Grandma’s lemon bars are legendary, especially when made with Meyer lemons (which she used to mail to us freshly picked from her tree!). Lane made some for us tonight after calling his mom for the recipe. We used to make these a lot but haven’t for a while. Hers is the BEST recipe around!
Click here for the printable recipe of the recipe image below.
Today in our family “Come, Follow Me” discussion, Lane and I shared a few of the challenges and blessings that we have experienced in our marriage. We both told our children how grateful we are for the gift of being married, and our belief that with the help of Jesus Christ and his teachings, a husband and wife who really want to and are fully committed to doing what the Savior taught can overcome the challenges that they face–together.
“Disciples and the Defense of Marriage.” In this Ensign article, President Russell M. Nelson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, discusses our responsibility to defend traditional marriage.
“It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone.” In this general conference address, Sheri L. Dew, former Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, offers insights on marriage, unity, and the priesthood.
“Your Current Life, Your Future Family,” by Mindy Raye Friedman. This New Era article uses principles from the family proclamation to recommend what teens can do now to prepare for a happy marriage and family.
“Renaissance of Marriage.” This video is an excerpt from President Henry B. Eyring’s presentation during a summit on marriage held at the Vatican.
“Temple Blessings.” Read a short message for children from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about blessings of the temple and being sealed as a family.
I think one thing I really hope our children can understand is how to problem solve. By myself, I am not always a great problem-solver. With Lane and the Lord’s help, there isn’t any problem that we have faced that we haven’t been able to figure out how to deal with. I believe that is the key: learning to rely on those people and tools that God has given to help us, with faith in the Lord to help us overcome our common obstacles.
Here are three other links to resources that can help deal with challenges in our lives:
I was going through photos today for our daughter Eliza’s upcoming high school graduation, which is such a fun walk down memory lane. I remember when I was doing this for Sarah, and realized we had more than 12,000 digital photos that I would go through to find some of her. Fast forward 7 years, and you can only guess how many we have now.
But this is not a post about digital photo storage or lack thereof, comically. And it’s not just about Eliza (although she did carve that pumpkin on Halloween 2018.) What I saw while photo browsing were some really fun costumes, and for all of my Halloween grinchiness, I really have great memories of getting costumes together! So I thought I’d gather some more photos and post them all here. Today. May 8.
That don’t cost a cent? Eliza and Becca decided they were going to be skiers, and Eliza wore my snow coat from high school that I had worn 32 years before. It was in pristine shape after my mom was moving and found some snow clothing packed away. Becca wore a ski suit that one of my brothers wore back in the day! Fancy schmancy!
(I also have to laugh at certain details, like Eliza wearing her younger sister’s tennis shoes. Nothing like doubling your shoe options when you wear the same size!)
Anna’s unicorn costume. So many of our costumes were invented without patterns or precendence. Just, “Can I be a unicorn?” and then digging through our scraps and/or a trip to the thrift and fabric stores.
Nothing like improvising a pattern off of a piece of clothing. I don’t recommend this for things you want to look really good, for everyday wear. But in a pinch, when the clock is ticking and you need a costume for a party, then it’s “Here goes nothing!”
I guess unicorns wear lipstick and silver lamé skirts? Good thing there was enough left over for the horn headband…
One year Peter really wanted to be Gandalf. He carved a pipe, I got him a beard, we borrowed that amazing wig and cape from our fabulous and generous friends, he made the staff out of PVC and a doorknob handle, and Eliza sewed him the robe! It was a true collaborative effort. He was too old to trick-or-treat, so he went with his friend to take the younger siblings trick-or-treating. I gave him some candy at the end, tee hee.
Rebecca came home from college last year on Halloween night. Her “costume” was sweats…which is kind of her daily look! We had fun with roasting pumpkin seeds, drinking hot mulled cider, and eating some popcorn while watching a movie together. Loved it.
Our neighbors had a potluck dinner. We brought pulla. So many people dress up. I decided not to be a grinch and put on Liza’s real chef’s jacket. That was the extent of it. Ooh, I love warm pulla with butter melting on it.
Teenage boys can be pretty crazy. In 2013, Nate wore this parrot costume that probably first fit him when he was 6…with his rugby shorts, naturally. Julia was an 80’s aerobics girl, or something. Peter wasn’t in costume in this photo–just was wearing a cute grin.
