Tuesday, January 29, 2008

News Report

It's been a fairly dramatic 24 hours. I don't like drama. I'm taking over my friend Melissa's saying, "I have enough drama in my life."

Last night Melissa and Savannah were coming home from the hospital, to arrive around 5:30. Donovan and Kiara would be arriving in town about that time with their grandmother, and I thought it would be nice to have them over for dinner, maybe even squeeze in a Family Home Evening. To find out what that is, click here http://www.lds.org/hf/fhe/welcome/0,16785,4210-1,00.html . Good together time.

Well, their release was delayed, and with Brian H. not getting home from work until 6:45 that left the kids in need of a destination. So I went to meet them, but the process of actually getting them to my home took longer than anticipated, and the meatloaf waited almost an hour. It was edible, but not the usual delight that meatloaf tends to be in my house. Brian arrived in time to help us eat it, but Melissa and Savannah went straight home.

In the midst of sitting down to dinner we got a phone call from Kevin. A pair of linebacker steers was available, a week old and well-matched. But they were headed to a Massachusettes beef auction. Bill and Dustin left immediately after supper to meet the truck driver at Irving's, and an hour later Dustin owned a pair of steers. We do not have warm enough housing for them, so at the moment they are at George and Linda's. I haven't seen them, so no pictures yet.

Right before dinner was supposed to happen, Nicki called to tell me she was going to get a dog this morning. The owners had no desire to care for it, a yellow lab, and it was sorely neglected. Not really wanting a new dog right now, they couldn't ignore the situation, and she went this morning to get her.

Then today, I was looking forward to quietly vegging. I tried to throw myself at Nicki with offers of help, but she adamantly didn't need me. So I spent some time playing with Z, did a bit of blogging, nothing major. Just trying to avoid the laundry. I was content. Then I was called upon to visit a friend. It seemed so simple, but in the process of readying my house to leave, the Lord intervened.

Now some may not believe in personal revelation, but I do. I have felt it in many ways. Some days I have been on my knees and asked the Lord for approval of my choice. Other times, I have sought for an answer to a question I feared had no answer. I'm a self-confessed whimp about many things, if you can fear it, I do. But I'm stubborn, and a control-freak, so when it comes to prayer, I usually wait so long to seek any help that by the time I do ask for it the Lord is ready to answer me with VERY strong responses. I know the voice of the Lord in my heart.

He spoke to my heart today. And instead of going to the home I had been invited to so that I could offer strength, comfort, and support, I went and advised a woman to do something I would never want her to do. You see, it works that way sometimes. We have very strict guidelines in life. We should never kill. But Hitler had to be stopped, didn't he? As a mother, it was unimaginable to me yesterday that I would walk up to this lady and say "The Lord tells me I need to say *this* to you. But he did. And so I did. (No, I did NOT advise her to kill anyone, but it seemed almost as ludicrous!)

It is not always easy to obey the Lord. I want to share a quote from one of the leaders of our church:
"Think of the Savior, whose service you are in. At what point in His mortal life can you see an instance when it was easy for Him? Did He ask easy things of His disciples then? Then why should it ever be easy in His service or for His disciples?" - Henry B. Eyring

I was so reluctant. If I hadn't just been re-instructed by that quote on Sunday, I might not have. I shrunk, quite literally, as I drove there. My speed slowed, and at one point I noticed my posture in my seat was such as to hide from what was to come. But the Lord gives us strength, and provided me with guidance, and I was able to invite the Spirit, who is a much better communicator. I don't believe this person will hold me accountable for the words I spoke, because they were not my own.

And now I sit, in my house, with my children, at my computer. Talking to you, some of you I know who you are, others are a mystery number on a stat-counter. It feels so unfair, to leave that burden with another person, and go home to my comfort zone. But I guess that's how it works sometimes. When I was a younger woman, with a small baby and in need of guidance, I wonder if that's how the women I turned to felt. Sad that they couldn't do more to help. So I leave you with my testimony. God lives, He is our Father who loves us and knows what's best. He sees what we cannot see, He sees our eternal life. He knows it will not be easy to return to Him, but He has also given us the tools, if we will just be brave enough to pick them up and use them. It takes a whole heap of faith, but did you know faith starts as small as a mustard seed? Yup, as a desire to believe, and then with the right nourishment, it can flourish into a beautiful tree.


