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Chile sauce

Chile sauce is a family recipe: Lane grew up eating his mother’s recipe, who learned it from her mother. I didn’t grow up eating it, but my mom tasted it on a roast at our house and remembered that her mother made it when she was growing up! So it’s a family recipe of sorts on both sides of our family!

This is not a quick recipe, but it makes the whole house smell wonderful: savory and tangy and just like fall!

And then when you cook a roast for Sunday dinner, there is nothing like spooning some bright homemade chile sauce on that slice of roast to make it taste just right….

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Welcome Fall, Aunt Becca style 🎃

I mentioned that I got the idea for “welcome dinners” from my sister, Becca. I asked her if she would share some photos from her Welcome Fall dinners past. (Her welcome Fall dinners center around Halloween, because they do Halloween in a pièce de résistance kind of way, and love to usher in the whole season with this special dinner.) If you feel impressed by what you see, join the club. Each of my sisters is talented in their own ways. This sister is talented chef, she is also a gifted photographer, creative genius, and fun mother extraordinaire–having worked really hard to develop her gifts. You can see why I would be inspired!

Are you drooling yet?

Fresh homemade pasta?

I would love a seat at that table!

Preparing special occasions for our families reminds them how fun life can be and how special they are to us. When we work to create special occasions, we feel happy inside that we have shown our love to our family. It is SO worth the work to create fun memories!

Hats off to my sister and her wonderfully fun family who are so dear to us! Many thanks for sharing, Bex!💛

 

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Anna and I love to snuggle next to each other on the big chair in my room and read at night, whenever we get an early enough start. (That can be quite an accomplishment, starting early enough!)

With Peter homeschool for 2 periods this year (and studying US History), I got my hands on a few copies of books from a series called “Picture Biographies.” I REALLY like these books, because they give a good overview of a person’s life. Anyone, young or old, can get a person’s life in a nutshell.

Obviously the text is written for a younger audience than Anna and I are. But it’s a great jumping-off place for learning more about that person’s life. For example, Anna noticed that the book only had one page and very little information about his wife and children. So we went online immediately and found out more about Deborah Read and their three children.

Turns out that Deborah Read and Benjamin Franklin’s marriage and life was quite complicated, and that she raised an illegitimate child of Franklin’s. All of this was a great conversation that we got to have together as we read and discussed what we read.

That’s the kind of learning I love to do!

Check out the series at your library!

To see more book recommendations, click here.

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Welcome Fall dinner

We love to have “welcome dinners” in our home. The idea originated with my sister, Becca, who always has a “Welcome Fall” dinner each year.  I decided to do “Welcome ______” (insert name of month or season) dinners whenever I wanted because it was just such a fun way to begin a new time of year!

This last Sunday, Anna and Eliza decided they were going to prepare a “Welcome Fall” dinner and went all out. First Anna created the little menus that she printed out and put under the napkin on each place setting, which she beautifully set on the table.

Anna made it especially fun by being the waitress, taking orders from each person. (“Church juice” is this powdered fruit drink that we have in our food storage from the cannery. We used to drink it on Sundays as a way to rotate it. It’s kind of like Tang. Not stellar, but something different from water if you are looking for a change of flavor in an emergency! 😁)

Eliza made some wonderful cider pork in our pumpkin pot. The entree, along with the red potatoes, garden tomato and zucchini tian, and fresh fruit salad (made with watermelon, canteloupe, Asian pear, peach, and apple slices) were all scrumptious.

Not to mention warm pumpkin pie!

It was definitely a success, made all the more special by having my mom there with us (and by the fact that almost all I did to help was sit down, eat, and do some dishes afterwards).

 

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Sarah texted me one day this week to share a sample of a book she had started to listen to on her commute each day to and from grad school. I listened and thought, “I have to listen to this book!” It’s not that I didn’t have two other books I’m reading this month…😗

This book is primarily focused on the life of a young Hmong refugee girl who is born with epilepsy. The family lives in Merced, California, and the cultural/linguistic barriers that exist for them create very challenging barriers for good medical care to her that is frustrating to both sides: the medical providers and the family.

But there is much more than Lia Lee. It is about the challenges of being a refugee, of working in cross-cultural settings, of social and ethical dilemmas, and of cultural effects upon childbirth and nurturing children.

I will first say that this book (I am only over two hours into it) would be fabulous reading for ANY medical, anthropology, or social work student. I have learned so much about Hmong refugees. (It is particularly fascintating when read by Anne Fadiman, who must be a native speaker?)

