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Le LiahonaI just finished reading a very sweet article in the December 2014 issue of The Liahona in French. It told about a woman who was sewing blankets to give to newborns in impoverished or natural-disaster affected areas of the world. She talked about how the Spirit spoke to her as she was making the blankets, and how that changed her heart to view her own work as a special gift to the Savior.

I thought of how cool it is to read such a great little story in another language, and wanted to share about that. Then I considered what a great gift idea it is for someone you know who wants to learn or maintain a second language. Maybe you know someone who is getting home from their mission? Depending on the language (choose from Armenian to Vietnamese and 45 other languages in between) and the number of issues per year that are printed in that language, you will pay anywhere from $1 to $10 per subscription, with the most common cost being about $10/year for 12 issues. (Where else can you get a copy of a magazine in simplified Chinese, Croatian, Icelandic, or Urdu, for $1 or less?)

The nice part about The Liahona is that it is a beautifully written and type-set combination of articles for all ages, child through grandparent, taken from The Ensign, The New Era, and The Friend magazines. The topics are about every day life, so it’s a nice way to maintain normal, non-job specific language. They are all upbeat and contain helpful, positive, loving, Christian messages.

They are delivered earlier than their English equivalents, due to mailings to foreign countries, so you get a sneak peak of what is coming in the next issue. It is fun to get magazines from smaller nations (i.e. Finland), because there is a little local Church news-type section in the middle of each issue with photos of members. My husband sometimes will recognize a family’s name from his mission years ago. They even post mission calls there of the local members! (Now, if I read Finnish, it would make it a lot easier to understand, but I can figure out a few things….)

The nice part about having the same articles in two languages, is that if you are trying to learn a language (or maintain one), and you don’t understand a word or phrase, you can simply compare the English and second language issues and voilà! Your translation.

I love reading these magazines in both my native and second languages. No matter the language, it’s always uplifting.

And there are NO ads! No offensive photos!

Amusez-vous bien en lisant,

Liz :)

P.S. Of course, these magazines are available online for free! (To view other languages besides English, click on the language at the top right of the page on lds.org, and it will bring up a page of all the available languages.) But I like getting one in my mailbox, because then I am more apt to take the time to read it.

Here is something else cool: I love that you can get so many materials in ASL online! ASL is a language I dream of learning to speak some day! I was just looking at some of the conference talks in ASL. Check out how much this interpreter looks like Sister Burton!  Could she be related?

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Mmmm: Extended family Christmas giving

Water bottle nalgene_300

I like our extended family tradition on the Livingston side. Every extended family does things differently. But on the Livingston side, we have a plan in which one family gives to only one other family. So I created a Christmas Giving Rotation Charts page to help me remember. I don’t know why, but it can be seriously mentally taxing at this time of year to try to remember who we gave to last year or the year before that!

What are some gifts we have given or received that we loved? Every year is something terrific! One year we got really nice water bottles in different colors so each of our children had their own color. These have been fabulously practical.

Another family gave us a blanket which they made from two pieces of fleece fabric, having tied the edges. Simple construction, extremely cozy. We have LOVED using it in our basement to watch movies or snuggling up on the couch with a good book. Great gift!

We love to give and receive games. Some terrific games we have enjoyed over the years? Ticket to Ride, Rummikub, Quelf, to name a few off the top of my head.

Of course, our family has given Christmas books or music, as that is one of our special interests.  I love to give Christmas books, such as A Christmas Carol or wonderful children’s books to the children when families were younger.

We also have given and received great movies. The blanket the one family made also came with a DVD that our family loves!

Last year we gave the gift of music to Lane’s parents when it was our turn to visit them for Christmas. We brought some of our sheet music and instruments with us to do so. That way they didn’t have to store it or clean it or regift it!

When the children were younger, of course, we gave things like mouse pads made from drawings or photos, or photo books or photo collage placemats to our parents.

Giving to siblings and parents really has been such an enjoyable part of our Christmas traditions! It can take a little extra effort, but it’s so fun to send a package off with love to distant loved ones.

