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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interesting Blogs to Check Out (Interesting to Me, at Least)

So, I'm doing some research for my new calling... okay, I suppose it's not really MY calling until I'm sustained and set-apart, but I feel that inspiration after prayer has begun to spring into my mind quickly since learning of the calling I've been asked to accept. Somehow, I'm not sure how, and I think it's pretty normal with the internet... I've come upon a couple blogs I think I'm going to start reading regularly (appearing on my blog list soon, if not already). They are very interesting to me and I just wanted to share.

The blog posts to which I'm linking are related in subject to a particular subject I find fascinating. If you know me, you'll probably have some understanding of what I'm talking about if you glance at the posts. The one is called Dead Seriously. Interesting title, eh? Don't know what that's about yet, but the subject matter is interesting, anyway. ^_^ The other is called Mormon Mentality. If you didn't know, yes, I am Mormon. I think the interest for me, then, is obvious. Or not. Either way, I AM interested.

Anyway... I just wanted to share something I've found as I try to keep my head on straight at the end of this sick day (for Ria, just stress for Mama).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Extreme Motherhood... Only in "Civilization"

It's amazing and rather depressing to me that the natural way is considered by SO many today to be "unnatural". Makes me wonder if there are yet ways I still remain brainwashed by the modern! I mean, home birth was always, thanks to my Mom, pretty easy for me to accept. Because I could so easily accept it and because I knew my Mom could do it, I had the strong hope that it could be for me, too.

Again, thanks to my Mom, breastfeeding has always been THE way to feed babies in my mind. I can honestly say that it seems rather odd to me to continue breastfeeding beyond 4 years of age... but I, just as honestly, cannot say it will never happen to me. I dare NOT say such a thing because in my life, that which I have said will never transpire soon occurs! There's no leap, though, for me to say and think that it would be odd, at this time in my life, to imagine myself with a nursling older than four years old.

Given that I have successfully experienced (and hope yet to again complete) home births, combined with the fact that I breastfeed beyond infancy, I would be considered an extreme Mama. If you know me, I'm pretty normal... aren't I? I mean, I'm not extreme... no Goth or Tatooed Mama here.... just a Mama who is trying to do what I believe is best after learning as much as I can... I guess by the standards of today I may well be "extreme." *ahwell* I suppose I have to abide such labels since I do live IN this world. I hope the culture will change to be, at least, more accepting of the natural way!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saying Good-Bye is HARD to Do

Family Visiting!
It was exciting and easy to welcome my brother Josh and his wife Caroline and their kiddos into our home for a visit this week. I was, personally, a bit frazzled because my home was not up to par as a result of the previous week's illness, but I was SO excited to see my brother and his family after more than a year apart!

We had SUCH an amazingly wonderful time. At least, the Gollihughs sure did! I can only hope that visitors had as wonderful a time visiting! I felt love, touched, and trusted when Caroline shared her preconceived fears about the visit in my home and then told me that she'd not been troubled by the reasons for her anxiety. YEAY! I'm making progress, I think. You see, I have been told rather often (especially within my family) that the way I speak my mind can be a bit intimidating and off-putting. I have been consciously working on changing myself in MANY ways (that being one of the many) and it's gratifying to feel that, perhaps, I'm making SOME progress. I hope all ended as well as it started in her mind as well as my brother and their children!

So, the arrived on Wednesday evening. I don't really remember much from that night. Jess had dinner already ready, so we did enjoy a family meal of Turkey... hmmm... I can't remember what the dish was called! Well, it was yummy.

First Full Day
Thursday was our busy day. Jess made pancakes from breakfast. Josh and his two eldest accompanied us to the library and, later, the whole clan came with us to Dance. We walked everywhere, so that was fun - especially to dance because we had all the kids in strollers (three, to be exact). I'm sure we were a sight on the street! For dinner Jessie made meatballs in caper sauce over rice. DE-LISH!!! ^_^


Friday we had a laid back morning. I think it was around 1pm that we finally headed out to Matanzas beach. That's our FAVORITE beach because the waves are really REALLY gentle even when it's high tide. Well, when we arrived the tide was out SO far that we could walk REALLY far out into the little inlet near which we park. And we did. The water was REALLY cold in the deep places, I must say. Josh was determined to ford the deep part, but his kiddos, even as tall as they are, were a bit too short to make it across on their own feet and stay dry. So, Josh put one on each shoulder and started across. It was a SIGHT to see! I hope they upload THAT picture and then I'll link to it (if they don't mind!). We forgot our camera a lot. :( On the way home, we stopped at a grocery store and our guests purchased makings for a meal. Steak, salad, guacamole and chips, cantelope for the next morning, and rissoto. Another hit for the Chef-Daddy!

Last Full Day
Saturday the two eldest visitors stayed with the Gollihughs while Josh, Caroline, and their baby went to meet a friend of Caroline's for lunch. Jess and I packed up a few things (mostly water) and the FIVE kids and headed out to meet J&C at a playground we'd seen a while back, but never visited. We were quite late. I think it took about 30 minutes longer than I expected... maybe that's 15 minutes for each extra child?? ahwell. We made it safely! The park was great. It was PERFECT, really. You see, Josh is a firefighter and the playground is right next to/behind a fire station and the actual equipment is fire fighter themed!!! ^_^ Isn't that too awesome!? It was fun. We had beef stir-fry a la Jessie for dinner.

