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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 ...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chris, Among Brothers

Among brothers,
and I have more than a few,
there is much I can say of example.

There are good things.
And perhaps a couple bad, too.
Upon the silver, let's take a sample.

John is courage.
The boy I knew.
He will return, when given time, ample.

Josh. True, just, giving, loving.
I could go on, but refuse to do.
He is a marvelous example.

Ben is big.
A big man with a big spirit, building his crew.
His career will enable him to, the deceiver, trample.

Eddie is Eddie.
His way with words, Oh! If you knew!
His time is spent now, to, life sample.

Now my brother added last.
Dear Chris, only missing a t at the end, is you.
No, you're not there yet, but progressing you ARE an example.

Your joy in your new addition, such a pleasure to hear.
From all I can see: Faithful and true.
This is not nearly ample.

I'm sure it will be for far more than me,
If you only knew,
How I have been benefited by your example.

Of course there are weird
and perhaps annoying things, too.
Like the "butt change" thing, as a sample.

But when held to the rest,
that is a mere speck to rue.
For something so small, I would not YOU trample.

I'm so glad you're part of the family.
I'll say it for all, sort of 'in lieu'.
Thank you for your exmple!

Oh, and by the way: ^_^

HAPPY happy Birthday, Chri-iis dear. Happy days will come to you all year! If I had a wish, then it would be: A Happy HAPPY Birthday to YOU from me!

Hope your day is WONDERFUL in every way!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday DEAR Evelyn! Happy Birthday to you!!!

How old ARE you, anyway! I'm pretty all right keeping track of the little ones' ages, but I'm having an increasingly difficult time keeping track of my sibs ages. John and Josh are pretty easy cause they are each two under me... but I always get confused after that! SORRY! Old age, I guess. ;)


A Birthday Poem for My Sis:

You've earned every year.
Sometimes with a tear.

When the time arrives,
As it does in most everyone's lives,

that you find a gray hair upon your head,
think NOT of how to cower in bed!

But own it with joy.
Use this tool, I employ:

It's proof of your fire.
Each gray, payment for your hire.

Some day when your head is full
you'll hear the call and your heart will pull.

You'll arrive in Father's presence.
Pure and fully white down through your essence.

And the hairs upon your head.
Will match those on others' long dead!

Joy will fill your heart and you will desire to show'em
these words. And you'll feel the truth of this silly poem.

I LOVE YOU, my sister of blood. You are a treasure in my heavenly trove! May God smile upon you this day, as always, and continue to bless you and yours beyond measure!!!!

Happy Birthday.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Stewardship

I believe I have yet to share a part of our effort to be more frugal, natural, and better stewards of the blessing that is our earth. We have purchased (I KNOW, RIGHT! we rarely purchase much of anything new, so this is huge): a swing blade and a reel mower.

Do you know what the first tool is actually called? It amounts to a handle with a blade on the bottom which is bent so as to be parallel with the earth as you swing it like a golf club to beat down (cut) the really TALL weeds/grasses before you Reel mow them. I've gotten quite good at weilding the swing blade, if I do say so myself (which, of course, I am!).

The Reel mower is fun. As long as there are no sticks in the way, it REALLY IS fun. However, unfortunately, there are LOTS of sticks in the yard. I think there were plenty to start with, but then the tree that fell on our house was piled in our yard for a while and LOTS of sticks remained when most of the tree was hauled away. This week I was able to get the front yard into some general order ALL by myself! What did this take? I know you want to ask mehow I did it (since you know how huge our yard is (almost 1/2 an acre all told - front and back), so I'll tell you!

It all started on Wednesady. I decided the front yard was starting to look unsightly again. The Mimi-grass (okay, most people call is grama-grass) was about as tall as Tea's hip, which is just under my knee (I think). Thankfully it was not as thick as it was the first day we hacked at it (actually, Jessie hacked at it then). It took me a bit more than 1.5 hours to get the tall stuff down in the LEFT HALF of our front yard. I DO think that is the larger side of the yard, but still! As you picture me in your mind, you must consider that I am still a very heavy girl even after losing the weight I have gotten off. So that amount of continuous effort was significant for me. I was definitely red in the face for some time after I was finished.

Thursday, I mowed that side of the yard. That took me only about an hour.

Friday, I hacked away the tall stuff in the right side of the yard. I think that took me about an hour. So, either I'm getting a LOT better or that side of the yard IS smaller!

And today, I reel mowed the right side of the yard (which is also the side that held the felled tree for about a week). The mowing should have taken a lot less time, but because of the branches, it was another hour.