Happy Planning and Giving,

Liz :)

 

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THINK: Elementary education

Homework burden

Talk about stream-of-consciousness! Get ready. This is a long post!

I am a thinker. I am constantly pondering. So I’m adding a category (“Think”) to start sharing more of my thoughts about whatever I’m thinking about (that doesn’t fit into the other categories). In recent weeks this means my children’s education.

This year was the year that our youngest child started into the gifted and talented classes at our elementary school. Because each of our children have participated in the program, I already had an idea about what this would mean.

I knew it would mean a great teacher with great in-class instruction and loving concern for my child. I knew it would mean interaction with other children who come from homes where their parents are highly involved in and supportive of their children’s education. There are far fewer distracting behavior problems in these classes.

AND I also knew it would mean more homework.

With two children in the G/T program in the elementary school and the other 5 children still having their lives and activities, and Lane’s work stress/involvement increased, I wondered how we would make everything work.

I jumped in and decided to go for it, hoping it would work out.

I prayed to find a replacement for me in directing the school music program so that I could pass that torch, reducing my volunteer commitments. That prayer was answered! I am SO grateful for the other mother who willingly stepped into that role so that the program that I had put a number of years and love into could continue.

I offered to volunteer in my children’s classrooms in very minimal ways that wouldn’t require any preparation, meaning that I could basically just show up and do my part. So that reduced my volunteer load as well, and still helped them feel like I was participating in their classroom, which they love.

I wasn’t able to drop my kindergarten music teaching, but have had two other mothers teaching in the other two classes who haven’t required lots of support (they have been awesome!!!), so that has been minimal.

But somehow, this year has still ended up being harder than I thought, and as I have tried to deal with the challenges that have popped up, both personally and for my family, I seem to feel like I am falling short a lot of the time. Barely keeping my nose above water. Running faster than I have strength.

So I have gone back to my decision to sign that commitment form for the G/T program. Did I make the right decision?

I attended a parent meeting last week held by the Gifted Services in our district. The speaker’s topic was meeting the emotional needs of gifted students. As the meeting progressed, there was some discussion about homework load. I raised my hand and shared my concern: With multiple children enrolled in the program, it becomes overly challenging to keep up with the homework load. Even though there is supposed to be a 60-90 minute limit (30-60 minutes homework and 30 minutes reading), if you add this up for the parent, it becomes a literal impossibility, particularly if you have any other kinds of extracurricular education going on (music lessons, practicing, sports practices or dance/theatre rehearsals, Scouts or Activity Days or Young Men/Young Women, art classes, family activities, not to mention FAMILY DINNER).

One of my pet peeves: it is so hard simply to have time to read aloud to my children at bedtime. Getting them to bed on time feels like it has become a near impossibility. So we are always tired and having a hard time getting up in the morning to practice, which means we have to practice after school. You see where this is going. A vicious cycle.

The answer the speaker gave was, “[The G/T] program is not a fit for everyone.”

Does that translate into, “Only people with 2 children can make this work for them?”

OR

“You can only do this if you are a [nonexistent] supermom or your children don’t need as much sleep or family togetherness time or balance in their lives.”

I don’t think that those who work so hard to make the gifted/talented programs run well in our district are trying to say that.

What I wonder, though, is if the expectations that teachers have for students are realistic for families with more than 1-3 children?

I had several mothers speak to me after the meeting, echoing my concerns.

This dilemma has reminded me of a principle I learned back in 1998 in an address entitled “Parents in Zion” by President Boyd K. Packer. The principle is this:

Every time you schedule a youngster, you schedule a family—particularly the mother.

This is something that people who are involved in programs for children ages 0-18 seem to often forget.

When you schedule a dance performance, music recital, school choir concert, or soccer games, you have to consider what the rest of the family schedule might be like. Is what you are asking burdensome?

If you say a child has only 1 hour of homework a night, that may be an average time, that doesn’t take into consideration illness of another family member, an older sibling’s flute recital, a merit badge POW WOW assignment, or the one day of the week that is always late because of dance carpools and music lessons.

