Monday, December 16, 2013

My birthday


Look who showed up to surprise me for my birthday! Best birthday presents ever!!! I had no idea they were coming. My mom kept telling me she was too tired to travel and they would just come when they felt better (which I thought could be months from now.) 

Saturday my sister in law told me she had a present for her kids she wanted to hide in my garage she wanted me to come open the garage so I could help her bring it in. I opened the garage and these two were there all smiles.

We will be having a great week together so if I don't post as often, that's why.

39 is awesome!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My dad.

I know I am repeating here but you know how my dad fixes my problems? Yea. Did it again today. 1200 miles away and over the phone talked me through getting my Christmas lights to work again (the outlet they were plugged into stopped working) on a house he has never seen.

Morgan Harris is the Boss!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Home

I am glad my parents are home safe from their mission. It is very nice to be able to talk to my mom in real time without worrying about their internet or power going out.  :-)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sabrina

I might have posted about her already in my thankful posts but I am again thankful for my daughter Sabrina. She leads the way in our family. She is such a good girl and so helpful to me in so many ways. She is a gift to me in every way. I am blessed beyond measure to have such a wonderful daughter. I am grateful for her and that she hasn't (fingers crossed here ... yet) turned into a raging hormonal teenager.

I love you Saby!!!

Noble update

I am grateful noble is feeling "much more better."

Saturday, December 7, 2013

NO SCREENS - Noble update

I am so grateful for this challenge. It has really made me step it up personally to be a better me. This week we are limited to 25 minutes of personal screen time (that includes blogging.) So I will be writing short or in a paper gratitude journal this week.


UPDATE on Noble**************************

I have asked about meningitis extensively. The doctor is pretty sure it isn't that. But we are taking the antibiotics just in case. But he said kids with that aren't up and playing in the snow like Noble is and they don't normally have swollen lymph nodes like Noble does. Since it takes a spinal tap to confirm and that is really traumatic he said he wouldn't recommend that unless he gets worse.

As for the one tale tale sign that Noble has (the painful neck thing.) He said it is likely being caused by the nodes. They are painful to the touch to Noble so it hurts look up because it squeezes the nodes in his muscles of his neck. He doesn't have any of the other symptoms of meningitis.

Today, his nodes seem a little smaller to me and he says it hurts less to move his head. He still has a fever and is more whiney than normal but other than that he is up and playing. I am hoping we are going to be feeling all better soon.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow or Ice? Bacteria or Virus?


This is the view I woke up to this morning. I slept up in the boys rooms first with Harrison from 1-3 then with Noble from 3-9. 

Noble has some crazy sickness. He has been complaining about his neck hurting all week. Yesterday he was in so much pain he couldn't stop crying and I discovered he also had a fever. 

I took him to the doctor and they tested for strep, mono, and did a CBC. The first two were negative but his white blood cell counts are elevated and his lymph nodes are swollen big and are painful to touch. He also couldn't turn his head or look up.

They have him 2 heavy duty shots of antibiotic and told me to come back tomorrow so they could check his blood again.

Last night we had freezing rain. It looks like snow out there but it is actually like a big solid sheet of ice all over. Only one of the doctor's offices was open due to the weather and it is 7 miles away.

So with great trepidation I headed out to ice skate my car to the doctor.

Very few people brave the roads in this kind of weather. Jon's flight was cancelled and he was told to work from home.

We made it safely to the doctor without too much trouble. Unfortunately the antibiotics didn't work. Nobles white blood cell count was higher today and his lymph nodes are still huge and his neck still hurts and he still has a fever.

The doctor said it was probably some crazy virus. He gave us a antibiotic to take just in case and told us to watch him and come back if he gets any worse.

So we are waiting and watching.

I am grateful for modern medicine even though they haven't figured everything out yet.

I am also grateful for the beauty of this snowy icy day.

Christmas lights beneath  light the hard packed ice.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ice storm

I am grateful for the ice storm that will be forcing some quality family time tomorrow. I hope everyone can stay home and stay safe!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jonathan

I am thankful for my husband in so many ways and for so many reasons. Here are 40 of them. :-)
1 He is intelligent.
2 He is interesting.
3. He is sensitive to my feelings.
4. He strives to do what is right.
5. He makes me laugh.
6. He has a cute bum.
7. He is creative.
8. He values people far more than things.
9. He is thrifty.
10. He loves and honors his mother and father.
11. He makes me want to be a better person.
12. He makes great avocado shakes.
13. He has nice hands.
14. He loves to read.
15. He is curious.
16. He is a verifier.
17. He plays beautiful music on the piano and a little on the guitar.
18. He is a hard worker.
19. He appreciates the arts.
20. He loves babies.
21. He has just the right amount of ambition.
22. He has beautiful eyes.
23. He likes to travel.
24. He is a wonderful father.
25. He has great gospel insights.
26. We are equally yoked in every way.
27. He helps me around the house when he's home.
28. His children adore him.
29. He makes me feel beautiful.
30. He even loves my ugly parts.
31. He is strong.
32. He isn't a push over.
33. He usually lets me win arguments. :-)
34. He is supportive of my dreams and desires.
35. He is a good example to me of sticking to a good routine.
36. He is reasonable.
37. He has a solid and deep testimony of the gospel and especially of the Atonement.
38. He is a great provider for our family.
39. He is a faithful, worthy, and humble priesthood holder.
40. He loves me, the good and the bad, all-in, devotedly.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wind chimes

The former owner of our house left behind some wind chimes in the back yard. I have never owned wind chimes before. Now they feel like the sound track of our lives here. I love them!

I am thankful for the wind chimes that sweetly remind me that life is magical.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Whoa! It's December!

This year was a quick turn around between Thanksgiving and the holiday gift scrambling madness. I can't believe it is already December. 

Today I am grateful for wonderful new friends. One of my friends here has agreed to a kid swapping system that will let each of us have a few free hours a week to Christmas shop, go to the temple, or do whatever else we need. I am going to go get some shopping done.

Maybe I'll even find something for Jon? 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Modern Transportation


Despite the traffic jam we are enjoying right now, I am grateful for our modern transportation that allows us air conditioning and heat while we travel great distances in a relatively short span of time.

It is through the blessings that we are able to spend time with family on holidays. We had a fabulous time with our family in Memphis. I am grateful to have them close enough to drive and visit. We miss them already!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Beautiful Season

Fall in Dallas has been a wonder of color and bipolar weather. I have enjoyed living in a place where I really get to see the colors of the season again. It makes me think Fall is my favorite season. But then, I haven't seen Spring in Dallas yet.

This has also been a beautiful season of life for me. My anxiety over the boys safety is lessening as they leave the "put things in my mouth" stage and are getting to understand it is not safe to just escape the house and run in the street.  Most night they sleep through the night.