I have a plan to use the mower BEFORE the high stuff sets in... probably at the end of next week. That way I can, hopefully avoid the use of the swing blade. That thing has given me lots of blisters!

"What do you do with the kids during all this outdoor work!??" I can hear you, ya know!!!

Well, anyone that might try to attack me about how much time my kids play outside would be absolutely telling tales and trying to make something out of nothing in the past AND now. The kids play in the yard while I'm working ON the yard. I AM only working on half of it at a time, afterall! Also, there is a big long wide driveway in which they can play!

Now, if someone who might choose to accuse me were to look to my children's complexion for proof that they are outside about an hour a day at least 4 days per week (my minimum requirement is 20 minutes per day at least 5 days per week, but striving for 7 days pers week)... well, they would be just foolish to try to see that as proof or disproof. You see, my kids turn a sweet and BEAUTIFUL golden color. They do NOT become tremendously dark, neither do they turn red like their Daddy. I think their lovely color is a gift of the combination of Jess and me cause I can get a bit darker than they do, but it's still more like their color than Jessie's is.

Their coloring remains darn consistent whether we are outside at high noon or later in the evening - at least it's true thus far. Their hair turns blonder faster when we're out in the heavy sun. However, because I am aware of the dangers of high/hard/heavy sun exposure, I try to DRASTICALLY limit their time in the sun between 10am and 4pm. Today and the last three days we've gone out for Mama to work on the lawn at around 5pm. That works out PERFECTLY because when we're done they can get into the shower, snack, and it's bed time! It's been working out exceedingly well.

I'm so glad because next week I need to begin to tackle the BACK yard. And it's not going to end after the back is somewhat under control! In the back, though, talk about amazingly crazy high grasses. I REALLY want to get pictures before I start on it again. Yes, you read correctly, I've already tried to begin to manage it back there and have been unsuccessful in putting much of a dent in the highness. I wish I could get a goat or three NOW!!! And some ducks and chickens. They would take care of this lickity-split! *sigh* That darn fence! I'm sure it's all for our good. Just have to wait on the Lord! :)

The whole process of constant maintainance (laundry, dishes, and yard specifically) has got me thinking a LOT about the "one eternal round" thing that Father God references quite frequently in scripture. And I can't help but feel so joyfully thankful that our Father would design our test to include such activities that move us ever so gently into doing what He is about! I mean, that's how it seems to me, anyway!

I do have a plan of attack regarding the yard. I'll try to remember to let ya know how it's working/worked out! :) So, far the seed of my planning is producing good fruit. Not only is the front yard looking mostly pretty (I don't yet have a hand tool for weeding... neither do I have any other kind of tool for that work), but dishes and laundry are basically caught up! Whenever this has happened in the past (I start to feel like I have things mostly under control, I mean), I end up preggie. So... here's hoping! ;) ^_^


The girls and I went to our friends' farm again on Friday. It was, once again, luuu-va-leee (like from My Fair Lady). We were given a bunch of MILK, taken to a garden to pick some malabar spinach, and then brought to meet my friend's Mom and Dad. Her Mom makes the phenomenal cheese from their goats' milk.

I'd suggested to my friend that I could learn how to make cheese, from her Mom, and then work as a helper when they had lots of milk (as they do right now) and that I would be happy to work for cheese. A bit like a mouse, right, but you have NOT tasted this cheese! Seriously good stuff. I asked if I could buy some of my fave: the horseradish. Instead they gave me some and the girls and I ate a bit over half of it with a fork. SERIOUSLY good stuff! Seriously.

So, we went to Grama Doris's house and I think she and I made fast friends. Now I'm just waiting for the call and she's going to come over and give me lesson(s)!!! How AWESOME is that!?!?? Totally awesome to me! ^_^ I don't know if you know this, but I've been wanting to learn how to make cheese for longer than I've wanted to become a farmer. So, this is seriously cool stuff to me! :)

Spending time with my friend at her farm was a tremendous treat for all of us on Friday. I've already got a friend from our previous County who wants to visit and I'm hoping I can talk my farmer friend into letting us come visit her famr when my family comes to visit. My Mom suggested a farm visit might compete in coolness with Disney. In my opinion, it TOTALLY beats Disney, hands down! Totally.