What about when an older teenage sibling has a swim meet and needs mom to support them? Do you know how long swim meets are?

What about the older teenage sibling who is having a meltdown from a friend issue that takes some time, so you can’t help that younger child who needs your help with their homework until later, and then they are too tired to focus and do their assignments without melting down as well?

What matters more: homework or relationships? Does the homework load cause more arguing and emotional upheaval in a young child’s life than is healthy or developmentally appropriate? Does it kill their love of learning and give them the space and time children need to explore their own ideas and creativity, or is every minute scheduled because of the teacher’s/district’s/state’s agenda?

President Packer was addressing this principle in the church setting. He explains,

“How easy it is, in our desire to provide schedules of programs and activities, to overlook the responsibilities of the parent and the essential need for families to have time together.

“We must be careful lest programs and activities of the Church become too heavy for some families to carry. The principles of the gospel, where understood and applied, strengthen and protect both individuals and families. Devotion to the family and devotion to the Church are not different and separate things….

“In Church we are taught the Great Plan of Happiness. 10 At home we apply what we have learned. Every call, every service in the Church brings experience and valuable insights which carry over into family life.”

Some years ago, the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] made some major changes in how they did meetings during the week and on Sundays in order to maximize family time together and lessen the burden of responsibilities on families and mothers in particular. I wish school districts would do that.

There are ways of doing it.

Correllating calendars, for example, is helpful, so that elementary schools, junior highs, and high schools don’t overlap their events. We have the technology to do that. Let’s use it instead of putting the burden onto the parent to make it all work out and have to skip one child’s concert to attend another, or, as one of our children’s teachers had to do, attend her own parent-teacher conferences while missing her own child’s performance at the junior high.

Reducing the number of events a group can have would be helpful.

You can’t just say, “Don’t have your daughter dance then, and then scheduling wouldn’t be such a problem.” That response doesn’t work for me. Here’s why: I let my children pick one thing they want to do beside their instrument. Music is too important to me both educationally (watch this) and for the development of self-discipline. Plus, it’s a family heritage thing. It’s in our blood. So should I say, “Sorry, hon. You can only do homework and music. Nothing else that you want to do.” That just doesn’t fly for me! They spend so many hours in school bored to death learning something they aren’t interested in, that I think that is just not fair. If we couldn’t afford it, that would be different. We have to be able to afford what we do. And there have been times when I have let the older children do their activity of choice while a younger one doesn’t, because of the family budget at the time. But if we can afford it, then I want them to have the chance to taste and try out what they choose. That’s part of the joy of childhood!

You also just can’t say, “You chose to have a big family. Live with it.” Sorry, that is lame. Every child, regardless of how big their family is, has the same right to a wonderful education as any other. And teachers who don’t recognize the educational benefit that a large family offers to those students should ask some who can enlighten them. (Like me!) :) But like any other setting, there are challenges, like greater time constraints on the mother’s ability to help each child with their individual homework assignments.

Simplifying homework and inviting parental participation that doesn’t require getting, spending, or making would be excellent. One example of this is my third grader’s Xtra Math assignments and writing. The math program is an excellent drill-and-practice math website that is free. It is well done and easy to access. You simply have to log in and work for about 10 minutes. Very helpful.

Her writing assignments are age- and level-appropriate and often require her to do “interviews” with a family member. This means we can have a conversation in the car while driving somewhere, and she can do the writing assignment after that as well travel. It doesn’t take an hour. And it is more meaningful because we connected about something meaningful. I enjoy them, and she does, too.

Giving students choices for what they would like to do within parameters, while limiting the time spent on a project, would be helpful. I love how one child can pick a way to do a book report from a page full of options, but I wish that the time limit for doing the book report would be limited so that the child could decide how to simplify his or her project.

One way teachers could invite parent participation is to require less and invite them to find ways to connect with their child about the assignment. For example, you could ask a child to find a news article and then discuss it during dinner with their family. Then they could come back and share different opinions they heard from family members.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that there are answers and better ways of doing things sometimes than how we have traditionally done them. I believe that if we ask, “Does this assignment complicate family life or improve it?” then we might be headed in a valuable direction. And we have to be sure that every assignment is essential in the mind of the teacher AND the parent.