I need to come back and write more about this book later. I will say that I would label this book with a RED FLAG for language and adult content as it is medically, anatomically, culturally and religiously very descriptive–some of it is not appropriate for children younger than at least teens (you would have to decide as a parent as to the maturity of your teen).  I think it is certainly appropriate for college age students. I think that taken in context, I can understand why certain stories are included. As always, I recommend judging for yourself.

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I’m a Beehive advisor now, and this just makes me so happy! One of the reasons I am so happy is that I can prepare lessons. I LOVE to learn and to teach, and having specific lessons which I am preparing gives me focus in my scripture study.

I just looked up the topic for the next lesson I will help with. (The young women in my class will actually teach most of the lesson, but I still prepare so that I can add insights as needed during the class.) “Why does the Lord want me to be healthy?” is the assigned topic.

Of course it is! When I am immersed in all kinds of questions about how to feed my daughter Rebecca so that she no longer has stomach pain or acid reflux and how to understand the Word of Wisdom better, I have this topic! I LOVE IT!

I have so much to add to that last paragraph, but let’s just skip to the verse I started out my studies with, and come back to that later. I opened my study journal and wrote down the question, “Why does the Lord want me to be healthy? I remembered a quote I had read in a cookbook earlier in the week, a man’s comment (the man is James SImmons, author of Original Fast Foodsabout how wheat is the staff of life and what that might mean. I found the quote and wrote it in my study journal. I wonder if what he said is correct. But it gives me a perspective I hadn’t considered, that a staff is an aid to walking, not the walking itself, so perhaps wheat is an aid to healthy living, not the complete foundation as I thought? Hmm.

Then on the next page, I decided that I’d start my study off with seeing simply what the Lord says about FOOD in the Book of Mormon. So I wrote that down.

So I opened up my study opened up my scriptures to Helaman 4 (where I left off yesterday) and read (starting in verse 1) through these two verses:

12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—

13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.

I noticed that sharing food is an integral part of righteous living that contributes to our ability to prosper. Pride and selfishness (along with other sins), it appears, contributes to be deleterious to our health–note the phrase that I highlighted.

I’m being reminded of studies about eating together as a family (first priority) and also about the when I dropped off some food at the food shelter recently, and how happy I felt not only to contribute, but for those who worked to build that shelter, who staff it, who receive donations and prepare delicious meals for those in need, so that anyone who walks through their door won’t leave hungry. My mom taught me about giving, even after my and Lane’s wedding reception. We returned from our honeymoon and I asked if there was any ice cream left from it. She said no, that she had taken the leftover food to the Food and Care Coalition. I followed suit when we had leftovers from Nate and Hunter’s open house, and what a gift that was to me to remember my mother’s example.

I was only a few minutes into my study and already found a thought about food and a connection to why the Lord would want me to be healthy. It seems obvious to me that when I have prepared something healthy for myself and others to eat, that I not only can benefit from eating that food, but I can help others feel better, feel satisfied, not be hungry, have more energy to do good, etc. Don’t you notice that when you are “hangry” that it’s so much harder to want to be kind or do what you know is right? But when you’ve had a good meal, you are so much more disposed to be in good humor, to love others, etc?

This takes me back to the Beehive logo at the top of this post. Bees work hard to produce honey, “one of nature’s most beneficial foods.” With all the work that a single bee will go to in order to produce even the 1/12 a teaspoon that it produces in a lifetime*, I suppose I can work hard to study and learn more as well as keep working towards providing healthy food for myself, for my family, and for others. (I’m so grateful for the bees that polinated our flowers, vegetables, and grape vine this summer! I just walked out to my garden and saw the rain drops glistening on the flowering kale and grape leaves. I ate some of the most exquisite grapes. God sure knows how to make a grape! Wow!)

I’ll leave my post there. I’m excited for this new study topic!

* Also see https://www.apexbeecompany.com/honey-bee-facts/

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What I regret, and what I don’t

We’ve had so many changes in our family recently: Sarah graduating from college, Nate marrying Hunter, Julia receiving her mission call, Sarah leaving for graduate school, and the other four children beginning a new school year–including one as a senior in high school.