We had a neighbor that year who was a talented photographer. He took photos on Halloween with a white backdrop for all the trick-or-treaters. He was just fabulous! He passed away not long ago of cancer. We love his family and treasure the memories and legacy that he left in his wake. He was truly a phenomenal guy. And so many people have such fun memories of Halloween because of the way he shared his talents so generously with everyone.
Sarah is really good with her hands, and she loves Cinderella. When she was too old to trick-or-treat, she still left some beautiful glowing pumpkins on our porch.
I remember getting this dress at a thrift store for Julia, and having to re-do the zipper in the back to cinch it in about 4 inches, making the back fit and modest. I LOVED the costume I sewed for Rebecca with her cute hat and apron for a 50’s hamburger place waitress. I can’t remember the name of that right now! Peter really loved Davy Crockett at the time, and I was grateful for a costume I could just buy and go with!
These were good times. They might have been a tad stressful back then, with NOT equal parts costumes to time or energy. But it worked out! Just like motherhood has a way of doing when you just do your best and trust in God. Looking back, I’m so glad I went to the effort. Happy Halloween.
I received a comment on my blog today referring me to this website, Libraries of Hope. I can hardly contain my happiness at this online resource! It is utterly incredible! You could do a whole homeschool based upon this website (not solely, but as a tremendous, foundational resource), or if you don’t homeschool, simply have wonderful books for your family to read. You could use her website to help you grow your own wonderful home library. I am SO excited to dive in to read some books! What an incredible labor of love Marlene Peterson has created for the rest of us to enjoy! I feel like she has, in one way, accomplished what I would have love to have done (but now don’t have to!). Thank you, thank you, Marlene.
Even, tragically, at this moment when Notre Dame cathedral burns, I am grateful to Marlene for preserving some wonderful history–some voices of inspiring authors and our world history and heritage that might otherwise be silenced and forgotten.
This wonderful saying, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think,” is attributed to A.A. Milne. But as far as I can tell, I can’t find actually from A.A. Milne. Does anyone have the source for this quote to show where he–if he did–said this?
I haven’t ever met Gail Miller, but after listening to her read her book (on the Bookshelf app), I feel like I got to have a wonderful, long visit with a very kind and wise woman.
Gail Miller is an unpretentious, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth kind of woman who raised 5 children and supported her entrepreneur husband in developing a multi-billion dollar business and many philanthropic efforts. They collaborated to such a degree during their lives that after he passed, she assumed his role as CEO and has carried on the legacy they built together.
(I have more to write but will have to return later! If you have any comments on this book, please share them below. Thanks!)
When was the last time you cheered while listening to a book?
Today I did while listening to The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (by Daniel James Brown; adapted for young readers by Gregory Mone). The best of biographies don’t get much better than this!
Brown tells the story not only of the 9 members of the 1936 USA Olympic Rowing Team but also the painful-to-triumphant personal journey of Joe Rantz. If you find yourself facing challenges and need an inspiring story to help motivate you (besides the scriptures, of course!), I recommend this story without reservation!
Here is a part that I want to remember that has so much relevance to family life. One of the coaches, George Pocock, approaches Joe at a definitive point of his rowing career. (SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read if you are planning to read or listen to the book!) He says that he has been observing him and noticed that Joe “was a fine oarsman. He’d noted a few technical faults, but that wasn’t what he wanted to talk about. He said that there were times when Joe seemed to think he was the only one in the boat. He rowed as if it was up to him to row the boat across the finish line all by himself. When a man rowed like that, Pocock said, he was bound to attack the water rather than to work with it. Worse, he would not be able to let his crew help him now.
“The Englishman suggested that Joe think of a well-rowed race as a symphony; and himself as just one player in the orchestra. If one fellow in the orchestra was playing out of tune, or playing at a different tempo, the whole piece would naturally be ruined. That’s the way it was with rowing. What mattered more than how hard a man rowed was how well everything he did in the boat harmonized with what the other fellows were doing. And a man couldn’t harmonize with his crewmates unless he opened his heart to them. He had to care about everyone on his crew. He had to bive himself up to the rowing, but he had to do even more. He had to give himself up to his crewmates too. ‘If you don’t like some fellow in the boat, Joe, you have to learn to like him,’ Pocock said. ‘It has to matter to you whether he wins the race, not just whether you do.’