My farmer friend is my first mentor, though not able to actively mentor me right now since I don't have any of the animals we want to have. I think we need to address our fence issue first. ;) And her Mom is my cheese mentor. How blessed am I? Well, completely and utterly, if you ask me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

for Father's Day

My Dad AND Dad Gollihugh
John, Josh, Ben, Eddie, AND Chris!!!
(my brothers are listed in order of addition to the family)
We hope you've had a VERY happy day!
To share something yall might enjoy: Jessie really enjoys the whole "Chuck Norriss movement". I don't think that's an official name or anything. That's just how I think of the whole "Chuck Norris" jokes frezy that happened a little while ago and which, with some people, continues strong. Some people like Jessie! ^_^
If you haven't heard of this movement, I will aquaint you with some jokes from within it. They are, some of them, quite funny. And the sharing will help you understand the awesomeness I'll share later.
These are the top of the top ten Chuck Norris "Facts". Jess would not like my quotation marking that last word, but I consider it a necessity. ;)
#1 Chuck Norris tears cure cancer. Too bad he's never cried. Ever.
#2 Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.
#3 Chuck Norris does not go hunting because the term referrs to a probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
#4 If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you cannot see Chuck Norris, you may be only second away from death.
#5 Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and his unparralleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in his face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and said he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the Month.
Now, Jess tends to prefer the jokes that can be stated as questions with a response. OR the simple one-liners. One of his favorites is: Chuck Norris makes onions cry. And if it's not one of his faves, he's told it to me the most, so it seems like favorite TO me. Jess has also told me recently: "Crop circles are just Chuck Norris's way of telling the world that sometimes corn just needs to lie down." Anyway... I could go on, but apparently on some of those sites, there are lots of bad words. I'd rather wait for my sweet man to edit them for me. :)
So, as THE Father's Day gift this year... (I actually got him TWO!)... I bought a... da-da-da-dum... T-SHIRT! Okay, so that might not be so great to just any guy. But Jessie really digs fun t-shirts. He's got one that reads: "Let the praise for my cooking begin." (Courtesy of his Dad and Diane for his graduation from Culinary school.) Fun, right? He also has another one from a Father's Day long ago that reads: "Best Freakin' Dad Ever!" And, yes, he does wear these often! I mean, given that he basically has only two days per week he can wear shirts that say anything OTHER than "River Grill on the Tomoka," he wears them ALL the time. ;) Anyway...
This year's T-Shirt is a plain black one with white words. The words read: "DAD makes onions cry." I had to go with that one cause it's THE only one I could find of that sort that also referrs to food. ^_^ And he DID love it. He wore it to work Saturday since he had to wear a new style of RG shirt to the Seafood Festival today.
His other gift was $50 in gift certificates which enable him to choose restaurants at which to eat through restaurants.com OH! And I didn't spend even ONE dollar on those gift certificates!!!! Seriously! I used 800 swagbucks!!!!! ^_^ I'm just SO tickled to get that gift for my Jessie simply for using the swagbucks search tool bar! Better believe I'm stickin' with it! What did Pavlov learn... eventually the dog will salivate to the bell - no food needed. Anyway.... ^_^
I'm only sorry no physical gifts will be forthcoming for either of my Dads or my brothers! I DO love you all, though!

Farm Visit

What a lovely family (among a WHOLE WARD full of lovely families) we were so blessed to spend time around yesterday! I learned about a "farm visit" possibility the first Sunday I was in my new Ward. And they keep GOATS! I was SO excited about the possibility of bringing my girls to a farm with goats, so I made sure to talk to the sister I'd heard was having the visiting days. She was! And she was so super kind and helpful, to boot! She drew me a map, gave me her card, and told me she would be happy to have me at any time I'd like to come on either day.

Well, I was planning, from the get-go, to visit on Friday, but I woke Friday morning feeling like pooh! Seriously. I felt just wonky. So, no go for the Golly Girls. Thankfully, I'd kept my trap shut about the specific day of the plan to the girls. Thankfully, also, Jessie didn't mention it to them that morning! We made the trip Saturday morning. What a blessing cruddy feelings can be! Come to find out, my friend had another family visit for milking time (which, OF COURSE, is when I HAD to be there!) on Friday. The funny thing about that is that lots of families talk about coming to the farm on visit days for the milking hour (8am), but don't. I think my friend even said no one had come yet. But this year she had one family on each day! So, our visit NOT working out Friday was really for the best. Had we been there, we would have simply extended the whole process overmuch for the goats and, perhaps our hosting family. His ways are not our ways... but they are GLORIOUS! How well he knows EACH of us is just miraculous. And such instances, when I can see them, are JUST such a treasure!

It was just wonderful. The girls got to enjoy milking! I got to try it, too! We also saw some geese, chickens, baby goats, a couple dogs, and a couple pet rats (as well as some pet birds). Pretty neat, right!?

