New and improved…

Katey’s latest picture:  Rainbow Bacon.

It “tastes like blueberry strawberry tangerine”.

Katey also said it is yummy with ice cream.

“You just put a scoop right on top!”  (Fun to watch her so animated about her drawing!)

That’s some mighty sophisticated bacon right there.

Scary Paper

Meet Googley-Eye.

He’s a crocodile.  That equals scary.  Hence the scary face.

Googley-Eye has a huge jaw.

Closed:

Open:

With equally expressive eyebrows from Drewby.

Googley-Eye was created and named by Andrew.  He wishes we had a googley eye big enough to put right over that eye socket there.  He thinks that would be perfect.

I think Googley-Eye is pretty adorable scary as is.

Everyday #2371

This is Drewby’s latest drawing.  I love the Christmas scene – tree in the window, snowflakes falling, festive red roof.  The worm in the hole on the left makes me giggle.  (We think it’s all about perspective – showing the cutaway underground.)  What makes me really smile is the snowball storage in the basement.  Complete with two fans to keep those snowballs cool.  Brilliant.

p.s. While talking with Andrew the next morning he informed me that the worm is getting ready to hibernate.  :)

Flecks of Gold

{credits}

This here reminder is printed on Red River’s River Linen paper (one of my favs) and displayed on our piano.  It coordinates with my treasure theme for the year.  I absolutely love this quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard:

“Great things are wrought through simple and small things. Like the small flecks of gold that accumulate over time into a large treasure, our small and simple acts of kindness and service will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another.”

I love that the little things I do each day – for my family and others are like flecks of gold.  It’s nice to imagine all that treasure building up, fleck by fleck.

The beginning story part of Elder Ballard’s talk was made into a Mormon Message:

His whole talk from General Conference can be found here.

Elder Ballard’s beautifully worded sermon is a treasure.

A fun little side note.  The gold flecks on my poster?

Those are cupcake sprinkles – sweet, no? 😉

Story Stones

{credits}

Love the idea of these!  This is my first set – all about schooling and exploring.  Inspired by story stones over at red bird crafts.

Turn over one random stone at a time to make “mystery stories”.

Place in a row to make a story.  What’s happening here?

Take turns selecting stones and telling the next part of the story.

Use to prompt memories for family history storytelling and capturing.

So many possibilities. Even more ideas here.

Now, what for my next set?  Fairytales? Carnival? Recipes? Wouldn’t it be fun to make a music note set?  Draw a staff in the dirt and write a song with stones.

If you see someone gathering rocks everywhere they go – that would be me.

Please say hi.  :)

Olympic Gold

Meet my amazing, sweet, beautiful, giggly, new mama, fun-lovin’ sister Christina:

She’s on the right. 😉

Recently we went on a road trip/family reunion together.  It was pure gold.  I loved having her riding shot gun and we talked and talked and talked for a few days.  Loved it.  On our last day together we visited our hometown and took some sister photos by the train station.  We might have been excited about the Olympics coming up and our photo shoot shifted.

Synchronized swimming anyone?  We need more people on our team.

Shot put is one of my favorites.  Christina – well, she’s a good sport.

Did you see Reese Hoffa win the bronze last night? Ah-mazing!

I find it interesting to hear what people say/yell/grunt when throwing.  What would you scream?  For me it’s a toss up between plum and sprinkle. 😉

If there was an event for dancing – we would so tie for gold and share that podium.

Perhaps in the future – doesn’t hurt to dream big.  And these moves aren’t going anywhere.

Spark

A favorite phrase from the scriptures for me has always been:  Spark of Freedom.

It seems to me equivalent to a mustard seed of faith.  Just a bit – a spark.  That is all that needs to be there to start with – and so much can come from that.  A desire = a spark.

At this time in the Book of Mormon, Moroni (chief captain of the Nephite armies) writes a fairly scathing letter to Pahoran – the chief judge and governor of the land – and wants to know why the government is being neglectful of the men he is in charge of.  He tells them what’s what and then makes this promise:

“I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.”

Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear…” (Alma 60:27-28)

What an example of no-fear leading.  Now, thankfully, Pahoran was still steadfast in liberty and explains to Moroni about the insurrection in the land – the rebellion of the king-men.  He explains his position:

“I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.” (Alma 61:9)

Together they devise a plan to take back their land.  Pahoran also asks Moroni to build up the other leaders in the army.  “See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free.”  (Alma 61:22)

Pahoran ends his epistle by calling Moroni brother.