So, Zachary was being adorable last night. He got up to sit at the supper table and started singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Later in the evening he added Once There Was a Snowman and The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock. All three songs are in our Primary Songbook, and they sing them in nursery. Nursery is the part of church he spends half of his time, after our family has sat through Sacrament meeting and listened to the speakers together. They have apparently been singing these songs in there, and after Brian and Michael, I had completely forgotten what a joy it is to listen to a small child sing. Brian screamed if anyone sang anything besides the ABC song (including Twinkle twinkle and Baa Baa Black Sheep which have the same tune) and Michael simply ignored singing until he was about 6, and then we learned he has no rhythym. I mean none. Nada. Ixnay on the ythymray. Can't hold a beat to save his life. Takes after his Dad, who if you have ever seen him dance, you know the Robot is his best thing.But, Zachary's got it. Rhythym, interest, and even a few two-year-old dance moves. It's very encouraging. Now I want my VCR hooked up so I can look back at how adorable Dustin was singing at this age! He knew all the words, having heard them over and over! I need to sing more to Z, so he can catch up!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Is it cold in here?

We have a wood stove. My best description for heating your house in the winter with a woodstove in the middle of it is: feast or famine. It's either 80 degrees, or REALLY REALLY COLD!!!!

That said, we repeatedly ask ourselves lately, "Are you cold? I'm cold! Is it cold in here?" It's not cold in our house, in fact quite the opposite. It's just that after Bill works outside, or after I've gone out for something, a chill sets in, here in the wilderness of Maine. Especially when every time I look at my thermometer it says somewhere around 14 degrees outside.

Well, apparently, it's not just the grown-ups. No, Zachary didn't ask me, with a shiver, if it was cold in here. But I suspect he might have been thinking it:

He posed nicely, huh?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I love my mom...

Just when you think it's time to never answer another phone or check your email again, Mom to the rescue. These made me laugh out loud!!

Good Grief.

Things I wish for...

time together with my husband and children...
time to scrapbook...
a new washer and dryer that can do more laundry at once...
dining room chairs that aren't broken...
peace in the world...

Things I would settle for...

time together with my children that wasn't whiny...
peace in my home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Turn...

As I hang my head in shame, I stand and confess "It has been 11 days since my last post..."

Sorry. I'm back. With very little to say. It was an emotional few days there, they are honestly a bit of a blur, but my head is screwed on again, and my laundry is washed enough that we all have clothes for tomorrow, and the dishes are in the dishwasher, so here goes.

What to write about? Hmm. Oh, well, Dustin made his first 'in game' foul shot ever the other day. It was way cool.

Hmm. Oh, I could show you some scrapbook pages I've done... wait, no, they are mostly beach. I have blogging friends in them, and frankly, they have beach pictures of me too, too risky. That has been my focus though, these last four or five days, scrapbooking. So I'll show you an older layout I did, the pedicure page.
My first one, and I highly recommend it. I have, arguably, the most ticklish feet on the face of the planet, but I really enjoyed this. Oh, and we are on the phone because since Apollo's only seats two people per room we weren't able to chat with Nicki unless we called her. We did get one of the ladies to take pictures for us, though.

Hmm. Oh, on the 9th I got some cute pictures. Dustin, Brian, Michael, Zachary, Shamira and Kiara were all here, Donovan was at his B'nanas, and the kids decided to play outside. It started with a snowball fight, and ended with sledding, good times.

I'm not sure where Dustin's backside went in this shot, but it is definitely gone!
Kiara was very cute, when I finally gave in to Z and told him he could slide, she let his ride with her. Then, when he struggled to come back up, she (having hauled the sled to the top of the hill) WALKED down to meet him, and held his hand. She is precious, I was really moved.
Awww, brotherly love!

Zachary wiped out!

All in all, it was a fun time. More tomorrow (I hope!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Hmm, so today there are 5 people in my house, and none of them are Bill. yesterday may have been nicer.

Friday, January 11, 2008


There are nine people in my house. And school is cancelled due to the weather. I'd say please send help, but then there would be 10 people. I may go crawl under my bed.

Oh, ok, that was sarcastic. Anyway, one of those people is Bill, and while he has a lot of reading for his class tomorrow, it still helps.

Really, bring on one more, we'll stir them in and see what happens!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January Thaw

Yep, that's my baby, standing up where he can touch the roof. It's January 8, and it's a whopping 46 degrees at 4:00 in the afternoon. I haven't burned a stick of wood all day, and my kids are playing outside in T-Shirts. Brian and Dustin don' even have ski pants on, I'm guessing Brian will change pants when he comes in, he's drenched.

For those of you who read this and are not in Maine, I should clarify the snow is only so high because my husband shoveled it off our roof. He likes to ensure I can't see out my windows. He knows how much I like the sight of snow.
This is slightly more indicative of our actual snowfall.
Our Christmas tree has been re-purposed. We like to think green here.
Our barn/woodshed.
Our mail box. The town did actually come clean it out for us after I took this photo. I mean clean the snow from around it, not plow it into oblivion. They've done that to somein our area. It still tilts back like that, I have to reach down in for the mail. No changing it now, it's frozen in solid for awhile.
Happy January.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I Love Mother Google!

