Trendy Knitting Patterns from me, to you...

Trendy Knitting Patterns from me, to you...

polka dot

polka dot

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I'm not sure exactly what time our kids woke us up this morning, but they usually wake up at 7am and need to be woken up even then.  This morning the time started with the digit 5, and I was unimpressed, but we invited all the kids up into our bed for some cuddles and made the best of it anyways.  You'd think it was Christmas morning or something, instead of Halloween.  I LOVE little kid excitement, I LOVE holidays, I LOVE parties, and any chance to dress up, or at least dress the kids up, I LOVE!  So they must get it from me...I get it from my Dad.  Excitement is a genetic thing I'm pretty sure...

So although we didn't get around to making our famous Milk Jug Skeleton this year {and my kids won't let me forget}, we have managed to do a couple of "Halloweeny" things in the last little while, among the hustle and bustle.  We attended the primary Halloween party at our church on the 17th, which was a blast, and on Monday night for Family Home Evening, we decorated pumpkins.  We opted out of carving them for two reasons:

1) I didn't want the mess, and...
2) I like to cook my pumpkins up after halloween so I have a stash of pumpkin puree to make yummy things out of.

{my good little helpers}

{our spooky pumpkins}

Polly was assigned to provide the treat this week for Family Home Evening, so her and I made pumpkin cookies from my favorite ever pumpkin cookie recipe while the older kids were at school.  Delicious as usual!

{our family home evening assignment board}
{yummy glaze...was good on our leftover scones from the other night too!}
Today I'm heading over to the kids school for all the fun festivities and taking with me three pumpkin themed veggies trays {one for each of my kids' classes}, complete with homemade dill dip.  Here's the recipe...

Dill Dip:
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T. sugar
2 T. vinegar
1 t. dill

{a little goodness for the belly on an otherwise treat-filled day}
I was informed by my soldier boy that next year he would like me to bring treats instead of veggies...{and here I thought I was such a fun Mom}!  

I'll keep that in mind Peter...

So this year for costumes we have...

{a soldier}

{Batman...who may or may not have decided to be a vampire at the last minute this morning,
which I didn't have time to get pictures of...}

{a bat...and don't try to tell her that her mask looks more like a bird because she'll have none of it...it's a bat ok!}

{and last but not least...SUPERMAN...this costume totally cracks me up, because it's way too small, lol!}

So there you have it, we lived to see another Halloween!  Can't wait to go trick or treating tonight with these cute little spooks!

Happy Halloween everybody!!!





Saturday, October 25, 2014

Farewell Mom & Dad ~ A Tribute

So I know I just wrote yesterday, but I felt a need to write again today about something significant that's happening in the life of my family.  Even as I am typing, my parents are flying out to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They've been called to the Paris, France mission, which includes Paris and the surrounding area, as well as Belgium.  I am so blessed to have the parents that I do.  They have always taught me to have strong morals and values and to be an individual.  My Dad was just baptized into our church 7 years ago, and so growing up we would attend church usually with just my Mom.  My Dad has always been a wonderful, good man, and an amazing father.  He has a remarkable CONVERSION STORY that you can read about in my words, or you can read it in his own words as published in the CHURCH NEWS.  He was the principle at the French Immersion elementary school I attended as a child, and some of my fondest memories of him are eating lunch with him in his office every day at school, watching him dress up as Captain Planet during Earth Week {a hilarious costume that I REALLY wish I had a picture of}, every halloween {and any holiday really that he had a chance to dress up} he was the life of the party.  Another memory I cherish is him reading us bedtime stories at night.  I still get to enjoy his remarkable story telling talent with my own kids, with all his animation and voices for different characters.  My Dad has a huge heart, and he loves children.  He just retired in June from a career that he put his heart and soul into.  If he were writing this he would tell you that this September marks the first year that he has missed his first day of school since he was 4 years old, and let me tell you, he truly does miss it.  I can't even begin to count the number of times I have had people come up to me telling me how awesome he was as a principle, or how much he'll be missed, or how they'll never be able to replace him.  In fact he was "arrested" by some police officers near the end of May one day in the middle of a meeting he had at the board office.  The officers escorted him in the back of their police car back to his school {Lakeview Elementary School in Lethbridge}, where a giant crane was lowering a boulder onto the front lawn of the school with an inscription that reads "In Appreciation of Mr. Ed Wilson, Our Rock" {Local news write up HERE}.  This surprise outdoor assemble was complete with a school full of current students, parents, teachers, and many former students, all sporting red clown noses in tribute to my Dad, who for the duration of his career as principle, hand delivered cupcakes to each and every birthday boy or girl in the school, fully dressed in his clown costume and red nose every time.  He's a remarkable man who would leave hours earlier than expected to work each morning, and who would toss and turn at night, usually waking up at 4 or 5 every morning because he would be thinking and worrying about situations that were going on at school and how he could best help.  It wasn't until after his retirement when he came to visit us in August that I witnessed him sleep in until 7:30 for the first time I can remember.  He is the same kind of father as he was a principle, and I know without a doubt in my mind, he will be the same kind of missionary as well.