But I haven't quite hit full teen drama with Sabrina yet either. My kids are young and simple and pure and safe for now. This is a beautiful season. I don't know how long it will last but it makes me think it is perhaps my favorite season. But then, I haven't experienced those many seasons yet to come yet either. 

But for today, I am grateful for the beauty of the season in in.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

I am grateful for having days of plenty... Plenty of food, plenty of love, and plenty of warmth.

This year we traveled to Memphis to be with Jon's brother and sister in law Aaron and Carolyn. Aaron smoked a couple of turkeys. They were the best turkeys I've ever had. 

We made all my favorite sides and pies. It was a great feast!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two year old

The other day I took Harrison to the doctor. She was doing her exam and needed to look at his throat. She asked him to stick out his tongue. He just looked at her puzzled. She kept explaining that she needed him to stick out his tongue out so she could see his throat.

Finally she went to go get a tongue depressor. Then Harrison stuck out his elbow and said "Dare it is!"

"No silly, that is your elbow!" I said. Then I showed him his tongue and he stuck it out. 

I love two year olds! I am grateful I have one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Breathing

As a person with asthma, I am grateful for every time I can take a good deep breath and let it out without any wheezing or coughing. My little boys are both coughing and wheezing today and it just makes me glad I am not.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Sleep

I am grateful for every full night of sleep I get. Those nights are not uncommon these days but I have had enough years of little or interrupted sleep to make me treasure a full night of dreams.

It's been a long day of errands and appointments and I am ready for bed.

Here is a photo of my first appointment today.
Sabrina got braces on this morning. Let the fun begin I guess.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Home teachers

One of many programs in the Mormon church I appreciate is the home teaching program. It is a program where two men are assigned to watch over your family and give assistance as needed. They are supposed to come monthly to share a message and also assess the family's need.

I am grateful for our home teachers and the effort they put into filling that assignment. For about 10 years we didn't have home teachers who came. So it has just been in the last 2-3 years that we have been regularly home taught. I am so grateful for the patience these men have shown as our kids have been learning how to behave for home teachers.

Tonight was the first time that my kids all sat in the room and didn't complain or say rude things to the home teachers.  :) I made cookies to celebrate this huge improvement.

Granted we still have a long way to go toward listening to the lesson and participating appropriately but I will take what I can get for now.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Music

Tonight Jon and I are headed to the JFK memorial concert of the Dallas symphony featuring Joshua Bell. I am excited for the wonderful music I will hear. 

I am grateful for good music that lifts the soul and spirit. Music can completely change the tone in your home. Good music can make you run faster, act sillier, and be happier. 

I am grateful for all kinds of good music.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekends

I love weekends. It means I get to be with my family. That makes me happy. I am grateful for Saturdays that we get to enjoy together doing fun things. I am also grateful for the gift of the Sabbath day to us. What a blessing this day of rest has been to me in my life!

Life is so busy and hectic. Right now I don't have a calling or job at church that requires much attention on Sundays so I really get to enjoy reconnecting with the Lord and my family members on this gift of a day. I love that.

I am grateful for weekends and am looking forward to this one!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mother in law

How many people can honestly say they are grateful for their mother-in-law? I can without hesitation! 

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. She is a wonderful woman and an incredible example to me in so very many ways. I am grateful Jonathan finally fell in love with me and wanted to marry me so I could have the honor of being related to his mother Kathleen Waite. :)

Thanks for raising 9 wonderful children, Mom! I love every one of them and I love you and Dad too! Your selfless example and faithful covenant keeping life is a legacy for us all to strive to live up to .

Happy Birthday! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lauren, my little chef

I am grateful for my healthy eater Lauren. She inspires me to have better eating habits. She makes great smoothies and other kitchen treats. 


This is her latest creation...multi-berries. It is a blueberry stuffed into a raspberry stuffed into a hulled out strawberry. Delicious and nutritious!

I love my sweet silly Lauren!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving

I have been studying the history of Thanksgiving today. I didn't remember many of the specifics about that first feast and how Thanksgiving became a national holiday. So I have been enlightened today.

I am more grateful than I have ever been for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am so grateful for Squanto and what a miracle he must have been to those pilgrims who had endured so much on their journey to find religious freedom and a place where their children would come to know God. Surely The Lord was in the storm that pushed them off coarse to make them land in Massachussets instead of Virginia. 

What a miracle it must have been to them to have an English speaking and educated Native American to teach them how to survive in this new world!

It is yet another example of how The Lord uses trials as blessings in our lives. I am sure those pilgrims did not feel "blessed" to have such a fierce storm hit them on their journey. It nearly forced them to turn back as it broke their mast and made leaks in the ship. 

But they had brought a large metal screw that allowed them to fix the mast. They had materials to seal the leaks. The Lord always provides a way for us to get through the storms so that may one day realize the blessing. 

All their sacrifice and loss would no doubt bring them closer to that God they sought to worship. Indeed the first Thanksgiving feast is evidence that they knew by whom they had been kept and preserved.

I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a new appreciation for the holiday this year. I will be remembering the great freedoms we have in this land. I will be thankful for such a rich history of faithful people seeking The Lord. I will be grateful for the storms in my life that have pushed me off my coarse and onto God's.

Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 Family Photo

I am so grateful to have a visiting teacher who is also a photographer. What luck huh? Thanks Brittny for taking this lovely photo of our family. I am grateful for each of the people in this photo and their love for me and each other.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Morgan D. Harris




I am my father's daughter. I am grateful for him today and everyday. He is 77 today. He is in Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya on a mission for our church. He and my mom bring wells of fresh water to villages, give wheelchairs to those in need, and do other humanitarian efforts there.

My dad is one of the biggest hearted people I know. He loves people and will do anything he can to help a friend. He has been a rock for me throughout my life and I have called him for help in the middle of the night or at 4 am or whenever I have really needed him. He has always come to my aid. I will share a couple of those stories for your entertainment.

One day when Jon and I were dating, my car got towed. I was living in D.C. and parked out in front of my house while we went to grab Jon's luggage and take him to their airport to go back home to L.A. In the time we went into the house my car was towed. I hadn't realized we were in a no parking time right then. So I hailed a cab for Jon and the next morning before work my roommate took me to the impound lot to get my car.

Now I didn't live in a nice part of D.C. In fact, one cabbie who took me home said, "You don't actually live here do you?" When I said I did he said, "Lady, you gotta move! This is not a good place." I told him it was not that bad to which he replied, "No it is. I got shot a block from here. You gotta move."

Well as bad as my area was, the impound lot was WAY worse. It was in one of the areas I was scared to go to and trust me when I say not much scared me back then. So my roommate dropped me off and headed to work and I walked into the impound office in my business suit and heels feeling very out of place and asked for my car.