The Day of Departure
Church this morning. I was under the impression that my brother would be sort of rushing off to get on the road directly after church. He was really laid back about it, though. He was cool with waiting for Jess and me to get out of a meeting with a member of our Bishopric. He and Caroline offered us a picknick lunch after. It was REALLY lovely! The best part, to me, was, certainly and, of course, the opportunity to spend another 45 minutes around this sweet family that I'm lucky enough to call part of mine! ^_^

Ria actually cried as we were driving away from her cousin. These two were amazing together! They were inseperable. They played together ALL day long and really did NOT fight! K became perturbed with Kat a few times, but Ria and K never really fought. I was a bit surprised, but VERY pleased about that!!!

What did they play? Well, I think their favorite activity was dress-up. Saturday they spent about 30 minutes in thier dress-up clothes dancing to J playing the piano. When J was tired of that (little boy not interested in dressing up with his sister), he told them he was done. From there the two girls took turns playing the piano and being the primary dancer on the stage. J danced for a little while after he was done on the piano, but he went back to play in the room when he was bored with the dancing. This lasted for at LEAST 1.5 hours! They were really wonderful. All the kids played very nicely together.

About J dancing... he looked like a little break dancer before they learn their big moves! Seriously! It was amazing to see how BOY-like he really danced! ^_^ SO cute! Of course, I would notice a huge difference since I have only girls to watch as they move, in general.

The Meeting
Did you guess what the meeting was about? Yep. I've received a new call. I was a bit surprised because many other new mothers have been left calling-less for 6+ months after the new arrival. I was actually REALLY bummed to be released soon after Tea was born. I was hoping to keep my lovely Primary Secretary calling. It was not to be. Someone else need it more than me!

I'll be sustained and set apart for me new calling next week. I'll tell ya more about it next Sunday. I'm nervous and even a bit scared. Definitely overwhelmed! You'll see once I can tell ya about it!!! All WILL be well, though.

An exciting twist to my call involves Jessie. Bro. Mclaughlin was very specific that Jessie needed to be in the meeting after church. I figured it was because he, as leadership, needed to ask Jess for his permission and support for me to receive the call - sort of standard operating procedure, I think. Well, that wasn't really it. And I'll tell ya more about THAT next week, too! ^_^

Other News (exciting to me)
A new family moved into our Ward during the time that I was out WAY too often in December. They have 6 kids who are all 1 year apart! Their ages range from 3 to 8. Can you imagine? I'm already impressed by the Mama!! ^_^

Well, not only was I excited by the prospect of more kiddos with whom mine might associate, but their Mama has decided to homeschool!!! Can you believe it?? Okay, well, you might not know why this is SUCH A big deal to me. You see... as of this school year there were two families who decided to homeschool. One a family of 3 (now 4) and another of 5 kiddos! So, now we have 4 homeschooling families in ONE Ward with a total of EIGHTEEN children! Isn't that amazing!? I'm excited and thrilled, really!

The funny thing... somehow the new Mama has learned about Ria reading. This is funny to me because I was planning to share with her the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons when we could get together sometime. But someone else has beat me to the punch and told her that Ria is an amazing reader and that she needs to talk to me about it. So cool! I don't have to tell anyone about Ria's reading ability - others tell them for me! ^_^ Funny, right?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Will Fix It

The title for this post, or very near it, is the response I received from two intelligent and well-educated women just this last week when I was trying to inform them about and ask for their help in calling our representatives about the CPSIA issue that is still not tied down/resolved.... I was beginning to inform them of the ALREADY MADE LAW when the first woman I was addressing cut me off and said, "Obama will fix it!" And she totally turned away from me and wouldn't hear any more. Her inattention may not have been helped by the comment someone else present made about not coming to Story Time to talk about Obama, but still.... It was totally obvious to me that she wouldn't hear about a problem ALREADY in existence because she believes Obama will solve it all. Ummm... He IS still a man. (NOT our Savior!!!) He is ONE man. And he may not even KNOW about this issue! After-all... most people don't REALLY know about it!

I was planning to talk to my librarian about the law and deadline as well as some other things, but another lady preempted me, regarding the CPSIA info I wanted to share. My librarian did come to speak to me about it - to get clarification about what the other lady told her. After I briefly described what was happening, she seemed to get the impression that it was something pending. As soon as she had that impression, she blew me off and raised her hands in the air in an almost worshipful gesture!! and said, "Obama has it!"

While I am grateful these intelligent women feel hopeful, I am astounded that these women are (and I believe they are representative of the populace in general rather than Obama fanatics) SO fully trusting the words of the politician made President AND empowering him with omnipotence and omniscience! COME ON!!! He is STILL a MAN!!!! I did speak to her about the issue again and was able to convey why the situation is more than one man and she was determined to look into it... thankfully!

That all sort of brings me to another couple of bits I wanted to share. I hope you will see how they are connected. If not, feel free to email me and I'll try to specify more clearly.

The first is a video of still pictures and quotes that touched me. It is entitled In God We Trust. Click either of the previous links to see it. If the title is off-putting, please give it a moment because the quotes are from notables in American history and totally appropriate to reminding us of where we came from, why we're here, and what the U.S. SHOULD be about.

The second item is a YouTube that I believe is pertinent both to this day (current events) as well as to the link I hope you will watch. I saw this YouTube on my friend Val's blog and felt like I'd JUST seen something that fit with it perfectly... well, I HAD! The link I above! It felt to fit perfectly together and I wanted to share them in that way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

What's Up?

Want to know? Check out my friend's blog and watch the video there. It's The Monteith Family blog in the first group of blogs to the left of mine. :)

I WILL do a real update soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nuthin Much, But Busy All The Same

We haven't had anything special going on lately. I've been trying to get things caught up from when we were ALL sick... and then from when just Kat was sick. I'm still behind. But at least almost all the laundry is clean... even if it's not folded. The dishes... another story!

