Sunday, August 25, 2013


I had a great birthday on Saturday!  I guess 41 isn't so bad.  I love birthdays!  I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy all the well wishes and the attention.  I was able to relax most of the day.  My sister got me a one of a kind, quilted, yellow and purple scripture bag.  I LOVE it, and can't wait to use it tomorrow.  Amy got me a game called Curses.  It is absolutely hilarious and fun!  We played it Friday night and I almost wet my pants I was laughing so hard.  My family got me some television DVDs (season 2 of Once Upon a Time and season 3 of The Mentalist.)  I am truly spoiled.
Friday was the beginning of my birthday celebration.  Scott and I went to the temple with the Bettenhausens.  I LOVE the temple!  And it was fun to share it with my husband, best friend and her husband.  We enjoyed discussing the new video and learning from each other.
After the temple, we went to Chuys for dinner.  Chris Thornton got us gift certificates for our birthdays so we had a yummy, Mexican supper.
Chris and the girls were babysitting while we had our fun evening out.  And when we got home, we had another surprise:  an impromptu game night with cake and ice-cream.  We played my new game: Curses.  I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants.  It was so funny!  Chris, Hammond, Amy, Mark, Key Lime Pie, Kotten Kandy, Scott and I all laughed until our sides hurt.  I love all of these dear friends.  (And yes, I'm counting my daughters as FRIENDS!  Because they are!)
Star Child is a church musical that I was in when I was 10 years old.  Like Saturday's Warrior (which was written by the same people), Star Child begins in the pre-existence, where Larry learns he is to be born to a non-member family in a foreign land.  His best friend, Chuck, promises to find him and bring him the gospel.  He also pledges to find and marry his sweetheart, Marie, so young Michael and Sarah can have the parents they've always dreamed of.  I played the role of Sarah.  The story deals with the plan of salvation and making hard moral choices.
Star Child is a great show with great music.  One of the songs, "Within Me," has really helped me throughout my life.  It deals with understanding our divine nature.  I have often come back to this song and used it as a crutch when I need to remember my divine worth.  Here are the lyrics:
   Okay I’m nothing great but still I’m me and that’s substantial.
   I may not be all wise but still I realize, I’ve got potential.
   So what if I’m alone that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy.
   Although I may conceal the pain deep down I feel, who says I’m lonely?

   I fret and I forget just who I am and what I’m after.
   Much like a kewpie doll so easily I fall and break like plaster.
   And so I ask again: Dear Father, do I really matter?
   He bends to pick me up.  I am His daughter.

   And with his spirit oh so near I see myself, the picture’s clear:
   As endless as the sands of time, I see my destiny, all I can become.
   Just like the stars up in the sky, I am a multitude, a universe am I!

   Within me, worlds without end!
   Within me, power to ascend!
   To glory if I am worthy for within me there is life!
   And within me, a multitude shall arise!