Saved in the math homework!! Brian (yes, that's right, 4th grade) had a paper about all of the ways to write multiples of ten, including exponents. He had to look at all the ways to write them, and put them in the appropriate box. For example, 10,000 had 10*10*10*10, 10 1,000's, and 10 to the fourth power. But there was one, as simple as the number 1, that I didn't know. 10 to the first power, and 10 to the zero power. I thought I knew the first was ten, but how did either one arrive at the number one. All the other choices were ruled out, I just couldn't be sure. So I googled it.

Welcome into my life Purplemath.com. There is a rule about exponents of zero, anything to the power of zero equals just 1. So I say this to Brian, and he writes his answer and moves on. And then I "turn" the page, to find out what the heck they are talking about, and sure enough, it is explained as follows:

Anything to the power zero is just "1".
Why is this so? There are various explanations. One might be stated as "because that's how the rules work out." Another would be to trace through a progression like the following:
(Remember, the second digits are exponents, so it's 3 to the fifth = 3 to the sixth divided by...)
35 = 36 ÷ 3 = 243
34 = 35 ÷ 3 = 81
33 = 34 ÷ 3 = 27
32 = 33 ÷ 3 = 9
31 = 32 ÷ 3 = 3
Then logically 30 = 31 ÷ 3 = 3 ÷ 3 = 1.

A negative-exponents explanation might be as follows:
m0 = m(n – n) = mn × m–n = mn ÷ mn = 1
...since anything divided by itself is just "1".

Another comment: Please don't ask me to "define" 00. There are at least two ways of looking at this quantity:
Anything to the zero power is "1", so 00 = 1.
Zero to any power is zero, so 00 = 0.
As far as I know, the "math gods" have not yet settled on a "definition" of 00. In fact, in calculus, "00" will be called an "indeterminant form". If this quantity comes up on class, don't assume: ask your instructor what you should do with it.

My favorite words in math: "because that's how the rules work out."
That's what I love about math. It just is. The long drawn out explanations can be found out, but really, when it gets down to brass tacks, it just is.

Potty Training

The roller coaster has begun and I don't even remember buying the ticket! A handful of times I have invited Z to sit on our little potty while I am in the bathroom sorting laundry and such, and this past week he took to demanding he be allowed to go. It got so annoying around the diapers that I dug out the Pull-Ups I bought the last time he did this, and voila, we have potty training.

Funniest part for me is, about three days ago he decided the little potty was no good, and now he monkey climbs onto the big one. It works for me, but he did fall off head first one day! I was worried he wouldn't get back on, it had to hurt, but he still does!!

Of course, after a day or two of, "Do you need to go potty?" Every half hour or so, we spent most of the day at church yesterday. Not as easy to think to ask him, but darned if the kid didn't ask us to take him, and he was dry each time!

So, peeing we have almost down pat, #2 on the other hand, I'm going to have to try to catch him at just the right time!! Good thing little boys are pretty regular! ;-)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Posed Picture

Somewhere in my attempt to get the spacing to look right in my last post, the picture Brian actually smiled for was lost! Such a rare event should certainly be documented, so here you are!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ok, moving on...

I can't stare at that post on my desktop any longer, it brings up to many unwelcome
emotions! So, let's talk basketball. Dustin had a game today, and while they did win, you could tell the boys didn't get a chance to practice for two weeks!

That's him, #1, but he doesn't let it go to his head!

So, again with Nicki's words resonating in my ears, I thought I would post a cute picture of Zachary helping Daddy shovel snow...I mean really, the child says, "Daddy, can't reach," and Daddy puts his shovel down, so Zachary can dump his scoop onto Bill's, how cute is that!

But, as I thought about posting that, I thought, "What have the other boys done to help Dad today?"

Answer: carry in wood.
So, here you are:

Brian saw the camera and posed, obviously he was feeling out of sorts from exhaustion! But his real expression showed through when he thought I was done. So, can you see how it's just not quite as adorable when they are older? Frankly, they are so grouchy about carrying in wood that a person doesn't really want to even be around them. But the wood does get carried in, and then life moves on.

So, there you are, it's taken me almost 24 hours to do this post, but at least my grouchy kids are a small improvement over before!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Post #50

Warning: If you are NOT in a good frame of mind, don't read this post!! Side effects may include, teary eyes, sniffling nose, and incessant need of tissues. Consult a doctor if these symptoms persist for more than four hours, as this may indicate a serious side effect. Melissa, this means YOU.

We have been encouraged at church recently to use the many forums, including this sort, that we have, to spread our testimony, and share our beliefs with others. So here goes.

