed , as I was...

Because I was married so young (18), then went to college while raising kids... life was busier for me as a mom than it was for her, so I didn't do everything for my kids that my mother did for me. And many of the wonderful talents which I developed in my youth, I got out of the habit of after leaving my mothers home. I'm now trying earnestly to do some of those things again... to be more like my mom... to be a better mom to my kids, by following the many examples that she set for me. I am also striving to pick up talents again and continue to develop myself and acquire new talents. I am blessed to have this mothers day to reflect upon my mother, and find inspiration to bless me as a mother...
Mother is not perfect (I'm sure she must have some vices go with all of these virtues, but I'm blinded by her light so I can't see them!); perfect or not, though, she is the perfect mother for me. :)

She is a great and solid part of the foundation from which flows the very best of me... the parts that I like most... the parts that make me happy that I am me. :)

I KNOW my mom and I will ALWAYS BE CLOSE; I KNOW my mom will FOREVER be one of my absolute BEST friends.

Thank you mom, for being the most wonderful mom I could ever ask for! I'm so thankful you are you! :D

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

I love you!

In honor of my mother, I'm going to spend less time on the computer for the next week or so, perhaps for the remainder of the month of May. I will still read and write, because my mother reads and writes for at least couple of hours every day. :) But other things which are less important will take a back seat. I am so excited to take this time to really strive... to integrate more of the wonderful qualities and habits that my mother possesses... into my life - and to become a better mother as a result of it! I LOVE MY MOM SO MUCH! She is absolutely amazing! :D

And to all of you women out there who mentor, teach, and love others... whether you brought them into this world or not! If you are a nurturing woman, then you are a mother;

Happy Mothers Day
Wonderful Women! :D

I pray today is a blessing to you...
Corine :D

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Enjoying the UN-planned Things in Life

I read a blog post recently, and I loved it! It is about enjoying the little things in life... little things which just seemed to happen, despite our NOT PLANNING them; the little things which we never would have asked for or chose - but when you think about the things we choose, the things we don't choose, actually come attached to the things we do choose... Here are a few examples from different homes:

*Tiny little fingerprints, all over the fridge, windows, doors, walls...

*Tiny little hand prints, all over YOU! (It seemed nearly impossible to keep my shirt clean when my children were little!)

*Hugs and kisses and smiles that melt your heart. (OK... I think we at least hoped for these! :)

*The sounds of children (or teenagers) in the background of your life

*No fingerprints

*No noisy children, maybe even no spouse

*Having a child (or spouse or self) with a disAbility (there are unseen blessings!)

*The challenge of establishing a house of order, in a homeschooling home (I LOVE IT! :D)

*Tiny conversations with a husband who is rarely home because of work and school. (We can gripe that they are tiny, or cherish them because they are so valued and so rare!) This is something that was mentioned on the blog that I read; which I really want to give credit for... but don't remember whose blog it was! If anyone knows, let me know!

*A messy house (very important to have this on occasion, but not all the time... hopefully it means you've been busy doing more important things, AND, helps you not take it for granted when it is clean. :)

*Books all over the house...

There are so many things in life which we don't order... but still get. Sometimes when we look at them - instead of seeing what we have, we see that we don't have what we ordered. It's tragic, really. Imagine going to a fast food place and ordering a shake... then getting a fruit smoothie. I think the automatic response is to say... "Hey! I ordered a shake!" Some people may even get a little irritated or angry.

What would your response be?

I wonder how much more we would ENJOY life, if instead of focusing on what we don't have, or didn't get... we just soaked it all up and thankfully took everything for what it is. Do we immerse ourselves in really, totally and completely, LIVING each moment... enough to place significant value on all of the varied experiences we have in life? Or do we complain "that's not what I ordered!" ?

What if for some reason you couldn't have a shake, and you had to make do with the fruit smoothie? Could you still be happy? Could you taste (and I mean, really taste) that fruit smoothie and just think about how delicious a fruit smoothie is? Or would you be thinking... "This is not a shake! This is NOT what I wanted! This is NOT what I ordered?

I am finally learning to go with the flow more, and just taste my life... I'm learning to accept various aspects of my life for what they are - rather than thinking of what they aren't. And I'm finding that my life tastes good

Do you have things in your life which you never would have asked for or wanted... so you forget to taste and enjoy them?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Has Being A Mother Taught Me?

I read a blog post this morning, inviting all readers to write about one thing which being a mother has taught them, and link it up to their blog. I decided to jump in on this... but ONE? How about ONE CATEGORY? ;) I decided to write about one main fundamental belief, which affects so many of the things we do.

