Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sacrament Meeting Talks

Damon has given two talks, one on the Millennium and the other on the Aaronic Priesthood. See the Bible Dictionary.

Claire gave her first talk last week. See below.

My Uncle Justin is in the Navy. In September he was sent out on a submarine for a patrol where he would have to stay for 16 weeks. This is always hard on his family, and was especially hard this time because my Aunt Melissa was about to have their 3rd baby. They really wanted him to be there when the baby was born, but accepted that he wouldn’t be able to as he was needed during the patrol. The likelihood of surfacing and being able to take leave was extremely slim.

 A couple weeks into the patrol my Aunt Melissa was attending stake conference and the theme was faith. One of the speakers quoted Elder Eyring who said, "The best days are ahead for the kingdom of God on the earth. Opposition will strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, as it has since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Faith always defeats fear. Standing together produces unity. And your prayers for those in need are heard and answered by a loving God. He neither slumbers nor does he sleep."

Melissa felt she was supposed to exercise faith. She called her family members and asked them to pray for her and Justin. Then Melissa felt her faith strengthened. She knew that Heavenly Father was aware of her family and their needs, and even if Justin couldn't be there for the baby's birth, it would be okay. But then to their surprise Justin was given permission to go home! Nothing shy of a miracle, the submarine surfaced for an inspection. The timing was such that he was able to leave his crew and be home in time for the birth of the baby. He rejoined his crew a couple weeks after to finish the patrol. Exercising faith works miracles. Many members from Justin and Melissa’s ward are retired from the Navy and were in shock that things worked out for him to come home. This is extremely rare given the nature of patrols on submarines where little to no outside communication occurs. 

My great great Grandma Jenny was also a woman of faith. When she grew old she had terrible headaches. The doctors weren't able to help her. My grandpa had just gotten home from his mission and she asked him and my great grandpa to give her a blessing. She was healed immediately and was able to sleep for the first time in days. The headaches never came back.

I hope that when I have hard times I will also choose to have faith.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring Breaks 2016 and 2107

Last year we went someplace near Camdenton, MO in the Ozarks. Bridal Cave:
At the bottom of that green water (above) are a raft and a wooden ladder made with wooden pegs. Both were discovered when the cave was being made accessible to the general public. Prior to that, the entrance to the cave was small, and a person could only get in by crawling, meaning the raft was carried in piece by piece and assembled inside the cave by lantern light. The ladder would have been used to access a hole leading to Spirit Lake beyond, which is inaccessible to non-spelunkers like us.
Above are the ruins of a mansion at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. I plan to rebuild the water tower (not pictured) and live in it when I'm rich and own the entire park. Also not pictured is the river in the ravine? chasm? below where blue green water bursts out of the hillside. It's beautiful. Alas, the river is currently poisoned by garbage dumped into a sinkhole some miles away. But I'll get that cleaned out when I'm rich--don't worry about it. Below are more pics from the state park:

And here's Lake of the Ozarks and Jake kayaking:

Anne Queen of the Reptiles with one of her minions:
All the kids wanted to do was stay in the vacation rental and watch movies, except when Anne had a lizard to chase or when it was sunset and Anne the romantic wanted to sit on the dock and tell stories while the sun went down. We had to drag Damon out of the van away from his book to hike around Ha Ha Tonka. Family vacations make me long to be an empty nester.

2017: No pics of Crater of Diamonds. My fingers were probably too numb with cold to operate the iPad. But here's the lake where stayed near Perryville, AR:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Crater of Diamonds

Jake works too much so the kids and I went on our spring break trip without him. He didn't want to go anyway--why pay to dig in the dirt when you can do it for free in your own backyard? he said. I'll tell you why: at Crater of Diamonds National Park in Arkansas you can dig for diamonds and keep them if you find them!

The day we were there a kid found a 7.44 carat diamond--the largest found in 40 years. It was galling when we heard about it on the car radio later. Another thing that made the trip memorable: I didn't pack the tent poles so we had to sleep in the van. That made for a long night.

Things improved after that, though. We spent the next two nights in an AirBnB cabin on a private lake. Lovely, relaxing. The only downside was the absence of a TV, so the kids couldn't watch Season 2 of MacGyver.  (Sad side note: Turns out MacGyver belongs to Toyland. Jake and I have passed its borders, and we can never return again to appreciate his awesomeness.) But there's one more day of spring break, so MacGyver Marathon our house tomorrow!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

More Julia quotes and Halloween

This post is not ordered chronologically or any other way.
 Julia saw a bag of candy on the kitchen chair (Halloween night maybe?). She hugged it and said, "Ah, my best friend."