With these significant events have come lots of conversations, blessings and challenges. I continue to learn more about who my children are at this stage in their lives, and I see what I have seen before: that children aren’t static. They change. Their personalities unfold. They meet challenges, they learn, they grow. Sometimes they make choices we as parents don’t agree with. Sometimes they do things we are so proud of, and sometimes they don’t.

Through it all I am learning that I love our children so much, no matter what.

I’m also learning that I have some regrets and some feelings of gratitude, or non-regrets, for lack of a better word. I don’t regret having taught each child to pray, to read, to go to Heavenly Father and His words and His Son for help. These are things that I am terribly grateful that someone told me to do and that I did.

Some regrets I have are things that maybe we just learn as parents and gain experience. I have heard them from others: I wish I had played with my children a little more. I wish I had known them better and been more in tune with their hearts and minds. Girls might be easier in that regard, whereas it might be harder with boys and moms. I’m not sure. We only have 2 sons! And speaking for our 5 daughters, again, I can only speak for my own experience as every person in the world is individual. I wish I had been gentler and laughed more. I wish I had understood sons better.

But more than anything, I feel grateful that we taught them to pray, to read the scriptures, to fast, to try to keep all the commandments, to go to church, to work hard in school and at work, to help at home. I know we have done those things, albeit imperfectly, and I’m grateful, because I know they have the tools in their toolbelt to move forward with whatever they face as they enter these adult phases of their lives.

Alas, regrets are part of learning as we go as parents, right? So our younger children benefit from the perspective we gain as older (more tired) parents. Lucky them. And the older ones got the energy and drive we had as younger parents. Lucky them.

I’m grateful in all of it that I didn’t have to be a perfect parent. And that I’m still learning and working on changing. I still have hope that I will learn more and more and that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, my faults and weaknesses won’t prevent any of our children from realizing their potential.

Right now I’m hearing in my mind those comforting words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland to mothers:

“When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you” (“Because She Is a Mother”)

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Yesterday morning I woke up right before my alarm was to go off at 4:55 am and went to be sure Sarah was up. She flew in very late the previous night from D.C. by way of Orlando, gratefully being able to land in Florida before Hurricane Irma would got there. Lane and Peter picked her up at the airport and all of them got to bed after midnight (after 2 am her time). I had gone to bed sometime around 9:30 pm, gratefully. So for me, it was much easier to wake up.

Sarah got ready, and we drove together to her first medical school interview. After finding the link on her tablet for directions to her destination, I shared a scripture and then we went over sample interview questions that she had found on the internet. I asked her the question, and she would respond as she drove. We also went over some general question types, such as, “What are your greatest weakenesses?”

I couldn’t help but think about Ether 12:27 and a quote from President Eyring who said “Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress.”

She shared what she felt were some of her weaknesses. As a mother, I could concur that I had seen what she mentioned in her actions at times. I also felt so grateful that she could be seeing those weaknesses now, because I continue to learn that seeing my weaknesses and mistakes is a stepping stone to making the very changes I need to make in order to be happier in my life. And I also had to share how I felt those weaknesses were going to help her.

So this morning I was praying and thinking about some of my weaknesses. Here are a few:

  1. I have a hard time wanting to be friends and reach out to people who have hurt me. This makes it hard for me to enjoy some of my relationships.
  2. I can be quick to judge.
  3. I am late a lot. I often try to do too many things in too short of time.
  4. I don’t track what I spend and don’t keep a budget well.
  5. I don’t always think of others first.
  6. PRIDE!

These are just some of my weaknesses.

Here’s what is great about what I feel that Heavenly Father has been teaching me:

  • It is okay to have weanesses, and it’s okay not to work on every weakness all at the same time.
  • I don’t have to master everything right now. There is time to work on every weakness, one step at a time. He is really, really, really, patient and is perfectly fine with me making mistakes and learning. It’s okay if it takes me a really long time to learn to become the way I desire to be. He knows how much I want to be on time, perfectly loving, completely balanced, utterly self-disciplined, etc.
  • Service to others opens my eyes to things that I didn’t see before, both about myself and about others. I learn how I could live in kinder, more thoughtful ways. I loved this phrase that I read this week from Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven.” I saw this most recently when so many people helped us with our backyard and wedding/open house preparations.
  • These weaknesses increase my compassion for others. They help me see Heaven’s hand in my life so much more clearly. For example, seomtimes when I’m late, I see that Heavenly Father has helped other circumstances so that things still work out. It is as though He recognizes my imperfect but sincere efforts to be on time and manage myself, my family and our full life.