How could such an awesome adventure get better? I will tell you true, it DID! The hubby side of my friends took my girls to his workshop (with Mama in tow, of course) and invited them to pick out a toy! Yes, you read that right. He GAVE them each a toy. There were some amazingly lovely horses, some giraffes, some planes, as well as some elephants. If I was a little girl, I would've picked one of the ponies. They were just painted SO pirdy! ;) My girls chose a herd of something. Wanna guess what? Well, planes don't fly in herds... do they? ;) Giraffes? Well, I'm not sure if their family groups are referred to as herds. But I do remember watching a Discovery show (ages ago) in which a group of elephants was referred to as a herd. How they can be a herd, I'm not quite sure... they are just too gargantuan to be a herd - at least to my way of thinking. But that's what my girls chose. Each one chose an elephant. So, we have three adorable wooden elephants on wheels!

I don't think anything could top that for a Saturday morning. Wanna know what the girls (particularly Ria) have talked about the most? The food. OH! I forgot to mention it, didn't I? How could I... with a chef as a hubby... SLAP my hand!

Well, my friends put out crackers, gave us homemade goats' milk cheese handmade by the Mama of my friend! And MAN! That cheese is the kind one would rather eat off a spoon than spend on a cracker! (At least if that "one" is me.) That cheese is knock-your-socks-off GOOD! Seriously. My favorite was the horseradish. I think Ria's favorite was the Ranch. Kat and Tea's faves? Any - so long as you gave them more of it! ^_^ My friend also gave us tastes of plain milk, chocolate milk, yogurt, and ICE CREAM. The last is probably the greatest hit with my girls since they really don't get that kind of thing often. My friend also gave us some goats' milk to take home, AS WELL AS TWO duck eggs and a chicken egg (for comparison purposes). My friend LOVES her ducks and it didn't take us much to understand why... though her chicken's egg was basically the same size as the duck egg, the flavor was a bit nicer on the duck egg and the shell as well as the yolk color were definitely cooler. ^_^ It was all really wonderful! What a gift, right?

On top of sharing their lives with us for a few hours Saturday morning, my friends sent to me the pictures they took of us. How nice of them right? Yes, I thought so! I'm so grateful for such efforts of love and kindness! They are SUCH a treasure to me. So, if you have an invite, hop on over to the other blog and check out the few pictures of my greatest treasures (my girls, of course!). If not, check out these awesome extras my friends shared with me! ^_^

The bird coop.
Well, except for the geese.

One of the two farm dogs watchin' a hen.

Some of their kids.
Goat babies ARE kids, don't ya know!? ;)

Their herd sire.

Okay, so we did NOT see their peacock,
but I included their picture because my girls
peacocks (and peahens, too, actually)!!!
There are at least 3, and, I think, actually FOUR
in our neighborhood and the girls always ask
to drive down "the peacock street"
cause we sometimes see a peahen
or peacock as we drive on it.

Herd sire smiling.

I would, too, if I had such a pretty herd!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I now understand the practice I learned about in my high school Spanish classes. I had an awesome teacher, by the way, but I never could understand why a whole country, basically, would close down in the middle of the day for lunch.

Well, I understand now! Living without AC, one begins to understand MANY things, both temporal and spiritual that are directly and tenuously connected to physical comforts. Specifically regarding siesta... It begins for us around 2pm and ends sometime around 5pm. Why? Well, unless it's cloudy all day: because it's basically rediculous to keep moving! Okay, so I haven't actually begun it officially because there are lots of days we simply must work through those hours, but I can see WHY a whole countrty would close for those hours! Seriously.

My Spanish teacher told us that between those hours (or something similar), when she went to Spain, she could not find a single shop open. The people went home to eat and then nap after eating. (I'm guessing the people who were napping were probably NOT the Mama.) ^_^ She soon learned that the reason for their absence from operation of their shops was really more of a necessity than a leasure sort of thing. And I add my understanding to that which she gained. The weather, when we live in it more than in opposition to it, maybe should define a lot of our lives... and why not!? I mean, we are created from the earth. We are to be in dominion of it, but I don't think defining things one does based upon weather is allowing the earth to be in dominion of us... rather I think it has MUCH more to do with living in harmony WITH the earth.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Couple Items from Life to Make You Laugh... I hope!