That's when they lady told me I couldn't get my car out because it was registered in my dad's name. I tried to see if there was any way she could call my dad and he could let me get the car. No deal. She said I would have to have him go get a notarized statement and have it sent to the impound to get the car.

I was beside myself. I was stranded and scared. This was not an area where cabs drove by regularly. I walked out of the office and saw a pay phone. Luckily, while I didn't have a cell phone back then, my parents had a 1-800 number we could use to call in case of an emergency. I used it.

It was between 7:00-8:00 a.m. in D.C. that means between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. Las Vegas time. I didn't even think about that as I dialed the number. I woke my dad up of course. I was crying. I explained my situation. I don't know what I thought he would be able to do from his bed 3000 miles away but that didn't even give me pause. My dad just always was able to help me when I was in trouble and so calling him was instinct.

He told me to put the impound lady on the phone. Well, she was in the office and I was out on the street, so I couldn't do that. I told him that she wasn't going to budge. I had already done my best to persuade her. He told me to wait 5 minutes and call him back. He was going to call her.

So I hung up. 5 minutes later I called back. He told me to go in the office. She would ask to see my ID and give me the car. Miracle right? No that is just my dad. Apparently, my mom's name, Ann Harris, was also on the registration and my name is Stephanie Ann Harris. He told the lady I was on the registration but that he had used my middle name on the registration not my first. I was never more grateful to be named after my mother.

So I showed my ID and she showed me my car. I got in to find out the lights had been left on and the battery was dead. I had jumper cables but no one to give me a jump. The lady said she couldn't help me with that. So I went back to the street with my jumper cables to try and find a good Samaritan in the hood. I thought I had it made when a police car came by. I ran up to him and asked for his help. He told me he wouldn't give me a jump and that I really shouldn't be in that neighborhood. Thanks copper. Thanks. And he drove off.

After about 15 minutes doing all I could to get someone to stop, short of hiking up my skirt, the lady from the office finally came out and took pity on me and told me that although it was against policy, she would use one of the impound cars to give me jump. I have no doubt this change of heart was prompted by my father's phone call and the way he connected with her the way he did and does will all people. I finally got out of there. Thanks be to my father.

A second story: my scariest experience ever.

One night when I was a very young child I turned my light off and took my customary two giant steps toward my bed and jumped up onto it. I had an antique iron bed that was almost a foot off the ground with nothing underneath and covers that came to just inches from the floor. I was always scared something would be hiding under there to get me since that was a place I often hid.

So I would jump onto my bed from as far away as possible each night. As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I felt my bed move. I froze in fright. Being the completely logical reasonable girl I was, I started to come up with how my bed could move on its own that were NOT my fear of a monster being under there.

Maybe the wind did it. No the window was closed. Maybe I had moved and didn't realize it. Hmmm. Maybe? So I laid perfectly still, frozen in place and waited. And the bed DEFINITELY moved again. At this point, I screamed, "DAAAAAADDDD!!!!" My dad was half asleep as he came to my room, turned on the light and asked me what was wrong.

"Something's under my bed!" I told him. At this point he signed an exhausted sign and said, "Stephanie, there is nothing under your bed. Look under your bed and see so we can all go back to bed."

"Nu uh! No way! There is SOMETHING under my bed!!!"

He tried again to persuade me to look under my bed so I could see my fears were unfounded and we could go to bed. I would not. No way. "YOU look under my bed!" I said. Seeing I was firm in my decision, he said, "Fine. If I come look under your bed will you then look and see there is nothing there so we can go to bed?"

I considered this. After a few moments I consented. So my dad walked over to my bed and while lifting the bed spread so he could look under my bed and slowly bending down he kept his eyes on me. He had a little half grin on his face and twinkle in his eye as he teasingly said to me, "I'm looking under your bed. I'm looking under your bed..."

At this point the something under my bed reached out and grabbed my dad's ankle.

In one fail swoop and with a startled yelp, my dad was OUT of my room and in the hall. And I was left alone with the thing under my bed!

Then I heard my older sister Lesli laughing... from under my bed. She got us both... good. I learned that it is good to face your fears. They are most likely not as scary as you think.

Hope you enjoyed those two stories. I love my dad and I am grateful for him.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Family photos

We took family photos today. We also saw my nephew Bunker get baptized. Oh and we had a few other things on the agenda too that basically have all combined to wear me out tonight.

So I will be short in just saying how grateful I am for family photos... Especially these...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Forever families

Today, for the first time in quite a long time, I have just really been feeling a great longing to hold Camille. Maybe it is because Harrison is getting bigger and feels less like a baby every day. And knowing I am not having another baby, my arms are beginning to feel more empty.

But even as I feel these intense almost tangible longings to squeeze her little thigh and kiss her sweet cheeks, I know that she will be mine again one day. The day will come when I will be able to satisfy this longing perfectly.

I am so thankful to have been taught the true doctrine of the Eternal nature of the family from my birth. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who will one day right all wrongs and fill with joy the cavities carved into our souls by sorrows of this world.

I am grateful to be sealed by the Holy Priesthood of God by one authorized to use that power even as Peter was in the meridian of time. 

I miss my Camille. I am grateful that my family can one day be all together Eternally. I am grateful for Eternal families.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Annie


Few stars shine as brightly as my Annie. I feel honored to be her mother. She has a fever today and has been hanging around snuggling up with the boys and me. It has been wonderful to get to spend all the extra time with her. 

This morning I told a friend about how hard she was as a baby. She would just cry inconsolable for hours. She forced me to step up my parenting game as a toddler. But every year she has gotten easier to parent and more well behaved. 

It is not uncommon now for her to gently point out ways I need to improve in my parenting or things I need to do to help her siblings learn something I have taught her. Nearly always her "advice" or "reproach" is right on point. I love her mind, her wisdom, her talents, her cuteness, her strength... I just love her.

I am grateful for my Annie.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Children

Children are an heiritage of The Lord. I was mightily blessed to be able to conceive children quickly and easily. I am so grateful I was able to give birth to my 6 lovely children.

Yesterday I read a real and honest post of a friend of mine. She and her husband did not have this fertility blessing. Three years ago they were finally able to adopt an adorable little boy who has become one of Harrison's best friends. Harrison asks daily if he can oh to Jacobs house.

Jacob's parents, Jana and Rob, have been working to adopt a sibling for Jacob  for the past two years. You think waiting 9 months for a baby is hard. Then you get a view from an adopting mother's eyes.

I thought I would share a link to Jana's blog post that spoke to me yesterday. I hope if anyone one out there who reads this knows someone who is thinking of giving a child up for adoption, that you will consider Jana and Rob.

Check out their blog At robandjana.blogspot.com

Work

Jonathan has left for work. The girls are off to school. I am hanging out with the boys. Today I express my gratitude for my husband's employment.

I know how blessed I am to be able to stay at home with my children. I am so grateful for my husband and his faithfully working to support our family. I am also grateful to his employer for hiring him, his coworkers who seem like great people and make the time Jon spends in the office enjoyable.