Scott BBQed tonight.  It was DELICIOUS!  We were going to BBQ for my birthday on Saturday, but ran out of time as we prepared our talks for church today.  So today for dinner we had:  BBQ chicken, BBQ corn on the cob and cottage cheese!  It was soooooooooooo yummy!!!!!!
This evening we went to the stake Back to School Fireside.  It was great!  They even mentioned home-schoolers which meant a lot to my kids and me!  Sometimes they forget that some of the youth are homeschooled.  We learned about becoming who we want to become.  We learned about kindness and civility.  And we learned to work hard, stand tall and that there are people who can help us grow.  I felt the Spirit.  So did the girls.  Glad we went.
So I read Divergent by Veronica Roth this week.  I read it because Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy read it.  I read it planning on hating it.  And I did.  Sorta.
Divergent is a dystopia story.  And everyone seems to love dystopia stories lately.  (ie. The Hunger Games, The Giver, 1984, etc.)  I have read a few new dystopias recently and liked or disliked them to various degrees.  There are dystopias for any taste.  There are dystopias that are based on romance.  There are dystopias that are based on politics.  There are dystopias that are action novels.  And this one is an action novel
In a few words, Divergent is one long initiation trial  Beatrice is a member of a society that has been maintaining its peaceful existence by separating its citizens into 5 distinct factions.  At the age of 16, all citizens choose which faction they will be a part of.  Each faction is based on virtues such as honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness and intelligence.  Beatrice, although her testing is inconclusive, decides to join the Dauntless faction which values bravery.  Her initiation trials are grueling, frightening and violent.
I liked the book OK.  But I didn't like the book too.  I'm not sure I can recommend it?!  And I'm not sure why?!  It was a book to read so I could talk about it with my daughters.  And I kinda wish they hadn't read it first... because I really don't think it was well written and I'm not sure I like some of the virtues and values it extols.  But on the other hand, it has some good virtues and values also.  Do I sound confused about this book?  I am.
Here is a copy of the talk I gave today:
   Most of us are pretty confident that we know why we’re here.  I knew the basic answers because of the church musical, “My Turn on Earth.”  It taught me that “Everybody ought to have a body!  A body is the only way to go!”  And the show also taught me that we are sent to earth to be tested and find love.  Both of those answers are correct.
   And even though I knew the two generic answers to that question, I still found myself wanting to sing:
     What is my mission in life?
     All I have I’d give to know.
     My place in the race, my spot on the map,
     How far I can go!
   As I’ve grown, I have realized that if we stop at those two generic answers, we’ll fall far short of our purpose and potential, which is to truly become as God is.
   Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained that there is more to life than we often think.  He said, “a superficial view of this life… will not do.”  If we hold to a surface-level of understanding, we may “mistakenly speak of this mortal experience only as coming here to get a body, as if we were merely picking up a suit at the cleaners.”  Or we may “casually recite how we have come here to be proved, as if a few brisk push-ups and deep knee bends would do.”
   There is more to getting a body than just picking it up.
   There is more to being tested than just doing some routine exercises.
   And there are more purposes in life than just two.  We have many.
   Some of these essential purposes of life are:
  • Learning to differentiate between Satan’s tests and God’s tests.
  • Developing a connection with God.
  • Learning to recognize the voice of the Spirit.
  • Coming unto Christ and partaking of the blessings of His grace.
  • Learning to love with all our hearts.
  • Learning how to receive direction through revelation.
  • Coming to a mighty change of heart.
  • Learning how to work as families to fulfill our united missions in life.
  • And discovering our personal mission in life.

   Of course, this is a short list.  There are other purposes we need to discover and fulfill.
   One of our great reasons for being on earth is to find Christ and develop a relationship with Him, even though we cannot see Him.  I have pondered this purpose. 
   When asked “What is the greatest need in the world?  President Faust wisely responded, “Is not the greatest need in all the world for every person to have a personal, ongoing, daily, continuing relationship with the Savior?  Having such a relationship can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God.”
   It’s not enough that we just know about Christ.  We need to strive to be one with Him.  According to President Faust, there are five essential ways which will help us become one with the Savior and develop a relationship with Him.
#1 – Daily prayer.  Sincere prayer and communication with our Heavenly Father will be the most important measure that will helps us develop the relationship we desire.
#2 – Daily selfless service.  In Matthew we read, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these…, ye have done it unto me.”  A wise man observed, “The man who lives by himself and for himself is apt to be corrupted by the company he keeps.”
#3 – Daily strive for increased obedience and perfection in our lives.  The Savior said, “What manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
#4 – Daily acknowledge Christ’s divinity.  To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples.  In Mosiah 5:13:  “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”
#5 – Daily study the scriptures.  President Kimball said, “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away.  If I immerse myself in the scriptures, the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”
   The concept of developing a relationship with our Savior is only one example of the depth of understanding we can and should come to regard to our reasons for being on the earth.  The Lord would be pleased to help us come to similar understandings about our other purposes of being here. 
   And in addition to the purposes we all share, each of us also has a unique and personal mission to fulfill on the earth.  Our mission may be as small as a family, or as large as the world.  But the Lord knew before He sent us here what specific thing He would have us do for our brothers and sisters on earth, and He prepared us to accomplish it.
   Queen Esther was placed in a position where she could save her people.  Joseph Smith was prepared to ask God which Church to join and then to restore the gospel of Christ on the earth.  Jesus said of Himself, “I know whence I came and whither I go.”  We also can know whence we came and whither we go.  In fact, it is one of our purposes in life to do so.
   Joseph F. Smith said, “God sent every man and woman in the world to accomplish a mission, and that mission cannot be accomplished by neglect; nor by indifference, nor can it be accomplished in ignorance.  We must learn our duty; learn the requirements that the Lord has made at our hands, and understand the responsibilities that he has placed upon us.”