Dad and his harmonica on "Trek"
My Dad "The Rock"

Man of many roles

As for my mother, she is nothing short of an angel.  Behind the scenes, she is the one that baked thousands and thousands of cupcakes over the course of all those years, for my Dad to hand out at school.  She is an amazing wife, and loves my Dad with all her heart.  My Dad always tells everyone that she is his ten cow wife {from the story of Johnny Lingo}.  She is the mother who although she found her faith shortly before becoming a mother, she held tight to her beliefs, nurtured them and helped them grow in herself as well as her children.  She is the woman that without the assistance of her spouse, held family prayer with her children morning and evening, had scripture study with us every morning {and trust me we were not good sports that early in the morning}, and held Family Home Evening faithfully every Monday night.  She did those things for over thirty years alone, until my Dad was baptized.  She is my hero, in every way.  She is the person whom I took for granted and fought against most of my growing up years, and whom I now owe everything I am to.  I am so glad that she persisted, I am so glad that she kept an eternal perspective in mind all those years and didn't lose hope in the mother that she was striving to be.  Now that I know what motherhood is all about, I am all the more grateful, and completely amazed at her diligence.  She is my example of faith, diligence and persistence.  

My Mom & Reggie {grandchild #12}

Dad & Mom

My Mom is such a sport.  She knows how passionate my Dad is about the French language, having grown up in France for several years from the time he was 3.  My mom supported this passion 100% by putting her kids in a french school and being involved in that decision every step of the way, including packing up her family and moving to Québec for a year for a work exchange for Dad, where she couldn't understand a thing.  She has been dedicated to trying to learn the french language for as long as I can remember, not wanting to be the only one in the house who couldn't speak French.  She has taken several classes and been a part of various groups over the years to help her, and she has struggled...until she was called on this mission.  I had the opportunity when I traveled to Alberta with the kids earlier this month to listen to her pray one night with my Dad and I before we went to bed.  As I sat there with my eyes closed, I was surprised when she began her prayer in French.  She prayed for several minutes, elegantly piecing together beautiful French phrases in a way I didn't think possible.  I was so touched by her prayer and her progress speaking the language, that I got a little teary.  It was amazing!  That Sunday at church, as I listened to both my parents give their farewell talks, I heard my mother bear her testimony of our Church's missionary program, and more specifically their language learning program for missionary training.  For years she had taken several classes, tried numerous approaches to learning French, and she testified as to how inspired this specific program was.  I saw her weep as she spoke of how it felt to have all those things in her mind come together and fall into place, that she could finally grasp the French language!  The Holy Ghost filled my heart and having witnessed her beautiful prayer a few night before, I knew that the words she was speaking were true.  For me it was nothing short of a miracle.  

