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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 ...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As It Turns Out

As it turned out today was NOT as quiet a day as I was hoping for before our outing this afternoon.

Right around 3.5 years ago I collapsed with a horrible pain in my back.  I later found out about some stuff that could've been the spiritual root of my physical problem.  My back pain and the incident occurred at basically the same time - if not exactly the same time.  Interesting, no?

Since then I did have one other time when my back hurt, but not to the point that I collapsed.  It just hurt a lot out of nowhere.

Anyway.  My back hurt so baddly that I had to get to the floor.  It was more painful than it may have otherwise been because I was holding Jimmy when it happened and had to carefully set him down.  Additionally, I couldn't breath properly.  Literally like a knife in my back, pointing up into my lungs.  Once on the floor I called Jessie.  THANKFULLY he works so close to home right now!  He was home in a flash and was able to do as he did last time, which resulted in me being able to stand again.

What an experience.  No quiet early part of the day today!  *sigh*

Quiet Days

Quiet Days at home are my very favorite.  I had a busy week last week and this week is pretty darn busy, too, but I have to say that quiet days at home are nearly heaven on earth to me.  Of course, I could do without the bickering as well as the out-right fighting that sometimes occurrs after a bunch of days staying at home.  And it's really apparent to this home-body Mama that my girls tend to prefer to be out and about (at least Ria and Kat do so far)!  ahwell...

Yesterday was a nice day.  At home.  NICE!

I'm still looking for homes for some Foreign Exchange Students.  If you're interested in becoming a Host Family, please DO let me know!  :)

I'll be posting a Thankful Thursday post on Thursday.  Until then I think I'll be quiet again.  Those are SUCH a great way for me to remember my week.  I actually come in and edit my post for TT almost daily sometimes.  QUICK journaling... I want to do more handwritten entries in my actual journal, but it's much harder to take the time for that.  At least I have these small reminders!  I hope you'll join, too.  Educating Evelyn is also just a great blog generally, but check her out on Thursdays especially (esepcailly if you want to link up a Thankful Thursday post!  ^_^

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Week Starting May 19th

Thursday, May 19, 2011:  I'm thankful that Jessie was home for a second whole day in a row!  If he were making enough moolah hourly for us to even just subsist upon (namely pay our own bills AND buy our own food), I could TOTALLY get used to him being home so much as he has been!  We had an enjoyable temple trip in the early-ish morning.  We came home for a late lunch and then headed over to Gramy and Grampy's house for dinner and to print out some things we needed (including a job application for Jess).  Finally, the day ended with Mama heading to a Boy Scout Round Table to talk about ICES and Host Family-ing.  No takers so far.  If you think of it, please pray that I will find some families who are both willing AND able so that I might place a few (or five) students in the next... oh... week!  *sigh*

Friday, May 20, 2011:  I'm thankful that Jess was home and happy to let me go, taking only Jimmy, to complete my Visiting Teaching in the morning.  Another Sister from my Ward picked up a new (to us) mauve leather couch and brought it to our home for us.  I'm totally grateful for that sweet service!  We're trying to/hoping to replace our fabric furniture with leather because we hope it will stand up better to children.  Our one leather recliner (given to us long ago of the Lord) is in nearly the exact same condition as when we received it!!!  Since we expect more children to join our family, we need furniture appropriate for them and those we have already, too.  Thankfully the Lord agrees!!  The couch He brought to us is mauve and in very good condition!  I'm curious to see what the next one will look like (or next two couches as, apparently, Jess wants more seating than we already had because we need more room for all the entertaining he desires/expects to do?)!  I'm also SUPER thankful for all the kind strangers and some friends who stopped by my gang's Orange-ade Stand!  They did pretty good business.  Almost as much in gross income as last week with fewer outrageous tips!  ^_^

Saturday, May 21, 2011:  I'm thankful for a quiet day at home in which we were able to prepare for the Sabbath.

Sunday, May 22, 2011:  I'm thankful for a wonderful Ward family!