Jessie read from the Bible for FHE. He became frustrated by the girls' inattention and said something about their behavior. Ria said, "I know, 'You will have power over squirrels and serpents.' is what you just read!" Jessie said, "Uhhh, no, not exactly. It says, 'You will have power over scorpions and serpents.'" But, at least, it was obvious she was listening! And it was pretty funny to me, too! ^_^

Ria and Kat were running down a hill on the temple grounds. Kat took a spill first, apparently. Her fall was a mere trip. Ria took a dive. And, from what I heard, her fall was epic! She fell forward so hard that her legs kicked up super fast and high, as if they were meant to touch the sky, and her face was pushed hard into the grass, which was, actually, mostly dirt and sand. Jessie saw everything and shared the story. He told me that he had no idea Ria had landed in dirt until she was walking back toward him and he realized she was chewing on and spitting out dirt and grass. Now, I don't know if I've done an adequate job of sharing the visuals of this experience... after all, I didn't actually see it in real life... but when Jessie was telling me about it, I saw it as a movie in my head and I literally could not stand. My knees grew weak and I fell to my bum! My girls, worried, said together, "Why did you fall down while you're laughing, Mama?" And all I could do was laugh some more.

*NOTE: No children were hurt in the creation of these roses that Mama and Daddy will pull out in December! What a gift our children are!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Living Without AC

We have decided, in our effort to reduce electricity consumption, for reasons previously expounded upon including our effort to become better stewards, and do things more naturally (along the same lines as "living AC free") we are currently living without use of our electric dryer. We started this about three weeks ago and it's going really well. Only three weeks in, of course, but the GOOD of it is really surprising to me!

I feel I must reiterate here and now that CHOOSING to go without a luxury is MUCH easier than being in a position that we MUST go without it. When we first moved to Florida, we didn't have a washing machine or dryer. We did take our things to a laundy-mat for a while. But we just didn't have the money for the amount of laundry we produced. (Cloth diapering exclusively at the time... if you've done it, you'll TOTALLY understand!) I definitely had more time than we had money! So, I ended up washing loads upon loads of laundry by hand in our bath tub. Let me tell you, doing such a thing grows a new perspective in a person! I could see SO clearly how the women of the past might THINK about how their situation was not just and THINK about how they should have certain rights that only men of the time enjoyed... but they didn't have TIME to do anything about those thoughts!

Washing by hand is way too extreme for me at this time - given all that I have listed in my mind that must be done (including unpacking, tiling, kitchen cabinet cleaning and replacement to name some of the HUGE time consumers). Still, we want to do something more (than living AC free) to reduce our electric bill. To that end, we turn all things off when not in use and try to unplug most of them. So far I've only forgotten the computer turn-off one night and MAN I was P-Oed when I realized I did such a thing! We do not use lights unless it's dark night out and they are pretty necessary (at least, I'm trying to teach our girls to do this!). AND, of course, we are trying to avoid use of the dryer as much as possible.

So far (only three weeks, of course), I have been 100% successful at NOT using the dryer! :) I, as yet, have only my laundry room, dining room chairs, and my patio table on which I can lay or hang things out to dry. I'm hopeful that we might get one of the really NICE drying racks I've found online. I like these TWO because one I could see being for most of our wardrobe items and so forth, while the second would be better for towels and linens. We'll see....

So far my laundry time really has been only a little bit more time consuming than it was using an electric dryer. Hanging or laying our things out to dry is a bit more time consuming. Checking on them before removal to put away is a tiny bit of work. But putting things away is SUPER fast! Remoal from drying, folding and moving to put away is almost the same thing so it feels like so much LESS a burden than the loads and piles of dried laundry I'd have pile up before I could get to fold them previously.

Now, one might think and even suggest that such piles could be reduced simply by folding upon completion of the drying process. And to them I would say, "Yes, that worked some times. And when it worked I felt SO good about my endless laundry job. But other times... well, you must either be TOTALLY anal (which I'm trying to overcome in myself) or you just do not know what it's like to homeschool with three children!" Heck, take out the homeschooling part and most Moms... and then especially Moms of three or more would understand that sometimes you can get the stuff out of the dryer, moved from the washer to the dryer and then just NOT be able to fold 'em!

Really, at this point, I feel much MORE enjoyment of the whole laundry process than I felt when we were using the electric dryer. What a gift, right!?? I'm actually REALLY surprised by this new feeling in me and haven't been able to quite figure out the reason for the change. Any suggestions?

I'll try to remember to revisit this subject again and address any reasons I may be able to come up with to explain my newfound enjoyment of doing laundry. Feel free to remind me, if you think about it and want to hear what I've come up with!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

For My Friends Who Question

I've experienced something, in the recent past, that I didn't think I'd actually experience given the wide-spread knowledge of my church.... I've experienced some friends questioning whether I, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, am a Christian.

There are so many weird things about that line of questioning... first and foremost is the fact that in questioning, they must be overlooking the fact that our Savior's name is within the name of the organization of which I'm a member. I mean, to me, that says a LOT... there are SO many other churches who profess Christianity, but whose church names are named after a man or something else entirely. How can they be Christ's without His name? Anyway... I'm not saying I doubt my friends' Chritianity at all... it's just a general question in my mind.