I also give thanks to my brother Stephen for his networking help that led the way to finding this job.

Most of all I thank God for opening these employment doors for us and for preserving our health and mental acuity so that both Jon and I can do those jobs required of us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Freedom

Being that it is Veteren's Day, I thought it apt to express my gratitude to have been born in the USA and for the freedoms that come from that citizenship. More importantly, I am deeply and humbly grateful for all the men and women who have bravely put their lives on the line in the fight to gain and maintain those freedoms I enjoy on a daily basis.

America has lots of issues we all know. But it is the best county in the world in my view. May God bless our country and guide our leaders to act wisely in governing our nation and preserving the freedoms god has granted us that are protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

On a somewhat related note, I read last night in Team of Rivals about William Henry Seward defending an insane black man in a terrible massacre trial. As a criminal defense attorney, this story of his courage to stand up and defend a man no one else would made my respect for him grow by leaps and bounds. I love also that his wife stood proudly by his side the whole time. This is one of the freedoms for which I am grateful. No matter how awful your sinful crime, in America every accused is given an attorney that will stand with the and speak for them at the judgement bar.

I hope I am found worthy at the last day to have Christ serving as my "public defender" at that great and last judgement bar of God.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chocolate

Today is one of the first days in my no sugar challenge that I really just want a treat. I mean I want a fat brownie sundae with hot fudge and some rich hot chocolate with real whip cream on the side. 

Sigh.

But since I can't eat that and still get my point, I thought maybe I would write about it instead. :) I am grateful to those wonderful people who invented our modern version of chocolate. Now if I can just master my powers of moderation, I can enjoy the yumminess of chocolate once again.

***********************
Problem solved! Chocolate craving satisfied!

I invented a delicious sugar free homemade hot chocolate! This is totally gonna help me thru this challenge.

8 ozs. Milk heated
2 T good unsweetened cocoa powder (perigino here)
1/3 cup stevia

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sweet Sabrina


Today I am grateful that my almost teenage daughter is still sweet and loving and wonderful in every way! Love her!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crazy Good

Today a friend offered to watch my kids so I could go to our Stake temple day. When I got to the temple I was surprised to see that every parking spot was taken. About 15-20 cars were looking for some place to park!

I circled the lot till finally someone pulled out right by me and I took their spot. Inside I saw familiar faces from church. Temple workers were scrambling trying to service the massive numbers of patrons. I have never seen a temple so busy. It was crazy and wonderful.

It took me 3 hours to get my one family name baptized, confirmed and ready for endowment. But watching my Stake presidency serve as the witnesses and name projector person in the baptistery was a really special. 

The temple is always wonderful and always has a great spirit inside but today with what felt like half my Stake in there, it had an extra measure of special and wonderful.

I am thankful to have a temple in our day and for the covenants Jonathan and I made there which bind us and all our posterity together forever. 

Parking at the temple today. That's my silver minivan on the right.

I am also grateful the lady who double parked behind me today wasn't in a session and could be found so I could get home to my kids!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Savior

Today and each and every day I am grateful beyond words expression for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives. In Him alone is the power to forgive sins. Through His Grace we can be made perfect. I know that through the power of His atoning sacrifice we who have been broken in spirit by sorrow or trial can in time be made whole.

I know He loves me more than I can bear to fully feel. And I know He loves you. I have felt a portion of His love for others as I have served others in His name. 

I am grateful for Him and what He has done personally for me in my life. I am indebted eternally. My life, happily, is His to do with as He sees fit. I love my Savior and am so grateful for Him.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Holy Ghost

Last night Jonathan and I went with some lovely young sister missionaries to teach a lesson to a Brazilian woman. Her English is great but they wanted someone there who might be able to bear a testimony to her in Portuguese. Since Jonathan served his mission in Brazil, he could do that.

We had a wonderful time meeting this new friend. She is really such a wonderful and amazing person who really is looking to grow closer to the Lord. The missionaries taught a lesson on recognizing the Spirit. At one point they asked me to share how the Spirit helps me in my life to know truth.

Answering that question and our discussion last night just makes me recognize how wholly dependent I am on the Spirit in my life to guide, protect, teach, purify and comfort me.

I am eternally and daily grateful for the precious gift of the Holy Ghost which I strive daily to RECEIVE.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Best part of living in Texas

This morning I made a lightning fast Target run to buy Harrison a new car seat. He threw up in his while I was out of town and despite Jon's best cleaning efforts, it just still smells.

When I got back I put it in the car and then I saw the big empty box sitting by the recycling bin.

Today I am grateful for my sister in law Rachel. As I looked at that box, I remembered how this summer she brought her kids over and we made spaceships out of out old moving boxes. She inspired me to be a more fun and hands on mom this morning.

I brought in the box and got out the markers and Noble and Harrison began decorating. Then Noble said, "thanks mom for letting us build a spaceship!"
During our decorating above and after the boys were ready to play something else.  Just need to document that once upon a time I actually did something fun with my kids. :)

I made pretend iPads for each boy and pockets for them in the spaceship.






Having my brother Stephen and his wife Rachel 10 minutes away is by far the best part of living in Texas. I am so grateful for them in so many ways. This morning I am particularly grateful for Rachel and how she inspires me to be a more hands on and fun mom by her example. Thanks Rach!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Annie

This morning as I was running the kids to school, Annie asked if my running was part of my health challenge. I told it was.

From that point on she began cheering me on. She would ride ahead of me on her scooter. Then she would stop and cheer and put her hand out to give me a high five as I passed her.  Then repeat. All the time saying "you can do it mom! Keep running! Go mom!"

How many people have their own personal cheerleader? I am so grateful for my Ann Marie!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Snow

am in the Salt Lake City airport waiting to fly home. Outside is a world of white as fat clusters of snowflakes drop lazily from the heavens. I am grateful for the beauty and the wonder of snow and that I had a chance to see it on my short trip to the mountainous West.




Ok here are the 10 things:
1-read 20 mins of holy writ each day
2-eat 6 servings fruit/veggies per day
3-drink 6 cups of water per day
4-write in gratitude journal daily
5-exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week
6-consume no more than 1 serving refined sugar per day
7-no eating after 8 pm
8-work on a personal goal of your choosing (mine is to read 8 pages of Team of Rivals daily so I can finish it)
9-wild card (changes weekly- this week no soda)
10-record daily point tally to score board.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crazy Family

Today I attended the graveside service for my cousin Jon. I got to see and remeet most of my Harris family cousins. We are all a bit crazy in one way or another and I love them all! I am grateful for my hard working, know it all cousins.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A New Day

It is November again. And while we don't typically think of November as a month of new beginnings, this one is for me. A friend invited me to join an overall health challenge. It gives daily goals for 8 weeks like drinking water and not eating sugar and reading scriptures and exercising. There are 10 daily goals each worth a point for each day you do them. 