Monday, May 23, 2011:  I'm thankful for Jessie's awesome self-motivation and determination to provide for our family.  He got up EARLY and went out trash hunting to find any treasures we might resell - which is another stream of income we feel led to pursue.  He also searched online for work, made the girls breakfast, replaced our mailbox into the ground, and then headed off to work for a catering double shift.  I'm so grateful for his hard work, diligence, and dedication!  He is becoming the man I've always believed him to be!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011:  I'm thankful for a sweet baby boy who trusts his Mama implicitly.  This character trait made for a really easy first clipper cut with baby on Mama's lap whilst Mama cut baby's hair!  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011:  I'm thankful for even the little trials that enable me to see progress in my personal development.  I reacted much more calmly to realizing Kat cut her hair this time than I did last time!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"Learning to forgive is a great gift you give to yourself and others. The power of forgiveness lies not only its ability to heal relationships, but even moreso, to heal yourself."  I found that quote HERE.  And, really... I can't top it!  ;)  However, I have experience the truthfulness of it and testify that it has been the best gift I've ever given myself: to forgive others and strive to forgive "seventy times seven," which, in fact, is simply a verbal analogy of perfect forgiveness (which fact I learned from my super smart brother, Josh!).  ^_^  A final quote from the page linkes: "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die. Author Unknown"  Awesome.  Just awesome.  And totally true!  I've lived it!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Quiet Saturday

I could've... and by some people's standards, I should've, been very busy today.  There were at least 5 activities in/for/related to my Ward today.  I may be forgetting one.  Four of them have overlapping time frames.  Yes, all 5+ were/are today.  Amazing, right?  I wanted very much to attend (and could've made it with my children) to three or four of them.  Two of them haven't happened yet, as of this writing.  But we (the kids and I) haven't done one of them and will not do the other two (that I could've possibly done).

"But... you SHOULD given any understanding of the gospel and the fact that one should be at all church things at which one is expected."  I disagree, but the specifics are a bit of semantics and generalizing.  I'm not going there here.  I'm going somewhere totally different.  :)

You see, I know the week my kiddos have had.  I know it has been a busy, a VERY busy week, relative to our family lately.  I know that when my daughters do not get to bed at a reasonable time at night for too many days in a row they begin to be very difficult and, in the past, have often ended up ill when I have pushed us to participate in too many activities all in a row.

I know that they need some time at our house to just BE.  (As do I... to CLEAN!)  They need time to play.  To rest.  To aggravate me.  To get ready for other activities of utmost import (like taking the Sacrament.)

I know that my daughters' behavior yesterday (especially Ria's!) and today has been extremely similar to that which I've experienced and observed in the past just before they have a melt-down of one or two kinds (emotional and/or health).  I have contrasting experiences from our past together, from which I pull in considering how I schedule our lives.  The times I've said NO and NOT done things others may have expected me to do and the times I pushed it and did them even though I saw "the signs."  Without exception, the times I said NO turned out far more favorably for all involved.  And so, I have made a commitment to myself that I will err on the side of NOT doing things (even things I personally WANT to do very much) when I see the signs I've been seeing.  I am the Mother, afterall.

I know my children's (and my own) breaking points.  I know our needs.  I know the Lord's Will.  I know that my first and highest calling now and forever-more is and will be Mother.  I know how the Lord Forgives.  And if I'm wrong today, and come to understand that later, and then repent, I'm sure He will not only forgive me, but  He will tell me (as He has in many other instances about other subjects for which I needed to repent!) that He knows I was doing my best given my understanding at the time.


If you want to remember, re-learn, or learn for the first time about my above reference (the picture above), please GO HERE!  ^_^  It is a wonderful article for any woman who yearns to be A Mother Who Knows!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Week Starting May 12th

To Joing the LINK up for this week's Thankful Thursday, make sure to check out THIS awesome blog!

Thursday, May 12, 2011:  I'm thankful that we had SUCH a peaceful day even with Jessie gone all of it working a double.  My girls can be SO nice to be around!  I'm GLAD when they ARE!  :)

Friday, May 13, 2011:  I'm thankful for the kindness of strangers.  I didn't advertise my girls' Orange-ade Stand for this week and we still had really great sales (and even BETTER tips!!!).  So neat, right?  I'm so GLAD to encounter so many kind people!

Saturday, May 14, 2011:  I'm thankful for Jessie's self-motivation.

Sunday, May 15, 2011:  I'm thankful for an amazing dinner with wonderful friends-in-the-making!

Monday, May 17, 2011:  I'm thankful for a day at home full of phone calls and self-motivated children.

Tuesday, May 18, 2011:  I'm thankful that I have a wonderful midwife who will talk with me about any and everthing!

