Saturday, June 26, 2010

Final Weigh-In

Well, it's done. Two pounds shy of reaching my goal, but I'm pretty happy with the fact that I lost 22.5 lbs in the last 10 weeks! That puts my percentage of weight loss at 11.06%. Dare I say I'M the Biggest Loser??? Should find out after everyone weighs in, but I'd say my chances are excellent.

So my TOTAL weight loss from my high of 217 is 36 lbs. which translates to a loss of 16.59%. Yay! I'm a little more than halfway to my goal of 155, but if I keep it up I'll lose my last 26 lbs. in no time! Of course, my workouts have slowed down in the last couple of weeks, as I try to get things ready for the fair in August, but as soon as the fair's over (and school starts up again) I'll be ready to hit the gym in full-force!

Thanks for all your encouragement in this's been more helpful than you know!

Monday, June 21, 2010

As a mother Hen gathereth up her Chicks...

This smile and those twinkling eyes are what I got to hang out with up at the Stake Chick 'n Hen Retreat over the weekend. It was so much fun to spend time with a girl who is almost ALWAYS happy and smiling! She was a little disappointed when her name was finally called for Karaoke (after waiting 90 minutes!) and they didn't have the song she'd picked, but we made up for it by dancing to everyone else's VERY BADLY OUT OF TUNE karaoke, going on a nature walk & collecting flowers and leaves to put on our nature bracelets, eating s'mores made from GIANT marshmallows, attending the flag raising & lowering ceremonies, and listening to Sister Kathy Jenson talk about what it means to thrive (more on that later). It was so nice to just give Maggie ALL of my attention and to be able to appreciate the young woman she's starting to become. I really can't wait to do it again...and hopefully remember to bring earplugs and extra blankets next time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lucky Girl

I'm such a lucky girl.

To be raised by a man who believes in:

Hard Work (weeding, bathrooms, dusting, laundry, and KP, not dishes),
Truthfulness (you did NOT want the consequences that came attached to a lie),
Loyalty (supporting each other in activities, accomplishments and even failures),
Order (work first, play later),
Faith (follow the Prophet no matter what)
Self-sufficiency (use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without)
Manners (elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, always say please and thank you)
Perfection (no job is worth doing, unless you do it right)

To be married to a man who believes in:

Integrity (do the right thing, even when no one is there to see you)
Service (the giver always receives more)
Playing (even if it is bedtime...)
Obedience (immeasurable blessings come to those who keep the commandments of God)
Sacrifice (the needs of the family are greater than the wants of any individual--usually himself)
Happiness (found through righteous living and teaching, and through declaring his wife to be right the majority of the time)
Commitment (stand up for what you believe in and do what you say you'll do)

To raise a boy to become a man who believes in:

Hard Work

Lucky doesn't even begin to describe it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First for the First

Can you believe it's already been a year since our sweet baby Dixon joined our gaggle of girls? I'll admit, I was a little concerned about how he'd fit in, but those fears have certainly been put to rest over the last 12 months!

I was most excited to steer away from anything remotely PINK for his celebration, though The Very Hungry Caterpillar's face did end up more pink than red... I got the idea for this from a friend whose husband created this same cupcake cake for their little boy.

The face is 7 cherry Starburst, kneaded, rolled into a ball, then smashed flat. The eyes are lemon & lime flavored tootsie rolls, and the nose and feet are the chocolate ones. For the antennae, I attempted to add a little blue food coloring to a cherry tootsie roll, but it made them too supple and they kept drooping. Oh well.

Forgive the baby nudity (and the blurry pix)...but he boy simply had to have cake!




I just can't get enough of this kid's smile!!! Happy FIRST Birthday my boy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Becoming a Peaceable Follower

Ever since Mike was called to the High Council, he's fretted over finding speaking companions. It's becoming easier now that he knows more people in the Stake, and has found that a lot of Bishops prefer to have someone--mainly youth--from their own Ward speak along with him. Today was Mike's turn to speak in our ward, and you'll NEVER guess who he "asked" to be his speaking companion.........okay, maybe that was too easy.

