Saturday, October 26, 2013


What a busy week!
Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy
Chief Engineer/Tactical Officer - Commanding Officer - Executive and Science Officer - Red Shirted Nobody
Halloween is in full swing in our country.  The girls attended 3 Halloween parties this week.  One on Thursday and two on Friday.  (Our ward Halloween Party was one of the Friday parties.)  We decided to show of our nerd sides this year.
We went as a fictitious crew from the Star Trek Enterprise.  Scott was our Commanding Officer, and a human.  I was an expendable, red-shirted, alien.  Key Lime Pie, a vulcan, was our Executive and Science Officer.  Kotten Kandy was also a vulcan, and our Chief Engineer and Tactical Officer.
We always have fun dressing up this time of year!
Key Lime Pie, Applesauce, and Kotten Kandy
The girls participated in the first annual A Cappella Festival on Saturday night.  They had soooooooooo much fun!  They made new friends, and they LOVED singing the songs and performing.  The girls group did a barbershop version of "Feeling Groovy" made famous by Simon and Garfunkle.  Then they also sang with the boys group: "Lida Rose" from the musical, The Music Man.  The entire concert was wonderful.
Key Lime Pie was one of the leaders for her part.  She has such a great musical talent and can pick up any part easily.  Kotten Kandy sang soprano - and her stage presence rocks - she's fun to watch!  (Applesauce joined them and had a BLAST too!)  They are already begging to do it again next year.  :-)
I am currently reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas.  It is GREAT!  I wish I had read it sooner.  I'm only 1/2 way done but I can't put it down.  I love classic literature.  (The movie is cool too, but I do wish I had read the book first.  It is always better.)
We have three SETS of missionaries in our ward.  (I love living in the mission field... there was never more than one set per ward in the west.)  One of the pairs are Sister missionaries.  They are AWESOME and are great role models for my daughters.  Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy have enjoyed going with them to teach some of the investigators they are teaching.  We had the sisters over for dinner on Thursday night (before the Halloween party).  They are AMAZING!  I love them!  And I love what they are doing!  Thank you, sisters, for being such great examples and mentors to my girls.
My little brother, Zane, just got back from a vacation to Greece and Scotland with his family.  Since Scotland is where are ancestors hail from, he was especially impressed with the area.  He mentioned that he didn't know why our ancestors ever left because it was so beautiful and the people were so nice.  One kind lady told him (in a thick Scottish accent) that the reason our ancestors left is because "it's cold, dark and miserable."
I tell you this story because it has been "cold, dark and miserable" here in Kentucky this week.  It's definitely turning into winter.  We even had some snow flurries on Thursday.  And every morning, getting up for early morning seminary is getting more and more difficult, due to the freezing temperatures and the gloomy, darkened sky.  I think if Scotland is anything like Kentucky, I understand.  I don't like cold and dark.
School has been keeping us busy too.  We are currently finishing up our study of American documents.  It has been fun sharing these great records with my daughters.  I'm worried there will come a time when many of our children don't know, or haven't read, these marvelous works.  Both girls are also working on their math, Portuguese, and science assignments too.  Kotten Kandy is taking piano and voice lessons.  Key Lime Pie is working on a music theory class (with me) and is LOVING her violin lessons.  And every other week, we have an art class.  They are learning about shading and drawing people.  I LOVE homeschooling.  So do they!
I spent all week studying the Atonement of Christ.  I had to give a talk today, and that was the topic I was given.  It's been an emotional week, due to the studying and pondering on such a sacred subject.  (I cried a lot as I reflected on Christ and His sacrifice for me.)  I really do appreciate my Savior.  And I recognize that I need His saving grace in all I do.
Here is a copy of my talk (It's kinda long, so if you don't want to read it, I'll understand):
When I was a little girl, my grandma used to tell me stories.  She was the best story teller ever.  She used to tell me stories about Little Orphan Annie, or her sisters’ and their oddly shaped mouths, or a wild horse that needed love.  I loved all of her stories.  But there was one story that always made me a little bit sad, and I didn’t really understand it until I was a bit older:
There was a beautiful place where the trees were green, the grass was lush, and the mountains were tall and majestic.   The flowers always bloomed in this beautiful place - there were purple pansies and yellow daffodils, there were blue forget-me-nots and pink carnations and the white roses were large and gorgeous (but there were NO red roses.)
In this beautiful place there lived a popular and kind girl.  Everyone at school loved her.   Because she was so popular, many young men asked her to go on dates.  And so she would ask them to difficult tasks in order to take her out. 
There was a young man in her school, who finally got up enough nerve to ask the girl on a date.  She kindly told him that she would go out with him if he could get her a red rose.  The boy was heart-broken.  He knew that no red roses grew in the area.
That evening he went outside to the white rose bush that grew behind his house and cried.  He wondered out loud why none of the roses could be red.  All he wanted in the world was a red rose so he could go on a date with the beautiful girl.  A hummingbird heard his plea.  Now this hummingbird loved this little boy.  She had watched him grow his entire life.  She knew he was a good boy.  And she wanted to help him.
When the boy finally went inside, the bird decided she would help the boy.  She looked at the white rose bush and saw a beautiful white rose with a large thorn directly above it.  The young hummingbird flew as quickly as she could into the thorn and gave her life.  A few drops of blood from the bird dropped directly onto the rose turning it a beautiful crimson color.