These women who have questioned me are very strong in their Faith in and of Jesus Christ. It just seems to me that they would feel less inclined to question me about my religion since I live it SO openly... I mean, I talk of Christ, I openly and often praise Him for His work in my life... it seems that they would accept what I say (frequently) as what I believe rather than doubting me because my "religion" goes by the nick-name Mormon.

Anyway... that's my rant for this morning.

My main reason for posting right now is cause I wanted to share some testimonies from some of the leaders of the church to which I belong. These are some Apostles (as in of the 12 Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth today) as well as our current Latter-Day Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I bear my testimony that these men are men of God, but MORE. They are called of God to preach the Gospel of CHRIST, to bear witness that Christ lives, to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples at this time and in these days, even these latter-days. I believe this to be true. And I end these, my sayings, in the dear name of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nathaniel's Hope

What an awesome morning/early afternoon! Almost a week ago now, we spent Saturday morning at Make 'M Smile and made a new family of friends. It was lovely! I hope you'll check out the site. I think you'll get an idea of what we were up to. I'll also share more details on one of my private blogs soon WITH pictures! So, look for that if you're able to get in! ;)


Yesterday there were two birthdays for me to sing about... fortunately I DID get to sing to one of them, but the other I didn't know about until I'd already made the phone call. So, I wanted to make sure to "publicly" tell my sis and her hubby that I'm SUPER happy for the arrival of their second daughter! YEAY!! I love it! Their number 1 now has a sister with whom to play and become best buds! I'm so happy for you guys!!!

It Goes RIGHT Along

My Mom is just awesomeness incarnate. She suggested a quote that goes right along with my previous post. So, I'm going to share it in it's very own post. I hope you can see how totally it ties in. If not, perhaps you can reread the previous and then see it. If not, sorry!

"Inner strength is a muscle you build by not giving in to your urges." -Dr. Laura

I completely agree. My inner strength seems to be on the decline right now and it feels CRUDDY. BUT... I keep telling myself... every time I feel failure, it's proof of EFFORT! If I wasn't trying, there would be NOTHING to feel I was failing at/in!! ^_^ Lookin for the thing to be glad about and trying to find the silver lining!

What do YOU think about that quote by Dr. Laura?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Death to Self

Mom and Meg, THANK YOU for commenting. I really LOVE comments! It helps to know that I'm not just writing to the ether. ;) I'm glad, also, Meg, that I could help you in your time of transition. Perhaps it is more difficult for you to endure the heat positively because you are waiting for the time when you will have AC? I think that not being ABLE to have or us AC was way more difficult than choosing not to use it for the various reasons I shared previously.

So, I've been having some really stimulating discussions with a homeschooling-Mom-friend of mine who is not a member of the same church as me, but who IS an amazing Christian. In her most recent note to me she said, after telling me that she'd lived without AC as a child, "I'm not sure if I totally understand going there as a choice unless there is something spiritual to be gained by it, but if that is where the Lord has called you, I trust that His grace is sufficient." Amen to the last grouping of words starting at 'but'. His grace is totally and always sufficient for anything we are called to do!

I include the quote from my friend because I've been thinking SO much about the sort of underlying purpose in so many things the Lord has called me to do/experience/endure. That purpose? Death to self, of course!

To respond directly to the first part of my friend's statement, also, is the other of my purposes in sharing it here. I've already responded to my friend, so I share it generally because I think it is something important and valuable. I hope you do, too!

So, my friend couldn't see living AC-free out of choice, unless there was something spiritual to be gained from it. I say to that: Everything temporal IS spiritual. So, every act of self-denial (death to self) is an act of directly and with specific effort giving control directly to our Spirit. Each act of purposefully dying to self is a way of putting the Spirit more fully in control of the body and making the Soul (combination of Spirit and Body) a more holy unit. I think that this fruit (the result of death to self) is, at least in part, why I feel so compelled to do many of the things I've felt we must (my family and I) do that others think I'm just nuts for even considering... much less DOing.

Death to self. What IS that, anyway? I've been aware that I'm on this amazing journey for the past few years and, perhaps, more especially in the last 20 months or so... Part of what I'm learning (that I'm sure you already know!) is that death to self is more about giving up something, hopefully permanently if the Lord sees fit that it should be permanent, that I like/want/feel I need so that I am able to be more fully of service and to more fully accomplish the Lord's purposes in/for me. As in the AC-free thing... I want to feel cool and super comfy in the hot humid summer. But as I struggle to be nice when I feel uncomfy (by the way, I fail at this miserably most of the time... BUT in failure is proof of effort!) I feel my Spirit growing stronger and more able to be REALLY in control when I AM totally comfy. Ya know?