Wednesday, May 19, 2011:  I'm thankful for Jessie's fishing trip with the girls this morning which enabled me to sleep pretty deeply for about an hour longer than I would've been able to otherwise.  I'm thankful for Jessie's hard work to get shelves made for our pantry-like cabinet in our kitchen.  He's been frustrated with the disorganization in the kitchen and has been busy enabling me to make a change.  What an awesome support!  I'm thankful for Relief Society Activities that enable me to enjoy my sisters.  I love them!  :)

The Parable of the Walk in the Dark

There went out a woman, holding her newborn child, at night to find tools with which to accomplish her work.  She went from her well-lit home quickly, slowed her pace as she approached the deepening dark on her way into the cavernous darkness of her garage.  Therein she turned on a light and quickly found that which she sought.  She turned again and put out the light, closed up the cavern, and made her way slowly around obstacles, difficult to discern due to the dark.  As she approached her home, the light increased and her pace with it.  She returned to the comfort of her home and once more felt the peace therein which peace she had not realized was absent until it was renewed.  Let them that hath ears to hear, let them hear.

The interpretationS thereof:

The Temporal Reality

When we are in a well-lit area (home), we see easily.  We carry our responsibilities calmly and well.  (The newborn baby.)  When we move from the light to the darkness, it takes time for our eyes to adjust and we may encounter objects in our path that we cannot see and thus we may get hurt, so we walk more slowly that we may feel our way and avoid pain.  When our eyes do adjust, we still cannot see far or well, so we must tread carefully and slowly.  When we experience light once more, we can see easily to do what we need to do.  IF we have been accustomed to the darkness for some time, and our eyes have been able to see as well as possible in the dark, we will experience some pain if the light is full and bright quickly.  When we encounter darkness again, the cycle of pupil dilation repeats followed by constriction as we enter the light.

The Spiritual Reality  (Two Ways)

When we are living in the Light of Christ, all things are clear and discernable to our understanding.  We feel greater clarity and peace because we can move about freely and accomplish all that must be done.  If we move away from the Light (whether in sin or in Faith) [the home] we tend to move/do more slowly because in darkness we know we might get hurt.  If we are stepping into the darkness of sin, we often move slowly because the Spirit is directing us away from that which we think we desire.  If this is the case, we surely know it and probably "dabble" with being righteous and faithful along the path of sin.  [Thus the light in the garage.]  If we remain in sin very long, and then encounter light once more, it can be painful to us for many reasons.  If the darkness is that of sin, even when we choose to return to the constant Light of Christ, we must pass through darkness at least once more on our return trip.  Because we are focused on Christ more than anything else (when we truly desire to return and are not doing it only half-heartedly), the darknesses we may necessarily pass through will not be nearly as difficult to manage as the darkness experience prior to and immediately after the momentary "dabbling" with Light.  But passing through darkness again is necessary that we may return to the peace and constant Light of Christ. [The home... our eternal home with God the Father and our Saviour.]

If we are moving into darkness in Faith, we are striving to do the Lord's Will, not knowing much or what it may be, and trusting that He will Light our way when and as He sees fit to do so.  (Thus the light in the garage.)  There are repeating cycles of this, not just the two mentioned in the Parable, but the parable is a condensed version of Life.  If we are striving to do what we understand to be the Lord's Will and striving toward further Light and we endure to the end,  we will come to the end of our mortal sojourn and experience the gifts of peace and constant Light in our eternal home in the presence of our God, which will be our rest from every care.  (Thus the Light and Peace in the home, obviously.)

What a great experience these ideas were for me tonight!  I hope you've enjoyed them!!!  Have another interpretation?  Do share!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trials and Then Blessings

I truly believe that all things are a compound in one.  Blessings can/are trials and trials are (contain within them) blessings.  Even though that is true, in my experience, Heavenly Father doesn't stop at giving us the blessing within the trial, but continues beyond that and loads blessing upon blessing into our lives when we pass through "trials" trying to keep our eyes on Him and seeking always to do His Will.  Seriously awesome, good, kind, and over-generous stuff to my way of thinking!  And that is descriptive of our God!  :)

In my experience and comparing my life to the analogy of the orchard-man in the Bible... the trials of my life are the times of pruning.  The pruning is necessary at those times because those times happen to be the oppropriate "season" in the development of my "tree-self" for them.  The trials are the cutting away of certain places of my tree-self which result in either humbling and/or refining (usually AND! ^_^).  I often, if not always, see how the "pruning" work is really necessary because of how hugely imperfect I am.  Ever more and more I can see how the pruning is changing me to become a more productive and better individual in the whole orchard that I may provide more and better fruits for my "orchard-man."  And these times of pruning are truly and hugely necessary.  Whether I pass through with stellar performance (keeping my eye on Christ and striving with all my might to be as He is) or sub-par, Heavenly Father provides solace, comfort, and blessings so long as I've been striving in Christ, regardless of my actual performance.

I told you about the full van load of blessings the Lord gave me through my dear friend just this past Saturday.

Well, yesterday He gave more!  Truly pouring out the blessings!