me & my folks after their farewell

my family & parents after mom & dad's farewell {Jordan even flew in for the day!}

I am so proud of my parents, I am so grateful for them and so honoured to be their daughter.  This morning, as they fly to their temporary destination of Provo, Utah, where they'll undergo more training for the next 10 days before travelling on to France, I know that they are exactly where they should be.  I will miss them, but I am happy for them.  My Mom told me yesterday in our last conversation how it hit her that for the next two years, she will literally be bearing the name of Christ on her chest everywhere she goes.  That she wouldn't even be able to go to the grocery store without people seeing her name badge and knowing that she was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She was scared that she wouldn't be able to live up to that enormous undertaking, and in telling me this, she taught me a lesson.  She taught me that this should be my goal as well.  She taught me that although I may not wear a name tag, I can stand up for and share my beliefs just by being my best self every day.  I can see those around me as my brothers and sisters and I can have genuine love for my friends and neighbours, sharing my beliefs and my testimony in everyday acts of kindness and gratitude for the bounteous blessings I have.  After all, am I not robbing God if I don't do this?  My time is not my own to begin with, it is a gift he has given me, and I need to use it wisely, and with care, always asking myself what he would have me do.

Mom and Dad, you guys are going to be great missionaries!  You have taught me and so many others so much already, more than you will ever know.  Even though I don't live at home anymore and I have a family of my own, you are still teaching me and setting an example for me, and I know that you always will.  You may not feel up to the task now, but you are exactly the right couple for the job!  I am so grateful that you are my parents!  You are my heroes!  Have a wonderful time in France!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo-shoot!

Well with this new little pup in our lives, I officially feel like a mother of 5!  Life has felt so busy lately, it's been crazy!  I never thought I was one of those people who thrived in the midst of chaos, but I'm LOVING it!  I think it's because, although every minute of my time is being used {and I really do mean EVERY minute}, it's being used effectively {so far...knock on wood I can keep it up} and my priorities are in order.  The only downfall is that I have never fallen asleep knitting so often in my life!  By the time I get the kids to bed at night  at the end of every crazy day and am ready to crack down and knit for a while, I fall fast asleep on the couch within the first few rows...it's been brutal.  Anyways, here and there I've been able to get a couple of product photo-shoots under my belt for my upcoming Polly Headband.  My wonderful friend Marj and I had a little dog park date the other day and she was gracious enough to snap a couple pics for me while we were at it {love multi-tasking}...






Even more exciting is the photo-shoot I got to do yesterday, with little Kassady, who is sporting the 6 month size Polly Headband!  Isn't she the most adorable little thing you've ever seen!!!  I can't even handle her cuteness!  Thanks for being such a happy little sport Kassady!  She was so fun to photograph and has the sweetest head full of curls to feature this bitty little headband!




Now I just have a few little charts to sketch up before testing starts, and once testing is complete, this little pattern will be ready to launch!




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Puppy Surprise...

I don't know if "Puppy Surprise" toys had as much of an impact on you as they did on me, but as a child, mine played a big roll in my life...do you remember them?  The weird looking fluffy haired dog that has a "SURPRISE" number of babies in her velcro enclosed tummy?


wait for it.....


My sweet little Princess Polly is absolutely head over heals for dogs, and so, last year for Christmas, I tracked down a vintage puppy surprise toy for her {or maybe Santa tracked it down, I can't remember}.  Anyway, she just loves it!  But it still hasn't stopped her {or any other child in our home for that matter} from begging for a REAL puppy.  So after our long drive to Alberta and our long drive home...


...my wonderful husband and I promised the kids that they would get a special reward for being so good and helpful in the car {and I must say, I have incredible kids, they were awesome travellers}!  So when the kids and I rolled up, Jordan came running out to meet us...he then escorted us inside the house to find...