   This is why we are really here on earth.  Our purpose is far more than to get a body and be tested.  It encompasses all aspects of a godly life, a life designed to help us literally become like our Heavenly Parents.  We can’t view our life’s purpose casually.  Instead, by searching the scriptures, listening to the prophets, and seeking the Lord in prayer, we can learn why we are here – and begin to more fully accomplish God’s will in our lives.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Key Lime Pie went to a stake dance last night.  As always, she had a great time with her friends.  The theme for this dance was "nerds."  Everyone was dressed in glasses with tape, high water pants and suspenders.  My eldest decided to be a "Treky Nerd."  She made her own Star Trek skirt and even had Starfleet pendant earrings.  She looked adorable!  And I couldn't be prouder that she showed her true colors in being an honest treky from the beginning (not just the new crew that everyone likes right now).  Live long and prosper, Captain Kirk and Spock!  (We love Picard and Data, too!)
Key Lime Pie, Applesauce and Muffin
Kotten Kandy got contacts on Saturday.  She looks lovely!  She looks pretty with and without glasses.  But she's pretty excited about the contacts.  Thank you, Mil and Grandpa Mac, for making her so much more confident and beautiful!  She loves her contacts!!!!!
I got my new 2014 calendar this week.  For the past 10 years I have used the SAME brand of calendar: More Time for Moms Calendar.  I LOVE it!  I can't imagine my life without it.  I tried other calendars but nothing works as well or makes me as happy.  I LOVE the large, lined spaces for writing, and the stickers.  I know I sound like a commercial... but I'm not getting compensated.  I just LOVE this calendar A LOT!!!!!
If you are interested:
I am fighting a head cold today.  It started yesterday.  I broke down and took some non-drowsy cold medication.  It's helped with the symptoms most of today.  I took a nap and have been drinking plenty of fluids (H2O).  My dad always said, "If you DON'T take care of yourself and don't get enough sleep or drink enough water your cold will last 14 days.  If you DO take care of yourself, drink lots of water and get enough sleep it will only last 2 weeks."  I'm shooting to be better in 2 weeks!
I participated in NaNoWriMo two years ago.  I finished.  It was not easy and I swore I would never do it again.  Well, as November is fast approaching, my daughter wants to participate in NaNoWriMo.  I'm feeling the pressure and thinking I would like to try again.  This year I think I'll be a rebel.  I'm not going to write a novel (a work of fiction), but instead I want to write a book of essays about music from my childhood.  I'll still write 50,000 words... and I'll still participate.  I'll keep ya'll posted.
My music studio is starting it's new year this month.  I have 10 students.  (I wouldn't mind having about 2 or 3 more.)  I love teaching kids to play the piano and sing.  This year my incentive program is "Climbing the Ladder of Success!"  It should be fun.  I'm looking forward to learning new music with them.
Scott and I got to go to the temple on Friday.  It was wonderful!  The new film was amazing.  And the Spirit was strong.  I'm grateful for temples.  They are a refuge, a holy, sacred place of learning.  I love going there, feeling the peace that surrounds it.  I am thankful that Scott and I were married in the Denver Temple - not only for time or "ill death do us part" but for eternity.  Our family can be together forever!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This week has been a busy and fun one!  The best part of the week was that my parents came for a visit from Colorado.  The worst part of the week was that they already left and we miss them tons!  They only came for 2 days... it wasn't near long enough.  But we had so much fun and they spoiled us rotten!  We played four games of Scrabble with Mom.  We went out to dinner.  We added to our food storage (thanks to mom and dad bringing up delicious foods and a trip to Sam's Club).  The girls got a lot of new clothes (which they are grateful for since they have to do their own shopping and don't like spending their own money on clothing.)  And we visited and discussed ideas and thoughts and books, etc.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  I think ya'll should move here.  Kentucky is closer to the New Jerusalem than Colorado is.  :-)
Key Lime Pie is the first one (besides me) to finish her summer Book Bingo.  (YEAH, Key Lime Pie!)  She was motivated because the "reward" for a blackout is $20 towards a new book(s).  She decided she is going to buy The Lord of the Rings series.  (It is $26 for the paperback set and so she only has to pay $6 for all 4 books.)