I've been feeling VERY urgent about preparing our 7 day kits.  We have 72 hour kits (minus cash in small bills and quarters... working on that!), but building thos kits up by 4 more days is a rather big task to my small mind - considering our very small income currently!  One thing I've been worrying my little head about is the entertainment issue of children in emergency situations.  Silly, you may think... but we've been through some stressful situations just at home, and let me tell you... some "new" things to do are SUCH a relief and blessing!  Games.  Color books.  Books.  You know the drill.  Well, among all the gifts my friend gave us are loads of new-to-us books.  I will sneak some away to our 7 days kits!  YEAY!!

Yesterday, a dear sister in my ward family gave me a bag of wonderful school supplies.  Among the supplies I was blessed to find more than SIX new card games.  Among those were GO FISH, OLD MAID, and more!  I've snuck them off to load into the 7 day kits!  God IS Great!!!

Another sweet sister gave us a bag of girls shoes.  Awesome!  God is THE provider!  I just noticed among the bags of clothes my friend gave me on Saturday are shoes for Ria... sneakers in the size she needs!  I've been worrying my little head over that lately... when I should not, for I have had enough witness that the Lord will provide for ALL our needs.  Not just some.  ALL!!!!  Praise God, my Father in Heaven.  We are so very blessed to be loved by Him who loves us without condition!

Why all of these blessings?  I'm certainly not deserving and I recognize this truth poignantly.  I must stipulate that truth which I acknowledge and declare first.  Yet, I've done better in and through our more recent series of trials than ever before.  I love that I can see my personal progress by way of the mile markers of my trials!  The trials?  Here are some of them, starting with the tougher and moving down the list:  the job at Capt's Tavern.  That was a huge trial for me as well as (obviously) for Jessie.  When he suffers, I suffer.  And though I listen and advise, I cannot MAKE him do what is best.  He must.  So, in essence, I end up in a rather powerless position, which is excruciatingly painful and difficult for me.  Kat, Tea, and I being ill.  My Grampa Storms dying.  Worrying about my Mom (that was her Dad who died).  Worrying about my neice who was ill and had 2 febrile seizures within 24 hours.  Unemployment.  Uneremployment (which continues).  No success in finding host families for the foreign exchange students I've committed to find placements for.  And, of course, there are the constant and necessary stressors of: being a Mama.  Homeschooling.  Maintaining our home.  Entertaining.  Visiting Teaching.  etc.  etc.  etc.  These are all just part of life and living.  Yet they combine and compound at times.  We must endure... AND endure it WELL!  Although I could always do better... I did better than I've ever done.  And the blessings have come pouring out to us.  We are SO grateful!  God IS Great!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Windows of Heaven

I wished for bowls.  We don't have enough for our family (we have 3 ceramic and 1 plastic), much less  than enough if we were to have guests and serve something that should appear in a bowl (like soup).

I wished for silverware.  We've got just enough for guests... so long as the family we've invited to join us to dine is not "too" large.  And if you know me, you know that I do NOT think any family is too large... but when you have a limited number of _____ and you want to have a family over... you need enough of ____ for each additional person you desire to welcome.

I've realized quite often lately that we do not have enough glasses from which to drink for guests.  We totally make do.  I finally gave up feeling embarrassed that I was directing my sister and her hubby to use our "canning" glasses as drinkware.  But, OH!, how I wished for glasses enough for my family AND guests!

This past winter was not cold.  I mean... it was cold for where we live in Florida, but it wasn't as cold as, say, Michigan.  I know we have it easy as far as the cold goes.  Truly.  I DO know!  But after a year anywhere, one becomes accustomed to the fluxuations of their clime.  When we moved down here, it was November and we thought it was hilarious that people were wearing jackets, coats, etc.  We thought AND said to one another, "We'll never need a coat down here!  Feel this WEATHER!"  HAhaHAha  The Lord has His way of humbling us!!!  A year later we were wearing jackets with shorts.  A year later full on coats and shivering in them (even me!).  Another year or so and we went "up north" to visit family and were freezing our Florida acclimated tushies off!  Amazing.  And then last year.  Living without AC all the year through... okay, well, come winter, we moved into living without heat because our central unit no longer functions at all and we were in no way able (especially given the joblessness) to repair it... and probably couldn't have afforded the utility bill had we been able to use the central heat.  We did buy a couple space heaters.  But folks, it gets COLD when you don't have any heat!  Even here.  And we found ourselves wishing we had better blankets under which to sort of hibernate the coldest months.  Oh, a down comforter would be heavenly, we realized.  Oh, how we wished for a down comforter!