“Pocock paused and looked up. ‘Joe, when you really start trusting those other boys,’ Pocock said, you will feel a power at work within you that is far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Sometimes, you will feel as if you have rowed right off the planet and are rowing among the stars.’
I would recommend this book to illustrate the power of hard work, unity, team work, goal setting, perseverence, grit, poverty, unkindness, loyalty, forgiveness, patience, believing in yourself and others, human potential, overcoming obstacles, the Olympic dream, frugality, the Word of Wisdom, determination, hope, and love. And Matthew 22:39.
(Note: I diverted from my media-break-to-do-family-history because my blog is a place where I keep quotes that I refer back to, kind of like my memory! I needed to write this down for future reference before I forgot!)
I would recommend this book for anyone who is old enough to read it. There is some sad material but has been adapted for young readers. I have not read the original book written for adults, so I cannot make a recommendation for readership accordingly.
January is a month of fresh starts. The past two weeks, however, have felt like a month already. We got the house cleaned up from Christmas except for the piles upon piles of stuff in the office and piles that keep resurfacing in the mudroom. I really don’t like that. I like to get things clean and have them stay that way for at least a short period of time!
I’ve learned that I’m really good at making piles. This year, I want to learn how to live and accomplish without making piles. I think the key to it is to not gather stuff in the first place, to let get of stuff quickly, and to clean up as you go. In our home, I haven’t been able to get in there to clean up these residual piles because of the family schedule, seasonal flu, and all the other plans life throws at us (“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”).
Too many goals, like desk piles
Sometimes life feels like my office: too many goals just piled up on top of me. This year, I’m going to do something about that. I’m picking 5 goals, one for each finger of one hand: 1. I want to grow closer to my Savior; 2. I want to grow physically (in health and ability); 3. I want grow kinder. That includes being kind to my family (present and past–through family history work) and friends; 4. I want to continue to simplify my life/my home more, so they are quicker to clean up and so I can learn not to complicate life; 5: I want to be more private about it. So I’m going to limit my social media and focus more on nightly journaling and family history. Maybe in a year from now, I’ll check in and let you know how it’s going and what I’ve learned.
Blog: 12 books, tidied sidebar, and rest put aside
I AM going to finish up one of my goals from 2018–the 12 books for teens in 2018. I would like to keep posting about books that I would recommend for teens, but I’m not going to put a number on it this year. I just want to finish what I start reading this year. I started lots of books last year, got interrupted, and didn’t finish. So maybe this year I’ll be happy to just read Saints and a couple of other books if I can just finish them! (I did get to read The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley this week when I’ve had the flu. Loved it.)
I updated my sidebar today, but I won’t be updating it each month this year. I want to focus on other things. I’m not going to work on some of the pursuits mentioned on my sidebar, such as making any more audio recordings in French of Le Livre de Mormon because I have other things I’m focusing on, and that’s what feels peaceful to me. I might post periodically about books, music, movies, or other things that I recommend, because that is something I really love to share, and this is a good format to do it in.
A more private year
Hope your year goes well! I will say that last year I definitely felt peace in Christ lots of times, which was my goal. I’m so grateful. Our family theme for this year is “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I’m very excited about coming to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ better this year through study, application/service, prayer, and missionary, temple, and family history work. I may not post very much about it. I’m kind of excited to have a more private year!
Welcome! I'm Liz Livingston. As a mother of 7 (8, counting my daughter in-law) I have learned that it is the small and simple things that help me have peace and joy and help my husband and me in raising our amazing children. I believe EVERY person on earth has unlimited potential. Often it's the smallest decisions and actions that help us grow toward that potential, like kind, gentle words, a wholesome, simple meal, or a funny book read aloud together. Whatever you nurture grows! What will you do to nurture your or someone else's potential today?
Mental illness is a challenge we face, but it doesn't define who we are. It defnitiely doesn't have to prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life. Read my story in the "Dear Daisy" letters. Click on the image.
Our journey to being active together has been slow and challenging, but we are learning that it is lots of fun and makes great memories. Exercising is more fun when done together! Click on the image to learn more about our journey to better health.
“I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice you can make…to do more family history and temple work this year.” (President Russell M. Nelson) Doing family history helps me feel more connected to my ancestors and feel their love for me. I feel more empowered when reading their stories! Family history and indexing can help anyone with addictions or mental health challenges. To learn more about how you can discover your family history for free, click on the image.