I love Pahoran’s care and concern for them all and that he doesn’t take offense at Moroni’s letter.  Calmly and boldly explains and asks for what is needed.  He bears his testimony in so many ways in that one epistle.  What would our land be like with such leaders?  Love Pahoran’s promise too – “Tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also ALL those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free.”

That’s us.  Deliverance will come… one way or another… we need to stand fast in that liberty.

Now for one of the cutest things I have EVER heard.

Caleb adored the fireworks at the family reunion last year.  Completely and fully loved.  My sister Anna (she’s on the left)

captured his cuteness visually:

 

And Jim Bob caught the audio:

Caleb – Work!

May there be many “works” for you today.  And as you’re watching the works – think about that spark of freedom within you.

Happy Independence Day all!

Seeking Virtue

Birthday time for me is a time of reflection (well, and a little celebration)  :).  It’s perfect that my birthday falls half-way through the year.  I like to take a few moments to see how my beginning of the year goals are going.  While visiting the Church Art Museum last year this quilt spoke to my heart:

My current scripture study is about treasure.  I decided this quilt is the perfect treasure map for me here and now.

The title is “Angel’s Portion:  Seeking Virtue”.  Angel’s Portion meaning big – this quilt is beautiful and pulls me right in.  The story quilt shows seven ladies – “each shown in an active pursuit of virtue”.  I love the “active pursuit” part.  It takes effort to become more virtuous and to seek after virtuous things – ideas, talents, and gifts.  True treasures.

A tender mercy is the fact that this quilt is in the Ensign for June – my birthday month and a perfect reminder to check in.  {front view of the quilt | full article in the Ensign}

In the article it says “Each of these women possesses a trait that can be shared with others to bless humanity:  sentinel, scholar, gardener, nurturer, caregiver, musician, and home builder. The artist explains that these women “honor those who pursue and use talents to bless humanity.'”  Is there any better way to live?

Here is a list of the goals I’m working on in these areas:

  • Sentinel –  Work on leadership qualities:  magnify calling, love those I serve, pray for those I teach and visit.
  • Scholar – Learn more about Teaching Self Government – and apply in my home.  Study photography.
  • Gardener – Help with the Heritage Gardens.  Grow a garden – especially herbs.
  • Nurturer – Tell stories!  Especially family history ones and stories from my childhood.  Consistant interviews with my children.  Pizza dough tossing and doodling/sketching skills.
  • Caregiver –  Monthly FHE service.  Look for opportunities.
  • Musician –  Teach children piano, guitar, drums – what each is interested in and keep up and learn musical talents in those areas.  Also accept opportunities as presented to play flute and sing.
  • Home Builder – Hang family photos and temple pictures throughout our home.  Paint living room and dining room.  Proverbs 14:1  ” Every wise woman buildeth her house.” (A lot of the previous goals fit into building our home.)

Some are coming together better than others – all with room to improve.

I want my goals to focus on seeking virtue and using skills to love and bless my family.  I’m thankful for a quote that jumped out to me while reading President Monson’s talk from General Conference.  It wraps my thoughts into a nice package.  A birthday package even.  “There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.”

Cheeky Kisses

I treasure these moments with my little one.

One of my favorite treasure quotes:

“The most precious jewels you will ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.”

I also treasure my hunny that is patient enough to get the shots that I have in my head.

Cheeky kisses to you all!

Fortune, pt. 3: Might and Mite

{Third in a series about Fortune.  Part 1 & 2 found here and here.}

While studying effort last year I came upon D&C 117:12-13.  In there it talks about Oliver Granger and how “when he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord.”  I did not recall this story about Granger and struck out to find more.  I found the original revelation here, written with Joseph’s hand.  Beautiful.

In a talk by President Hunter he references this church history story.  Oliver Granger was a licensed Methodist preacher and a sheriff in Ontario County, New York.

“Oliver Granger was 11 years older than Joseph Smith and, like the Prophet, was from upstate New York. Because of severe cold and exposure when he was 33 years old, Oliver lost much of his eyesight. Notwithstanding his limited vision, he served three full-time missions. He also worked on the Kirtland Temple and served on the Kirtland High Council.

When most of the Saints were driven from Kirtland, Ohio, the Church left some debts unsatisfied. Oliver was appointed to represent Joseph Smith and the First Presidency to return to Kirtland to settle the Church’s business. He performed this assignment so well that one of the creditors wrote: “Oliver Granger’s management in the arrangement of the unfinished business of people that have moved to the Far West, in redeeming their pledges and thereby sustaining their integrity, … has entitled him to my highest esteem” (Horace Kingsbury, Painesville, 26 Oct. 1838).”