We have a few mixing bowls.  But not nearly enough for my Sour Dough Starter when I get into propogation mode (like trying to make enough to make a BUNCH of bread in any given week).  And I found myself wishing I had some nice serving bowls.  How nice it would be to have nice bowls in which to serve things when people came over to eat.  How nice it would be to bring  a pretty bowl of something to a pot luck dinner at church or someone's house... we (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) have them at least once a month somewhere!  Even all the way out here in the "mission field" (read: where not quite as many "Mormons" live relative to the area.))  ;)  Oh, it would be lovely to have pretty bowls for food transport and dinner service... and enough bakeware in which to prepare meals that I might bring to those in need...  *sigh*

A friend gave me some lovely sheers to hang over a window somewhere in my home.  I truly love them.  But I didn't have a rod on which to hang them.  So, I determined to wait patiently until I could afford the items necessary.  She gave them to me.  Now I'm simply waiting for Jessie to help me hang them.  But after sheers (and especially as we are trying to keep sunlight OUT during the summer to keep the inside of the house cooler), I'll need some heavier curtians and a big rod is necessary to hang that sort of thing.  Don't have it.  I wish I had a sturdy, pretty rod so that I could hang curtains (which I also hope to have sometime soonish)!

Tea has some great little potties and uses them.  But sometimes she really prefers to use the big toilet.  In one bathroom that's not really a problem because we have a stool in there, but in the other we do not.  I've wished on a few occassions that we had a stool for that bathroom so Tea could transition at her discretion (wihtout nagging Mama and Daddy) to using the big toilet regularly.

Now, all of these thoughts and wishes of my heart did not transpire in the course of one afternoon... or even one week... or even one month.  I've had a thought here or there.  A little thought would come as almost a whisper to my mind as I would ponder on some thing or other since October 2010.

I think it was Wednesday when a friend of mine from our last neighborhood called, after a year or so!, to see if I might be able to come visit her because they'd sold their vacation home and she was coming to pack up the last things in it and wanted to give me a bunch of clothes and things she didn't want or need anymore.  I would've gone out of my way to just go visit her (which, in my perception of reality I sort of did because I completely forgot she wanted to give me stuff and left ALL the orange-ade stuff in the van when I went to visit her!  I'm such a goof-ball.  I know!).  It had been so long since we last talked that she didn't know I had another baby!!!  Fun surprise, eh!??  ^_^  heeheehee

Anyway, so we went to visit her.  It was a joy to see her, speak with her, and be in her presence.  She was lovely and sweet as ever.  She fed us and I enjoyed her company very much!  In addition to all of that she loaded our van.  Seriously full!  And among all the lovely and wonderful things: THREE stools and I could easily use any one of them for Tea in the bathroom that did not have one before!  She also gave me a really pretty rod for the curtains I'm determined we will get eventually!  She gave me bowls in which to serve food at table, serving platters, and glass bakeware.  She gave me a full on down comforter in a duvet as well as a smaller throw-type down blanket.  She gave me 8 glasses, silverware, and the bowls I'd been wishing for.  She also gave me plates of various sizes (ALWAYS useful! especially with children using them and some breaking here and there!) and coffee cups.  The list goes on of the wonderful things she gave me and I'm certain I probably had thoughts about them at some point or another. :)

Other than the full-on curtains I mentioned, the Lord has answered every wish of my heart that I can remember thinking in the last 7-8 months PLUS MORE!! all in one fell-swoop via my dear friend and earth angel!  God IS Great!!!  How awesome is He who knows the wishes of our hearts and answers them in His time and in His way.  Our God is an AWESOME God!!  Thank you, my friend angel!

Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

Is not this story a relation of the windows if heaven being opened and God pouring our a blessing upon us?  I can testify that we are definitely on the verge of not have enough room in which to receive it!  :)  Our God is an AWESOME God!


Yesterday was our girls' second time to run and work their Orange-ade Stand.  I did not advertise for it this time around.  The girls, but Ria especially, are so excited to have this little business with which they are striving to increase their savings and buy some more homeschool supplies.  It's such a gift and blessing to me to enjoy how very excited they are to do the work required to pull their Orange-ade Stand off!  They bicker (working on that, for sure!) about who gets to squeeze the oranges, who gets to pour the Orange-ade into the cups, who gets to collect the money, what else they might sell at their Stand... but they LOVE the work. 

Ria, as a result of her age and dexterity, mixes the drink and pours their product into cups for their customers thus far.  Kat is a mighty juicer!  Tea likes to hang out with Daddy when he's picking the oranges and LOVES to hand oranges out of the 5-gallon bucket up to me for cutting.  This is especially helpful when I'm wearing Jimmy... I'm not good at grasping round objects with my feet and people probably wouldn't prefer it anyway.  :)  Our girls are indefatigable at the jobs they enjoy.