I think reading aloud to children should be a homework assignment for all grades through grade 8. Children love to be read to, and it is an incredibly valuable teaching and learning tool. I would venture to guess that it is even more valuable than individual reading in some regards. So rather than having a child have to read 1000 pages a month, perhaps they read 400 on their own and then read at least one book off of a list of 100 absolutely WONDERFUL books with a parent or sibling during that month. That would not only cultivate higher-level thinking because of the ensuing conversations that could happen, but would strengthen that family relationship and create good memories for the long run.

I absolutely love it how one of our teachers would give the assignments for the whole week at the beginning, and the only assignment that has to be done every day is reading aloud for 30 minutes. That is so much more adaptable to our ever-changing daily schedule! And we can work really hard on Monday to get as much done as possible, so that we can pace ourselves through the rest of the week. When there are assignments spread out for every day of the week, it feels tedious and overbearing, and far less adaptable. It is too much work for me as the parent to follow up on that child who is not as self-motivated or detail-oriented. Or who hates homework.

I really wish I could homeschool my youngest children somedays. I dream of reading books together and having less structure so that we could have more room to explore, to read together, to discuss together, to research our own interests instead of the school curriculum’s, and to write about what matters to us. We could practice and do jobs at home and have a little more freedom to do what I care about with them, as time always rushes onward and we meet everyone else’s expectations, and I feel like I am always running, running, running to help everyone check off what they are supposed to have checked off.

Well, this is long enough for tonight. I really needed to get some of these thoughts written down because they have been ruminating in my head, and I have to decide what I am going to do about them.

I do believe in public education. VERY MUCH. I think it is critical to a healthy society, because home school is not a viable option for many families, and children deserve an education. They really do. Children are at the mercy of adults, and it is our DUTY to educate children.

But I don’t love some aspects of public education. And because I feel passionate about what my children study and how they study it, I want to be involved. But that involvement has to be realistic. It needs to be enjoyable, not just busy work or someone else’s agenda all the time. I feel like that kind of education hinders the spirit. I feel like it can be the kind of burden that can even injure a child’s spirit and their love of learning.

Well, there you go.

More on this later, I’m sure.

Happy Thinking,

Liz :)

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RWM: Green pastures and still waters

380px-Keswick_Panorama_-_Oct_2009I love good poetry! This morning I was thinking of a poem that I sometimes remember when I feel the press of life upon me (and am wanting to shake it off):

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

(William Wordsworth, “The World Is Too Much with Us”)

I visited Mr. Wordsworth’s home once in England when I was pregnant with Rebecca. Lane’s parents were serving another mission, this time in London, and so we arranged to fly there as a couple to visit them and see the country. Wordsworth lived in the Lake District. Visiting the Lake District was one of the absolute highlights of my trip! You cannot help but be moved by the beauty of Nature there. Surely that’s why he wrote about it! I would LOVE to go back, and bring my children, too.

Our trip to his home and the surrounding area gave new meaning to this psalm: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul….” (Psalm 23:1-3).

I looked around at all the green hills of that area and wanted to simply lay down under a tree and sleep. It was so peaceful. I felt so peaceful there. I wonder if that is why the Lord gave us green pastures: to help us understand the peace He has for us. I LOVE green pastures. And quiet waters. Is it in part because of my English heritage? Or my heavenly heritage? Or both?

I recently learned that I have hundreds of years of English heritage, as in centuries and centuries and centuries. Is it possible for a love of that countryside for those who lived there can be passed down in our blood? Or our genes?

I’m not sure what Wordsworth meant when he said “Little we see in Nature that is ours,” but I see in Nature the divinity of lessons God intends to share with us, things to bring us joy and peace, such as the mirroring of God’s love and peace in the quietude of still water or the soothingness of rich verdure.