On top of regular stuff, I am trying to do a little bit more to get ready for a family visit. We, at the Gollihugh household, are VERY excited about my brother Josh and his family coming to visit! It's going to be interesting with SIX kids in this house as well as FOUR adults... I'm sure there will be stories to tell. :) They'll be here for our busiest day of the week (Thursdays, of course). So, that should be interesting.

So, basically I haven't had much worthy of note in my blog, on my mind. I'm reading a compilation book in my spare moments and some of Tea's sleepier breastfeeding moments. It's actually 4 books about Amish life and relationships. While it is VERY interesting to me, it may not necessarily be exciting to anyone else. Thus, the quiet blog. I hope I haven't disappointed anyone.

I do have to mention that today, January 18th, is my Jessie's birthday. He turned THIRTY! I had SUCH A problem with that birthday, myself... so I was wondering how he would take it. No problem for him. Amazing since he had SUCH a problem turning 25... of course, he thought he was turning 26 but still!

Happy happy birthday, BABY!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sisters and Angels

I was feeling all beat up by this week I've already had (and it's only Wednesday!??), when my phone rang this afternoon. It was just shortly after Jess left for work, as a matter-of-fact. He often calls me to check on me before he gets busy (only since the baby's arrival). I answered it, which is uncharacteristic of me as late because I've been avoiding the phone a LOT. I just haven't been able to DEAL with anything more than just getting by in my own home.

Who is on the phone but one of my sisters from church. She's calling to check on me because she saw me at church and then I was gone. After we exchanged brief pleasantries, and as I loaded ANOTHER load of puked on poohed on linens and things, I just started BAWLING! She was so sweet and just listened to me sniffle and whine about life as it has been for me lately. I haven't been able to do this because I hate to call my Mom and cry about something like this because she feels bad that she can't be here to help out. I can't cry to Jess cause he just gets all anxious that I'm going to break down further (and unfortunately he knows how my breaks go down! hahaha) He still doesn't understand that crying lets some of the pressure in my head/heart/body out and I feel better afterward as long as he doesn't try to just shush me. But my friend and sister from church didn't feel bad about not being able to come right over, and she didn't try to shush me... she was exactly what I needed RIGHT when I needed it!!!

I'm so grateful for angels. I haven't yet seen the mostly invisible kind that artists portray on chapel ceilings, but I see Earth-bound angels galore! Tammy certainly is one of those to me today and has been any number of times before!!! She's even bringing me some chicken-n-dumplins tomorrow for dinner.

I have to say, I'd always read about chicken-n-dumplins... but then I had some Jessie made and I was, honestly, TOTALLY unimpressed. (I know, right!?! I RARELY ever say such things about my chef-hubby's cookin, but sorry to say, his dumplins were un!!inspiring....) Tammy brought some over for a meal after Tea was born. Jess knew what it was and named it. Because of my previous (not so lovely) experience with the dish named the same, I was apathetic toward to meal. But then... I ATE IT! ... ... ... MAN! I think I ate almost the whole thing!!! (and it was a BIG dish) over the course of 4 days! I'm totally serious. It was so delisi-o-so!!!! I asked her for the recipe, but she told me today she was pretty sure I just asked to be nice.

Nope. I asked because I'm hoping to make some of my very own. Of course, looking forward to more of HERS tomorrow... WOW... my mouth is actually watering right now. SO strange, but TOTALLY true!! The funny thing about the recipe is that I was just thinkin last week that I needed to get that recipe from her because I wished to have some chicken-n-dumplins... and now I get HERS!!!! I'm the luckiest girl... I guess there are some yummy things that can come from bad experiences, eh? ;)

Have you seen YES, MAN, the movie?? The last line of the previous paragraph made me think of it... GREAT movie, by the way. I recommend it. ^_^ Let me know what you think of it, if you watch it.

To wrap this up (since I've been all over the page in my thoughts!) being able to be a blubber baby with one of my sisters-in-the-Lord has made SUCH a difference for my day! I've been calmer than I've been in DAYS! I've felt happier. I've been able to sit down and enjoy some time with all my girls, even if Kat is still sick. (When my kiddos are sick I tend to WORK almost non-stop because I feel like that's the only way to keep my head together. If I sit, I worry.) Whether Kat is well or not is still in the air. I totally thought she was well when she woke up this morning, but... nope. Obviously. Anyway... I'm sure it'll pass soon. Thankfully she does seem to be on the mend. I sure wouldn't want anyone in our house right now, though, in case there are any bugs still scootin around. I'm going to go around the house with some bleach tomorrow, me thinks.

I thank you for prayers offered in our behalf. I'm certain they have been heard and we are experiencing the benefits (and angels) as a result!!!! ^_^

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SICK of Being Sick!

I've lost a day. I thought today was Monday ALL day long. Why? Because I slept practically ALL Monday away! HOW can a nursing mother sleep over 24 hours straight?? Well, it wasn't spent ALL sleeping... I did awaken to sit on the pot, stoop over it, and nurse! Jess brought Tea to me whenever he thought she was antsy for booby juice! WHAT a man, right!??!!! He called out of work for THAT! Poor guy.

I think I'm on the mend.

Thankfully Jess has the immune system of a super human. I put him to bed when we came home from church (only sacrament meeting because I noticed during it that he smelled WAY off). He slept and slept and slept. But when he woke up he was totally well! Right in time to take care of me and KEEP takin' care of Kat.