One of the daily goals is to write in a gratitude journal. That fits well with my November tradition of gratitude posts. So until thanksgiving (and maybe after) I will be putting my gratitude journal in my posts.

Today as I ran for my 30 minutes of daily exercise, I had to go a little further than my normal route of taking the kids to school. As I ran through the park near our home, the sun was just peaking over the horizon.

I stopped to take a photo for this post because today I am grateful for new beginnings. I am so grateful for repentance and that The Lord allows each of us as many new beginnings as we need to get it right. That no matter how much candy you ate the night before or how long it has been since you prayed or read your scriptures, you can wake up the next day and resolve to be a new sugar free, praying, scripture-reading you.

So thank you to my good friend Catherine for inviting me to join this challenge and make November a month of new beginnings. And thank you to her sister Brooke for the idea and putting it all together. I have been needing something just like this to get the sun on my new beginning to rise up.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall in Texas

Sometimes I just ache to hold her.

My kids are growing up. My babies are not really babies anymore. We have moved on to a new chapter in life in so many ways. It is a good chapter so far. I am meeting new characters who are enriching my life. We are growing in new ways. In some ways it feels like I have lived here or been here in Texas forever but it still somehow isn't quite home yet.

It was a lovely fall day today. The soft air was a perfect temperature as I ran the kids to school. I slowed to a walk on my return to savor the season. It just felt like Fall. I decided I like Fall in Texas.

One fun thing I have done this fall in an effort to get to know my neighbors better is to host a weekly "community soup night" at my home. I invited my 50 closest neighbors to come to my home for a cup or bowl of soup each Tuesday in October. Tonight is the last soup night. I ask them to bring their own bowl and spoon to save me from the dishes or mess. I make a big batch of soup and we chat. It is like a little open house once a week. It has been an easy way to get to know some of my more social neighbors.

So far I have made sweet corn soup, carrot ginger soup, butternut squash soup, beef and barley chili, and tonight it is pumpkin soup on the menu. Each has turned out pretty well, but I think the sweet corn and pumpkin are probably my favorites.

When I have leftovers, I freeze them in muffin tins and pop them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for a quick lunch for myself or easy dinner to a sick friend.

It has been lots of fun and I have met about 8 new neighbors through it. How do you best get to know your neighbors?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mourn with those who Mourn

This weekend we took a quick family trip down to San Antonio. It was a last minute decision. That meant quite a bit of last minute planning for me. So Thursday was a rather busy day. Late Thursday night I texted with my friend Britt. Her son Daxton died the same week my Camille did - both in tragic, unexpected accidents. We have been close friends since we found each other online just weeks after our lives were changed forever.

She had posted about a missionary who had passed away so I texted to find out who it was exactly. Turns out it was her husbands little brother. My heart broke for her family, enduring yet again such a close and too soon loss of one so young. I told her I wished I could do something, take some of the weight of the grief for her. But knowing what I know about how unfixable grief is, especially in the early fresh stages, I was left with little of comfort to offer.

The next morning Britt got up early to drive her family to Idaho where her husband grew up. I got up just an hour later to drive my family to San Antonio. It was still the dark of night for both of us. My family quickly fell asleep and I was left alone in the dark with my thoughts. My thoughts were on my friend.

I thought of her driving in the dark, just like I was. I thought of the weight of grief on her shoulders and on her husband's shoulders as well. And I remembered feeling just a little bit that having others mourn with me when I was fresh in my grief did help me carry the load just a bit.

And so I prayed as I drove. I prayed for my friends and her family and for her husband's family. And I prayed that I might be able to lighten their load just a little bit, to help them bear this too heavy cross that weighs on an already tender spot in their heart. And I wept. I mourned with deep soul filled mourning.

I would like to think that somehow I did share a bit of the dark road with my friend that early morning. I felt an over powering charitable love for her family as I mourned with them those dark and quiet hours. I believe this is what is meant by our covenant to mourn with those who mourn. I think that in so doing, maybe we do in fact getting a better understanding of the Atonement and maybe we really do get to lighten that burden for another just a little bit.



*********************************
On a separate note: To the commenter that asked more specifics on my previous post. The parenting dilemma - basically this move has been stressful on all of us, obviously. But this has allowed me to see how each of my kids deals with stress. Each has dealt with it differently, but it has shown up in everyone. For one of my kids, I think it produced some anxiety that is above normal. It showed me that I need to help her find good ways to deal with anxiety and stress. I am glad to know this about her when she is young rather than when she is a teenager and may be less willing to open up to me and less willing to go see someone to get help.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Homesick

Today marks 4 months since our last night at home in Las Vegas. Texas is a lovely place and the weather has finally cooled off. It is green and the people are friendly and kind. The sky here is huge and beautiful and often inspiring.

But I am just feeling a little bit homesick. I know it seems crazy to miss the desert, but I do. I miss the people there whom I love so much. I miss our house. I miss the purple mountains and desert storms. I just miss home.

I have dealt with homesickness plenty of times before. I am sure I will deal with it many times again. It isn't so fun. But really there are lots of worse things to deal with in the world. So I am going to count my blessings.

Let me tell you 10 things I love about Texas in an effort to look on the bright side.

10- We have a big grassy backyard.
9- I have some really friendly kind neighbors.
8- The church congregation (ward) I go to here is full of great people who are teaching me new things and becoming good friends to me.
7- The State fair has really good lemonade and corn dogs.
6- The Perot Museum is amazing and we have an annual pass.
5- We have season passes to Six Flags and it isn't crowded all the time.
4- I found an amazing piano teacher for my kids.
3- This move has brought to light some parenting issues that I might not have seen if we had stayed in Vegas.
2- We get to spend lots of time with my brother Stephen and his lovely family.
1- Jon has a great job that he enjoys doing.

Well, I am going to keep adding to that list on my own time. Thanks for listening and if you are in Las Vegas--- hope you are feeling my love come through.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Brisket Tacos/Quesadillas

I am really missing my dinner group over here. It has reminded me what a chore it is to come up with what is for dinner Every. Single. Day! Well, one of the best dinners to come from my dinner group was a version of THIS recipe for Brisket Tacos that my friend Emily Hoopes made one week. I loved them and asked for the recipe. She directed me to the link for the recipe.

I decided to make them again last week. But here is the beautiful discovery I made-- This can be a meal made from leftovers of another of my favorite meals! I love it when that happens.

So last week I took dinner to one of Jon's co-workers family. The wife recently had back surgery. I decided to make french dip sandwiches. Normally I make these after a recipe Bari Earl gave me. (Her daughter Emily is one of my best friends and writes and amazing food and crafty type blog ReMarkable Home.)

This recipe is awesome and makes a ton of food.