The most wonderful aspect of their step into business ownership is all the lessons it's providing me opportunities to teach and enabling them to learn!  The money is also quite nice.  If the Stand were run by only one child, that child would be "making" more, per hour, than Daddy last week and just less than he makes this week.  Of course, they only work right around 2 hours each time the stand goes up (1 day per week) and there is a good bit of time spent at home preparing things... but still.  They are making some REALLY good money for how old they are!

In addition to Orange-ade, they sold cookies and break last week.  This week they sold only Orange-ade.  Last week Kat sold her painting for $0.10 and Ria sold her painting for $1.10.  This week Tea sold her painting for $5.00!!  What fun, right?

One of the lessons that seems to be sticking REALLY well with Ria is the necessity of dedicating the work to the Glory of God.  Today she said, after I reminded them that we needed to have our prayer for their Orange-ade Stand, "Yeah, we have to pray or we won't have as many sales."  And then after a few customers had come, "I knew Heavenly Father would send lots of people to buy our Orange-ade!"  And He did!

This week they had 7 vehicles stop.  The first 3 each bought two cups.  The first customer gave the girls a $5.00 tip!  They received another $4.50 tip a little later.  One lady stopped (but only in a drive-by sort of way) to give the girls a 1 dollar bill.  She didn't want any drink, she just wanted to contribute to their efforts!  Their last customer stopped as I was packing everything away.  We were happy to serve them (Ria had been pleading with me to allow her to keep her Stand up a while longer).  They bought 3 cups ($0.50 each) and paid for those and gave the girls $4 tip!  So, obviously, the Lord is blessing them beyond measure for their efforts to shine His Light through their business.  It's just wonderful to hear them request, "Do you think we could put our Stand up on Thursday next week so we don't have to wait ALL THE WAY til Friday to do it again?"  ^_^  And last week Kat kept trying to convince me that we could put the stand up the next day, "or what about the next," and so on.  :)

Last week they had, I think, 5 vehicles (4 customers in 1, and a couple customers in another) stop to make purchases.  They also had 3 walk-up customers.  2 of those each bought multiple cups of Orange-ade.  One customer last week bought 1 cup and gave them a $4.50 tip!  Last week we put the Stand up near homes and visible to people in their homes.  This week we were in a more deserted part of that same street.

I choose our locations for shade and enough room to park the van.  Our street is not busy enough to provide many customers.  The effort to pack everything necessary and set up away from home is really worth it to me because my girls are having SUCH success!  If they did this same thing in front of our house they MIGHT make a fraction of the gross they've made these two weeks.  While their excitement to pay tithing would be the same, I'm sure... I don't think the overall drive to continue would be quite as great.

An experience I have truly loved that is a result of this business is Ria and Kat's TREMENDOUS excitement about paying tithing.  Honestly, I think they are more excited to work to earn money so that they CAN pay tithing than anything else!  It's like the addition to their savings accounts and purchase of supplies for homeschool is secondary to their joy and excitement about paying tithing.  Ria was radiant this past Sunday when she went off to hand her tithing envelope to one of the Counselors in the Bishopric!  What a pleasure!

There are SO many lessons to teach and to be learned.  So many opportunities!  I think that if all we did during this summer was the Orange-ade Stand once a week, it would be an AWESOMELY productive couple months for homeschool!  Of course we will continue to do the regular book studies as well!  But this is just such a wonderful addition to their home education!  I'm grateful that I felt the nudges of the Spirit to enable our girls to pursue this business.  Ria's been asking to do it since she was 4 years old.  It took me 3 years to DO it... but perhaps those 3 years waiting are part of the reason she LOVES it as much as she does.  :)

Are you doing anything to enable your children (especially young ones) to earn their own money?  Is it worth all your efforts on their behalf?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Week Starting May 6th

CHANGE... is GOOD!  ^_^  This is my transition week.  After a change by the originator of THANKFUL THURSDAY, I'm going to begin next week with Thursday the 12th and conclude with the Wednesday following that so that I can post before Thursday and link up to her earlier.  :)

If you want to LINK to the Thankful Thursday originator, hop on over and INPUT your data!  :)

Friday, May 6, 2011: I'm thankful for a food order placed against my stated understanding of Father's Will because the placing of it impacted my Jessie so positively.  I'm thankful for a conversation which clarified a sticking point in my brain, which led to a flood of revelation I'd probably been blocking because of lack of understanding around that sticking point!  I'm thankful for daughters who are an inspiration to me in their desire to earn money just so they can pay tithing.  The more money they earned at their little Orange-ade stand, the more excited Ria became to pay tithing on Sunday.  What a gift and blessing to this Mama!