Poor Kat. It seems that she may be on the mend as well, but she's been sick since Friday or Saturday afternoon (my brain is so fried I can't keep it all straight)! It's been a rough patch, let me tell you. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I thought we were all well - so we went to church. But now I'm all worried that we've made others ill. ARGHHH!! At least I got to take the sacrament....

If you think of it, I would appreciate it if you'd keep us in your prayers that we might experience a turn on the healthy side of life. I feel like we've been bombarded by illnesses (since we HAVE!). I'm quite certain I will appreciate wellness quite a lot (and isn't that what illness is for?).

Wish YOU wellness!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good News

Coming to light among the those greatly concerned about the CPSIA stuff is some pretty good news... somewhat of a relief to many who sell handmade goods (natural fibers, gems, and so forth) intended for children. Some more info.

Having said that and provided you links to research at your leisure, it's still important to make our voices heard about generalization of this and other laws... this law is still the first step toward making firefighters into fire starters of book burnings (see Fahrenheit 451 if you don't understand my allusion). Check out the post just before this one for an iPetition you can sign as well as info for your congressional representatives.

We CAN make a difference!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Can you BELIEVE this!?! PLEASE READ this unreal reality!!

I'm going to cut and paste some disturbing - VERY disturbing - information. I hope you will feel it worth your time to act as I believe it will impact you even if you never homeschool.

It's one of my worst nightmares... Farenheight 451 (the novel) come to life! If you haven't read it, you might want to - to see what we could WELL be fighting the first stages of!!!!!

The Sale of Children's Books to be Banned


Oh, how I wish this were a joke! But it is a grim and looming,
almost Orwellian, reality.

Effective February 10th, in the United States, the sale of
all children's books (books intended for children ages 12 and
under) is to be PROHIBITED. Every single book printed prior
to the ruling is affected, whether new or used. New books in
production are required to include a "lead-free" certification
and will be the only books that are legal to offer for sale.

What does this mean to the homeschooling family?

Well, for one, curriculum fairs across the country will be
cancelled as book vendors scramble to figure out how to comply
with the new ruling. Complete book inventories will have to be
destroyed -- the ruling even prohibits giving away the books!
Local thrift stores will be hard hit -- most will likely have to
close their doors -- yes, even Goodwill and Salvation Army.

Clothing, toys and books -- even CDs and DVDs are included in the
ruling. Thrift stores will no longer be able to accept or process
anything (including clothing) that would be intended for a child.

No more library sales. Libraries will not be permitted to give
away or sell book donations. It is unsure yet, however, how
the libraries' shelves themselves will be impacted (the ruling
doesn't explicitly mention "loaning" books, just selling or
giving them away). The key word, however, is "distribution" --
libraries may well be required to destroy books from their shelves.

(The ruling that originally passed was about toys, but the EPA has
since made a statement that clothing, books and media are included
in "children's toys".)

Just how serious is this new law?

Amazon.com has already notified all vendors of their need to comply.
No book can be sold at the Amazon site that was printed prior to
compliance. And the "compliance" must be coordinated at the manu-
facturing stage. At the time of this article there is no clause
to be able to grandfather-in older books or even rare out-of-print
books. It can cost between $500 and $1500 to test a book for lead.

I happen to own a children's bookstore specializing in living books
from the 1950s and '60s. My punishment for selling a book after
February 10th? Up to $100,000 and 5 years in jail. And yes, it is
a felony charge. For selling a SINGLE book.

(Although I don't think the S.W.A.T. team scenario would become a
reality overnight, at the same time I would be leery of blatantly
violating Federal law.)

So what can you do to help save your local used bookstore that
sells children’s books? Or that homeschool curriculum business?
Or your EBay business selling children's items?

ACT NOW before the quickly approaching deadlines:

1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman at
888-531-9070. http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspx

Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30,
2009. Or email: Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov

2) Contact your local representatives. For their contact informa-
tion, just enter your zip code.

3) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue! The top 3 in
each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.

4) Sign the petition.

5) Spread the word! Forward this article. Send an email. Write
about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and
encourage them to do the same.

For the complete story, read the following links:


Consumer Product Safety Commission Summaries on Legislation Index
page for Children's Products Containing Lead; Lead Paint Rule and
other rulings


Office of the General Counsel FAQ on retroactive inventory require-
ments -- The use of forward effective dates appears to force current
inventories to adhere to the ruling on February 10th, 2009


Specific FAQ on their interpretation of books and other media to be
included in the testing of lead based products


Effective Date: Lead content limit of 600 ppm becomes effective 180
days after enactment. An advisory opinion regarding the application
of the new lead limit to inventory existing at the effective date
can be found on our web site at

Getting the Lead out: There is no lead in children's books

There is no lead in Children's books: From a Pedtrician

Please! If you want to keep low-cost avenues for children's clothing, books,and toys available, please make your voice heard. I, for one, feel physically sick about this and I'm going to do whatever I can to change this ridiculousness!

Monday, January 5, 2009

How Do You Know If Your Family Is Complete?

I think there must be millions (or more) ways to know. I think, sometimes, that the innate knowledge of our family size is pre-programmed... like, we always pretended to have a certain number of kids when we were kids and that's exactly how many we're supposed to have. Probably, in those instances, it's a memory we're allowed to retain to help us in our life here.