Happy Putting Off the World and Feeling His Peace,

Liz :)

P.S. Ironically, as I was typing this post, I got a text from a store advertising a sale. I typed “STOP” as my reply and was promptly unsubscribed from their frequent texts. Ah. That felt good. One less beep to interrupt my quiet moments. :)

LOL: IMG_0010

P.S. Even more interestingly, almost 2 hours after publishing this post, I was listening to the Mormon Channel while folding laundry. I was fascinated to learn about “Poets of the Restoration,” and to hear that the episode being broadcast was about John Taylor, who was from the Lake District and influenced by the poets of that area! (He was educated formally until age 14.) So interesting to get a taste of his poetry. I am always amazed at how talented each of the latter-day prophets has been!

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3T: Committed to simplifying this Christmas

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I get overwhelmed easily.

With a multitude of details ever-present in my mind, I tend to get bogged down in what I’m not accomplishing and what seems to loom ahead endlessly.

Which means that November and December, on the tail end of back-to-school (August/September), birthday season (September-December), holidays (Labor Day, Fall break, Halloween), and regular-crazy-big-family life–all of that in a marathon string of events can be a recipe for a nervous breakdown.

Been there, done that. (Christmas 2006.)

And so each year I avoid a repeat performance and try to simplify a little more.

It’s challenging! It’s so tempting to get caught up in over-celebrating and over-complicating!

Christ gets lost amidst the shopping lists and calendar count-downs.

So I’m prioritizing and beginning early, chipping away at what feels most important.

Then when December comes, I’m going to try to not over do. Focus on enjoying the moments that arise, planned and unplanned, with family and friends. And whatever doesn’t happen, that’s OK.

I got Elder Livi’s Christmas package mailed last week. That was a good feeling. One child taken care of. Check!

I ordered some Christmas cards tonight.  I adore Christmas cards! I feel like it’s a chance I have to personally send a hug to people we love so well! It took me about 4 hours to deliberate, experiment, and figure out what I wanted and how much I wanted to spend. I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot. So I ordered a lot less than last year. As in 150 cards less. I decided to only send cards to those living far way or who aren’t big internet users. It’s not as fun to not order enough to give to almost everyone I want to, but it will be better. I’ll just pray that I can extend our love in another way, and that others will feel that like they would a card. I should get the cards in enough time to send a card to Elder Livi and have him get it before Christmas. That’s my priority.

I’m almost always late getting Christmas cards out, simply because I don’t have enough chunks of time to get them addressed and mailed out–even if I order them at the beginning of November. I carry them in a bag with me to music lessons, dance class, and doctor’s appointments, but still not to complete success. I would have done Valentine’s cards again like I did last year, but I knew Elder Livi would like a card for Christmas. So now at least I can get his mailed right away, as soon as they arrive. Check!

We talked about doing something for others this year instead of spending so much on our own family. We never spend a lot on our family (all things being relative), but we could focus more on others and focus less on getting. We talked about it Sunday and asked what the children thought. There was a lot of discussion, I will say that much! Everyone had ideas and opinions to share. (“All chiefs and no indians.”) We didn’t come to a complete conclusion. We know we want to do stockings as usual, and a gift from parents. But the rest is undecided. We did, however, decide on two things we want to do to improve our focus. Check!

I mentioned that I wanted to give one homemade gift to each child instead of multiple gifts. I’m excited about that. It isn’t going to be a gift that takes a lot of time, because that’s something I don’t have a lot of, and it won’t cost a lot, since I don’t have a lot of that either, but it will be fun. I just got the idea today. Now I just need to do it…. Check!

I would really love someday to just forget almost all gift-giving one year and give everyone 1 special gift. Then just focus on doing things each day that help me feel closer to Christ. And then for Christmas just go on a trip as a family to a cabin. Or do a humanitarian project or trip. Or just go skiing all together. Or? It will happen. One day. One year at a time. Baby steps.