The next morning was Saturday.  The young boy went out to the rose bush again wishing for a red rose.  He was surprised to see a beautiful red rose right in the middle of the bush.  He quickly cut the rose to take to the girl.  He didn’t even notice the small dead hummingbird lying on the ground beneath his prize.
As the boy ran towards the young woman’s house, he passed his friends playing a game of baseball.  They asked him to join them.  He answered that he couldn’t just then because he had to go give the red rose to the popular young girl.  His buddies started teasing him and began to beg him to play.  They needed another player to make the teams even.  Eventually the convinced the young boy to join the game.  He dropped the rose and ran towards his friends, accidentally stepping on the rose as he ran into the outfield.
Sometimes we, like the boy in the story, take the gift of Christ’s Atonement for granted.   Sometimes we get caught up in the everyday events of life and forget that the Savior, like the hummingbird, atoned for us and gave His life for us.  I never wanted to be like the young boy who took the gift of the red rose for granted.  But I have found myself, sometimes, taking the precious gift of Christ’s redeeming love for me for granted.
The past week, as I have studied the Atonement, I have felt gratitude and humility as I have revisited how I have been able to use the Atonement in my life.  Each of us have and will “taste the bitter ashes of life, from sin and neglect to sorrow and disappointment.  But the Atonement of Christ can lift us up.”  I think that the principle that has touched me the most, as I have studied and pondered, is that the Savior’s atonement has the healing power not only for sin, but also for inadequacy, and all that is unfair about life.
Why does the Lord allow suffering and adversity to come to us in this life?  - Because it is part of the plan for our growth and progress!  We shouted for joy when we knew we would have the opportunity to come to earth to experience mortality.  Dallin H. Oaks taught, “Our needed conversions are often achieved more readily by suffering and adversity than by comfort and tranquility.”
Sometimes the weight of the demand for perfection drives us to despair.  Stephen E. Robinson told a story about his wife that I could really relate too.  His wife and he were living in Pennsylvania.  Things were going pretty well; he had been promoted at work, he served in the bishopric, they had had their fourth child, his wife had graduated from college, passed the CPA exam and was serving as the Relief Society President.  They both held temple recommends and they had family home evenings.  Then one night everything seemed to crumble.  His wife completely checked out spiritually.  She wouldn’t participate in spiritual things, and she asked to be released from her callings.  When he finally got her to tell him what was wrong, she said something like this: “All right.  You want to know what’s wrong?  I’ll tell you what’s wrong.  I can’t do it anymore.  I can’t lift it.  I can’t get up at 5:30 in the morning and bake break and sew clothes and help my kids with their homework and do my own homework and do my Relief Society stuff and get my genealogy done and write the congressman and go to the PTA meetings and write the missionaries…” and she just started naming one brick after another that had been laid on her, explaining all the things she could not do.  She said, “I don’t have the talent that Sister So and So has , and I can’t do what Sister So and So does.  I try not to yell at the kids, but I lose control, and I do.  I’m just not perfect.  And I’m not ever going to be perfect.  I’m not going to make it to the celestial kingdom and I’ve finally admitted that to myself.  You and the kids can go, but I can’t do it all.  I’m not “Molly Mormon,” and I’m not ever going to be perfect, so I’ve given up.  Why break my back?”
Elder Robinson explained that his wife was trying to save herself.  She still had a testimony of Jesus Christ.  She knew Him as a coach, a cheerleader, an advisor, and a teacher.  She knew Him an an example and the head of the Church and as her Elder Brother.  She knew all of that, but she did not understand why He is called the Savior.  We can NOT save ourselves.  No one can.  No one is perfect, not even the Brethren.  Perfection only comes through the Atonement of Christ.  That is why we need a Savior.
When Elder Robinson explained to his wife how it worked, she was so grateful.  She said, “I’ve always believed that Christ is the Son of God.  I have always believed that He suffered and died for me.  But now I know that he can save me from myself, form my sins, form my weakness, inadequacy, and lack of talent.”
I love 2 Nephi 2:8:  “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.”  There is no other way.  Many of us are trying to save ourselves, holding the Atonement of Jesus Christ at arm’s distance and saying, “When I’ve done it, when I’ve perfected myself, when I’ve made myself worthy, then I’ll be worthy of the Atonement.  Then I will allow Him in.”  We cannot do it.  That’s like saying, “When I am well, I’ll take the medicine.  I’ll be worthy of it then.”  That’s not how it was designed to work.
When I was a teenager, I was bullied.  Today the abuse I received (verbally, physically and emotionally) at the hands of young women who knew better would have been considered criminal.  Back then, I was told to ignore it and be the “better person.”  The bullying continued throughout my young adulthood.  It wasn’t until I moved away for college that it stopped.  But the emotional scars didn’t disappear so easily.  I was diagnosed with depression.  I went to many therapists and read many self-help books to combat the hurt that continued to linger.  A great depression had settled upon me.  Satan knew when to attack.  Finally, one day at Ricks College, I knelt in prayer to my Heavenly Father and poured out my heart to Him.  Through the Holy Ghost, I knew that I needed my SAVIOR, Jesus Christ.  I knew that only He could save me from this despair.  Through priesthood blessings and the power of the Atonement, I was able to move on.   I now know that all that is unfair about life will be taken care of by the Atonement.   The Savior mercifully let me know of my true worth and all would be OK.