When I was younger, my Mom would tell people (and I heard, of course) that she started to feel someone missing when she had 2 or 3 kiddos. She would count us when preparing to leave the grocery store or something and feel like she was missing a child. She KNEW she had all the children she'd given birth to, but still felt someone missing. I asked her, after Eddie was born, if she still felt anyone missing. She didn't think she did. So, I felt confident that our family was complete. Pretty neat. Right?

Given that I came from a family whose Mama was so secure in knowing that her family was complete, I wished and hoped that I would have such a sense for my own family. As it happens, the sense has come in a different form, but is much the same in its purpose. I'm SO grateful!

Right after I had Ria, I ached to get preggie immediately and have another baby. Kat wasn't born until Ria was 2 years and 7 months old, but I knew I would have (needed) another baby.

When I had Kat I felt a peace in the moment after her birth and thought to myself, "This is wonderful! Two daughters. I can wait this same length of time or longer between this one and the next." To my mind the whisper of the Holy Ghost came (which I could recognize at this time, but would not have known before), "DON'T COUNT ON IT!" It was clear as a bell, firm, and undeniable. So, I rather expected to get preggie really soon after Kat's birth. As it happened, she was just a tiny bit older than 2 years when Tea joined our family. Kat was born Oct. 10th and Tea was born Oct. 25th.

Tea was born and I didn't have either of the previous sorts of feelings, really. I think the lack of feeling came more as a desire to do the Lord's will than to really have my own plan for things... since my own plans seem to be opposing the Lord's will much of the time. (How depressing, righT?!) I suppose it's an exercise in humbling myself to the Lord's Will, eh? So, I started to feel sort of sad, thinking that maybe we wouldn't have any more children. (As a child I always thought I would have AT LEAST 4... probably more like 6 kids. So, 3 felt really incomplete to the way I thought things would be.)

My Mom came to visit, if you recall. While she was here I had "a moment." Tea was about 2 weeks old. The sister missionaries were leaving. Ria was outside, just outside the front door. My Mom was holding Kat and I was holding Tea. In "the moment" I felt scared half to death because I was sure Kat was in the driveway (as the sisters were pulling away). Now, this is taking into account that I could see my Mom with a child (Kat) in her arms, I knew where Ria and Tea were... I thought Kat was Tea, though! Even though I could plainly SEE her, I thought Kat was Tea. I thought I was holding a new baby... not Tea! Immediately after sort of realigning my sense of time and reality, I realized that this was the answer to my concerned queries to the Lord. I WOULD and SHOULD have another child. What a relief... via a REALLY odd-feeling experience!

I haven't had any doubt about that addition to our family. I'm not excited to go through pregnancy OR labor again as yet, but I know there will be another to join us sooner or later. I'm all right with that. Happy to know, for sure. Given that I feel secure in this knowledge, it was rather disconcerting when a couple of weeks ago I had another "moment". I can't help but wonder if our next child is calling to us... or, maybe, tagging along as we live our lives and I only feel her/his presence once in a while!?? It also strikes me that the first time I had "the moment" was when Tea was 2 weeks old and this last time when she was 2 months old! Strange, ne/eh?

How do YOU know? Have you just decided and are sticking stubbornly by your once made decision? Or are you open to the promptings that might suggest that you should increase your family regardless of your circumstance? I certainly wouldn't think that we should increase our family right now, given our financial situation. And, given my history, my breastfeeding amenorhea will enable me to stay barren for the short-term... until Tea moves from our bed, it seems my experience suggests. BUT, if the Lord want that next child to enter our family sooner than I think possible, it will surely happen! Anyway... just my thoughts. :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Succumbed

WHAT an odd word, huh? Say (or see!) it only a few times and is seems to lose its meaning. For me, most words do that when I say, think, or see them too frequently (like in the high tens or hundreds of times)... not succumbed.


I succumbed to the series. I only started hearing about it a few months ago via ChaCha questions. I saw the movie... online, of course. And then, I finally read the series. This may not go over with those who are HARD, but it feels incomplete to me. ahwell. WHAT am I talking about?

The Twilight series, of course.

I'm not sure, exactly, why I finally decided to read the books. The movie was all right, but not WOW.... But when I decided to read them I WANTED to read them. The first book, Twilight, was checked out after I made this decision (though not before, of course). I waited a few weeks, but it didn't come back. So, I finally checked out the second book New Moon, I think. And then the 3rd and 4th. I read them all within about 10 days (and that includes a few days of having to wait to go to the library because it was closed for the Christmas weekend).

I'm not exactly a fast reader. But I DO tend to be obsessive... not just about reading, unfortunately.

Anyway. The books are great. I'm currently reading Twilight (last... and NO, I didn't do that on purpose just to be different... SEE ABOVE) and it is quite a lot better than the movie. At least, I think so.

So, I succumbed to pop culture and have been pleased and even, perhaps, edified. CAN vampires be edifying? In this case, I think they actually CAN be. :)

And Stephanie Myers story is inspiring.

I've had one particular story trying to come out since I was preggie with Ria. I've written on it many times, but never quite kept going. I'm trying to be more enduring this time round. It seems like there are TONS of indications that I "need" to write RIGHT now.

My dear friend, Ryushin, quoted something in a recent letter. It's a sentiment that is stated many times and in many different ways and about many different subjects/expressions, but I felt like it was speaking to me about writing. I really want to share it because it has touched me and resonated with me and my own ideas SO keenly:

Martha Graham (a famous dancer):

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated
through you into action and because there is only one of you in all
time, this expression is unique.