Whole foods help me feel better. This salad ROCKED. The photo doesn't do this salad justice. It was SO GOOD! To see the recipe and other things we've been cooking up lately, click on the photo.
Creating something useful is really satisfying and a great way to take a mental break from the stresses of life. Sewing everyday fabric napkins is a good project for a beginner AND a good way to replace single-use, throwaway napkins with something reusable. Click here to learn how to make them and other helpful things we've made.
Music really helps me. This album ("This is the Christ" by the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square) is very peaceful, calming music for me. It helps me focus on the Source of my peace and strength and has been a gift particularly in recent weeks as I prepared for my lesson on mental health. Click on the image to see other music I love/recommend.
Re-focusing my thoughts on Christ helps when I recognize my thoughts turning negative. Memorizing this document was a source of peace and power for me. Want to memorize "The Living Christ" document? Click on the image above to go to some audio recordings I have made to help.
You may have tangible wealth untold;/Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold./Richer than I you can never be--/I had a Mother who read to me.
❧ Strickland Gillian, "The Reading Mother"
Click on the photo to go to the entire poem "The Reading Mother."
Need an idea for a board book for a baby shower, birthday, or Christmas gift? Here's a list of some of our favorite books.
I am passionate about children's literature! To learn more about this and other books I recommend, click on the book!
This month I'm reading Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Marc Twain. I started it in June, and it's been slow going because I have just snippets of time for reading, and I want to read it instead of listening to it! To learn more about books I recommend, click on the book.
I listen to books more than I read these days. This book is very encouraging, particularly if you are interested in non-medical interventions for improving your mental health. Click on the image to go to a link to this and other audio books I recommend.
My Father's Dragon is a fabulously fun read for young parents to read to their children. Click on this book to see lists of books that we have enjoyed reading as a family.
We love good movies that the whole family can watch without wincing. Click on this movie to learn more about this film and others I recommend.
Commonsensemedia.org is one review site I use. Click on the button to visit their website.
Click on the image to listen.
“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life….Revelation can come hour by hour and moment by moment as we do the right things. When women nurture as Christ nurtured, a power and peace can descend to guide when help is needed. For instance, mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention, but they can be distanced from the Spirit if they lose their temper with children….Because personal revelation is a constantly renewable source of strength, it is possible to feel bathed in help even during turbulent times.” Sister Julie B. Beck, “And Upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit”
Click on the quote to read more.
Which ideas that you have taught your children are true? Which are false? Ideas are powerful! They can help us change our behavior. They can improve our mental health. Click here to read more powerful ideas from past sidebar postings.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I love poetry! Click on the image to go to poems I love and posts about poetry.
Summer 2018: Sarah's white coat ceremony. (Lane was taking the photo.) I post a yearly family photo here.
Say "Cheese!" Family photos help us remember the good times and bring former happiness back to the present. Click on this photo to view some of my favorite family photos.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. Need more love in your life? Click on the image to learn more!
The temple is my place of peace away from home. There are temples all around the world and more are being built everyday. Click on the image to see more.
Challenges and accompanying negative emotions are our common lot in life. The Savior understands, and knowing that helps me. Click on the image to read more about how I am learning to deal with negative emotions.
“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”
❧ Gordon B. Hinckley
Family life is so funny! Click on the photo to read some of our family quotes.
Are you learning French? I'm passionate about French! I have links to both religious and non-religious French learning resources. Click on the image above to go to my resource page, which includes a link to my audio recordings of the Book of Mormon in French. Je suis en train d'enregistrer ma lecture du Livre de Mormon cette année. Cliquer sur l'image du livre pour voir la page d'enregistrements. (Sample audio below.)
Learning Finnish? My friend and her children recorded some of the songs from this Children's Songbook for me to help me begin to learn Finnish. Click on the book to go to these sweet recordings (listen to the sample recording below!).
our family mission statement
Our Livingston Legacy
is to leave the world we live in
better than we found it:
more full of love, cleaner, happier, safer, lovelier, more organized, better educated, healthier, and more peaceful. We will do this by keeping our covenants with Christ individually and as a family and by helping others to come unto Him. We will report to God and each other, strengthen and encourage one another every day,
and do it all to glorify God.
13 July 2014
I do not advertise on my blog. I do share links to books, music, and other resources that have been helpful to me in the hope that they might help meet someone else's need. I receive no commission from any purchases made from those links.
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