I was actually really glad to get to speak. Preparing a talk always gives me direction to my studying, and of course, I always learn more than I am able to relay to any congregation. The difference in preparing this time, was that I got to come up with my own topic. A little daunting at first, but then I realized that I'd already been given my topic as experiences in the last month or so slowly came together like the pieces of a puzzle.

I've always given myself more of an outline to speak from because I like the interaction that I get from the congregation when I can look into their faces, as opposed to looking down at a piece of paper, and reading a talk word-for-word. (This is how I like to teach my lessons, too.) This time, though, was different. I had so many moments throughout the last few weeks where full sentences and even paragraphs came to my mind, that I had to write them down right then and there as I knew from whence they came. When my talk was finally written, I knew that my old style of "winging it" would not do justice to the words which had come so clearly, and so quickly as I studied day after day. I have to admit, it was a little uncomfortable for me to deliver my talk this way, but as I read the words of the talk, I felt the Spirit witness to me for a second time that the words were not my own. I'm so grateful that the Lord has established His Church in such a way that would allow someone as flawed as me, to receive inspiration and truth from Him, and then to share that same truth with others as if it had been Himself delivering it. What a blessing!

So, for the sake of remembering this experience, I'll record my talk here because I know that one day, when my faith is lacking and doubts creep in, I'll read this and I'll remember and I'll feel.

After some heath issues had finally been somewhat resolved, I was able to return to the gym a couple of months ago.While I’m still unable to do some of the things I would like, it feels so good for this former athlete to be moving again! One day in particular, just a couple of weeks ago, I was running on the elliptical machine, my music blasting a fast beat so I could keep my heart rate up. As I came to the last few minutes of my workout, I felt this overwhelming urge to go faster and push harder. While I was already running at a pretty good pace, sweating and panting, I mustered everything in me and forced my legs to move faster than they had in years, literally sprinting for the last three minutes. I didn’t know if I would actually make it to the end, but when the words “Workout Complete” flashed across my monitor, amid my complete exhaustion, I felt an ultimate sense of euphoria, for having pushed myself when that moment came, and for having accomplished something I hadn’t thought I could do.

There are always great lessons to be learned and gospel principles to be reinforced in seemingly ordinary moments. As I thought about what had happened at the gym that morning, my thoughts turned to what Elder Hafen shared with us at the Saturday night session of Stake Conference.

Moroni 7: 3 says: “Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven. 4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. 5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.”

With this scripture, he illustrated that there is a difference between being an ACTIVE member of the church, as Moroni directed his words to those "that are of the church", and being a CONSECRATED member of the church, or to those whom Moroni further directed his comments, "that are the peaceable followers of Christ". As active members of the church, we get up every morning for our appointment with the treadmill. We walk, or maybe even jog, at a comfortable pace, making sure we’re not sweating too much, or breathing too hard. We show up and as soon as the timer counts down to 0:00, we’re DONE. We gather our things and close the door behind us, as we head off to start our day, having met our obligation.

One of my favorite sayings is, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you get.” As children of our Heavenly Father, we’re blessed with a divine potential to become even as He is, but in order to do so, we must often times, push past our comfort zone and allow Him to shape us into who He knows we can become. As C.S. Lewis put it in his well-known “House” analogy, “You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace.”

I’m convinced that just like that urge that came out of the blue to sprint the last three minutes of my workout, we’re each blessed with opportunities that present themselves to us, to push harder, to go longer, and to be better than we at that moment thought we could. That impression to stop what were doing, and go visit someone. Getting out of bed an hour earlier to start the day with your scriptures. Saying “Yes” when the Bishop says, “The Lord has called you…” In order for us to be CONSECRATED members of the Church—the peaceable followers of Christ--we must make ourselves aware of those sometimes fleeting moments, where we choose either maintenance or growth.

The importance of inviting the Holy Ghost and having His influence to be with us throughout the day CANNOT be overstated. In order to fill the measure of our creation, we must rely on the unfathomable power of that third member of the Godhead to guide and direct us, and as I’ve more recently discovered, to encourage and uplift as we spend our days trying to complete an often very long list of to do’s and to be’s. As we kneel in humble prayer each morning, we ought to consecrate our day’s performance to the Lord, and in doing so, we will find that our thoughts turn more often to Him. We will more clearly see through the barrage of unimportance to that which is most important—obedience to His commandments, and our relationships with ALL His children.