And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and
will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to
determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with
other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and
directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to
keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction
whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a
blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Socialism and The United Order Compared

Elder Marion G. Romney
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
(Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 95;
or Improvement Era, June 1966, 535)

What I am going to give you now is a statement I have prepared in answer to the question, "Is Socialism the United Order?" Some of you may have already heard it. This is the first time I have ever attempted to give a talk a second time. My excuse is that the Brethren have asked me to give this talk here tonight.

I suppose the best way to start a comparison of socialism and the United Order is with a definition of the terms. Webster defines socialism as:

Socialism defined

"A political and economic theory of social organization based on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods; also, a policy or practice based on this theory." (Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd ed. unabridged, 1951.)

George Bernard Shaw, the noted Fabian Socialist, said that:

"Socialism, reduced to its simplest legal and practical expression, means the complete discarding of the institution of private property by transforming it into public property and the division of the resultant income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, p. 895.)

George Douglas Howard Cole, M.A., noted author and university reader in economics at Oxford, who treats socialism for the Encyclopedia Britannica, says that because of the shifting sense in which the word has been used, "a short and comprehensive definition is impossible. We can only say," he concludes, "that Socialism is essentially a doctrine and a movement aiming at the collective organization of the community in the interest of the mass of the people by means of the common ownership and collective control of the means of production and exchange." (Ibid., [1946 ed., Vol. 20,] p. 888.)

Socialism arose "out of the economic division in society." During the nineteenth century its growth was accelerated as a protest against "the appalling conditions prevailing in the workshops and factories and the unchristian spirit of the spreading industrial system."

Communism, starting point

The "Communist Manifesto" drafted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the Communist League in 1848 is generally regarded as the starting point of modern socialism. (Ibid., [Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20,] p. 890.)

The distinction between socialism, as represented by the various Socialist and Labour parties of Europe and the New World, and Communism, as represented by the Russians, is one of tactics and strategy rather than of objective. Communism is indeed only socialism pursued by revolutionary means and making its revolutionary method a canon of faith. Communists, like other socialists, (1) believe in the collective control and ownership of the vital means of production and (2) seek to achieve through state action the coordinated control of the economic forces of society. They (the Communists) differ from other socialists in believing that this control can be secured, and its use in the interests of the workers ensured, only by revolutionary action leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of a new proletarian state as the instrument of change. (Ibid.[Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, p. 890])

German SocialismA major rift between so-called orthodox socialism and communist socialism occurred in 1875 when the German Social Democratic party set forth its objective of winning power by taking over control of the bourgeois state, rather than by overthrowing it. In effect, the German Social Democratic party became a parliamentary party, aiming at the assumption of political power by constitutional means.

Fabian Society

In the 1880's a small group of intellectuals set up in England the Fabian Society, which has had a major influence on the development of modern orthodox socialism. Fabianism stands "for the evolutionary conception of socialism . . . endeavoring by progressive reforms and the nationalization of industries, to turn the existing state into a 'welfare state.' " Somewhat on the order of the German Social Democrats, Fabians aim "at permeating the existing parties with socialistic ideas [rather] than at creating a definitely socialistic party." They appeal "to the electorate not as revolutionaries but as constitutional reformers seeking a peaceful transformation of the system." (Ibid.[Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, p. 890])

Forms and policies of socialism

The differences in forms and policies of socialism occur principally in the manner in which they seek to implement their theories.

They all advocate:

(1) That private ownership of the vital means of production be abolished and that all such property "pass under some form of co-ordinated public control."

(2) That the power of the state be used to achieve their aims.

(3) "That with a change in the control of industry will go a change in the motives which operate in the industrial system. . . ." (Ibid.[Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, p. 890])

So much now for the definition of socialism. I have given you these statements in the words of socialists and scholars, not my words, so they have had their hearing.

The United Order

Now as to the United Order, and here I will give the words of the Lord and not my words. The United Order the Lord's program for eliminating the inequalities among men, is based upon the underlying concept that the earth and all things therein belong to the Lord and that men hold earthly possessions as stewards accountable to God.

On January 2, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Church was under obligation to care for the poor. (See D&C 38.) Later he said:

"I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, . . . and all things therein are mine.

"And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

"But it must needs be done in mine own way. . . ." (D&C 104:14­16.)

Consecration and stewardship

February 9, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet what his way was. (See D&C 42.) In his way there were two cardinal principles: (1) consecration and (2) stewardship.

To enter the United Order, when it was being tried, one consecrated all his possessions to the Church by a "covenant and a deed which" could not "be broken." (D&C 42:30.) That is, he completely divested himself of all of his property by conveying it to the Church.

Having thus voluntarily divested himself of title to all his property, the consecrator received from the Church a stewardship by a like conveyance. This stewardship could be more or less than his original consecration, the object being to make "every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs." (D&C 51:3.)

This procedure preserved in every man the right to private ownership and management of his property. At his own option he could alienate it or keep and operate it and pass it on to his heirs.

The intent was, however, for him to so operate his property as to produce a living for himself and his dependents. So long as he remained in the order, he consecrated to the Church the surplus he produced above the needs and wants of his family. This surplus went into a storehouse from which stewardships were given to others and from which the needs of the poor were supplied.

These divine principles are very simple and easily understood. A comparison of them with the underlying principles of socialism reveal similarities and basic differences.

Comparisons and contrasts: Similarities

The following are similarities: Both (1) deal with production and distribution of goods; (2) aim to promote the well-being of men by eliminating their economic inequalities; (3) envision the elimination of the selfish motives in our private capitalistic industrial system.


Now the differences:

(1) The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order.

Socialism, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of men and not of God. Although all socialists may not be atheists, none of them in theory or practice seek the Lord to establish his righteousness.