I bear testimony to you that all that is unfair in life will be taken care of through the Atonement of Christ.  I have learned this lesson many times in my life.  I bear testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He is the Savior of the World, that He is MY Savior.  I pray that we will never trample the special gift that He has given us through His atoning blood.  I bear testimony of Him.  I love Him…  Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


We just had a FABULOUS TRIP (in spite of the United States Government.)  We met my parents in Washington D.C. on Friday.  And we played hard until last night (when we returned home in time for the government to re-open.)

Here's a quick (yet photo heavy) review of our vacation:

Saturday we walked over 7 miles.  We saw ALL the monuments on the mall and the Union Station.
After looking at the Union Station, and the Library of Congress - we went to the Capitol.  It is an amazing building.  But the exciting thing?!  Glenn Beck was speaking out front.  We listened to him as he called for us to de-fund the GOP.  He talked about being good citizens and finding joy in serving our country.  We were super close to one of my mother and my favorite people!  And I even got a photo with Pat Grey, Glenn Beck's best friend and business partner.  Mom and I were sooooooooo excited!
After such an exciting morning we continued our trek around the Mall.  First we walked to Washington's Monument.  It was under construction so the pictures were not my favorite....

We had to break the law (civil disobedience) in order to get up to all of the different monuments and memorials.  It was exciting, a bit scary, and worth-while.  Here's proof of our civil disobedience:
Then we went to the Thomas Jefferson Monument.  There were two guards out front that would not allow us to enter, but we walked around the monument and took some pretty pics.

Then it was on to Franklin D. Roosevelt's monument.  I really don't think FDR was that great of a president.  He was probably sincere, but he had a lot of progressive quotes that I don't agree with.  And I really don't like the fact that he thought he was better than George Washington and served for 3 terms....  But his monument was striking and well created.
The quote above is an example of what "sounds" good but is not.  The fact is, we are not free from want or fear.  It is not a God-given right.  It is not in the constitution.  But it sounds nice.

After FDR, we saw Martin Luther King Jr.'s Monument.  Now he was a great man.  I don't like how the progressives are using his memory for their cause (I personally don't think he would like it either) but his monument was very inspirational.
The War Memorials were awesome (especially WWII and Vietnam.)  I am SOOOOOOOO grateful for the men and women who serve our country and are willing to sacrifice everything for our freedom.

The Lincoln Monument was by far the most sad to see.  It's hard to see this in the photo, but there is a line of policemen barricading us from going to the monument.  There was also TWO gates and mounted police.  There was a large protest outside the gates which we joined in.  My daughters were shocked at the anger and worried about the feelings of the police.  But the understood that we are given the right for free speech.  And the disagree with the way the President of the United States is handling conflict and the government shut-down.  Here are some interesting (and historical) pictures from our vacation:

Sunday we went to Church.  Guess what?  Harry Reid was in our ward.  Mom was close enough to kick him, but she didn't.  (I would have.  I don't understand that  man and I don't like him at all.)