Saturday, May 7, 2011: I'm thankful for a phone conversation which alerted me to baptisms which would take place that very night.  I'm so GLAD I was able to attend as a result!

Sunday, May 8, 2011: I'm thankful for Moms.  First, my Mom for being my Mom and always trying and doing her very best in everything she set out to do.  Second, for the Moms I have been blessed to observe and learn from and, as a result have had a better time at my efforts to improve myself because of association with and observation of them.

Monday, May 9, 2011: I'm thankful for a hard-working hubby who got up bright and early even though he didn't actually HAVE to and subsequently accomplished a great deal of work toward putting our fence up in the back AND made breakfast and lunch, to boot!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011: I'm thankful that Ria did her school and other work with such a cheerful and peaceful heart.  She is SUCH a joy when she chooses to follow our Saviour!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011: I'm thankful for Jessie's hard work which enabled him to finish putting in posts and putting up panels all across the way back of our yard.  Now, to fill in the even longer sides... I'm so GLAD he's willing to work so hard for our family!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Just Like My Mom: HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM!! (And Sister, and Sisters-in-Love (that's you, too, Anni), Mama Jo, and Diane!)

What makes for a Happy Mother's Day?

Oh, I'm sure the answer is a bit different for every woman.  Breakfast in bed.  Flowers.  Jewelry.  Baubels.  Cards.  Candy.  I'm sure those could all contribute to a heavenly day for many a woman.  Here and now I'm going to answer for myself, though, of course.  ;)

My Mom always ask my siblings and me for the one thing she wanted most.  She asked us to be kind to one another and completely obedient for the whole day of Mother's Day.  That's all she wanted.  She didn't need flowers.  She didn't want jewels.  She didn't need a THING in the world.  She did, most assuredly, accept all tokens with grace and appreciation, but she was always disappointed.  Why?  Cause we never could come through that one day a year (or two, cause she often asked for this same precious gift for her birthday) without bickering, outright disobedience to her, or some other form of unwanted behavior.

I get it now.  I TOTALLY and completely GET IT!  I also understand our Father in Heaven's declarations: "If ye love me, keep my commandments," more fully, though, I'm sure, not to the fullness with which I some day will understand His declarations as a result of being a human in a fallen world.  Understanding a bit better here and there, though, IS something!  :)  These declarations of the Lord are found throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon... restated over and over again in various forms.  I GET IT!!!  I do appreciate the "things" and what they represent of my children's and husband's love for me, for sure.  When those things are given, I am grateful for the expressions/representations of their love and do try to accept them with grace and appreciation.  But the only gift I really want from my children is the same one my Mom asked of me and my siblings.  Just kindness and obedience.  Just for one day (or two, cause I think I ask for it for my birthday, too.)  Haven't got it yet, but I'm still hoping.  Probably, just like my Mom did.  Year after year, over and over she asked and hoped.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me the most important lessons and leading us by example.  I'm sorry I didn't GET IT (SO much of it!!) until these later years of my life... but at least I didn't make you (us) wait 'till you were on the other side!  ;)  I'm so grateful for your endless supply of hope in and for my siblings and me.  I'm grateful that you have loved us without condition.  I'm grateful for your examples of service and acceptance.  You are truly an Angel, Mother!  ^_^

Thank you, Mama Jo, for loving me and mine like we were always yours.  You are a bright and shining example of Christ's Love and I'm so grateful He brought us to where we could become yours!  We all love you!!!

Thank you, Evelyn.  Thank you for being an amazing woman who is an awesome example to me of the kind of woman Christ would have us all aim at being.  ^_^  You are a woman of strength and faith, so much like our Mom and I'm so GLAD you are my sister!  I'm thankful, OH so thankful, that you accept me as I am rather than holding who I used to be over my head and tormenting me with my past transgressions.  You are an example of forgiveness.  I'm grateful for your kindness, for your easiness in sharing of your wisdom.  I'm grateful for the opportunity you provided me to be in the presence of your family and to meet the littlest niece I have in your family.  You are a gift.  I'm GLAD you are my sister!