(2) The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the Church of God.

One time the Prophet Joseph Smith was asked a question by the brethren about the inventories they were taking. His answer was to the effect, "You don't need to be concerned about the inventories. Unless a man is willing to consecrate everything he has he doesn't come into the United Order." (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 412­13.) On the other hand, socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state.

(3) In harmony with church belief, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, "that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property" (D&C 134:2), the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management.

God-given agency preserved in United Order

Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it.

(4) The United Order is nonpolitical.

Socialism is political, both in theory and practice. It is thus exposed to, and riddled by, the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political governments that undertake to abridge man's agency.

(5) A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order.

Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive.

The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as "the pure love of Christ." (Moro. 7:47 [Moroni 7:47].)

Socialism not United Order

No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order. However, notwithstanding my abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is the wave of the present and of the foreseeable future. It has already taken over or is contending for control in most nations.

"At the end of the year [1964] parties affiliated with the [Socialist] International were in control of the governments of Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel, and the Malagasy Republic. They had representatives in coalition cabinets in Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland; constituted the chief opposition in France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and West Germany; and were significant political forces in numerous other countries. Many parties dominant in governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America announced that their aim was a socialist society." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1965 Book of the Year, p. 736.)

United States has adopted much socialism

We here in the
United States, in converting our government into a social welfare state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. Specifically, we have to an alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and distribution of the fruits of industry. We are on notice, according to the words of the President, that we are going much further, for he is quoted as saying:

"We're going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the 'haves' and give it to the 'have nots.' " (1964 Congressional Record, p. 6142, Remarks of the President to a Group of Leaders of Organizations of Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, March 24, 1964.)

Socialism takes: United Order gives

That is the spirit of socialism: We're going to take. The spirit of the United Order is: We're going to give.

We have also gone a long way on the road to public ownership and management of the vital means of production. In both of these areas the free agency of Americans has been greatly abridged. Some argue that we have voluntarily surrendered this power to government. Be this as it may, the fact remains that the loss of freedom with the consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless slavery.

As to the fruits of socialism, we all have our own opinions. I myself have watched its growth in our own country and observed it in operation in many other lands. But I have yet to see or hear of its freeing the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of its bringing peace, plenty, or freedom. These things it will never bring, nor will it do away with idleness and promote "industry, thrift and self-respect," for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on force, the principle of the evil one.

As to the fruits of the United Order, I suggest you read Moses 7:16­18 and 4 Nephi 2­3 [4 Nephi 1:2­3] , 15­16. If we had time we could review the history, what little we know, of Zion in the days of Enoch and about what happened among the Nephites under those principles of the United Order in the first two centuries following the time of the Savior.

What can we do?

Now what can we do about it?

As I recently reminded my wife of the moratorium on the United Order, which the Lord placed in 1834 (D&C 105:34), that socialism is taking over in the nations and that its expressed aims will surely fail, she spiritedly put to me the question: "Well, then, what would you suggest, that we just sit on our hands in despair and do nothing?" Perhaps similar questions have occurred to you. The answer is, "No, by no means!" We have much to do, and fortunately for us the Lord has definitely prescribed the course we should follow with respect to socialism and the United Order.

Constitution God-inspired

He has told us that in preparation for the restoration of the gospel, he himself established the Constitution of the United States, and he has plainly told us why he established it. I hope I can get this point over to you. He said he established the Constitution to preserve to men their free agency, because the whole gospel of Jesus Christ presupposes man's untrammeled exercise of free agency. Man is in the earth to be tested. The issue as to whether he succeeds or fails will be determined by how he uses his agency. His whole future, through all eternity, is at stake. Abridge man's agency, and the whole purpose of his mortality is thwarted. Without it, the Lord says, there is no existence. (See D&C 93:30.) The Lord so valued our agency that he designed and dictated "the laws and constitution" required to guarantee it. This he explained in the revelation in which he instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith to appeal for help,

Just and holy principles

"According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

"And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose. . . ." (D&C 101:77­78, 80.)

Sustain Constitutional law

Previously he had said:

"And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

"And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

"Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land [the test of its constitutionality in the words of the Lord here is whether it preserves man's agency];

"And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

"I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law [that is, constitutional law] also maketh you free.

"Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

"Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil." (D&C 98:4­10.)

These scriptures declare the Constitution to be a divine document. They tell us that "according to just and holy principles," the Constitution and the law of the land which supports the "principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before" God; that, "as pertaining to [the] law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." They remind us that the Lord has made us free and that laws that are constitutional will also make us free.

"When the wicked rule, the people mourn"

Right at this point, almost as if he were warning us against what is happening today, the Lord said: "Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn." Then, that we might know with certainty what we should do about it, he concluded: "Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold. . . ."

In its context this instruction, according to my interpretation, can only mean that we should seek diligently for and support men to represent us in government who are "wise" enough to understand freedom--as provided for in the Constitution and as implemented in the United Order--and who are honest enough and good enough to fight to preserve it.

". . . under no other government in the world could the Church have been established," said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and he continued:

". . . if we are to live as a Church, and progress, and have the right to worship as we are worshipping here today, we must have the great guarantees that are set up by our Constitution. There is no other way in which we can secure these guarantees." (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 58­59.)

Now, not forgetting our duty to eschew socialism and support the just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord, I shall conclude these remarks with a few comments concerning what we should do about the United Order.

What to do about United Order

The final words of the Lord in suspending the order were: "And let those commandments which I have given concerning
Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption." (D&C 105:34.)