Years ago I went through our decorations and gave away a lot. I found that it was much more fun if we could get “Christmas up” in one family night (2 hours) with Amahl playing and treats at the end. And then it needed to be able to be put away in about the same amount of time. That has been a great thing! I’m also trying not to collect more decorations. If someone gives us something, I try to give away something else. I want to “stay lean” because there is only so much space to store it all, and it can be exhausting to have to get it put away if it takes a week or two, as regular life and obligations kick into gear.

My favorite part of Christmas is sitting by the fire at night and reading Christmas stories. Yesterday it was only November 10, but we decided for family night to start! We sat on the couch and in chairs and on the floor in front of the fire, and Lane told stories. I fell asleep on his shoulder. It was heavenly.

Simple.

Wonderful.

Simply wonderful!

Happy Simplifying the Holidays,

Liz :)

 

 

 

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November mantle reads

Typically in November, there are 3 weeks before Thanksgiving, so if you begin reading books about gratitude from the first week, you’ll be able to share a bunch of good ones with those dear children!

And you’re in luck! There are a bunch of delightful books about gratitude.

Meshka the Kvetch

The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch is one of our FAVORITE books of all time! Our family quotes it, perhaps in moments such as when someone has been reading on the couch for a long time (“and smelling a bit like pickle juice”). (That’s what I’d like to do right now: read a really good book for about 3 hours straight!) I have to read this aloud in my fake Yiddish/New York accent, which frankly, is really terrible. But I have fun anyway! And the children seem to enjoy my goofy efforts. (Click on the link to hear a better accent.)

Thank You, Mr. Falker

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. This is SUCH a beautiful story about a young girl with dyslexia (the author!) who learned to read thanks to the loving dedication of her teacher. I love this book because of the empathy it helps teach for children with a learning disability, as well as for children who are bullied. It is easy to cry when reading this book!

It Could Always Be Worse

Just when you think your life is hard, you ask a rabbi what to do to make it better. And he tells you to bring some chickens, a rooster and a goose into your house. A goose! Life does NOT get better, so you go back for more advice, and he asks if there’s a goat you can bring into your home. In goes the goat, and when you feel you have reached the limits of your sanity, you return, hoping the rabbi will now reveal the magic solution to helping you regain your wits.

And he asks if you have a cow….

This is a great story in learning to appreciate your own trials AND blessings! It’s definitely a must-read for November!

Stay tuned for part 2 sometime in the next week.

Happy Reading about Gratitude,

Liz :)

 

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RWM: November family book club

Book of Mormon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

I have changed our monthly book club older read to The Book of Mormon. We actually read this book (nearly) every day as a family, and we read it individually, so why would I do that?

Well, part of it is selfish. I have to decide carefully where I’m going to spend my reading minutes, so to speak. And I have a goal to finish the Book of Mormon twice this year. So I am going to finish it in November and then finish it again in December. It is a different experience reading the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover quickly, as opposed to studying it every day, only verses at a time. And I know I’m not the only one who set a goal to read it through this year in our family. So hopefully, having it as our family older read for both November and December will help us accomplish our goals.

I listened to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon earlier this fall and found it to be a study in Chinese storytelling, with a wonderful moral at the end of all of the stories. At first I felt like the story kept getting interrupted by all of the folk tales, but eventually I understood how all the sub-stories fit together and realized how very much like life that is!

We’d love to have you join us in our reading journey! If you read either of these books in your home and want to post your comments, or even write a guest post, please comment or contact me! We welcome you!

Happy Reading,

Liz :)

P.S. My nephew was a counselor at a Brazil HEFY this summer. Here’s a sweet video one of the participants (or counselors?) made from that experience:

P.S. The reason I have this video posted is that I originally chose Promise of a Pencil  by Adam Braun for our older read. But I soon discovered that it contains quite a lot of profanity, which mean I didn’t work with our “three strikes and your out” general family media screening policy. But it doesn’t mean that the story isn’t worthy of getting to know or that the foundation that Adam and others have created is wonderful, and I am learned from how far I read. I am going to share what I learned with my family at the dinner table or some other setting. I hope some day Adam will republish the book with the profanity removed! Ah ha, an edited version! :)

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3T: Keep a journal

1993 FranklinSunday night we were having a family dinner with my nephew David and his fiancée when the question of how Lane and I met came up.

