Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Katie!

I can't believe my little girl is one already! She has brought so much joy (and sass!) to our family. We love her to death. She's really grown up over the past year.

Birthday happenings: preschool, devouring a big chocolate cake.

Presents: two pretty dresses and a stuffed owl (Grandma Head), 2 pairs of PJ's and lots of candy (Grandma Phenix), a couple of new shirts (Grandma Lee's $).

Katie isn't close to walking yet (no surprise there!) but pulls herself to standing. She uses a sippy cup and has strong opinions about everything. She lets us know by shrieking when she wants something. (My eardrums!) I'm working on getting her down to one nap. She fell asleep on the floor in my room about 20 minutes before naptime, so I think we're getting there. It will be nice to have her and Kenny asleep at the same time.

Mama's girl loves chocolate cake!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Break

James's fall break technically started Thursday, but he took Wednesday off so we could get to SLC earlier. We stayed with his parents at the Kimball, a really cool hotel where they always stay when they're in SLC. We always have a room with a kitchen, which is awesome! This time, we even had a laundry room. Since we've stayed at the Kimball several times now, it almost feels like a home away from home. I like being being able to cook a real meals instead of having to rely on cold cereal or fast food for every meal.

James's dad needed an assistant for each day we stayed in SLC (Wed.-Sat.), so I helped Wed. and Fri. and James did Thurs. and Sat. It is a pretty relaxing job. I had a pretty horrible day getting ready for the trip (like not finishing prep until 9 p.m., which is a lot later than normal!), so it was awesome to sit and read for a good chunk of the day. I never read anymore because I always have something to do, and I've been working on too many big projects that I can't just leave gathering dust, so I put off reading. I really shouldn't, because it relaxes me.

Wed., everyone went to the museum while I was working. James and I took a little walk through City Creek and got some ice cream. It was a gorgeous day! The kids all had fun in the hot tub after dinner, and they went to bed without a fuss. James and I watched a little TV before crashing.

Thurs., we had a fun day with Grandma. We went the Witchfest and visited a few stores (Kid to Kid, a toy store). I got some adorable ties for the boys for Christmas for 2 bucks each, and Katie got a few early birthday presents from Grandma: two pretty dresses and a fluffy, stuffed owl. Katie adores fluffy and sparkly things. Is she a girl, or what?

Friday, I worked again while James and everyone went to the This is the Place park. I've never been, but they got some pictures! I made dinner for everyone when we got back to the hotel and we hung out and played Boggle. I lost, as always.

James worked Saturday while I went to visit Cindy! I had a great time catching up and seeing her little girl again.

We drove back to Vernal that afternoon and made it in time for Stake Conference. I went to the adult session, and we all went on Sunday. We camped out in the Primary room and let the kids play while we listened. James even got Katie to take a nap! That hasn't happened at Church in ages.

This week has been pretty normal so far. My garden is officially dead, so I harvested all the tomatoes and put all the dead plants in the compost pile. I have about 20 lbs. of tomatoes, but I think 2/3 of them should ripen inside. The others are immature, so I plan on trying a green tomato relish. Once the rest ripen, I should get another few quarts of salsa, which will mean we pretty much have a year supply of tomato products. Yeah! That was my goal in planting 10 plants.

Weaning Katie is going all right. We're down to one feeding a day. She likes her sippy cup and seems to be adjusting really well. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I think it's a lot harder for me to let go than for her. It was that way with my other kids too.

Now, pictures.


just being Kenny

Her hair is always messy!

Silly boys at This is the Place.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


My goal to "get something" from every chapter in all the scriptures is going pretty well. I used to pay less attention to the lessons in the Old Testament because it seemed that there wasn't as much to find. Though there is more stuff to wade through, there are some beautiful lessons to be found - great treasures, if you're willing to look.

The book of Job is such an example. The other times I read it, it was just the story of a guy who complained a lot and had bad friends. This time, not so much. It struck me in a very different way because of the state of the world. I never knew anyone who'd flat out left the Church until very recently. Gone inactive, yes, but not actual apostasy. This has shaken me up a bit and made me think a little deeper about how and why I believe what I do.

Job is not only a book about trials and suffering. It's a book about doubt and all the lies that the world tells us over and over again that almost seem true, logically, but are really twisted perceptions of the real truth. Job's friends, in an attempt to "comfort" him, present a few truths and many lies to try to get Job down on himself when he's done nothing wrong.

Job's friends don't succeed in cheering him up (very much), and in response, he gives his testimony, correcting their mistakes along the way. They don't believe him and keep on trying to persuade him to repent of things he hasn't done.

False                                                                   True
Man is nothing.
Man is nothing, but he is everything to God.
God will only be with us when we’re perfect.
God is with us always.
Trials do not happen to the righteous.
Trials happen to everyone.
Trials only happen when God wants to punish us.
Trials are a refining fire. They make us better people.
We deserve the trials we get.
God does not enjoy watching his children suffer, but it is a necessary part of the plan. We don't necessarily "deserve" them, but we need them.
Trials only happen when we sin.
God will correct us when necessary, but not necessarily through trials. Some trials are caused by sin, but many happen due to the agency of others and a fallen world.
God enjoys exacting vengeance on those who are wicked.
God is just, merciful, and loving. He does not get pleasure from seeing suffering, no matter the cause.
Wickedness always leads to pain, and the wicked never prosper.
Sometimes the wicked prosper, and not all wickedness is punished right away.
Wickedness is always struck down.
Wickedness will receive judgment in due time.
What does this have to do with doubt?

Job has a conversation with God at the very end of the book, and it turns out that he really doesn't understand everything about how God works. If he being such a great man doesn't understand the greatness of God, then how can I?

A person who observes the world from the natural man's eyes only sees the left column. It's what Satan would have us believe, and it's dangerous. To believe in such an uncaring, angry God makes religion seem pointless. It also doesn't consider agency, because a world where punishment instantly follows sin, who would ever do it? Why bother doing any good if it won't necessarily be rewarded? Why deny the natural man if it's so thrilling to give in? And in world of instant gratification, why wait for the blessings in the next life when you can't be so sure that it really exists? To the secular world, faith is a building on a foundation made of Jell-o. On paper, it doesn't stand up to "science" and never will. 

So many small moments throughout my life have defied logic and helped me know that God is real. I first read the Book of Mormon when I was 7. A seven-year-old is too young to be caught up in whether faith or science is more important. I still remember the feeling I got from reading the Book of Mormon, and I wasn't even old enough to understand every word. Since then, the doctrines of God  have distilled upon my soul like the dews from heaven. I can't explain how that works, but I don't need to. I am a firm believer in science too, but that doesn't discount faith in any way. I resent the random comments around the Internet I've read that suggest that faith can only be a legitimate channel for learning if the person is ignorant in worldly knowledge, and vice versa. I'm a woman of faith, and I'm also not an idiot, thank you very much, you Internet trolls.

I don't doubt science even though I can't possibly understand everything about it. If I want to know more, then I learn it. The same goes for spiritual things. I certainly don't understand everything about God, but I'm getting there one step at a time.