A special new addition to the family!  His name is RAMBO {yes, we are big Sylvester Stallone fans} and he is our little {for now at least} red Doberman Pinscher puppy.  He is 11 weeks old and I am completely smitten, as are the kids.  

I am so impressed with my sweet children.  They have taken on the responsibility of having a puppy like little champs.  They have each stepped up to the responsibilities of feeding him, wiping up his little accidents, they've even taken on full-time pooper-scooper duty in the back yard!

{I promise Wilson likes Rambo too, he's just not super thrilled with his Mom's obsession with picture taking!}

Growing up on an acreage, I always had the opportunity of having constant litters of puppies and kittens.  I also started raising rabbits in High School, and I learned so much from those experiences.  Jordan grew up always having a dog, as well as horses, and so we both have reaped the benefits of growing up with pets.  We have always wanted to get the kids a puppy, because we feel like there's no better way to teach our kids about birth, life and death than to care for animals.  Over the course of our marriage; years of school...and moving...and changing our minds, we've always had a reason to wait for one thing or another to happen before getting a pet...I think doctor Seuss says it best...

"Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused 
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a  train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape..."

~Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss~





So we took the plunge!  We finally decided that there would never be a PERFECT time to get a puppy, but there's no time like the present right?!?  And even if I have to repeat in my head "No complaining Lise-Anne, no regrets Lise-Anne" a zillion times every day for the next...{what's the life expectancy of a dog again...?} well anyway...it'll be worth it...

He's a Michel now...and there's no going back from that!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tasty Trio of Ground Beef Recipes...

The first time Jordan and I spent apart was when we'd been married almost two years.  We were living in Nashville, TN at the time and I was pregnant with our first {Peter}.  Back then I was just living my little dream, playing house and dreaming of the soon-to-be day when I could start dressing up little babies and changing little diapers, and all those fun things I pictured motherhood would be like.  I thought I was just an all-star house wife, working hard to wash our two mesely little plates after every meal and vacuum our little apartment {that was like what 8x10}.  It's funny to think back and see how time changes our perspective of things.  I swear we ate cabbage rolls about 3 times a week because I only knew how to cook about three things {not to knock cabbage rolls, because they are still one of my all time faves}.  Anyway, that summer we were living in Nashville, my parents came out to visit, and after they left, they were headed up to Virginia to visit my two brothers who were living there at the time.  I decided I'd tag along with them, since Jordan was at work 6 days a week anyways, and I clearly had the time to spare.  So, being the good little domestic wifey that I saw myself as, I made my dear husband a huge croc-pot full of chilli for while I was away.  I can still remember how proud I was, and I still remember how excited he was.  He was just so thrilled to have a good little wife to take care of him.  He bragged to all his co-workers about my thoughtfulness, and we parted just so pleased with the whole situation.  Well...a few days away shocked us both into reality when we learned that a strictly chilli diet isn't a great thing to follow for even one full day, let alone five, and it ended up not being nearly as enjoyable as we both imagined it would be.

We like to bring this story up from time to time and have a good laugh, and to this day, Jordan isn't a big chilli fan.  I've really expanded on the cooking front since those early days of marriage, as well as been jolted into reality of what being a wife and mother of 4 is really all about.  It doesn't mean I love it any less, just saying that it's not all sunshine and rainbows like I imagined.  Luckily, it's even better than sunshine and rainbows, and way more rewarding than I could ever have imagined, even if it did prove to be a bit more of a challenge.  After all, I'm always up for a challenge.  

So, speaking of challenges, I have made it a point ever since that first time apart to do a bit better every time I'm away...and because of that little personal vendetta, I was a very busy lady last Friday, prepping my soon-to-be bachelor husband for our time apart.  He's a bit spoiled, and I love to show him that I love him, so I stocked up the freezer with 22 individual meals; a lunch and a dinner for each of the 11 days we would be apart {sigh...so romantic}.  I know I'm a little cheesy, but I also know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so I'm okay with cheesy.  Here's what the end result looked like...