Although Granger was able to sell some land and pay off debts, he was unable to sell a lot of the church’s property and most of it did eventually go to people that would never pay the church.  I find it interesting that the scripture reads “when he falls he shall rise again.”  Not an if, when.  The Lord knew what Granger was up against, but wanted him to give it his all.

“When Oliver Granger died in 1841, even though there were but few Saints remaining in the Kirtland area and even fewer friends of the Saints, Oliver Granger’s funeral was attended by a vast concourse of people.  (President Howard W. Hunter, New Era, September 1991)

While studying Granger I found an article by John S. Tanner, “On Sacrifice and Success”  (adapted from his humanities convocation address given on April 25, 2003).  {More on Tanner in part 2.}

“In section 117 the Lord called Oliver Granger to return to Kirtland as “a merchant unto my name” to “contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church”—adding, “And when he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase” (emphasis added). There is a powerful gospel lesson here about the Lord’s bottom line—for his merchant and for us all.

…in celestial accounting—as the Lord tells Oliver Granger—heaven measures its merchant missionary not by “his increase” but “his sacrifice.” The Lord evidently cares more about Oliver’s effort than his results, more about his input than output, more about how much he gives than how much he gains. I believe that these divine priorities hold true for all of us…

Surely a culture’s obsession with success is bound up with its dynamism and energy. Great ambition can spur great accomplishment. I’m not opposed to ambition, achievement, or success. Indeed, like most people, I enjoy prosperity and fame, probably more than I ought. And I certainly would prefer to succeed than to fail—though failure sometimes has been better for me than success. My concern lies not with success, per se, but with the lust for success. Hence, I’m not concerned simply or mainly about the desire for wealth but about the desperate need to win. …success turns into a demon whenever it becomes our god.

So while I hope you succeed in your righteous desires, I also hope you won’t measure yourself exclusively by your successes and failures. God’s words to Oliver Granger remind us that we are more than our résumés, GPAs, salaries, and scholarships. What endears us to heaven is our sincere sacrifice; our sincere efforts to love God and our neighbor are sacred. The Almighty does not require success, but he does require sacrifice.

This doctrine is simultaneously comforting and frightening: the Lord mercifully accepts our sacrifice when we lay our all on the altar, but nothing less than our all is acceptable. For him, the widow’s mite means more than the millionaire’s munificence precisely because she gave her all (Mark 12:44).

So far as I know, no scripture specifies that we must be successful, in the modern sense, to inherit salvation. However, the scriptures repeatedly command us to sacrifice—to serve God with our heart, might, mind, and strength (see D&C 4:2). Our fundamental religious duty is to strive, not to succeed—recognizing that the outcome is in God’s hands. As T. S. Eliot says in the poem “East Coker,” “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

Our concern should be “…for righteousness, not its results”.

“If we fail, having tried with all our might, the Lord takes the intent for the deed because, in his economy, sacrifice is more sacred than success.  …our profitability to heaven consists in the ancient sacrifice of a willing heart. The Lord does not need “man’s work”; he needs our will.

…heaven bids us fight but not necessarily win—at least not in the short term. The ultimate victory is sure; it is in the hands of the Lord of Hosts. What is at stake is not the outcome of the war but our faithfulness in battle.”  …Remember that he who looks not on the countenance but on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7) sees beyond your résumé. He sees your soul. He knows your sacrifices, and they are sacred to him.  (Tanner)

Though Oliver Granger is not as well known today as other early leaders of the Church, he was, nevertheless, important in the service he rendered to the kingdom. And of course, if no one but the Lord had his name in remembrance, that would be a sufficient blessing for any of us.”  (President Howard W. Hunter, New Era, September 1991)

So with all these thoughts in my head, they finally came around full circle.  John Tanner gave his all to the church.  And it was a lot of all.  He sacrificed.  Many of the investments did not pan out.  The Kirtland Temple he helped save?  It is no longer owned by the church.  (Although many, many blessings were given while it was.)  The Kirtland Security Society?  Failed.  The donations and sacrifices were given, but in the world’s terms – they did not translate to success.  Was that a good trade for millions?  How does the Lord feel about it?  “Sacrifices are more sacred” unto him than the “increase”.  And again, I learn more about fortune and success.  Effort is what matters.  Giving our all.

via

“Sacrifice outweighs increase on the scales of heaven—which are the only scales that ultimately matter.” – John S. Tanner

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