Chocolate is another death-to-self thing that there has even been someone in a leadership position who has tried to counsel me, in a totally unofficial and INdirect manner, that I'm doing the wrong thing. Seriously? I mean, I'm certain that there isn't a body out there who has sincerely prayed about whether the Gollihughs should be eating chocolate or not... so there aint any of those bodies who should be counseling us about it! But anyway... sorry for that rant.

Reducing electric consumption is another.

Homeschooling is another.

Please keep in mind that each of these choices has NUMEROUS qualifiers. There are tremendous lists of reasons why we do what we do (generally). The most important being that we have determined it is the Lord's Will for us and our family, but there are other things on the "list" that even unbelievers would see are purposeful, logical, and reasonable. They are here also because as I learn more about "death to self" I see how Father has been using SO much in my life to create opportunities for self denial! What a gift, right!?? :)

How do you see death to self alive in your life? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Living Without AC

I've been thinking about starting to, periodically, write about our experiences with our efforts at becoming more frugal and better stewards of that which we have. I think I'll probably use the title "Living Without AC" to sort of highlight such subject matter when I feel inspired to write about that sort of thing. Why would I title it so? Well, because we have decided to, literally, live without Air Conditioning! Yes, seriously. Here in Sunny Florida... not really near water... we have decided to live without AC. Crazy? Yeah, it does feel a little crazy. But not.

The decision was not ours when we still lived at our rental - only about two weeks ago, in reality. The motor of the AC unit totally went kaput and our landlord, knowing we were vacating, did not have enough money to repair it. The repair would've run him around $900. He is no longer working in the firm he was employed in and he may not be working at all! Additionally, he has had a lot to shoulder in his extended family (monetarily and otherwise). He does not have a wife and children, so "at least" the stress they would've added is not there. Anyway... we were all right with it, though, at first, it was way more of a trouble than I would like to admit. (But I just DID admit it!) So, we've sort of gotten used to no AC. We started out in the NO AC world when the Lord gave us our van, via my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Mark and their family. And THAT hasn't been all that bad.

In the beginning, the days that we were home in the rental were SO long because of the heat! Truly, time is relative in the way that everything tends to be at some time or another. But, bit by bit, and probably because we had to, we did get used to it. And we lived that-a-way for about two months in that house. When we were moving into our house (this one), we did use AC. I'm not really sure why... because we could? Silly. I wish we hadn't. But I guess I wanted to give us a break....

So, as of June 1st we have had the AC in the OFF position out of choice rather than circumstance. Okay, so it's sort of circumstance, too... one of the units works fine. The other probably needs some of that stuff added... the "free" stuff that's not actually free.... ahwell... I hope you can figure out what stuff I'm talking about cause I do NOT know how to spell it and I'm not looking it up for ya!

Anyway, we were worried about overworking the working AC unit. Also, we want to save money. (Add in falls a tree and there goes THAT effort!) We want to save money so we can slowly work our way out of student loan debt AND contribute to the work going on in my Mom's kitchen... we'll see how our ability to do either work out given the more recent development of the fallen tree that did NOT make a sound. We're really not sure how we're going to deal with the deductible for our homeowner's insurance. We're praying and hoping that the owner of the house next door will end up responsbile! If you feel so included and inspired, I hope you will join your prayers with ours to that end.

Back to the title... I DO want to write about our experience of living without AC... especially in a hot/muggy climate like ours. Virginia, I promise, you have nothing on us! Seriously.

Okay, so... it gets sort of tolerable after about a month, atually, at least for me. And in that, I'm referring to the little "short" rental house we lived in before. But then you have to go places that are air conditioned. That, I will admit, makes returning home sometimes difficult. One thing that has helped me is being absolutely "sure" that when I open the door to our house I'll encounter an oven. Thus far, when I have been "sure" of that, I find a draft that feels rather cool! :) Probably, it actually IS cool... our house is really airy and I imagine that offers some buffer to a smaller-to-the-ground house heating up super fast (like the last one did!).

My experience of temps struck me even more today at church. My first day with my new Ward and it was lovely, by the way! ^_^ I met some lovely people and enjoyed a beautiful testimony service. And in Relief Society I felt completely comfy (emotionally, spiritually, mentally, AND physically). In looking around, there were a few women who were fanning themselves. I guess I'm able to be more comfy in a warmer room/building because I'm not used to any temp modification other than a fan blowing whatever kind of air it finds. What a gift and blessing, right?