 Halloween night. Damon as King Arthur, Julia as a lady bug or dancer or something, Claire as the Wicked Witch of the West, Anne as Ginny Weasley (You know, Harry Potter's wife. We tried to dye her hair red three times with semi-permanent dye. It didn't take.)

Halloween has broadened Julia's horizons. Ever since she's been saying things like, "When I grow up, I want to be a pumpkin" or "When I grow up, I want to play with the kids" or "When I grow up, I want to be a princess."

She created this a few days ago and called it a Halloween decoration:

Julia practiced trick-or-treating in the house, but at the ward trunk-or-treat she was traumatized by the Halloween CD I played. It has songs like MJ's Thriller. So she wouldn't go trick-or-treating for real. Jake tried, but she refused, sobbing. "No! I scared!" Mike Royko would have understood.

Side note: I may have traumatized the bishop that night. I'm in the primary presidency, and the primary is in charge of the trunk or treat, as well as the primary program which was 3 days prior. I've been feeling frazzled for most of 2016, so after the chili dinner/trunk-or-treat when we were cleaning the church kitchen, I seconded someone's suggestion that we just have a trunk-or-treat next year with no chili dinner: no decorating + almost no cleanup = awesome event for everyone involved. A dear lady said, "Oh, but the chili dinner is a tradition." I replied, "Well, the Lamanites gave up their wicked traditions when they converted to the gospel. So can we." She said, "I wouldn't call the chili dinner a wicked..." At that point I walked out of the kitchen and screamed in the hallway. I really did. Just as the bishop walked by. He looked too frightened to comment. Don't worry, though. People were vacuuming, so probably nobody else heard me. Oh, and I had vampire makeup on with fake blood dripping out of my mouth.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Julia quotes

Me: Are you angry?
Julia: No, I Julia.

Me: Do you want quinoa* for lunch?
Julia: Yes, sir.
   *She really likes quinoa. Theory: eat something healthy often in front of a little kid without offering any, and they might ask for some eventually, and even like it. Try to make older kids eat something healthy, and they probably won't try, and if they do, probably won't like it.

Julia: I got pants on my milk.
Me: You got milk on your pants, you mean?
Julia: Uh-huh. Oops, I got pants on my milk again.
Me: You mean you got milk on your pants.
Julia: Uh-huh.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Angioedema and chronic hives

I've got a swollen upper lip tonight. A week and a half ago it was the left side of my face, so the lip isn't a big deal. I used to be spotted with hives all over but thanks to Allegra 4 times a day (prescribed by my allergist) those are mostly under control. It's been almost a year of weird health. Worst I've ever had. I'm grateful because it's not cancer, but that doesn't mean I haven't cried over it and felt sorry for myself more than once.

Last November/December: bronchitis/walking pneumonia that lasted til February. Wheezing wouldn't go away, so I've been on an inhaler since then. Asthma has been ruled out.

After I started using the inhaler I developed hives. Pulmonologist (lung doctor. I can't spell it right, and spell check wants to know if I'm adding it to the dictionary...) said in June I had to keep using the inhaler until December follow-up appt.

I went to an allergist after being on a miserable elimination diet that gave some relief but not enough. Allergist doesn't think hives and swelling are inhaler or food related, does think I'll never find the cause. Put me on crazy amounts of Allegra. I'm going back to see him tomorrow, and I want another blood test (pulmonologist did one, but I think he only checked to see if I had been exposed to mold). Can it really be coincidence that I always swell up the day after eating pizza?

Theory: hives and swelling are stress related. Stress has made me sensitive to certain foods. I'm stressed about (1) our never-ending house projects. I'll post pics of our slow progress sometime. You'll feel stressed out, too. Unless you're a war refugee. Then you'll feel jealous because there are no land mines here, though it usually looks like one just went off. (2) We might have to move again. I know I'll survive another move, but I feel like I won't. (3) The Presidential Election. It's a national disgrace. Why doesn't everyone vote 3rd party or write someone (anyone!) in? Even if I drank I don't think I could get drunk enough to numb the revulsion of voting for the H word or the D word. The End.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Feel good moment for you

because you're better than me. My two-year-old had Peanut M&Ms and a piece of gum for lunch today. #stellarparenting, whatever that means.