Because we are mortal and do sin and transgress so easily, we must continually re-invite the Holy Ghost to be with us. Something as seemingly small as losing our temper with a child, or getting angry at the guy who cut us off on the freeway, are enough to drive the Spirit away. Perhaps this is why God so wisely commanded us to pray always. Doing so with a repentant heart will allow having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion be more than just words in a blessing—it will be our reality!

2 Nephi 32:5 states, “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” As we search for direction and light in this darkening world, isn’t it comforting to KNOW that we can ALWAYS have access to that? Imagine what great things the Lord is just waiting to show us that we can and should do and what we can and should be, if only we qualify ourselves for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost!

As CONSECRATED members of the church, we won’t be satisfied with the status quo. We won’t measure our service in 30-minute intervals, closing the door behind us, saying we have done enough. But instead, we’ll stay until the growth comes. And just when we think we’ve given our all, we’ll be shown that we can dig deeper. With the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we will find that we have so much more to give than we ever thought possible, and therefore have “obtained a sufficient hope by which {we} can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until {we} shall rest with him in heaven.” We will BE the peaceable followers of Christ, and will be rewarded with more joy than we ever thought possible.

President Boyd K. Packer has promised that, “To gain and forever hold on to a testimony of gospel truths is worth whatever price in spiritual preparation we may be required to pay.”

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Savior, and the Redeemer of the World; that the Holy Ghost’s influence can and will move us to fulfill our divine potential; and that The Book of Mormon contains these truths. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet on the earth today. These things I know because the Spirit has borne testimony to me of their truth, and that witness I cannot and will not deny!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Forum @ BLOOM

In an attempt to get more ideas for our "Summer-O-Fun," I'm guest posting at BLOOM again today for their Friday Forum. Hopefully all the Bloomies over there will help to finish filling our summer schedule! If you need some inspiration, I don't know of a better group of people to glean ideas from!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now? Or Never?

Ever since I entered the stimulating world of crafting bloggers, I've been inspired over and over and over by things I would LOVE to make and do, but with time being as it is, I'm certain that only a portion of those things will ever come to fruition--if any. Like this sunburst mirror from Stephanie Lynn, which catapulted to the top of my list after I spotted it today:

So, here's my question....

When I finally die, will I get to finish all the projects on my list of "Things I'd Like To Do" or will I just not care about that anymore?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scleral Edema or Swollen Eyeball

Sunday I was sitting on my deck, enjoying the cool air, when all of a sudden, I felt an allergy attack come on. Not unusual, considering I do have hay fever, but I usually don't suffer with allergies until Fall. I really didn't think anything of it until my kids kept walking over and looking at my eye, telling me how weird it looked. Finally, I looked into the mirror, and this is what I saw.

The white of my eye was completely swollen and looked like a giant oozing blister. Normally, when my eyes start itching, it's the pink skin near my tear duct that swells. Never my EYEBALL! To get the swelling down, (because swollen eyeballs can't be a good thing) I hurried and took some allergy medicine and that seemed to do the trick. Still, totally weird and a little unnerving...

...but today it's just fine. Think I'll pop another pill just so I don't wake up in the middle of the night with a swollen eyeball that's gotten too big for its socket.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When It Comes Together...

First of all--for all you who were waiting with baited breath--Mike brought ALL the girls home with only minor incidents (that I was informed of) to report, including sunblock rubbed into an eye, and what Bridget was convinced was a mouse bite (spider) on her arm. Other than that, I now have about 15 loads of campfire-smelling laundry to do tomorrow. (Why is it that I get relegated clean up duty, when I wasn't even involved?)