French Dip Sandwiches
Basically you buy a beef roast. You can get whatever is on sale. I got top round roast this time. I got 2 so about 5 lbs.
Normally you would put the meat in your crockpot, cover with water and put in 2-4 packs of Dry Italian Salad Dressing Seasoning packets and the same amount of Dry Lipton Onion Soup packets.
This time I did 2 of each kind of seasoning packet. (You can use more if you like the meat more flavored or you have more meat)
Then instead of water I poured in a 16 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper. Then I added enough water to cover the meat.
Next I cooked the meat on low in my crock pot for 8 hours.
I then shreded the meat with forks, removing any particularly fatty portions.
I then cooked another 2 hours on low.

I caramelized some onions and got some crusty rolls and sliced cheese.
Add a little spicy mustard and there is you french dip sandwich. Only I don't actually dip it. The juice it is sitting in is enough for me.
This is also great on Costco's pretzel rolls.

After I made this meal, I had lots of my beef left over. I made sandwiches for lunch the next couple of days and then last night I used the beef to make these tacos.
I had the cheese called for and made the Mango barbecue sauce as directed in the recipe except that I didn't have a yellow onion so I used a red one instead. And I accidentally dumped the whole 9 oz bottle of mango chutney in the mix and decided to leave it that way.

The result was OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD! Okay I know I am being a bit dramatic and in all fairness I was fasting for a dear friend of mine yesterday. (Fasting means to go without food or drink for two meals or 24 hours. It is something we Mormons do once a month and donate the money we would have used to eat to the poor. We also do it to increase spiritual awareness, self mastery, and give greater emphasis and power to our prayers. See more HERE about fasting.) And I will grant that every thing tastes better when eaten after fasting.

But when Jon came home from doing a visit he tried one and was amazed too. He had not been fasting so it made me a bit more sure that this really was THAT good. And I just had another one of the leftover tacos for breakfast (is that legal?) and, yes, it is that good.

I would put a photo up but I am not so great with the whole food photography thing and I don't want to steal the photos from Shawda. But you can see what they look like on her blog HERE.

Put it on your menu this week. Two yummy meals out of one crock pot of beef. What could be better?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back At It 1001

1001 Seems like a fresh start number I think. This morning I woke up feeling like I wanted to go for a long run. I do feel that way sometimes. It started when I started running in college. I ran 15 minutes everyday except Sundays for about a year my sophomore year.

Then in my junior year I had a roommate and dear friend Tonna who was a runner. She asked me to go running with her. I was intimidated because I had only run short distances and I knew she was a cross country kind of girl. But she was so fun that I said I would try. Before I knew it I was running with her for a hour several times a week. We ran a couple of 10ks together. My best time for a 10k was 58 minutes.

So I haven't ever been a super runner but I have enjoyed it in the past. Since then I have run now and then but never consistently like that. And sometimes I get that feeling that I just want to let loose and run all out. But then when I try to do it I realize after about a minute that I am not in shape and my body can't run like my heart wants to.

The last few weeks since school has started I have been running the kids to school. They ride their scooters and I run trying to keep up with them. They are fast. It is a struggle for me to go fast enough to keep them in my sight. So every day I am really pushing myself to go as fast as I can. It is only about a mile to school. On the way home I walk/run.

So this morning when I woke feeling like going running, I took Nike's advice and just did it. The weather was lovely and I picked a nice route with a good variation of uphill and down. When I started to feel tired I hit the button on my iPod to get my time and found I had been running for 20 minutes and had gone over 2 miles.

By the time I got home I had gone 3.2 miles in 32 minutes. I walked a bit at the end to cool down. And I feel great. It is so nice to be able to run. I feel this fresh new start is going to be great.
Me right now with my little Harrison buddy who likes to sit on my lap while I type.

Friday, September 13, 2013

#1000 - Hard But Good

This is officially my 1000th post on my blog. I should announce something big huh? Well most of the big news things that have been happening in my life lately haven't been things I wanted to shout from the rooftops (like our encounter with lice this last week.) Lately, there have been a number of personally very difficult things that have come on either the stage of either my life or the life of someone I love.

But I like to keep my eyes focused on the positive in life whenever I can. And in the midst of the darkest storms there are some amazing moments of brilliant beauty when the  lightening brings a shock of light. These images can stay impressed upon the mind even after they are gone and we are plunged back into the deep darkness of night.

Jon and I went to the wedding of our niece Ella last weekend. She is the first grandchild on either of our sides to get married. All 9 of Jon's siblings and his parents came. It was so fun to have a mini family reunion with them during the wedding festivities. I had the chance to have some really good conversations with a few of Jon's siblings and his parents that really made the trip for me. I love Jon's family... ALL of them, and there are lots of them. It is a great blessing to have wonderful in-laws.

Despite the various trials and challenges each of our family members faces, there is strength in gathering together, praying together, and laughing together. We did lots of all of that last weekend.

And even in our battle with head lice this week, there are positives. Sabrina and Lauren have both been wanting short hair cuts for months. I wouldn't let them because I wanted to see how the Texas humidity would affect their curls first. But in having to check everyone for lice by coming through their hair with a nit comb... well everyone but Annie and I got haircuts.

Lauren and Sabrina will get to go to a salon next week to have a professional clean up the haircut I gave them on Wednesday. Jon has discovered yet another major benefit of being bald. And the little boys are thrilled to get haircuts just like Dad's. :) Sabrina and I will have super clean and soft scalps after all the olive oil and scalp combing treatments we "get" to do. Oh and we both discovered we can totally rock a shower cap! See ... bright side thinking going on here.

Harrison says "hair cut uhhhh like Dado" as he feels his head over and over. I think it makes me look more like Camille which is always a bonus for me.

Okay so Noble doesn't look so "thrilled" here but that is because he is covered in hair. He LOVES his "Dado" cut and says it is "perfect" and he wants to keep it like that forever.

Life can be hard and good at the same time. Perhaps life is best when it is both good and hard. I was thrilled when I asked Sabrina how she was liking being in the top orchestra at her new school. She said the music is hard to play but interesting and she likes it. I thought that was perfect. And sometimes when life is just the right level of hard it too can be interesting and when we keep focused on our blessings it also can be enjoyable.

So a few other new things, I have been running my kids to school in the morning. I don't mean running them in a car. I mean they are on scooters and I am running to try to keep up. It has been great for me...hard but good right?

I started up a new Power of Moms learning circle here. We had our first meeting last night with 10 of our 13 members attending. I am so excited to get going on it. We have a great group of women!

Texas is slowly cooling off and we Waites are slowly integrating ourselves into our new life here. This will end up being a good move for us. It has been hard but good in so many ways.