22 meals, fit for a King, complete with a 9 oz beautifully marbled steak for Thanksgiving Day 
{he hates turkey}

And then of course a little love note to go along with each meal, so he remembers all the reasons that I love him while I'm gone.

You may think I'm a little corny, but I can live that.  He was beyond thrilled and he's loving every meal so far.  Jordan is not crazy about chicken dishes, so I made his three favourite dinners with ground beef, divided them up, and spread them out over the 11 days.  Here's the three beef recipes I put together and what I'm sharing with you today...

1. Super Deluxe Hot Dish
2. Taste-Bud Tantalizing Beef Enchiladas 
    {with bonus Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe}
3. Chunky Spaghetti Sauce

First off...


Super Deluxe Hot Dish:

1 lb ground beef
1 med. onion
1 1/2 c. celery
1/2 c. raw rice
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 c. frozen peas
1 can mushrooms
2 cups cheese


1. Brown ground beef...add in onion and celery...sauté. 
2. Add the rice, soups and water.
3. Stir well.  Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add in frozen peas and mushrooms, and stir.
5. Place mixture in a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs.
6. During the last 1/2 hour, top with grated cheese and return to oven.


This dish may not look like much, but it is our family's all time favourite.  It is SOOOO good, trust me! I never cover mine with tinfoil, because we love the crispies around the edges, but if you're not into the crispy sides, a little tinfoil solves that for ya.


Next up...

Taste-Bud Tantalizing Beef Enchiladas:

Filling:
2 t. vegetable oil
1 med. onion
2 t. minced garlic
1 lb. ground beef
1 med. orange pepper
1 c. mild salsa
1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Sauce:
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 c. water 
1 t. chicken bouillon
3 1/2 T. flour
1 t. dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Other:
6 large flour tortillas
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 T. cilantro


1. Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.
2. Add ground beef and brown.
3. Add orange pepper and sauté for a few more minutes.
4. Add salsa.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cilantro and set filling aside.
5. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine evaporated milk and water.
6. Add chicken bouillon, flour, mustard, salt and pepper.
7.  Whisk together over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
8. Add cheese.
9. Whisk together until melted and creamy.  Pour half the sauce over the filling.
10. Evenly divide filling/sauce mixture between 6 flour tortillas.
11. Roll up tortillas and place seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
12. Pour remaining sauce over rolled up enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.  
Bake @ 425 degrees for 15 mins.  Top with cilantro and serve!



{This is my all-time favourite salsa.  It's runny and authentic tasting, just like in the restaurants.}


Here's a quick little something extra to go along with your enchiladas...

{Cilantro-Lime Rice}
Place the following ingredients into your rice cooker:

1 c. long grain white rice
2 T. butter
2 c. water
1 t. chicken bouillon
2 T. lime juice
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Press Start!  Fluff with a fork and voila!



My third Beef Recipe for the day is...

Chunky Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 c. water
1 can {680 ml} original pasta sauce


1. Brown ground beef.
2. Add carrots, celery and onions.
3. Add water.
4. Cover and steam until water has mostly evaporated and veggies are tender 
{about 10-15 mins)
5. Add can of pasta sauce.
6. Stir and serve over spaghetti!


{This is my favourite pasta sauce.  I always choose the simplest looking, no-name brand sauce, with no cheese, and no competing flavours, to be sure the finished spaghetti sauce can speak for itself.}

So after all the meals were done, I made up some more little love notes and riddles for him to find throughout the week.  I put a few little bags of candy along with some little notes inside his shoe, in his sock drawer, beside his watch collection etc...I also hid a package of nibs in the console of his truck and a bag of Chicago Mix on the bed.

{Chicago Mix...mmm}

Lastly, I made sure the freezer was good and stocked with baking, made a few more loaves of bread and some more Monkey Poop Cookies and Pizza Buns!  



