Sunday, September 24, 2017


I almost decided to let this blog be.
This is an incredibly busy season of life, and I thought perhaps it was time to let this little side pursuit go.
But then, last night I attended the General Women's Meeting,
and I was inspired once again by Sister Eubank's urging to Latter-day Saint women to be articulate
and to lift their voices in defense and testimony of truth.
So even though I'm not perfectly consistent in my writing,
and even though this blog is read by very few other than family and friends,
and even though these posts are very simple,
they will continue.
Because I want any passer-by who happens upon this little corner of the Internet
to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what has brought our family the greatest joy we can fathom.


So, with that being said,
this little boy turned 4 earlier this month!
4 is one of my absolute favorite ages.
I just ADORE 4-year-olds.
And I adore Lincoln.

-Lincoln is hilarious. He makes us laugh consistently with the things he says--sometimes intending to be funny and other times giving us cause to cough hurriedly into our shoulders while hiding our faces which are spread with gigantic smiles because of his innocent, unintended humor.

-Lincoln continues to be proactive. He loves doing things himself and is quite able.

-He loves to help, especially in the kitchen. He looks forward with excitement to his assigned day to help me with dinner and begs his brothers to let him help, too, on their assigned days.

-He loves working in his workbook with me after Wesley leaves for Kindergarten and is in the very first stages of beginning to read. He gets so excited when he sounds out a word correctly.

-Lincoln brings an enthusiasm and excitement into our family. He is SO enthusiastic and feels things with passion.

He wanted Oreo cupcakes, popsicles, and Thai curry for his birthday dinner,
and he was beyond thrilled with the sword and shield I made him to match his brothers' from several years ago.

Sam and I decided to come up with a symbol for each of their kids as their personalities emerge
that can serve as an emblem and reminder for them throughout their lives
of their strengths and characteristics we hope they will use for good.
We plan to use these symbols in various ways as they grow.

Talmage's symbol is an eagle, signifying leadership and the ability to fly above those things that would not help him progress in his life.
Wesley's symbol is a sun, signifying his bright spirit and his desire to be a light to others through example and service.
And we just decided Lincoln's symbol would be a river, signifying his happiness and enthusiasm and the way he brings life and joy to others.
These symbols are painted on their shields.

Lincoln was so thrilled to be able to join his brothers in their make-believe battles for right at last.
After he opened all his gifts, we went into the backyard to watch the boys play.
Maxwell toddled around, chasing the balls he is so obsessed with
while Talmage, Wesley, and Lincoln ran around through the wind,
wielding swords and jumping off rocks.
Sam and I sat swinging on our porch swing, watching the excitement.
I leaned into him, his arm wrapped securely around my shoulders,
and a feeling of perfect contentment settled upon me.

Things aren't perfect, but every once in a while I am hit with the realization of how truly good they are.
Happy birthday, Bobo-Linc.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When the Light is Dimmed

I go through phases in mothering.
Much of the time, I feel totally content in my role as a mother.
Of course, I see areas I need to improve,
but I rejoice even in the day-to-day mundane
and cherish every moment with the precious souls that have been sent to us.

But every once in a while, I get stuck in a rut
and the light of motherhood seems to be dimmed.
Often this phase starts with me feeling overwhelmed.
Once I explained to Sam that I felt like my goal was to get to the bottom of a swimming pool,
and I used to be only a foot under a water but the water was only 8 feet deep
whereas I had progressed to be 4 feet under water but the water was now 20 feet deep.
In other words,
I was making progress as a mother,
but not as quickly as the needs were growing.

And when those overwhelming feelings mount up,
all of a sudden motherhood isn't so enjoyable.
I long to curl up in a corner with a good book and hide away for a day or two,
but instead there are constantly hungry mouths to feed,
pots and pans strewn about I'm tripping over,
and stinky diapers needing to be changed.

Motherhood, by nature, demands selflessness,
which is one big reason it is such a sanctifying role.