We also went to the Kennedy Center Sunday evening for a free concert.  It was a jazz/Spanish/Brazillian concert.  It was a lot of fun.  And the Kennedy Center is really cool.
Mom and I also found a 7-11 so we could get some coke icees!  YUM!!!!
Monday brought us to the Spy Museum where we all got new identities and had fun learning about espionage.  (I was Gretta Schmid, age 33 from Germany.  I was an astronomer in England on business for 4 days.)  We also got to see a James Bond exhibit.  Bond rocks!
Unfortunately, Ford's Theater was closed, but there was an interesting exhibit about Lincoln across the street.  This sculpture is made up of books about Lincoln.  It was very impressive and I loved the quote:
The rest of the exhibit definitely had an agenda and was rather disappointing.  There was a lot of propaganda and it was neat to show my daughters how much propaganda can be used to make one's image good or bad.  I was really rather disgusted by the progressives and their blatant indoctrination and use of Abraham Lincoln for their own purposes.

Tuesday was another beautiful day.  We decided to go to Arlington Cemetery.  It was fantastic.  And the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was almost spiritual.  It was neat.
And the view of DC from near Kennedy's eternal flame was gorgeous.  You could see the Washington Monument:
Then we journeyed to Mount Vernon.  It was incredible.  George Washington is my favorite president.  His property is beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Before we left for home on Tuesday, we made a quick trip to Maryland to see the temple.  It was sooooooooo worth it!
Was our trip worth it despite the government shutdown?  YES!  We had a fabulous time!  Thanks, Mil and Grandpa Mac!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Guess how we have spent most of our week?
Key Lime Pie started it.  I took her to the doctor on Wednesday and discovered she had a wicked virus.  The doctor prescribed: lots of fluids, plenty of rest and Ibuprofin & cough syrup.
By Wednesday night, Kotten Kandy also had a sore throat.  Scott and I showed symptoms by Thursday morning.  (Thanks for sharing, Key Lime Pie.)  So Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we spent sleeping, drinking Icees (to soothe our sour throats, of course) and watching The Mentalist.  We didn't get much school work done because we all had head aches that caused our brains to quit working.  A good friend of mine says, "A sick family is a united family!"  We are pretty united right now!
While we were sick... we watched season 5 of The Mentalist.  We enjoy that show.  We are all wondering who Red John is.  We all have our guesses.  Now we have to wait for season 6 to show up on DVD (or BEG Chris to let us watch two shows at his house?!)  Either way, we are all anxiously awaiting to watch more of Patrick Jane in action.
We've had a lot of rain this week.  I'm not a huge fan of rain.  But I love the green that it creates outside.
One day (before we got sick) Kotten Kandy and Apple Pie decided to play in the rain.  They looked so happy spinning and singing!  I love these two kids!
I made FHE treats.  I tried to make them healthy.  I thought they turned out pretty and they were yummy....
I miss my sister and my mother.  I REALLY miss my sister and mother.  This week they have been at my little brother's house.  Since they don't have cell phones I haven't been able to talk to them daily - like usual.  (Yes, I talk to my sister and mom EVERY day.  Sometimes more than once a day.)  Anyway, they should be home now... so I can go back to my daily calls.  I've missed talking to them.  They are some of my bestest friends in the entire world.  I'm soooooooooooo grateful for phones.  It would be so hard to live in Kentucky while they were in Colorado without them.  I wish we lived closer and could do things together.  (At least I get to see my mom next week in D.C. - I'll blog about that in two weeks.)
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  Sweet Rolls!  Scott makes his family's famous sweet rolls every year during conference.  They are delicious.  And my good friend, Amy, made her sausage balls.  (Another Mmmmmmmm!)  And Kotten Kandy tried a new recipe (that she made up from the top of her head) of hash browns with cheese and onion and other stuff.  She did an excellent job.  I took small bites of everything.  I love the tastes at general conference.....
IT'S GENERAL CONFERENCE!  This is one of our family's favorite holidays.  (Yes, we call it a holiday!)  We LOVE listening to our prophets' speak.  I asked my family what their favorite talks were.  They couldn't choose.  All the talks were inspirational and wonderful!  I'm so grateful my entire family LOVES general conference and pays attention to the important messages given to us.  I'm so grateful to be a member of this Church.  I'm so grateful for latter-day prophets.  I'm so grateful we get to feast upon their words - because they truly are the words of Christ.  I KNOW this to be true.  I LOVE General Conference!!!!!!!