Being a Mom has taught me...

That kids can't wait... to grow up, or to bond with you, or to develop a testimony of their Savior...

They can't wait for mom and dad to get through school...

They can't wait for mom and dad to build a business...

They can't wait for mom to write her blog, or read a book...

... or for more money to come in for family vacations...

If I could start over again, there are some things I would change, and others I would leave the same.

Here are a few things I would change:

I would change my thinking - from choosing to do what matters "tomorrow," to doing what matters "today."

And instead of thinking something important couldn't be done, I would believe that it can, and I would find a way to make it happen.

I would live in the present, instead of dwelling on the past or planning for the future at the expense of today... I would remember that this day, I am living my life.

Before I even had kids, I would (with my spouse) make a very simple family schedule with the basics of gospel living etched in stone: family time; family scripture study; family prayers morning and night and at meal times; dinner together nightly; regular church and temple attendance; frequent family service projects which would include fun traditions like leaving cookies at a neighbors door then doorbell ditching; and regular wholesome family recreation would be a top priority.

... all other things would have to be worked into the schedule when they could, or not at all, and would never interfere with the basic foundation.

I would do something silly, childlike, or fun with my kids EVERY SINGLE DAY.

What I would do the same?...

*Staying active in church has been a fundamental blessing.

*Reading to my children nightly when they were young was bonding highlight. I have also loved reading to them as youth, and hope to read many, many more books with them.

*Loving them with everything I have. Hugging them. Kissing them. Telling them I love them.

*Going on vacations together to visit family and friends (we did this twice a year for years; then for about 5 years we did very little; this is something we are changing again. :)

*Enjoying the outdoors together as a family: hike, bike, swim, sail, camp... (another thing we did frequently for years, then didn't do while building the business infrastructure; we are getting back to this again, too. :)

*Playing with my kids... I am so thankful for every minute of every day I spent with my kids. Even while I was attending college, I played with my kids. And I LOVED it! Sigh. There are no words...

It is strange. some of what I started out doing, I stopped doing later for a time. And what I failed to do at the start I began doing later. Now I have the task of pulling it all together...

And so, the biggest thing I have learned, is this...

LIFE IS the SUM total of a million "TODAY'S."

LIFE is what is happening TODAY... Now.

That which matters eternally - CAN - NOT - WAIT!

TODAY - how I spend my time, my today... will determine my TOMORROWS.

How I spend my time TODAY is how I LIVE MY LIFE.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Story ~ Why I Do Food Storage! :)

The beautiful sound of "ding dong" proceeded it's arrival. Even with the warning of the bell, I was still surprised at what my eyes beheld. Could it be?

Three beautiful brown boxes... right there at my front door! Just waiting to be taken inside and enjoyed!! It was beginning to feel like Christmas!!! :D Odie and I were both very excited; we couldn't wait to tell the rest of the family! :D

I have to admit though... Even though I was excited, and knew the rest of the family should be excited, too, I didn't expect them to know they should be; so I wasn't prepared for the excitement my teen boys would actually demonstrate over the goods. :D

At first the kids really didn't seem interested. But when I began opening the cans they quickly became curious..., so calmly and "cautiously," they began sampling the fruits and veggies. Within seconds, caution was thrown to the wind; the next thing I knew the whole family was gathered round the cans, opening them for me for themselves as quickly as they could... and greatly expanding their definitions of sampling! LOL :D ~ I actually had to hold them back from making a meal out of it, right then and there!

Do I really need to tell you... They LOVED the food! ... even the veggies! And no one bothered to reconstitute any of them.

I was "wowed!" I wouldn't be needing to cook with this stuff around. ;o Seriously though, had  I let them, they would have just fill up on dehydrated and freeze dried fruits and veggies and I wouldn't have had to make the next meal! It became very apparent, very quickly, that the goods in these cans were going to accomplish EXACTLY what I thought they would; when we find ourselves living off of our food storage again... we are going to be eating GOOD! :D

There is another person on each side...
both cut out of view, as well as a photographer,
all digging in! :D
Would you like to know what caused me to order this food? If you think the answer is "no" let me tell you right now, it is a good story, so you will want your answer to be "yes." ;)

OK then, I'll tell you. :)

I have always believed in being prepared. I have always done what I can to store a little food away for emergencies. The trouble was, every time my family ended up needing to eat the stored food, I discovered that half of what we had, didn't have the other half of what we needed to be able to prepare it! We couldn't store eggs, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, yogurt, butter, milk, or meat. We could store some of these items, in a freezer, or canned (YUCK!)... but not enough for long term like we needed it.

