Friday, January 29, 2010

January Cleaning continued

This week I've been doing the deep cleaning downstairs. It has made me like my home more and realize that the basement rooms are just as nice as upstairs, we just don't go down there as much.

I started in the Americana Room.

Moved on to the downstairs family room

Next, the guest rooms:


I finally got a picture of Sophie in the blue and white dress framed.

In the Teddy Bear room I had my work cut out for me. I keep costumes in the cedar chest at the foot of the bed. The grandboys enjoyed playing with them over the holidays and they all got stuffed back in the cedar chest. I few years ago my sister sent me all her little kid costumes for my grandkids. She put each costume in a giant ziplock bag and labeled it. So I copied her good example and organized all the costumes into ziplock bags. It may not be as much for the the grandkids to play in, but I feel better about having the costumes organized!

And the hall and toy closet:

I finished Michael's room today. All that's left is the storage room, which is pretty scary right now since I haven't really put Christmas away. My goal was to be done in January. It remains to be seen if I can finish the storage room tomorrow ~ I may leak into February on Monday.

It has felt good to clean out and I have a healthy DI pile in the garage. I plan on focusing on scrapbooking in February ~ when I'm not skiing!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Monday night I was outside and it was a clear night so I enjoyed a little stargazing. It's great to see Orion back in the winter sky. Then over the mountains to the east I saw a bright red star that I didn't remember in a constellation in that area of the sky and figured it must be Mars because it wasn't twinkling. This morning I checked out my online source and I was right. I love being right! Tonight Mars will be the brightest it is in the sky for two years.

Every once in awhile there is an email that circulates stating that Mars will be brighter than the full moon in some special astronomical event. It cracks me up! That's simply impossible!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Word of the Year 2010

I've been thinking about my word for this year.

And I have chosen:


As in, living my life on purpose. Making conscious choices about how I will spend my time, my money, my life, trying not to just let life happen. Also, to remember my purpose here on the earth ~

"to prove that I will do all things whatsoever the Lord my God shall command me." ~Abraham 3:25 (paraphrased)

"Behold, this is
your work, to keep my commandments, yea with all your might, mind and strength." ~D&C 11:20 (bold added)

"For behold, this life is the time for me to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for me to perform my labors. . . . I should work out my salvation with fear before God . . . " ~Alma 33:32, 37 (paraphrased)

To help me remember, this is what I see on my sacred grove desk every morning

This little statue is called "Happiness," she reminds me to cheerfully live on purpose, that life is not meant to be drudgery and I want to choose to be hopeful and happy. And the three bluebirds remind me of Faith, Hope and Charity. Over the years I have refined the meaning of these three words to me and they have become my mission statement. Rather than make new goals every year I just try to live every year more in these three principles.

it's all good

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!

I took advantage of the new snow by skiing on the canal road ~ check out my other blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Songs of the Spirit

Just before Christmas I read on the blog Light Refreshments Served, this, written by Emily Watts:

"Well, it's almost here. And in the calm before the storm, I wanted to write a post about how I really feel about Jesus Christ, but then I found my words so inadequate that I almost backed out altogether. Then it occurred to me that many gifted and inspired writers before me had already expressed what I'm feeling, so I thought I'd borrow their words to share a few of the thoughts of my own heart this season:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Oh, it is wonderful.

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee.

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song, and heart are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia!

He lives! and while He lives, I'll sing! He lives, my prophet, priest, and King!

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray.

Oh, that our faith may never move, but stand unshaken as Thy love, sure evidence of things unseen.

Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!"

Which reminded me of this, hanging in my Teddy Bear Room:

I love inspirational music! Roger Hoffman wrote a song called "Songs of the Spirit," which is what inspirational music is to me. (Two of my playlists are SOS Instrumental and SOS Vocal) It's music that teaches truth, helps me to feel the Spirit and just makes me happy.

Here are some of my favorite SOS phrases:

Be still my soul, leave to thy God to order and provide.

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.

I want to be a window to His love, so you can look through me and you'll see Him.

So everyday I pray He'll write His will upon my heart, and in time this simple life will be His masterpiece

Jesus, the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast.

it's all good

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Jenny, Laura and Brian gave me a beautiful necklace for my birthday. Jenny and I saw them at the Beehive Bazaar and I picked out the colors and features I wanted and then Jenny ordered it and got it for my birthday. I love it! It has a little picture of the Provo Temple and three pearls in the charm. I already had these earrings that go well with the necklace. Tonight I made a watchband to match the necklace. And I made a brown watch band, too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weird Thoughts

The other day Rich shared with me something that our Korean father, Bishop Cho, said to him:

"It's good to be a member of the Church when you are old, because you can go to the temple and work and do service, instead of sitting home alone with your weird thoughts."

After I laughed, I realized how true it is!

That same week I read these scriptures:

Helaman 16:22
"And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come."

And a couple of pages over,

3 Nephi 2 :2
"Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing."

I came to appreciate another reason for daily scripture study and weekly church attendance ~ it keeps our thoughts on the gospel and an eternal perspective, effectively helping us to rid ourselves of "weird thoughts," vain imaginations, foolish and deceiving thoughts from Satan.