When I'm stuck in a mothering rut,
I find myself praying, napping, listening to uplifting music, spending more time in the scriptures, reading old blog posts, striving to find joy in small moments with the children, and reading talks like this.
And eating chocolate.
And ice cream.

How do YOU get out of a rut?

Monday, September 11, 2017

That Time of Year

It's that time of year...
when my kitchen is turned into a factory,
the smell of warm, sticky peaches fills the air,
and the baby spreads jangling canning rings all about the house while I work.

The work is enjoyable enough...
but there are few things more satisfying than seeing bunches of full jars lined up on our shelves.
So much of motherhood does not yield immediate or long-lasting results.
The laundry is completed, only to stack up again the same day.
Dinner is finished only to be quickly eaten and the process is repeated every day.
But canning...
not only are the results more long-term,
but it brings with it the fulfillment of providing for our family.

Today our project is freezer jam.
I am feeling an urge to try a new project where I can something different every month.
I have plans for pulled pork, chicken, apple jelly, apple pie filling, and more over the year,
but we shall see if it actually happens...
so many of my grand ideas just sit and remain ideas.

I often think my heart belongs to the 1950s,
but since I'm a millenial I guess I'll just settle for being an old-fashioned one.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurting, Hopeful Hearts

My heart is hurting for the people of Houston.
We were fortunate enough to call Houston home for 5 years,
and through that time we learned to love that corner of Texas.
We left pieces of our hearts there when we left.
Maybe that's why they're hurting so much now when we see countless images
of sunken cars, babies sleeping in floating plastic bins, homes buried almost to the tops of the garage doors, people kayaking down roads, and aerial shots of what now appears to be one giant, muddy lake.

I wish I could join forces with my friends,
don a yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" shirt,
and muck out houses.
I was checking social media a bit obsessively throughout the hurricane
to see how our loved ones there were faring.
And through the sadness, the devastation, the turmoil,
there was also a distinct underlying tone of hope and gratitude.

There was the lady on the news who said she just kept praising God as the floodwaters continued to rise around her and how she was so grateful when she was rescued.
There was "Mattress Mack," and his kindness in bringing hundreds of stranded people in to his furniture stores, allowing them to sleep on high-end beds and couches in his store. He said, "To (heck) with profits, let's take care of the people."
There is the cajun navy, composed of those good souls from Louisiana who came with their boats to drive around and rescue people from roofs and attics.
There are countless churches working to provide relief to suffering people.
There is the famous gas station chain Buc-ees, who opened their facilities to rescue workers to provide them with a place to eat and rest.
There is the man with a huge smile on his face, walking with his 6-year old son, not knowing where they will go, explaining to a news reporter that they lost everything they owned, including their car, but insisting that "We thank God. We thank God."
There are so many who, the moment the water drained enough, sprang into action to start mucking out houses, working with smiles to clear out ruined belongings, cut sheetrock, and rip up carpet.
And there is a feeling of unity throughout the city.

We love the good souls of Houston
and the ways they have taken care of their own have stood as a shining example to the rest of the world during this time of great challenge.
It may take years to get the city back on its feet,
but it WILL get back.
Because Texans don't give in, and they don't give up.
They face the future with faith and acknowledge God's Hand in their lives.

And it's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Life from the Phone's Camera Lens

Here we are,
raw and unedited,
on those occasions that the camera didn't make it to.

From being superheroes at the park
to hiking Neff's Canyon and Cecret Lake with Sam's East and West Coast family,
from the Aerospace Museum
to the blissful bike rides we enjoyed about every weekday morning before we moved,
from the everyday moments at home
to our more uncommon adventures,
I wouldn't trade this life for anything.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

First Day 2017

These two had such a fantastic day today.
Lincoln was rather despondent at first
("I'm going to MISS MY BROTHERS!!!")
but cheered up when we made snickerdoodles together while his brothers were away.
Wesley was SO excited and asked me all morning,
"How many more minutes 'til school?"
Talmage came home with the news that his first day was great, so I'm very relieved that everything was okay with the trauma of changing schools. I went to four different elementary schools and I like to think I turned out okay in spite of it. ;)
The boys both have very sweet teachers and I'm looking forward to seeing them THRIVE this year!