Well this wasn't an earth shaking post for #1000 but it is what I can share of what my life is like right now-hard but good. I thank the Lord for both.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just Doing It

I will admit it. I was a bit afraid of getting back to school. That meant losing my 3 biggest helpers for most of the day. It meant getting up at 6 am each morning, and I am not a morning person. It meant going to bed by 10 each night. And I also had this whole "schedule" for myself of the work I would do during the school hours.

So I know I am only 2 days in so far, but this scheduled life is quite wonderful. I get some fresh air each morning walking the girls to school. I get a workout running home. I get time to shower before taking Sabrina to school. And our morning routines have been going smoothly because I get up early to be the oil that moves things along.

One difference I changed this year that I think is going to make a big difference is insisting that we all come down to breakfast together and read scriptures. We have generally read scriptures while eating breakfast but we weren't all around the table and Jon wasn't there. This year, I put it first on the list. I built everyone's schedules around our scripture and prayer / breakfast time. This is now the only meal we get to eat together so we may as well make it a good one.

Additionally, watching the boys has been so much easier than expected. They play so nicely together and with no big sisters with whom to compete they are more easy going.

This experience has made me think what other things have I been hesitant to do because I was scared of how hard they would be.  I am resolved to forget the fear and just do it. Once you get going the work for something worthwhile is always handsomely rewarded.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Prayer

I taught a lesson on prayer today at church. The best quote of the lesson was from a 2008 talk by Elder David A. Bednar who is an apostle of Jesus Christ. "The prayers of prophets are childlike in their simplicity and powerful in their sincerity." I found that statement profound. What makes a prayer powerful is the faith, sincerity and real intent of our heart when we offer it. As one who has benefitted greatly from the power of prayers on my behalf I testify of their power and encourage all men and women everywhere to pray to that God who gave us all life to find the answers, guidance, comfort and miracles you seek in your life and the life of those you love.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thoughts on Prayer

I recently got a church calling, a volunteer church assignment. I was called as a ward missionary. In connection with that calling I get a chance once every 7 or so weeks to teach a Gospel Principles class. This weekend is my turn to teach and the topic is on prayer.

I have been trying to be more mindful of my prayers this week to help frame my lesson preparation. One thing I have noted is how often I look to "connect" to those I know and love through instagram, Facebook, email or this blog. I long for this "connection." I love hearing news from "home" and friends and family I love and miss.

Last night as I knelt to prayer I focused on really "connecting" with my Heavenly Father and that heavenly home from whence I came. Rather than just thinking the words and being grateful and expressing desire, I sought to be fed.

True prayer takes effort. It is a mental discipline. It takes desire for a connection and a willingness to set aside your own will for the divine will. As we exert our efforts to find this connection we can be instructed even in what the subject matters of our prayer should be.

More importantly, at least for me, we will be fed spiritually with a wholeness. We can feel that "connection" with heaven and our true home that settles earthly cares and eases our daily worries.

Often we use prayer most earnestly only when we are suffering. But we are still in need of that connection and spiritual nourishment even when life is going well. Without it we wither and feel empty. With it we can make something more of our lives than we could possibly imagine. We can become a tool for the Lord to use for His purposes.

That is my prayer. I want so much to be a worthy and useful tool in His service. I hope that I can exert the mental discipline to truly connect in my daily prayers and find ways each day serve His will.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting Back to Myself

This summer has been the laziest summer I have ever had as a mother. Okay, I know, I know. You are thinking, "Stephanie, you MOVED 1,200 miles with 5 kids and a bearded dragon and unpacked your house etc..." I know and that was busy. But that only took a few weeks. Since then we have been on a serious vacation from our normal scheduled life.

It has been so wonderful and nice in some ways. But in other ways I have really "let myself go." I haven't been exercising. Not good. I have been slacking on my personal scripture study. Really not good. And I have been let all my normal routine "systems" for  parenting (like chore charts and practicing music and paying allowance) become haphazard and rather ineffective.

Tomorrow is August. July was our "vacation from real life" month I guess. I am committing myself to get back to the real Me and get my system up and running in August. Now I am not going to expect myself to do it all perfectly all at once. I need to tweak a few systems to fit our life here in Texas. But I am committed to have my stuff in gear by the time school starts on August 26.

I have already started diving back into the scriptures. We had really good instruction on Sunday that highlighted for me the importance of reading scriptures personally and not just with my kids. So this week I have been reading by myself each night. It has made a noticeable difference already.

I really miss my mothers "Learning Circle" (for info on that go to the Power of Moms site HERE). I feel like I always need fresh ideas for ways to motivate my kids to get their chores done and be kind to each other. Our Learning Circle was a great source of ideas for me and it gave me a time once a month to refocus and rededicate myself to be the best most deliberate mother I can be. I need to get one going here ... just as soon as I have more than a couple of friends.

As much as I have loved the lazy days of summer. I am really getting ready for some structure.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Texan

I got my Texas Drivers license in the mail today. I guess that makes it official. I am a Texan. Today I am okay with that. It has been raining and lovely out this week. Highs have been in the 70s and 80s. I am okay with being Texan this week. :)

Our days have been rather lazy and relaxed this summer. Our main agenda is to make friends and get to know our community. We have been working on both those fronts and I feel we are making progress.

Man it is storming out there right now. Just lost power for a second. Now the rain is POURING. I LOVE IT.

The kids had fun playing in the rain. My house is covered in grass they tracked in on their wet feet but who cares? I can vacuum that up. Life is about enjoying the sun and the rain storms. Too much of one always makes us appreciate the other. Today I am enjoying the rain.


Lauren Turns 8


Yesterday was Lauren's birthday. We are having a formal party after her baptism when all the family will be in town. But her sisters couldn't let the day go uncelebrated.

I took Lauren with me to Noble's swim lesson while they transformed our home into their version on Hogwartz castle. It was awesome. I was impressed by all their attention to details. Those girls love their little sister

We had some friends come to enjoy the fun and ended it all with cake and ice cream. Happy birthday my sweet Lauren!

Gryffindor common room
baby norbert (the dragon)
The spread the girls set out
potions class (they also had divination class and wand selection)
Lauren wearing the sorting hat blowing out her candles



Sunday, June 30, 2013

Talk in Church

Today I gave a talk in church. My topic was on Raising Children in Truth and Righteousness. Thought I would share the gist of what I said for anyone else interested. I didn't read this. But I stuck pretty closely to it as I spoke from the heart. There is so much more I would have liked to have said, but I wanted to stick to the 10 minutes allotted me. This is what I could say in 10 minutes on that topic:


Personal Intro –
·      Jonathan and I moved here 3 weeks ago.
·      6 kids (5 living) Name and ages (Camille would have been 6 now but drown 5 years ago.)
·      More about us on my blog – google my name called a daily scoop

On to my topic – I want to start with an experience I had 10 years ago.
Before I had kids I was a busy criminal defense attorney in L.A. I quit after I had my first child because I really just wanted to be with my baby more than accused criminals. After a couple of years changing diapers and feeding little mouths and cleaning up messes, I felt like I had more to give. I knew what I was doing was important, that is why I gave up my career to devote myself fully to motherhood. But I still felt like I had more to give. So one night I was praying about this and saying to the Lord, “where is the mountain you want me to climb, Lord. I will do it! What more can I do for you? Name it. I am there.” The answer I got came powerfully to my soul. And it was this: LOVE THOSE GIRLS! – Love them like I do so they will know My love through your love. Stand in my place.