I'm tired of "happy endings". I'm tired of the world's perspective on what a good thing is. I really wish society as a whole could be more open-minded. There was a beautiful article written in the Sun-Journal this week, front-page news even, about my little friend Savannah. She is seven, and has terminal cancer. It was a very sweet article, and did much better than I expected knowing one of the journalists first questions to her mother, Melissa was, "So do you think she's going to beat this thing?" Well, no, we are quite sure she won't. It is not because we lack faith, it is not because we don't like Savannah, and it is not because God is unkind. On the contrary, Melissa has come to terms with it as well as she has (not perfectly, but better than many expected) because God is kind, and loving. Melissa will be the first to say that throughout Savannah's illnesses over the years, she came to the conclusion that if God were to take Savannah from this life, she would be able to accept it, as long as He let her know first. Let her have the first word, be expecting it before that horrid meeting in the Doctor's office, some warning, some preparation.

God is loving, he is our Father, and as my Father hated to scold or punish me, so does our Father in Heaven. As my father mourns and cries when I am hurt or scorned, so does our Father in Heaven. If I were to lose my child, my father in this world would hold me tightly, and comfort me, as would our Father in Heaven, through the Holy Ghost, comfort my soul.

Nearly a dozen people have called Melissa in the first 24 hours since the article appeared in the paper. Many of them wanted to sell her a "cure". Others wanted to recommend THE doctor or THE healer of some sort that would save Savannah's life. Some offered treatment ideas that Melissa was already well-informed on, and explained do not work on the form of cancer Savannah has.

Why do people do this? I think that in the grand scheme of things, the desire for self-preservation is so strong, that we inflict it upon others. We were given the primal desire to live, so that we could go about our days on the Earth and experience it as we need to, that we might grow, and learn, and exercise our faith. It is so strong, that sometimes we assume that everyone around us is experiencing it as well, which would make offering ideas and suggestions the right choice.

One flaw in this thought is that this assumes a lack of drive on the part of the afflicted. It suggests that the person dealing with the impending loss is not able or willing to seek out alternatives. Melissa has plenty of time to think in the hospital, and a laptop, she can research things on the Internet for hours and hours, if she wanted to. And judging from our conversations, she has from time to time.

Another flaw here is the assumption that the doctor refuses to seek treatment at this point. On the contrary, I am quickly learning that doctors of all people are perhaps the sorest losers. They don't accept defeat with any grace, and insist on going down kicking and screaming, if they go down at all. When "conventional" medicine fails, even the strictest doctor will call in the exorcist if there is reason to think they might help.

And in the middle of all this, lies a seven year old girl who doesn't want to die, and parents who don't really want to let her go. How does one respond to a phone call with a miracle cure that has only been effective for brain tumors, not what Savannah has? With grace, if you are Melissa. With kind words, a thank you for trying, and then tears when the phone is hung up, and the caller can't hear them. Never knowing the pain they inflict, the person we assume was well-meaning will go on to call others, and probably inflict a feeling similar to, "Why can't people understand we know what we are doing? That we are already doing everything we can?"

Melissa and Savannah have touched countless lives. That sounds so vague. They have shared strength, shown children that cancer can mean death, but it does not mean that life stops. Just because a child is having chemo, does not mean they cannot ride a tricycle from time to time, even in the hospital. Savannah painted a picture, even when she was so tired she would nod off every few minutes. They have inspired programs that will serve others for years to come. They teach mothers that the nurses are friends and confidantes, that God lives, and that all prayers are answered, even if not in the way that we thought we wanted.

Savannah will move on. She will be without pain, without suffering, with a Father whose face she will be surprised to be so familiar with, and in time she will be reunited with those she loves. While we wait here on earth, we will have her faith, her example, and the memory of the countless ways Heavenly Father's children are blessed because she walked the Earth. It is a good thing, a blessing from God, and though it does STINK in so many ways, I am eternally grateful to have been a witness.

I love my Father in Heaven. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves me, and that He loves every person in this world. We will not be spared from grief, but we can have an endless source of comfort, if we are but willing to seek it, and accept it.


I added an ad to my blog. I could actually get paid for this stuff, who knew?

My Three Neglected Children...

The words "TWO posts about Zachary just being cute? What about your other kids?" are ringing in my ears.

My other kids are cute. I would say they aren't home as much but we just came off Christmas vacation. I would try to say they aren't as photogenic, but really...

These are some adorable faces. No, I think it boils down to the fact that they have each walked this earth for seven or more years. That means they have been listening to, "Wait, let me get the camera" and "Do that again" and "Ok, SMILE gosh darn it" for a little too long. They don't like to pose anymore. And they take great pride in hiding...

And when they do pose, it's often somewhat gross...

By the way, Michael lost his front tooth!

But just the other day, they were REALLY cute! They got an UNO Attack game for Christmas, and TWICE now they have gotten it out and played with it, just the THREE of them. One game ended a little bit testy, but all in all they even liked playing it together. WITHOUT an ADULT to mediate! WOO HOO! Of course, the lighting was too bright and caused a glare, but I'm posting it anyway!