To my Sisters-In-Love, I'm going to address you in the order in which you became known to me.  :)

Caroline, you are awesome.  I'm so glad Josh chose you to be his wife.  The woman with whom he would work through this life, come what may.  The woman with whom he will strive to be raised to Glory for the eternities.  Out of all the women he could've chosen, I'm GLAD he chose you!.  You are a wonderful Mother.  You are a sweet and GOOD person.  You love God and have an amazingly strong Spirit.  I love you.  Thank you for dealing with us in all our craziness.  Thank you for loving us and accepting us and being a part of our family!  I love you!

Anni, I love you.  I miss you.  I wish I knew what I could do to be rewarded with your acceptance.  I'm grateful for who you are because who you are has impacted who Jessie was when I met him and who he is today.  I love my man, so no matter what, I will always ALWAYS love you.  You are family.  I love you.

Barb, you are such a sweet woman!  You are an wonderful Mother.  You are gentle, quiet, calm and exude peacefulness (even if you don't feel it ^_^).  I appreciate and value your example.  My Brother made a superb choice when he made you his wife and eternal partner.  I'm thankful for you and grateful that his choice of you blesses me to have the opportunity to call you Sister forever!  I love you.  I'm GLAD you are my sister.

Diane.  I'm GLAD you married who you did.  I'm thankful that you love him and bless our lives by being his wife.  I'm glad you love Jessie and Anni.  We love you.

Sage.  I didn't address you in the title and I don't know if you'll ever see this, but I feel compelled to address you here and now.  You have, above any woman not directly attached to me as family (blood or adopted), have influenced me in my pursuit of enjoyment of my highest calling more than any other woman ever has.  You have always spoken your heart and changed mine in so doing.  You have truly been a Sage in my life.  I'm more grateful to you than words can declare.  I believe, with great swellings, that YOU are among the most important reasons that Father brought us to the area in which I was blessed to observe and meet and come to know you a little bit.  You provided me the wise words, feelings, thoughts for which I esteem you a Sage.  You also administered to me of a healing balm, much like that which could be made of the herb sage.  You are a truly amazing and wonderful woman.  You are an example of striving in Christ to be His and to become ever more like Him.  I'm so much more thankful for you and to you than I can ever convey!  I love you.  I'm GLAD I know you.  I miss you achingly sometimes.  But I'm thankful that you love me still!

To all the other mothers I have not directly addressed:  I know the Lord has put you in my life and I'm SO grateful to know you.  I love you.  I'm GLAD you are who you are because without you I could not progress to become the woman the Lord would have me be... the Mother He wants me to become.  THANK YOU for being who you are!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Friday, April 29, 2011: I'm thankful for a hard-working hubby who is working to find gainful employment as well as working on the things around the house that need done.

Saturday, April 30, 2011: I'm thankful for talent/skills fairs with my Ward family which enable me to learn a little bit more about them and enjoy some fellowship, too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011: I'm thankful for health among all of my family so that we could attend and enjoy church as well as a break-the-fast dinner at the Lewis's home.  What fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011: I'm thankful that Jimmy's rough day Sunday didn't carry over into Monday, but that it seems he may be evening out into some semblance of actual naps and awake time rather than the constant always sleepy-head never-put-me-down sort of sleep he's done for the past 7 weeks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011: I'm thankful that Jessie is highly motivated to do some things.  I only wish our priorities were more inline.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011: I'm thankful for a new job for Jess, which he started Wednesday night after an interview Wednesday morning.  Only 18 days unemployed this time around!!  What a BLESSING!

Thursday, May 5, 2011: I'm thankful for cool nights that bless our home with coolness until quite late in the evening, especially when we're out of the house for a while!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Blessing of Trials

How could I forget this one?  I don't know.  It's one of the earliest reasons I could discern "easily" as a blessing of trials.  What is it?  It's the way that trials can act as sort of mile markers in my journey to become the woman the Lord would have me be.

For instance, this past illness (just last week) I could see how I was becoming more Faithful when I considered how I was dealing with things currently and comparing that to how I dealt with things the last time the majority of my family was ill.  I could see how I still needed to work on a few things (specifically controling the thoughts that try to prance onto the stage of my mind and, if allowed to move about only a few moments, would spread darkness and attempt to pull me down into hopelessness and despair).  Even though I didn't do as well as I need to do in controlling those thoughts, compared to last time, my control was superb and I chose Faithfulness much more than allowing the thoughts of fear to come in to trouble me.

I do, of course, see how I need to improve.  I have not reached perfection even in this small thing.  I'm FAR from perfect in ANY way... but it's such a gift and blessing to see PROGRESS!!!  So, I rejoice in the trials that I may see how I progress in my journey... and the progress has been SO much more pronounced (and becomes ever more so) as I submit myself to the full Will of our Lord.  What a BLESSING!!!

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