From our food storage, we always had a surplus of certain items, and not enough of the foods our mouths were salivating for. Namely, fruits and vegetables... Trust me, you don't realize how much you need them until they aren't there! With a new business in a financially struggling economy (and a seasonal business at that) our family has been through some very trying circumstances in which we have had to greatly depend upon what is in our cupboards for long periods of time... several times!

As a result of our circumstances, we have learned from experience that canned vegetables are gross... and that what I thought we could live off of in an emergency, and what we actually can, (or actually want to live off of) - are two totally different lists of foods!

These experiences were an incredible blessing to me, to help me to know what we truly need to have on hand to be prepared for financial emergencies.

Because of this, I am excited to announce, that in an effort to help provide my family with delicious and nutritious foods, even in the "off" seasons,  I have signed up to become a Shelf Reliance Distributor! :D This is really going to help our family A LOT!

I'm really excited about the food dehydrated and freeze dried food choices that are offered through Shelf Reliance that I could never get from the grocery stores to prepare adequately for the months when we needed to rely upon what we stored. In addition, Shelf Reliance has a huge inventory of a variety of emergency and camping supplies. I'm also excited about having better snacks to take with me while running and hiking, too! :D

Until now... we never had a way of adding to our storage, so many essentials, like butter, sour cream, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cheese, meat... Maybe you can relate. Is your freezer big enough to store enough of these types of food items? Will it taste like the freezer by the time you eat it? And what if an emergency takes out your fridge and freezer? Our family doesn't care for corn too much; so it gets freezer burnt. Imagine my surprise when we discovered that freeze-dried corn is delicious! (We snacked on it dry! :D)

With Shelf Reliance, we have super good foods which require no refrigeration, no freezer, they taste totally delicious, and are packed with nutrients because they are either dehydrated or freeze dried the moment they are picked off the vine, garden or orchard when nutrients are at their peak. In addition, the nutrients, texture, colors, and flavors are retained better than can even be imagined; most lasting for many years.

I also love that these foods even have more nutrients than many of the fresh foods we eat, because the fresh foods we eat are stored in a ware house where they ripen, and then shipped about... then stored some more at the grocery stores, and then in our own homes before they are finally eaten. Did you know that the apples you eat from the store are usually last years crop?

I remember learning about the nutrient values of foods in Nutrition 101 in college, so eating foods which are preserved at peak just makes sense to me. Fresh is best, but when I say, "fresh" I am taking about food that is ACTUALLY FRESH - AND JUST PICKED (IE Home grown Garden foods...). Foods we get at the store are seldom fresh because as soon as foods are picked they begin loosing their nutrient value... and by the time you get grocery store foods in your stomach - hopefully there are some nutrients left.). Foods in our food storage are never fresh... SR offers the next best thing!

I love knowing that because the temperatures used for dehydrating and freeze drying are not too high, the Shelf Reliance foods retain their nutrients and enzymes. And my senses were totally delighted and shocked when I looked into those Shelf Reliance cans and saw the naturally bright colors, and smelled the strong, fresh aromas of the dried foods. I KID YOU NOT! I AM SERIOUSLY NOT EXAGGERATING! The quality of Shelf Reliance foods are amazing!

And so, I get to help my family financially in two ways. First, we will be purchasing a Q of foods each month (as part of our regular food budget) to store up a huge variety of delicious foods for those sparse winter months (as well as for now... because they are so yummy and quick to prepare). Oh, and by the way. We won't be using these foods just for sparce months. We will be purchasing food storage for now as well as to store for later, - because it will save so much time to have everything pre-cleaned, pre-chopped /ready to use... and may even save money on items which sometimes go to waste because we can hydrate the foods in small increments as we are ready to use them.

Second, we will be increasing our income while helping other people to have yummy, good foods! :D ~ Irronically, this is something I would be willing to do just to serve people... to help them learn about these things so they can be better prepared for lay-offs, price increases, and emergencies - and to think that it will actually get paid to do it and get discounts on food to bless my family, too - is simply AWESOME! :D

I think I'm going to feel like a millionaire working playing in my kitchen as I prepare meals each day. I also think I'm going to feel like a kid going to super fun parties, and will really find it an incredible bonus to actually get paid for doing it!

I really want to encourage others to think about what they really eat each day, and to plan their emergency and food storage accordingly; so others won't go through the learning curve of...
"oops... we have a year supply of this item... but nothing to go with it"
"Great, we have wheat and beans, canned goods and condiments - but where are the fruits and veggies? Where is the sour cream? Where is the cheese?" we did before Shelf Reliance.