Further implementation of the order must therefore await the redemption of Zion. Here Zion means Jackson County, Missouri. When Zion is redeemed, as it most certainly shall be, it will be redeemed under a government and by a people strictly observing those "just and holy principles" of the Constitution that accord to men their God-given moral agency, including the right to private property. If, in the meantime, socialism takes over in America, it will have to be displaced, if need be, by the power of God, because the United Order can never function under socialism or "the welfare state," for the good and sufficient reason that the principles upon which socialism and the United Order are conceived and operated are inimical.

In the meantime, while we await the redemption of Zion and the earth and the establishment of the United Order, we as bearers of the priesthood should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embodied in present church practices, such as the fast offering, tithing, and the welfare activities. Through these practices we could as individuals, if we were of a mind to do so, implement in our own lives all the basic principles of the United Order.

As you will recall, the principles underlying the United Order are consecration and stewardships and then the contribution of surpluses into the bishop's storehouse. When the law of tithing was instituted four years after the United Order experiment was suspended, the Lord required the people to put "all their surplus property . . . into the hands of the bishop" (D&C 119:1); thereafter they were to "pay one-tenth of all their interest annually. . . ." (D&C 119:4.) This law, still in force, implements to a degree at least the United Order principle of stewardships, for it leaves in the hands of each person the ownership and management of the property from which he produces the needs of himself and family. Furthermore, to use again the words of President Clark:

". . . in lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our Welfare donations, and our tithing, all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities and business of the Church."

What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we would have given in surpluses under the United Order? Nothing but our own limitations.

Furthermore, we had under the United Order a bishop's storehouse in which were collected the materials from which to supply the needs and the wants of the poor. We have a bishop's storehouse under the Welfare Plan, used for the same purpose. . . .

"We have now under the Welfare Plan all over the Church, . . . land projects . . . farmed for the benefit of the poor. . . .

"Thus . . . in many of its great essentials, we have, [in] the Welfare Plan . . . the broad essentials of the United Order. Furthermore, having in mind the assistance which is being given from time to time . . . to help set people up in business or in farming, we have a plan which is not essentially unlike that which was in the United Order when the poor were given portions from the common fund."

It is thus apparent that when the principles of tithing and the fast are properly observed and the Welfare Plan gets fully developed and wholly into operation, "we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order." (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 57­58.)

The only limitation on you and me is within ourselves.

A Prayer:

And now in line with these remarks, for three things I pray:

(1) That the Lord will somehow quicken our understanding of the differences between socialism and the United Order and give us a vivid awareness of the awful portent of those differences.

(2) That we will develop the understanding, the desire, and the courage, born of the Spirit, to eschew socialism and to support and sustain, in the manner revealed and as interpreted by the Lord, those just and holy principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States for the protection of all flesh, in the exercise of their God-given agency.

(3) That through faithful observance of the principles of tithing, the fast, and the welfare program, we will prepare ourselves to redeem Zion and ultimately live the United Order, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Places of Interest

Updated Tori

Want to write to Tori?  You can reach me at: secretsshallebb (at) gmail (dot) com  I hope you can figure out what to do with that mess!

Who is Tori!??

I'm striving to be a woman of God.

I am wife of Chef Jessie.

I'm striving to be a Joyful Mother of Children.  I am quiverful.  Once upon a time I balked at the idea of having eight children, but now I feel like I know those who are missing and I ache for them.  I pray for them often and hope that I will be able to grow them within me and safely birth them into this world.  Time will tell if my prayers are a truly righteous desire.

I am a bit of a Jackie-of-all-trades-master-of-none kind of girl. I am pretty darn good with a hook and yarn.  I've been crocheting off and on since I was about 11, I think. I'm 37 now. That's a good long time! I made a little matching jacket, hat, blanket, and a Pooh-n-Friends stuffed animal for each of my first three children. Number 3, 4 and 5 are still waiting for their hats and jackets, but I did finish the blanket for each and a Tigger for 3.

I'm striving to forgive myself for falling short of my own expectations AND not accepting others expectations of me unless they match what I believe the Lord has in mind for me.

I love to write. My blog is a place I am able to release and enjoy this passion.

Painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and other fiber arts are some of my "lost" hobbies. I still yearn to work in them, but the ability and time elude and escape me, for the most part.

I'm becoming interested in baking a lot more.  I have won a couple ribbons at the County Fair for two different recipes.  Pretty fun.

My husband is a Chef. So, I don't attempt much in the way of time consuming (read gourmet) food preparation. I'm much more interested in crowd pleasing (the crowd consists of my four table-food eating kiddos). Thus, the limits on time spent in preparation!

I sometimes enjoy watching movies.  Although I really used to enjoy TV serials, I began to see more and more often that the caliber is just poor.  It's not edifying.

I've been meditating and it has done and continues to do wonders for me!  I'm so grateful to our Awesome God for leading me in this direction, to this technology, and only wish I would've started when I first heard the whispers to begin it.

I'm a chocoholoic who is in recovery.  I've been off the use of it since January 2011.  I hope, someday, that I'll be able to have some again.  But for now, Father directs me to stay away.  So I do.

I'm working to improve my balancing skills.  This includes improving in all the following areas (though not all the time because I'm simply not perfect!): scripture reading/study, focused and purposeful prayer, homeschooling, housekeeping, frugal feeding, building food storage, broadening my preparedness skills, eliminating plastics (ever so slowly!), exercising, relationship improvement and nurturing (ALL of them), and (most importantly and probably inclusive of all previously mentioned) following the Lord's Will and becoming a TRUE Disciple of Christ!

edited January 20, 2014

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