Parenthood is the MOST important calling, job, or mountain we have. It is often the most difficult.

Topic today is on raising our children in Truth and Righteousness based on the LDS World Wide 2013 Leadership Training. I am going to be talking today about some lofty ideals for which we ought to strive. But I want to preface by noting that it is by aiming high for these ideals that we succeed if we even have moments of reaching them.

So how do we rear our children in righteousness?  The thing that stood out the most to me from listening to the training video was how we as parents stand in the place of our heavenly parents as we raise their children on this Earth. We need to love them as our Father loves them, parent as He would parent, and create a home like His home or the Temple.


TEMPLE HOME
My mom had up on our fridge growing up DC 109:8 8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; … I didn’t really understand why she had this quote up on the fridge when I was growing up in our busy, often crazy house. But, I see now that this scripture was her mission statement.  The home is supposed to be the most sacred place outside the temple. Great things can happen when our home is like a temple. But creating this is a group effort. Enlist the help of children. This is critical. Youth and children need to understand the role they have in helping bring the spirit into the home. That is the main rule at our house: you must behave in such a way that the Spirit can dwell in our home. My kids are very familiar with me saying that.

Parents can also use music and artwork, can speak kindly and quietly and use all your faculties to create a temple tone in your home.

Most importantly :
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD DWELLS IN AND INSPIRES US IN THE TEMPLE
So it should in our home and we ought to listen as it inspires us in our parenting. PARENT BY THE SPIRIT
Follow promptings. We as mothers and fathers have a right to revelation to guide us in parenting our children. We can be helped to know what things are most important, when to speak and when not to, and given promptings to help us teach eternal truths to our children at times when their hearts are most open to receive them.

I have had experiences where the Spirit has inspired me to teach even my young children a principle of the gospel in an age appropriate way at a time when that child was open to receive that teaching. I likewise have had times as a teen and an adult where my parents have been able to counsel me according the Spirit and greatly influence my life.

One such experience happened for me recently when Sabrina turned 12. We were moving the next day and Jon was scheduled to be in town. I felt overwhelmed at the thought of doing a birthday party. Instead I felt inspired to tell Sabrina that for her birthday party we were taking her to the temple to do baptism. It was the best birthday for a kid I have ever experienced.

Jon’s parents were able to be there with us. It was heavenly. I got specific instruction from the Spirit about what to tell Sabrina about the temple and it was a choice experience. One thing I was prompted to talk to her about was helping her recognize how wonderful the feeling in the temple was and how all the temple workers talked so nicely to each other. I told her how her dad and I were trying to create that same feeling in our home and I invited her to help us.

It is wonderful that the youth get to go to the temple together a couple of times a year. I think it is important as parents that we take our children with us to the temple as well. This will allow us wonderful teaching moments and establish a pattern of regular temple attendance for your kids.

The Temple is a house of Learning.

President Benson said the most important teachings in the home are spiritual. We as parents have so many things that we need to and want to teach our children from learning to walk and talk to sports and school subjects and other extra curricular activities. We must always remember that our duties to instruct our children in things of a Spiritual nature is of the highest priority. Our prayers, scripture study and other ways to give them spiritual instruction both formal and informal must receive the same dedication if not more that we give to the lessons we pay others to teach them.

Paramount among these teachings is teaching our Children about the Rock of the Redeemer.
GIVE THEM THE ROCK

We live in troubling times. It is the nature of this world we live in that each of us will pass through trials and troubles as we make our journey back home. As parents we wish we could save our children from all the sorrows the world would throw at them. But this is not the way of the Lord. His way is not to take away all the bitter cups of life but to stand with us as we drink from them.

As parents the greatest gift we can give our children is a knowledge through diligent teaching both by our example and through the spoken word about the Savior Jesus Christ as the Rock upon which we each must build our foundations and our testimonies.

TESTIMONY
Grateful for good and wise parents who taught me well in all matters spiritual and who most importantly taught me to build upon that sure foundation, the Rock the Savior. 5 years ago I was in a very dark place. It was one my parents would have loved nothing more than to have taken from me. But it was a bitter cup they could not even begin to understand. But despite their inability to touch my grief, they had already given me the tools to overcome through diligent spiritual teaching in both example and the spoken word. They taught me to trust in the Lord and obey Him faithfully, even when He asks you to do things you do not want to do. And even when He asks you to do things you do not think you CAN do. They taught me that when you walk forward with Faith even in the most trying of circumstances and turn to the Savior for strength, strength will come. Comfort will eventually come.

I stand as a witness of power of the atonement to heal a broken soul. I testify that He lives and that He is the Rock where on if we build we cannot fall. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Good Day

Summer days are long and lazy. In some ways I love that. Today we played. The kids learned to slip and slide. I got to read about 100 pages of my book. We had a movie party with cousins. The kids played school. We all did a few chores. Annie had a play date. The boys played Legos.

We did home piano lessons. Lauren played a piece she cried and wailed to me that she couldn't play because it was too hard. Then she went back twice later in the day to play what I had taught her and start the next section as well. :) Annie is sounding good on a Harry Potter song she is learning on both piano and violin (Hedwigs theme.) She also decided to "polish" the classical piece she told me she had finished.

Part of me loves these long lazy days of summer with no set agenda and all the flexibility in the world. Another part of me hates them. Some thing in me craves the structure and accountability of having a list of things that must be done and someone to whom I must report my progress. But as the mom in this home, I am the one who creates the "structure" and to whom people must account. I love and hate it.

I am trying to just be in the moment and enjoy the time with the kids. I am happy when I suck in their joy and join them in their fun. Tonight I took some Instagram video of the boys on the slip and slide. Harrison was in PJs already and Noble's pants got too wet to keep on so he ditched them for his underwear. I let them play and be little. And it was precious.

Later I shook off my fatigue and laid down with Harrison to help him fall asleep. He was so tired he was past the magic sleep point and struggling to settle down to sleep. I reminded myself that he won't be little much longer and I better enjoy him while I can. Then I came downstairs and read a couple chapters of a fun book to my waiting girls. All this made for a late night.

I am tired and probably should have exercised today to help me feel more ... happy, accomplished, positive? But I am grateful that I made myself enjoy the multitude of motherhood moments that this long lazy summer day held. For that alone, I can call this a good day.