The books she read are:  A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Making the Music Decision by Jack R. Christianson, Key Lime Pie: A Culinary Mystery by Josi Kilpack, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle and Hamlet by Shakespeare.  She said her favorite ones were:  The GiverHuckleberry Finn and A Thomas Jefferson Education.
Kotten Kandy started a drug study for her exzema.  Thursday was a LONG day because she had to have the medication applied at 7 a.m.  They also took her blood three times during the day.  But the medication seems to be really working well.  Her hands look so awesome!  She doesn't enjoy the treatments though because they are soooooooo greasy.  The medication is made from a mushroom and is applied through a thick, greasy type of lotion.  We tease her that she has to get "greased" like a pig.  But she is so brave and is really following through.  I am proud of her and her determination to help others (that was her main reason for participating in the study - she wanted to help others.)  We have another week of "getting greased" twice a day.  We'll make it!
My great grandfather on my father's side (Grandpa Head) played the bones.  Dad said he remembers his grandfather playing them at age 91.  I didn't even know what the bones were.  Apparently Grandpa Head was really good.  So... my Dad made some bones out of walnut wood.  They are beautiful.  And he gave them to us.  We've all had a try at making some rhythm, but it takes some coordination and practice.  I'm not very good.  Scott has taken to it pretty well though.  He always likes the rhythm section of music so it is right up his alley!
Here is a short video showing the bones:

I LOVE homemade pico de gallo!  And my mom and sister have introduced me to a new product that makes making pico de gallo a BREEZE!  It is called a chop wizard.  I LOVE my new chop wizard.  It makes the pico in less than half the time.  It is my new favorite tool in the kitchen!
I LOVE canning!  I didn't know I did.  But I have learned that I do.  This week I learned how to can/make pickles.  I have some awesome friends who have helped.  My Visiting Teacher, Mary, gave me the cucumbers.  Amy taught me how to make bread and butter pickles and dill pickles.  YUM!  And they look sooooo pretty!  I'm pretty pleased with  my stash!  And on Wednesday, Jan taught me how to juice apples and make apple jelly.  She shared her apples and we made some beautiful jelly.  I can't wait to eat it!  Thank you soooooooooooo much to all of my good friends- Amy, Jan and Mary - who have shared and taught me a new skill.  (My girls are learning a lot too.  We call it home economics.  And they both have As in the class.)
Today is my 18th Wedding Anniversary!  Today is a day of reflection about our love and support of one another as a couple.  Today is a day to renew my love and affection for the best eternal companion ever.  Today is a day that I remember how I felt as I entered the temple to be married for time and all eternity to my best friend.  I am grateful for my marriage and my husband.  I am grateful that families are forever.  I am grateful for love.