Most of all, especially because my number one goal for 2017 has been to learn about being gentle, I have felt how gentle Heavenly Father is with me. I feel like He is so happy letting me learn and grow without feeling rushed or pushed. He isn’t angry with me when I make mistakes. He rejoices with me when I learn. He loves it when I keep trying, even (especially?) when it’s hard or I fail.

One message I wish I could share most with others about my blog is that I am not an expert at anything. I’m not in any way more special than anyone else. I’m simply recording my observations and my witness of how God is working in my life. He’s raising me. I’m one of His amazing children. And you are one of His amazing children, too. I hope my sharing my perspective on my life can somehow encourage you in yours. That’s why I write.

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Time for a new job chart

Click on the image to go to a PDF of this chart.

LOL. Our children know that with the change of season comes a new job rotation schedule. So here it is! In the midst of this crazy wedding open house prep week, I had to make the chart, because school started last week, and we need that routine to help us maintain our sanity–AND so we could know whos is supposed to scoop poop today!

The children mark off their job with a check each day. On the spot where there is “R E P A,” they simply mark off their initial.

I believe that clear, organized visual information helps reduce conflict in the home. When a child knows what their responsibilities are (and has been kindly taught how to do them), they are much more likely to do them. That’s why I create charts.

Our children are accustomed to charts and know what to do with them. They are also used to organization, so that when they grow up, if they choose to, they will have an idea of how to organize a group to accomplish specific work. And HOPEFULLY they will also know how to kindly teach a child (or older person) how to do a task!

 

 

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Two Sundays ago I went to choir practice and right after I came home, I started feeling sick: chills, achiness, nausea. I thought, “Seriously?” With all that has been on my mind with recent and coming family events and preparation, I really wanted to go to church and not deal with physical illness!

I asked for a priesthood blessing from Lane and Nate and got up and went to church. By the end of the third hour, I was doing better than I had earlier that morning. I just took it easy that day.

My sister-in-law Diane stopped by that evening. She had come by the day before when we were working outside and saw what we were trying to accomplish in the backyard. She heard about what we hoped to accomplish before we left for our family reunion, and she left her son Sam to help us while she left to help put on a baby shower.

Without us knowing, she went to task organizing a service night. Late Monday afternoon, another sister-in-law dropped off two pizzas and some fresh fruit for dinner for our family. Then, at about 6:30 pm, extended family started showing up, ready to work wherever we needed them. Our nephew’s fiancée came: “I’m all in!’ she told us. The brother and wife of our niece’s husband even came to help! I don’t even know them! They all stayed until it got dark, shoveling bark, moving dirt, helping with that heavy stone.

And then they left as cheerfully as they had come.

Can I just tell you what love filled my heart?

I felt so much gratitude and love for those people!

And this thought was really impressed upon me: If you want to grow love, serve.

When I was a student at BYU, I went to the student government office one day to join a service program called “Serve to Love to Serve.” That name has stuck with me over these years, and that Family Night service night at our home reminded me of that. If you want to grow love for someone, serve them.

Yesterday in Relief Society, we reviewed the lesson called “Losing Ourselves in the Service of Others.” President Hinckley taught,

If the world is to be improved, the process of love must make a change in the hearts of men. It can do so when we look beyond self to give our love to God and others, and do so with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind…

“As we look with love and gratitude to God, as we serve him with an eye single to his glory, there goes from us the darkness of sin, the darkness of selfishness, the darkness of pride. There will come an increased love for our Eternal Father and for his Beloved Son, our Savior and our Redeemer. There will come a greater sense of service toward our fellowmen, less of thinking of self and more of reaching out to others.

“This principle of love is the basic essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (p.202).

In my scripture study in the Book of Mormon this morning, I read Alma 41. I noticed that there is a gift that comes back to us if we “deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually”–it comes back to us. “And if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.”

This reminds me of a Christmas decoration that this same Diane made for me years ago, a red sleigh with silk flowers in it. Attached was the simple phrase, “Love begets love.” If we show love toward our family members, love will return. The key to nurturing love in our home and family and extended family is to show love through service, kindness, mercy. I found these verses in Colossians 3:13-14:

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

It’s hard to stay mad at someone who is being kind and helpful, right?

I also noted this verse in Alma 41:15, just like Diane’s “love begets love” phrase: “For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored.”

Time for me to get going and go serve.

#servetolovetoserve

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