One of the reasons I love the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that appears on the side of my blog is the phrase "our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions." Boy, do I have plenty of those! We can never hope to know and do God's will for us unless we can learn to be still and wait in the silence of our spirit to know His will. And we can find Him in the scriptures and in the temple and in our Sunday meetings.

I was also reminded of this quote by Elder Ballard in the March 2009 Ensign on the welfare system and becoming self-reliant:

Think Straight

Fourth, master the ability to think straight. As Franklin said, “The foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly.” This may be more important in the future as the world continues to spiral downward and crumble into moral decay.

In my office hangs a printed statement that includes the last words spoken by my grandfather Elder Melvin J. Ballard before his passing. He was in the hospital phasing in and out of a coma. My father said that Grandfather suddenly opened his eyes and looked into the room and said, “Above all else, brethren, let us think straight.” A few minutes later he passed away.

That was more than 65 years ago. How much more does the world need people today who can think straight? Part of thinking straight is using common sense in solving life’s problems. Lord Chesterfield said, “Common sense (which, in truth, is very uncommon) is the best sense I know of: abide by it; it will counsel you best.”

Often in my ministry have I heard the sad tale of those who are struggling to become self-reliant but in fact are becoming more dependent upon others because of their inability to think straight and apply common sense in the decisions they make. Much of life’s misery centers in the lack of using common sense. As an example, consider the pharmacist who was compounding a prescription that called for as much strychnine as you could put on the face of a dime. He didn’t have a dime, so he used two nickels.

Helping people to think straight and use common sense will, in my judgment, always be a very important step in helping them to reach economic self-reliance. It is part of teaching our children and others to walk in the ways of truth and soberness and to love and serve one another (see Mosiah 4:15). Part of thinking straight is listening—being able to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

I love how God teaches me a principle by having so many sources testify to me in a short amount of time on the same subject. He knows that we need repetition to really grasp a concept. Indeed,

it's all good.

Note added February 5:
In Moses 8:22 just prior to the flood : "And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. " Interestingly, these imaginations or weird thoughts, in the scriptures precedes a destruction of the people.

The Moon

Last week I woke up and saw this view outside of my bedroom window:

the waning crescent moon just before sunrise

And I was reminded of this:

Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops--
O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

I took an acting class at BYU my freshman year and I memorized and performed the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet ~ really, how funny is that?

Often, when I see the moon I hear myself saying the words: "O, swear not by the moon, th'inconstant moon."

I guess I shouldn't be one to quibble with the literary genius of the likes of William Shakespeare, but I disagree with the bard's view of the moon.

I took an Astronomy class with Laura at BYU ~ decades after the freshman acting class ~ and became familiar with the moon's cycle. Since that class I have a general idea on any given day what the moon's phase is and what time and where it should appear in the sky. I love it when I think about the moon and then look to the part of the sky where I expect it should be ~ and there it is; completely predictable!

While it is true that the moon we see changes everyday ~ it rises an hour later every day and cycles through its phases: new moon, waxing crescent, waxing quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, waning quarter and waning crescent before becoming new again over 29 days ~ it is completely predictable and CONSTANT. It is in our sky 12 hours of every 24.

To me it is another testament of the order of the universe, created by a loving God for His children.

Or as Alma said to Korihor:

"Thou hast had signs enough;will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea even the earth, and all the things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

January Cleaning

I got the urge to do some deep cleaning after the holidays. It took me two weeks to get through all of upstairs. (I cannot believe how slow I am in my old age!) My final space was my office. I've decided to just stick with calling it the Staroom. That was my original name when it was decorated completely with stars. Now I've added some beach decor, and the color theme came from the Hotel del Coronado, but there are still lots of stars and I like that name.

One of the things I did was frame some pictures and cards that I really like and added them to my walls.


I can't help it, I'm just the "cluttery decorator"
(Notice the piano bench - I got Rich a new one for Christmas so I put this one in my staroom and I'm storing tissue paper for wrapping gifts in it.)

I love the new "Serenity" sign that Keith and Jill gave me for my birthday ~ Ryan picked it out

See all the stars and new windows ~ I love it!

I love this Ikea chair ~ my reading spot ~ however I'm not spending nearly enough time here!

And now I need to head down the stairs for some deep cleaning ~ but I think I'll take a breather first ~ on the ski trails!

A Gift and Spray Paint

My sister sent me this awesome gothic arch screen/candle holder. It was at a ward giveaway at her ward in Houston, Texas and she thought of me when she saw it. I love it! But I thought it would be even nicer painted a brushed gold. I love spray paint!

Thanks, Laura!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ice Skating

The day that Laura left to go home we went ice skating. I wanted to try out my new skates and Connor has been wanting to give skating a try. Fortunately, we have a friend whose husband loves hockey and turns their sport court into an ice rink each winter. We had fun; even tried a little hockey.

Connor and Nana

The blonde ice skaters

Trevor and Janet ~ a little ice hockey

I discovered that I was supposed to have my new skates sharpened before using them, and they were a bit tight, so I've had them stretched and sharpened. Now I'm really ready to hit the ice!