The end of Summer always brings a big mixture of emotions for me.
I always feel a sense of regret--like I wish I could have made better use of the time with the kids--
but then I feel grateful for the experiences we did have together.
And I feel cranky because I'm going to miss having them around--
but then I feel relieved because school helps create a more defined routine and I crave routine.
I feel concerned about exposure to negative peer influences--
but then I feel appreciation for the growing opportunities they have away from me.

And so on and so forth.
But in the end, I feel that this is the right place for them to be,
so as hard as it is to let go,
I watch them fly away and feel a profound sense of awe as I watch them soar successfully.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fires of Faith

This weekend we had our traditional Back to School dinner
with the kids' favorite foods
and a campfire and s'mores.
We gave the kids new books and introduced our new theme:
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
We reassured the kids that this year, as they attend a new school, and throughout their lives,
loving others will bring success.

It was a lovely night, but Talmage has really been dreading school starting.
Change has always been really difficult for him and that has been manifested in different ways over the years.
I found myself holding back tears as I walked down the hall at Back to School night because my heart was hurting in a totally new way.
It has been hard for me to see my boy, who has always been one of the most social kids on the entire planet and who also LOVES school, become withdrawn and reluctant to speak to anyone, staring at the ground and mumbling answers to questions. This change had persisted despite many efforts on our part to help him through his emotions. The brief interaction with his teacher highlighted that change that has taken place with this move.

As I felt that flood of emotions wash over me, I heard a familiar voice say, "Are you guys here now??"
I turned and found myself face to face with Talmage's first-grade teacher from last year!
I was baffled.
Not only were we at a different school, but she retired at the end of last year!
She explained that she just couldn't stay away and had come to work as a reading tutor at this school.
Talmage absolutely lit up to see her and gave her a big hug.
They chatted for a while about his summer and about the move and she told him a few things about his new school and I watched a change come over him.

That withdrawn little boy disappeared and his social personality emerged again.
As we drove home, I was holding back tears again, but for a completely different reason--
because my heart was overflowing with gratitude toward a loving Heavenly Father who loves a 7-year-old boy so much that He would send a familiar, encouraging face to him in a moment of distress.
"Now I can't wait to start school!" he said as he played with Maxwell's fingers and made him laugh.

God is so, so good.
And He loves us each individually.
I know it.

"Suppose I am writing a novel. I write 'Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!' For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary's maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three house and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary's time (the time inside the story) at all. This is not a perfect illustration, of course. But it may give just a glimpse of what I believe to be the truth. God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world."
-C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 18, 2017

County Fair

There's just something about a fair that fills me with patriotic pride and gratitude for this amazing country.
The exhibits and displays seem to take me back to the past
as I look at hand-stitched quilts,
beautiful artwork,
and livestock snuffling in their pens.
Somehow seeing ribbons dangling from bottled fruit and baked goods appeals to my farm-girl dreams and roots. 
My mom was raised on a farm in Idaho and my dad was raised with plenty of land, plants, animals, and chores. I have so many fond memories from my childhood of swinging in the tire swing that hung from the massive willow tree, climbing hay bales, pretending to drive old tractors, riding the three-wheeler around, climbing trees, and playing in the real pioneer log cabin that sat on my grandparents' property.
Maybe it's because of those fond memories that I have such a deep yearning to get our kids involved in work in a similar environment--even if it's on a very small scale.

We got together with my sister and her kids and had a ball petting a python, riding ponies, visiting the petting zoo, watching an adorable sea lion show, playing on a pirate ship, and wandering around the exhibits.
It may be a while before we have our own mini-farm,
but in the meantime I'm glad we can have little tastes.

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