By the way, did you know you can make your own yogurt and yogurt cheese, (like cream cheese) with powdered SR yogurt? And it is super easy to do! Seriously... I'm so excited about all of this!!! :D I will be sharing recipes on my blog as I learn them.

OK - you get the point ~ We're becoming healthier physically, and financially.. as well as more self reliant. And that feels REALLY GOOD.  :D

If any of you want to join our Self Reliance/Shelf Reliance team... please do! We would love to have you, and it doesn't matter where you live because I can help you out on line and by phone; I have an awesome sponsor (Sariah) who is helping me from far away, and I know it is going to work out great! I'm so thankful to have friends on my team so we can help each other out and cheer each other on. I would love it if you joined us, too!

Also, if you would like to learn more about Shelf Reliance, purchase some food on a monthly Q (or just when you want to); or host a party so you can try out the food and get a great discount on it... just say the word! :D I will be getting a Shelf Reliance blog or website up and running soon, and will let you know about it when I do. For now, you can check out my sponsor's website if you want to.

Wishing you Happy, Healthy, Self Reliant Living...

Corine :D

PS. If you are looking for an opportunity to do a little good today, here is a link to a place where you can help me with my goal to provide a few dollars towards forwarding research for Cistic Fibrosis. Here is the link, and THANK YOU! :D

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Opportunity is Knocking ~ Right Here, Right Now...

Today while in Sacrament meeting a testimony was born which really touched my heart and mind. The brother speaking talked about an experience he had years ago, in which he was in a meeting and told that there were young men who wanted to serve missions who did not have the money to go. The men in the meeting were asked to do what they could to help out... hoping to collect enough for at least one of the boys to go.

This man thought about the amount of money they were trying to gather. It was overwhelming to him. He couldn't afford to give 6 or 7 thousand dollars, though he would have liked to. It didn't seem to him like he had enough money to make a difference at all. But then the thought came to his mind,
"I can't do everything;
but I can do something."

 So he decided to do what he knew he could afford, and commit to paying $5.00 every month to help with the missionary fund for the next two years.

Six months later, he sat in a followup meeting and the missionary fund was again addressed. Evidently, there were enough people who had the same idea that he had. In small increments from many individuals, they would not be sending one young man on a mission... but would instead be sending seven.

My heart was touched by this, because I too have felt much the same way as this man did. I have wanted to help with various organizations on so many occasions, but didn't know if my little bit would help. Somehow, I have always believed that it would; this story strengthened my testimony that the small things we do ~ do make a difference.

I feel that way now... the way the man who spoke did. Wanting to help a friend, but not feeling like I have much to offer.

I don't want to put anyone on the spot here today. And so I am going to disable the comments on this post. But I have a special request I would love to ask of each of you today. Maybe you can help. :D

I have friends who have a baby (Josie) with Cystic Fibrosis. The population with Cystic Fibrosis is very small, and so is the funding and research. But the research being done has already lengthened the expected lifespan of little Josie and other babies born with this disease. A few years ago, the lifespan for this disease was only a couple of years; now one with the disease can expect to grow to adulthood.

Little Josie's parents, my friends, sent me an email asking for support for the Cystic Fibrosis Research Team. How could I turn them away? They want their little baby to live, and be healthy and strong. How could I not offer to help with such a plea?

And so I committed to joining their team to gather funds by the first of June. I regret that I have not gathered funds yet, but I know it is still possible to reach my goal of gathering $500 to add to the effort by the end of this month. You see... last month I had over a thousand page views, and possibly around 300 unique visitors. If I get the same numbers next month, and each person gave only $5.00, we more than meet the goal, and would have, not $500.00, but instead have $1,500. So... if you make a small donation, it will add up to a lot! If we get only 100 people donating $5 each, or even get 50 people donating $10 each... that is still $500;... it all adds up!

I hope you will consider this opportunity to help out. Thank you SO MUCH for your kindness and generosity!

Making a donation is simple. Just look on my sidebar for the link to the Great Strides website (There will be a Great Strides donation walk on June 4th). At this site you will find information about Cystic Fibrosis, the walk. It will also show a link to donate at the top of the page. Or, you can click on the link below...

THANK YOU SO MUCH  for taking the time to read this, passing on the word, and for any amount of money that you feel comfortable donating. Feel free to send others on over to help contribute.  THANK YOU!!!! :D

I look forward to checking back on the Great Strides link to watch the donations grow throughout this month.

Thank you so much!
God bless you! :D

Corine :D