Despite the lingering smell of burnt hot dogs wafting in intermittently from the mud room, reminding me of what torture awaits me in the morning (Anyone else find laundry torturous?), today has been a very relaxing day. After an indefinite hiatus from teaching, I was asked to sub in Relief Society. But you just said you had a very relaxing day! Yeah, I know. Strange as it is, I find that I'm most comfortable and relaxed when I get to teach. I wasn't always like this--7 years of practice had a hand in it--but this was only my second time teaching since being released from Gospel Doctrine over a year ago, and it was literally like riding a bike. I love it when all the elements of a great gospel lesson come together--knowledge of a topic, stemming from diligent study; the influence of the Holy Ghost in directing a discussion; the influence of the Holy Ghost in the reception of the message; and avid participation from everyone in the room. I always feel so lucky when I get to have an experience like that, because unfortunately, not every lesson is great. Sometimes I haven't studied long enough or deeply enough. Sometimes I haven't heeded the Holy Ghost's promptings in guiding the lesson. Sometimes the message falls on hardened hearts, and sometimes participation is severely lacking. Today, it was a great lesson.
As much as I've appreciated the thought behind leaving me calling-less for the past year (new baby, 5 kids by myself @ church, husband serving in the High Council), I'm starting to feel very restless in my desire to be of some sort of service in the ward. Yes, I visit teach. Yes, I put the Sacrament Program together. (Which is not an official calling.) But I feel as though I'm missing out on some of the blessings that I could be receiving by having the opportunity to magnify a calling. It's especially hard when I know our ward--and stake, for that matter--are hurting for people who willingly accept and fulfill callings, resulting in some carrying two or three at a time. Whatever the reasons, I hope that the Lord will soon find a need for me to fill.

For now, I'll just try to keep my children occupied and enjoying their summer, making ties-1000 of them!--for the upcoming Raspberry Days, and tending to my home and garden, which are full-time jobs in and of themselves. Oh, and if you noticed my mere .5 lb. weight loss last week, I maintain it's because I weighed-in fully clothed, on a full stomach, instead of in my shorts & t-shirt, still needing to eat breakfast. I guess we'll see if that theory holds up when I step on the scale again on Saturday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Simple Question.


Mike: " So what do you think about me taking all the girls out camping on Friday?"

Me: Blank stare.

Mike: "You don't think it's a good idea?"

Me: Still dumbfounded.

Mike: "Cause if you don't want me to, I won't. I just thought it would be fun to take them out fishing with Matt and his girls."

Me: Finally able to speak through my utter shock, "Yes! Go! Now!"


Mike: "I told Matt we'd go, so I guess It's official. I think we're going to go out to Strawberry Reservoir, since a lake's probably a little safer than a river."

Cue 6:00 News lead story: "Search crews scoured Strawberry Reservoir all day for the body of a man who fell out of a boat on Memorial Day. It is now being called a recovery effort."

Me: "Yup. Probably MUCH safer."


Mike: "I guess I better make a list of things we need to get at the grocery store before we leave...Are you sure you think this is okay?"

Me: "You'll be fine, Dear. Just make sure Maggie gets her pill, you keep Bridget away from the water and the fire, you bring toilet paper, since you've got a bunch of girls who can't exactly pee on a tree with great ease, and you'll want to pack all of their blankets, jammies, pillows, and extra clothes, ooooh, probably extra shoes, too, for when they go running in the water after you've told them 3,000 times to back up, and make sure they've got sunblock on, take mosquito spray, oh, did I mention keep BOTH eyes on Bridget at all times? Sweetie, you'll have so much fun! Just don't let them out of your sight while you set up camp, make dinner, & get fishing poles ready, then help all 4 of them cast at the same time, keeping them from hooking each other--or you, for that matter--and don't forget to take the constellations book so they can check out the stars for their activity this week, which you probably won't be able to see until 10 or 11 pm, which is a little past their 8:00 bedtime, but they won't sleep that great on the cold hard ground anyway, so they'll probably be up a few times in the night complaining of the cold & needing to go potty--did you remember the toilet paper?--so they might be a little cranky by the time you get them up and dressed and warming up by the fire, but I'm sure by the time you get them fed breakfast, and find a great fishing spot, they won't complain too much, and they can hopefully catch a few fish to bring home with you after you clean up the dishes, take down camp, pack it all back in the car, all while keeping an eagle eye on them and especially that "spirited" little Bridget of ours.'re gonna have a GREAT time! Don't forget to take the camera, Honey, and take pictures of EVERYTHING you do and see!"