As Tracy Bird sang:
It was no accident - me finding you
Someone had a hand in it
Long before we ever knew
Now I just can't believe you're in my life
Heaven's smilin' down on me
As I look at you tonight

I tip my hat to the Keeper of the Stars
He sure knew what he was doin' 
When He joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I've got all I'll ever need
Thanks to the Keeper of the Stars

Eighteen years ago the Keeper of the Stars really did know what he was doing...  I love you Scott DeGooyer!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I'm back!
The Illinois State Capitol was quite impressive.
But I LOVE our simpler Kentucky State Capitol better.
My favorite part is the out-door clock!
Churchill Downs is amazing!
We learned a LOT about horses and racing.
We even walked over the Ohio....
Our Nauvoo trip was FANTASTIC!  But we weren't finished playing with our family until Wednesday of this week.  The Pughs stuck around and we toured Frankfort and Louisville too.  What a great week with them!  We already miss them so much!
While we were on vacation, we listened to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Ernest Hemingway says it best when he says, "All modern literature stems from this one book.  There was nothing before, there has been nothing as good since."  It was a delightful book.  In fact, at one point, the entire family was laughing out loud at Tom and Huck's antics towards Aunt Sally.  Mark Twain has a great knack for humor and still deals with mature social issues.  This novel definitely deserves the title of : classic.  It was entertaining for my children as well as for my husband and I.  But don't read this book because it is a classic - read it because it is fun!
The last two Wednesdays, my girls and I have spent learning to make applesauce!  Jan, one of my dearest friends, has been kind enough to share her knowledge with us.  We have learned soooooo much!  It has been great fun!  And we have 12 jars of applesauce to show for it!  (I took some great pictures of my daughters making the applesauce... but now I can't find them.)
My best friend, Amy, just got put into Young Women's as the Miamaid assistant.  I am soooooooo excited to be in the same organization with her.  And my daughters are sooooooooo lucky to get to have her be one of their mentors!  I'm even more excited to be in the Young Women organization now!
I started cross-stitching again.  I needed a creative outlet.  I seem to go in spurts with it.  I'm making Christmas gifts for Amy's kids.  It's been a lot of fun and keeps me busy.
Yesterday was a productive day.  I'm plumb tuckered out from ironing 32 shirts for my husband.  While I ironed, Key Lime Pie did 3 loads of laundry, made rolls and cleaned the kitchen.  Kotten Kandy mowed half of the lawn, took care of bees with her father, and did Personal Progress.  Scott worked outside cleaning our yard, taking care of bees and working on Christmas gifts.  It feels good to get so much done.  :-)
My Dad just came out with a new CD, Recovering Romantic, and it is AWESOME!  It isn't like his other CDs (most of them have  some kind of religious theme and he writes all the music and lyrics).  He didn't write any of the songs on Recovering Romantic.  They are songs he used to sing for my Mom or were significant to them as they were dating and grew together.

The first song on the CD is "They Call The Wind Mariah."  I remember my Grandma T LOVING this song and asking my father to sing it for her.  I think my dad's version is the most beautiful version of this song I've ever heard.  And I've heard quite a few.  (No, I'm not prejudice.)  He also covers "Lonesome Polecat" from the musical 7 Brides for 7 Brothers.  He really jazzes it up.  I was surprised it could be so bluesy.  It works.  And I love it.  My daughters favorite track is also my parent's "song":  "Elusive Butterfly."  She instantly wrote down all the words and is trying to learn to accompany herself on the ukulele while singing it.  He also covers two Beatles' tunes:  "Do You Want To Know a Secret" and "Something in the Way She Moves."  All of the songs are done beautifully.

O.K., I am probably my dad's biggest fan.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his music.  And I really do enjoy all of his CDs.  This one is great too!  If you've never listened to my father before, he has a website where you can listen to his music (and buy it too, if you are interested).  His stage name is One Man Mormon Blues Band.  Check it out: