Month: January 2017

For Nate

For Nate

Nate asked me for this photo today. That cute Captain Moroni turned 21 this week, so naturally I would LOVE to re-post this photo of him wearing his favorite costume ever. I thought it would be fun to post a journal entry (from past journals) 

Planning pages

Planning pages

Today I updated my planning pages. These are pages I use to plan my week and each day. I love to plan! I think if you have read my blog, you may have picked up on that. Just maybe. 😉 I laminate these pages and 

“Oh, yum!”

“Oh, yum!”

Just now I was making some toast with butter and plum jam for Eliza, who has been sick with a fever for three days and fainted in the bathroom earlier. I heard her yell, “Mom!” from upstairs and ran to find her locked in a dark bathroom. Thankfully, she was able to get to the door and I turned the light back on (it had been on the 1 minute timer setting and gone off automatically). She was green and weak, so I helped her lay down and got some Gatorade to sip through a straw as she lay down.

Sipping Gatorade

After she had a minute to sip Gatorade, she felt well enough to get up and move to the couch. The nausea she had felt passed and she was able to rest more peacefully. I gave her some vitamins and water. (Later today I found out that water and salt are good in this situation as well.) Soon after, she asked if she could have some toast or crackers. I went to get the toast and spread some butter on it and some homemade plum jam that my neighbor, Kay, had brought us for Christmas.

I carried the plate up to Eliza, who upon tasting it, said, “Oh, yum!”

It was quiet, so I suggested some music. I put on “Liebesleid” by Fritz Kreisler/played by Itzhak Perlman. “This is pretty,” she noted. Yes, it is. A little lullaby.

It is so nice to be a stay-at-home mom to be able to care for family members.

Wonderfully cozy

While the bread was toasting, I set the table with yellow placemats and colorful bowls, a contrast to the thick blanket of snow covering our landscape just outside the window. January can be wonderfully cozy if we choose, because we have the opportunity to make wonderful memories of coming in from the weather to a hot meals with the people we love. Just setting a colorful table makes me look forward to that moment today.

There is such significance to eating dinner together and the way it benefits society in a very fundamental and impactful way. (To learn more, read this article from The Washington Post, “The most important thing you can do with your kids? Eat with them.” Or check out the book The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier by Miriam Weinstein.)

7 benefits

By eating dinner together (and turning off digital devices), you could help your child:

  1. Boost their vocabulary;
  2. Get better grades;
  3. Score higher on achievement tests;
  4. Feel more loved;
  5. Get better nutrition;
  6. Be healthier, mentally and emotionally (including staying away from drugs and alcohol); and
  7. Have better relationships.

With this thought in mind, I was thinking, while spreading the jam on the toast, how I have been blessed by the example of many great women who value family dinner. I have seen (and been fed by) those who know how to lovingly make a meal beautiful and delicious. My plum jam-making neighbor, Kay, is one of them.

Our Finnish “Grandmother”

Our Grandma Raili is another one of them.

Yesterday I felt so blessed to finally get to visit our Grandma Raili, our related-by-love Finnish “grandmother” who has had such an influence in my life. She was supposed to have Christmas with us but had been terribly sick with the flu. So we brought our presents for her, and she gave us ours.

Gifts of hand and heart

Raili had lovingly crocheted covers for probably 30 hangers–and had me pick two for each person. Raili is one of those people who quietly goes about serving people in ways she does so well: letter-writing, lesson planning and teaching, crocheting, visiting. When we were dating, married, and raising our young family, she had us over for dinner. Oh! She is a good cook! Talk about pulla! Or rye bread! Or anything! It was all good. It is obvious that she cultivated this art as a stay-at-home mother. An invitation to her home for dinner was a well-anticipated event.

I enjoyed getting to record her reading James 1:5-7 to help our family learn verse 5. She read verse 7 because it finished the thought of verse 6. I am reminded that Raili was the first sister missionary called from Finland to serve full-time in her own country. I imagine she has those verses committed to memory already!

Service was joy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” (Rabindranath Tagore) I could say much more about Raili, and I’m sure I will in the future. I love the way Raili has nurtured me with her love, her food, her wise counsel. She has shown me the joy of service by her kindnesses.

Jaakob 1:5-6

Jaakob 1:5-6

This week we are starting to learn James 1:5-6 in Finnish. The one good thing about Finnish is that the letters always have the same sound, so you can learn to read it even if you never learn to speak it. So we are having 

The angels of God

The angels of God

This is what we asked in scripture study today. We read this part of this incredible story today: Nephi and his brother Lehi were put in prison wrongfully, and they were encircled about by fire which didn’t burn them, and the prison walls shook several times 

Game night (with our family miracle worker)

Game night (with our family miracle worker)

My older sister has been in town helping my mom after she had an accident. What a gift this has been, not only for the fun of being together and visiting, but also because my sister is a powerhouse of accomplishing. She has worked miracles in getting my mom’s home unpacked! I could hardly believe my eyes yesterday when I walked into my mom’s new place and saw how much progress she had made. What a blessing to have her fresh eyes and energy and talent there to make that happen. She is awesome!

I walked into my mom’s room to see the beautiful work Deborah had done and found this old photo on her night stand. It shows me and Debs when we were little, feeding a goat at a petting zoo. Deborah has always been the brave one! You can see from my cheeks why one of my nicknames as a child was “marshmallow.” 😊

Thai dinner

We have enjoyed having them over to eat, and last night we gathered for a Thai dinner (Thai coconut soup from Costco, Pad Thai, and Jasmine rice), games and dessert. Pad Thai is not difficult to make, but it takes some time. I need to find a recipe for the sauce, because it is very expensive to buy bottled. If you have a good recipe, please share it with me!

Winter can be a bit of a grey time, with the cold, dark mornings and cold, drizzly, snowy weather. I love getting to serve a meal that is flavorful and colorful. It just helps to enliven the senses.

The Lemon Drop Jar

Rebecca made the lemon drop cookies with the lemon drops Lane gave me for Christmas. These are a cookie that I love to make in January, particularly because of the book The Lemon Drop Jar–one of my favorites! The Peanut Butter blossoms also never last long, either in the making of them or after they are plated.

Playing games together makes such great memories. You just feel the joy of being a family when you gather for a lovingly prepared meal and then laugh together while playing together. Such good times!

Working on the housecleaning plan for 2017

Working on the housecleaning plan for 2017

This year I’m working on my housecleaning plan (again). As the family needs change, so does the housecleaning. We live in a big house that gets messy and dirty quickly when everyone is home, but when 3 children are away at college and the other 

96 rolls

96 rolls

When you’re feeding 30-45 people dinner, you need a lot of rolls. 96, in fact. That’s what we made last night: 3 packages of Rhodes frozen rolls, a Costco bag of frozen corn, 2 spiral hams, 3 salads, lots of boiled new potatoes and baked 

What will I do?

What will I do?

Have you seen this Hope Works video?

Do you know who Stephen Jones is?

I know him from this hilarious Old Spice parody that our family loved when it came out in 2010:

And that’s all I know about Stephen Jones, except that I really appreciated his question (from the first video): Will what I am doing now matter in 1,000 years?

I also appreciated his search to find what he could do to support his family that would not only provide an income and insurance but be meaningful.

A magical stage of life

I’m at that magical (middle age) stage in life when I want to be doing something meaningful.

Ta-dah! I am! Being a wife and a parent–and particularly a mother– are the most significantly influential jobs in the entire world. What I do matters every day to my husband and children. They need love, food, structure, organization, emotional support, fun, inspiration. I help provide that. It’s a hard job! Some days I do it better than others.

Like the day over Christmas break when we went skiing, and Nate saw how much I love to ski fast. He loved seeing me take a jump and how I wanted to race him down the hill. Who knew that would be so fun for me at my age? I didn’t! “Mom, you’re the funnest when you’re skiing!” he remarked. 😂

Something more

But sometimes I want to do something more. I yearn to help people, to connect with them, to love them, to make a difference in their lives. I am preparing myself now to be able to get more education, to be able to reach out more, because there are so many people who need help. And I am capable of doing that.

It can be hard to wait. I mean, some days we all get tired of the daily routine. I know I do. Cooking? Cleaning? Laundry? Going to tutor a child who needs help sounds so much more inviting. Helping in a 100 different ways sounds so much more fun.

The reality of life

The reality of life is that there is a foundation that has to be built upon which we can serve. Someone has to earn the money to provide for the food, shelter, clothing, and other resources that allow us to get out and do more. Lane works so hard to do that for our family. Someday in the not-too-distant future, our children will be gone, and I will have more opportunities to work and serve than I can handle, probably.

For now I am blogging, because writing is second nature to me. I am not Emily Dickinson or Laura Ingalls or Anne Morrow Lindbergh or Lucy Maud Montgomery. I am Elizabeth Abigail Livingston with my own story to tell and my own grandchildren who might be interested in my voice someday, and they will hear it in my writing.

And someday I hope I can speak. I love to teach and to speak. Public speaking makes me nervous, but it also makes me excited. I’m unique (read “weird”) that way, because I love it when I’m asked to speak. (You won’t find me starting out a talk saying that I tried to avoid the Bishop so he wouldn’t ask me to give a talk on Sunday!) I love being around young mothers and encouraging them. I love being around young children and reading to and singing with them. I love encouraging young adults who are in the midst of decision-making. I love empathizing with someone who feels anxious or depressed. I like to feed people (but I don’t love to cook. Haha! How does that work?). If I had millions of dollars to spend, I would plan for building libraries for children to go to, beautiful libraries like the Orem Public Library, and community centers for music recitals and art exhibits and plays to be performed. I would foster literacy programs so that people could learn to read to their children. I loved reading to my children!

Nearing the precipice

I feel like I’m nearing the precipice of a new and exciting time in my life. Someday I’ll be a grandmother. I can’t wait for that. Someday I’ll get to help others more. I can’t wait. Someday I’ll write a book. I will keep working on my bucket list. I am going to make wonderful memories with my family, with my friends, and with people I have never met before.

Once upon a time I was a little girl whose family was in turmoil. My dad left, my heart broke, and the future looked terribly frightening and bleak. But things have a way of working out. Christ can heal things that are broken, and my own life has gotten better. I have grown up, I got my undergraduate degree, I served a mission in the middle of that, I married someone who gets more wonderful each year, and we have some of the best children I could ever have asked for. Together, we are all learning and growing, making mistakes and seeing successes. I put my trust in God, and He keeps helping me along my path.

Excited for the future

I am so excited for the future! The future is as bright as our faith, and I have faith that I am going to get to love grandchildren and serve in my community in the not-too-distant future.

Action an antidote for anxiety

Some days I get anxious about the future. Some days I feel filled with anxiety. But one antidote to anxiety is action. I want to make a difference. I want to fill the world with love. I want to share the gospel. I will prepare now so that I can.


How I clean a toilet in 5 minutes or less

How I clean a toilet in 5 minutes or less

Here’s my spontaneous Saturday morning tutorial, for all of you sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to learn! 😂 So it’s a little awkward but hilarious. This is me as I look on a Saturday morning, hair pulled back and working clothes on.