I'm thinking not only will he not go hungry, but we may need to start an exercise program the day after I get back...




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Date Night!

It's amazing what a powerful emotion love is.  When you are tied to someone with the bonds of love, you are capable of the widest range of emotions one can experience.  Your deep love for another makes you vulnerable to deeper feelings of both joy and happiness, or pain and hurt, but mostly that deep love gives you the motivation to move forward, to know there is someone there who will forge through anything with you, because they feel the same way about you that you do about them.

I feel like the very luckiest person in the whole world because I've found in my life a love that will last through the eternities in my husband and best friend.  It's hard to describe exactly how I feel about him, because my feelings are so deep and so complex, with so much dimension to them, because of the range of experiences we've shared together, that it feels impossible to put it into words.  Suffice it to say, I love him A LOT!!!  He is the man that comes up and rubs my shoulders at exactly the right moment, when I'm chopping up vegetables in the kitchen and my back is in agony.  I don't have to say a word, and he knows me so well he can read me like a book.  He's the one that I can laugh so hard with that I cry, and when sad times comes, he's the one I hold onto as we sob together.  He's the one that when I hug him I feel like I just completed myself, like we just "fit".  He is the one that slides his hand over and grabs mine first thing in the morning, and it feels like my day just got better before it's even started, knowing that it's starting with him by my side.  He is considerate and kind.  He comes to my rescue when I can't take the stress of the supper and bedtime routine with the kids.  He supports me and backs me in all that I take on.  He allows me to be me, to make my own decisions even if they aren't his first choice.  He notices when I'm worried or stressed, and he's the one that after a hard day, when we sit down to watch a movie together, will grab the remote and press pause, just because he can tell {again without me saying a thing} that something is wrong, and he genuinely wants to listen.  He will listen to me for as long as it takes, with a smile on his face and a look in his eyes that makes me feel not only loved, but valued.  He listens until my stress just dissipates or we find a solution and can press play again.  Our relationship is centred on a mutual love for and belief in God, on communication, trust, love for our children and mutual respect.  It is something more precious than jewels to me.

{my best friend forever}

On Monday I am leaving for 11 days to trek across the country with four little kids to go visit their Grandparents for Canadian Thanksgiving {a 20 hour drive each way, yikes}!  I will miss my husband so much while we are away.  Being apart is truly not our thing, and I just never like to leave.  Because we will be apart on my birthday, he surprised me Friday night with a very special date night as an early birthday gift to me.  He took me out to The Caribou Restaurant, which was to die for!  The menu was simple yet elegant, so we went all out and ordered the Short Rib Poutine as an appetizer {for all you non-Canadians out there who have never had poutine before, I'm telling you, you haven't lived}.  For our main dish I had the Chicken Pasta {it might sound simple, but it was the fanciest pasta dish I've ever had} and Jordan had a 16 oz steak, cooked to perfection.  We finished it off with a beautiful custard and caramel dessert topped with raspberries that was perfectly succulent {like a crème brûlée but with soft caramel rather than crusted}.  It was a beautiful dinner.

{the night is young...ready for our big date in my mostly thrift-store digs!}
Afterwords we cruised around in the date-mobile, enjoying each other's company.  Now, the date-mobile is a very special truck, complete with state of the art after market sound system, classy new rims, and dark tinted windows.  You may not know this about me because it may seem out of place to you, but besides church and family and knitting and cooking, and all the things I normally Blog about, I am PASSIONATE about cars.  I especially am fond of muscle cars {specifically, I would love a 1970 Nova} and I love trucks.

{the date-mobile}
I also love quads and I like to go fast.  I have to admit, I am a bit of an adrenaline junky at heart.  So there's my little confession for the day.  I am a girl who appreciates a beefed up, mean sounding engine, as well as a respectable sound system, so although it may seem like a "guy thing", Jordan was right on the money when he put together this little "Date Night" playlist for me {sigh...so romantic}.