You know what that means. I said it was Lane’s turn to tell the story.

When he got to the part about our first date’s activities, I countered. He said we went roller skating. I said nope. It was Aladdin.

Husbands should think twice before questioning their wife’s memory, if only for humor’s sake. I said I was looking it up.

I dug out the old baby wipe (LOL) container that houses my 1993 Franklin planner…

…and found the evidence.

Day I met Lane

This is the day I met Lane. Here is what I wrote about it: “Guess who I met in the computer lab? Lane Livingston….My last memory of him is when Craig stuffed him & his brother into the back of a car. He said he used to always steal Craig’s moped. He’s too big to stuff in a trunk now. As a [returned missionary] from Finland, he’s 6 ft. plus, I’d say, and good looking! He was so nice to help me out–I was kind of hoping he’d ask for my #?! He said I could call him if ever I needed help….”

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We went out Friday, January 22. I wrote on that day: ” I went out with Lane Livingston tonight: We went to the “Training Table” for hamburgers & then to see Aladdin, home for hot chocolate with cinnamon in it!”

IMG_9914(You owe me a date, hon.)

And so I went from meeting this handsome guy in his cowboy hat and boots…

Cowboy Lane

…to marrying him.

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Here’s a fun footnote. The husband in this picture of our dear friends (below) was Sarah’s BYU freshman year Bishop! Such a wonderful, small world!

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So I’m just saying. There are benefits to keeping a journal!

Happy Journaling (and Being Right!),

Liz :)

 

 

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LOL: You look like a boy!

Liz mission airport Grandma and Grandpa HoffmanThis morning I was flipping through some dating and wedding photos from many years ago when Anna saw this photo of me at the airport with my grandparents before I left on my mission. She said, sadly, “Mom! What happened to you? Your hair! You look like a boy!”  I was cracking up!

 

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MF: Elder Livi, carrying a casket

P1050343Certainly one of the coolest parts of serving a mission–next to the big stuff, like getting to know and love the people and culture where you serve and sharing the “wonderful gospel” (as Elder Livi put it this week)–is the interesting experiences you have that you might never have at home. Here Elder Livi is carrying the casket of a sweet older sister who passed away who had served as many years as a pensionista (cook) for the missionaries in her area. She loved the missionaries so much, so they honored her by carrying her casket. She wasn’t Elder L’s pensionista, but she was well-known for her service and love.

Elder L has a new pensionista situation that he is excited about: a restaurant owner! He got to have fresh pineapple juice. “How do you squeeze a pineapple?!” he asked in his audio recording. He loves it!

P1050333He also got to baptize this darling 12-year old boy. Nate said that this young man takes care of his younger sibling so that his mother can work. He commented that this young man is very responsible, a “stud, and a wonderful soul that is precious to the Lord (Alma 31:35, new favorite [scripture]).”

P1050318He said, “I just want to tell you guys that I love you. My companion…He’s from Lima. He’s great! We’re doing well. I find out everyday new Spanish words to learn, and I’m stoked to keep learning and keep growing in the wonderful gospel that I have a growing testimony of. I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage everyone to read it, and they can know for themselves it’s true. I love you guys! Have a great week!”

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He added a P.S. about throwing a Halloween party at their church as a social activity for the children and members. They hung up orange balloons and filled 50 treat bags with candy. They played a kind of tag that he had learned at home in which you have clothes pins on the back of your shirt that you try to get from others. 57 children plus their  parents and some other adults came. He was so happy about it. This is a boy who enjoys Halloween. (I found this photo of him when looking for some Christmas Soup photos just now. He looks the same, just more grown up with a missionary tag, now.) He said is next activity is going to be a Thanksgiving one, and he’s going to “cook up some grub.”

(Seriously! Where did he develop this John Wayne style of talking? Oh yeah, that’s right.)

Happy Missionary Photo Sharing,

Liz :)

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