Also, since we've been living AC free, I've actually worn a shawl in the temple. I do think this is another symptom of our AC-less-ness. It used to feel totally perfect, the temperature in the temple, I mean. Now it's rather cool! Funny, right?

So, I'm wondering if this next winter will be super-duper cold to me even if it doesn't get as "cold" as it was this last winter! (Now, winters do NOT have anything on you, Virginia... but relative to the change... it's hard to endure... at least for me. And THAT is coming from a girl who loved the cold!) I'm guessing the answer will be YES, just because of my experiences thus far.

Would you go AC-free? What would spur you to such a choice?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

When a Tree Falls

When a tree falls in a neighborhood... and lands on your roof, does anybody hear it? Well, in our case... NO! Seriously. Not a Ria, not a Kat, not a sleeping Tea, not a Miss Liz (the neighbor whose tree is was), nor a Mama (me) heard the fall thereof. Can you believe it? No? Me neither. It happened, though. SERIOUSLY.

As far as trees falling on houses goes, this one reveals to me some ways that "by small and simple means are great things brought to pass" AND that Father's ways are not my ways. One really great thing brought to pass is Jessie coming home on a Saturday night. Now... this is NOT a way I would have planned to have my hubbie come home, but, like I said, His ways are not my ways! ;)

Also, as far as trees falling on houses goes, the damage caused by this one is pretty minor. Well, at least, it seems so thus far. If the tree had falled only an inch in either direction from the one in which it did fall we could've had (depending on the direction, left or right of actual fall): a dead Tea OR a lost laundry room with most of our respective wardrobes contained therein. Seriously. See, the spot and aim of the tree's fall landed it DIRECT CENTER on a support post of our neighbor's fence. So, though the fence is broken a bit and there IS a hole in the roof (Jess found and has cleaned up the attic area mess resulting from it)... there is surprisingly little damage that we can discern thus far.

So, the only other problem that remains is getting the van out from under the car port for church tomorrow - or any other purpose, for that matter. THAT, by the way, is a huge blessing. Yes, the problem is a blessing. You see, if I'd parked as I was planing to park, we would be down a van altogether! Seriously. I don't even know why I pulled all the way to where I did park. Okay, as I wrote I DO know why... the Lord was guiding my totally tired brain to do what I was not going to do because He wanted to make sure to protect us as much as possible from that which was to come. We are SO blessed. I think my extreme fatigue today is yet another "small means" by which Father has brought THIS great thing to come to pass.

Not having the use of my van tomorrow is especially troubling because I was planning to go to Bunnell Ward (my old ward) to witness my friends' baby's blessing... but it seems unlikely that I will be able to get the van out tomorrow at all, much less in time to get to Bunnell for 9am. You see, we cannot touch the tree. It's precarious position deserves GREAT respect, in our minds. I'm getting ready to call a couple people from my new ward to request a ride to church... how totally frustrating to have to do so on our first Sunday! ahwell.... Better to go to churh than NOT - especially when you're planning a long Fast! ;)

So, as I'm writing Jessie is "van wrangling" and I may have my own transportation, afterall. We shall see! He IS a rock star... so I should not be surprised at all. ^_^

Friday, June 4, 2010


I wish people in our REAL world had as many opportunities shoved in front of their face as blatantly as Facebook does before they commit suicide. It actually felt sort of... final... when I commited Facebook Suicide today.

In process of offing myself in the faceWorld, Facebook showed me pictures of some of my friends with their names and: "_____ will miss you..." around them. Seeing a picture of me and my sis Evelyn hugging for the camera, my Mom and Dad surrounded by our family during that same time, actually put honest to goodness tears in my eyes and caused me to question my decision to End It All. I proceeded anyway. I had to do it, so I did.

Next, I had to type in my password, to make sure it was actual Suicide, I suppose... rather than a random act of electronic violence... murder of the pulse kind.

Verification words required. THAT could have only been more perfect if those "random words" had been something like, "Turn back now."

Finally, I think I'm done, cause I did each step required to commit Facebook Suicide and I feel this amazing sense of finality and a tiny bit of sadness. And funny thoughts start running through my head. Thoughts like, "How long would it take to find all my 'friends' again." And, "I wonder if anyone will miss me, or even know I'm gone!"

And then I see this message:

"You can always come back. Just use the same email and password and you'll still have the same friends, be able to use the same programs, and resume life as usual." Okay, so the last phrase wasn't actually there, but may as well have been.

So, Facebook death isn't really all that final. I rather wish there was some way for that to be true for suicide in real life, too.

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