{our magical date-night playlist}
Nothing like laying your head on somebody's shoulder {not just anybody mind you}, feeling subs thumping all around you, listening to great lyrics and basking in all the memories and feelings of why you love the guy next to you so much!  He is exactly the right guy for me.  He planned our date so well that he even had our best buds Chris and Kayla all ready and lined up to come over and babysit for us.  What more could I ask for?!

So there it is, I love my husband {as I hope all wives out there do}. I am so grateful every day that I
am blessed to be his wife, and I am going through a bit of mourning about the thought of being away from him.  I hope that I can always show him just how much I love him in all the things I do and say.  I am a firm believer that relationships need to be nurtured and cared for.  I know that without the serving and listening and caring for each other that we so cherish, we wouldn't have the beautiful marriage that we do.  We recently read together Gary Chapman's Book The 5 Love Languages, and I highly recommend it to any couple, whether your marriage is already well into bloom or shrivelling up, it's an inspired read and will only help any marriage grow stronger.

So thank you Jordan for the beautiful date night, it is a night that I will cherish always.  I love you Jordan, for all that you do for me!  Thank you for being exactly who you are, and always striving to become even better!

Speaking of always striving to be better, this weekend is an extra special time in our home, because our church is holding it's semi-annual {October & April} worldwide broadcast {aka: General Conference}.  We had two beautiful sessions we watched yesterday, and two more we are looking forward to watching today.  General Conference always inspires me to be better and make goals to reach a higher potential.  I am of the firm belief that we must always strive for self improvement, because as the saying goes...


"There is only progress or regress, there’s no standing still. 
You’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward." 
~author unknown~

Today while I listened to Tad. R. Callister's talk, I was touched by the story of a young boy named Ben.  Here is Ben's story...

"Ben Carson said of himself "I was the worst student in my fifth grade class.  One day Ben took a math test with 30 problems.  The student behind him corrected it and handed it back.  The teacher, Mrs. Williamson, started calling each student's name for the score.  Finally she got to Ben.  Out of embarrassment, he mumbled the answer.  Mrs. Williamson, thinking he said nine, replied that for Ben to score nine out of thirty was a wonderful improvement.  The student behind Ben then yelled out "Not nine.  He got NONE right."  Ben said he wanted to drop through the floor.  

At the same time Ben's mother Sonja faced obstacles of her own.  She was one of 24 children, had only a 3rd grade education, and she could not read.  She was married at age 13, was divorced, had two sons, and was raising them in the ghettos of Detroit.  Nonetheless she was fiercely self-reliant and had a firm belief that God would help her and her sons if they did their part.  One day a turning point came in her life, and that of her sons...it dawned on her that successful people for whom she cleaned homes had libraries...they read.  After work she came home and turned off the television that Ben and his brother were watching.  She said in essence, "You boys are watching too much television.  From now on you can watch three programs a week.  In your free time you will go to the library, read two books a week, and give me a report".  The boys were shocked!  Ben said he had never read a book in his entire life except when required to do so at school.  They protested, they complained, they argued, but it was to no avail.  Then Ben reflected, "She layed down the law!  I didn't like the rule, but her determination to see us improve changed the course of my life."  

And what a change it made.  By the seventh grade he was at the top of his class.  He went on to attend Yale University on a scholarship, then Johns Hopkins medical school where at age 33 he became it's chief of Paediatric Neuro-surgery and a world renowned surgeon.  How is that possible?  Largely because of a mother, who without many of the advantages of life, magnified her calling as a parent."

Ben's story gives me a deeper desire for self-improvement, while Sonja's gives me a strong desire to teach my children correct principles, strong values and a good work ethic.  I love being uplifted by General Conference.  What a blessing it is in my life.  For any of you interested in listening in on tomorrow's sessions, there is one at 10am and another at 2pm {MST}, and you can watch online here.

{enjoying General Conference at home with the family}



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