Thursday, January 31, 2013


Dylan came up to Ben yesterday and said, "Look, Dad!  I can do the moonwalk!"  Then he proceeded to do something akin to the Running Man, moving backwards.

Ben said, "No, no, no.  That's not the moonwalk.  This is the moonwalk."  And he showed Dyl a YouTube video of Michael Jackson moonwalking.

"Let me teach you how to do the moonwalk, Dyl."  And he did.  (Ben took a breakdancing class when he was a kid.  For reals.  How cool is that??)

So Dylan has been practicing his moonwalking skillz.  He's getting a little closer.  I keep telling him that he needs penny loafers to really be effective at it. :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deja Vu

I was driving Dylan to scouts today when this conversation ensued:

Dylan:  Mom, next time you put that sticky popcorn stuff in my lunch, you need to also pack a plate, a fork, and a knife.

Me:  You mean the carmel corn?

Dylan:  Yeah.  It is just wayyy too sticky to eat with my fingers.

Me:  But it's popcorn.  You want to use a knife and fork to eat popcorn??

Dylan:  Yeah.  It was just...really difficult to eat with my fingers.

Me:  First of all, no.  I'm never packing you a plate, fork, and knife to eat carmel corn.  Secondly, it might be nice every once in awhile to hear, "Thank you for putting an extra treat in my lunch, Mom."  Or, "Thanks for packing my lunch every day, Mom."  All I get are complaints! 

Dylan:  Oh, Mom, you do so many things really good, too.

Me:  Well, I never hear the good things.  Only the bad.

Dylan:  Do you want me to tell you the good things you do?

Me:  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Dylan:  Well, you are a really good cleaner.  You are seriously so good at mopping.  And you're a really good cook, too.  Is that better?

Me:  Yes.  Yes, it is.

After I dropped him off, I felt that this conversation seemed vaguely familiar.

And then I realized why.  I have this same type of conversation with my husband all the time. :)  He tries to make a helpful suggestion, I get all butt-hurt, and then I passive-aggressively make him tell me the good things I do.  It's our schtick.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lesson - How can I learn to see Heavenly Father's hand in all things? - What I Did

1.  Introductory Activity - Useless Without

I got this out of an FHE manual.  I think it nicely introduces the theme of the lesson.  Here are the original game instructions.  I didn't divide them into pairs.  I had them do it individually.  My class is small, and I thought it would be quieter this way. :)

The kids loooved this activity.  However, I think it took too much of precious class time.  Looking back, I think I'd just do the lamp worksheet, and then ask them to think of what they would be useless without.  They would come up with ideas, and hopefully one of them would say, "Heavenly Father." Then we could have them read D&C 59:21.

Some of the kids felt uncomfortable with the word "useless."  I agreed that the word useless has kind of a negative connotation, but I pointed out that, without Heavenly Father, we wouldn't even be here.  Our bodies wouldn't be formed and wouldn't work.  We wouldn't have a place to live.  We truly cannot function (a.k.a. have no use) without him.  I really should have had them look up that verse in King Benjamin's speech about how we only breathe and function and live through God's kindness, and that we should be grateful.  That would have been another good one to look up and mark.

Then I asked them if they would think of a time when they really felt God blessing their lives.  While they were thinking, I gave them mine.  I remember when Ben applied for the architecture program at the U of U.  It was an extremely competetive, difficult program, and it was tough to get in.  He had gotten several bad grades his freshman year (I'm beginning to think this happens to all guys), and had retaken those classes, but still.  We thought his chances were pretty slim of him getting in the program.  One day, he came home, literally crying, yelling, "I GOT IN!  I GOT IN!"  We immediately dropped to our knees and thanked Heavenly Father.  We knew it was only through Him that Ben got accepted into that program.

Then  I had the ones who wanted to, share their examples.

2.  Pass and Write - O Remember, Remember

I recently read on The Red-Headed Hostess about a technique called Pass and Write, and I really thought it would work great with this portion of the lesson.  I wanted them to read a pretty big exerpt from Elder Eyring's talk, O Remember, Remember, and I knew they would get fidgety and bored after a few paragraphs.  So I did Pass and Write with it, and it was a huge hit!  I followed The Red-Headed Hostess's directions step-by-step, and the kids loved it.  And were really quiet.


Here's the exerpt, along with instructions on the top:
After we finished doing Pass and Write, our time was up!  Dang it!!  But this is what I would have done next, if I had the time - I would have written at the top of the board, "Blessings from looking for God's hand in your life."  And then I wanted them to point out blessings that Elder Eyring had pointed out in his talk.  Among them would have been the following:

1.  gratitude grows
2.  testimony grows
3.  realize the help of the Holy Ghost
4.  remember God
5.  come to love God
6.  become more like God
7.  brings us joy

Then I was going to ask, "What are ways we can remember God's kindness?"  and just have them answer me verbally.  The things I thought of were:

1.  thank Him in prayer
2.  keep a gratitude journal, or just write things you're grateful for in your regular journal
3.  tell others
4.  bear testimony of it

3.  How Great Thou Art

I was going to give each student a copy of the hymn, "How Great Thou Art." I was going to have them individually read it, and at the bottom of the page, list the things in the hymn that show God's power and love.  Here is my jpg of the hymn, including directions for the kids to follow at the top:
Hopefully, their list would include:

1.  worlds
2.  stars
3.  thunder
4.  nature
5.  animals
6.  mountains
7.  wind
8.  His son

Then I was going to give them a few minutes to add other things to this list that testify to them of God's power and love.

I was going to tell them of how much nature testifies to me of God's power and love, and then give them this gift (which, by the way, I still gave to them):

On the back is a picture I printed out of Niagara Falls, from when we visited there in October.

Stapled to the front of the picture, printed on vellum, is this:


I just had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you. Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends; I hoped that soon you'd want Me to walk along with you, too, so I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you.

As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted so much to touch you. I spilled moonlight onto your face – trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have.

The next day, I exploded a brilliant sunrise into a glorious morning for you.

I love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky.

The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls.

I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature's sweet scent.

My love for you is deeper than the ocean. Please call Me soon. No matter how long it takes, I'll wait, because I love you.

Heavenly Father

I got a handout like this from a devotional a girl gave in 9th grade seminary.  It really touched me, and I've remembered it for all these years - 20 years.  Whoa.  I felt like it was really fitting for the lesson, and the kids seemed really touched.

And that's all I've got for ya, folks!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Teca Coma Food

We had my brother-in-law, Chrissie-Pooh, over for dinner Friday night.  The poor guy is all alone, all alone, while my sis, Lex, is doing a Physical Therapy affiliation in Arizona for a couple of months.

Before I move on, I have to tell you the origins of "all alone, all alone."  When I taught school, I had this kid in the 7th grade who was MAJORLY ADHD.  But he was also really, really funny.  And whenever anything whatsoever would refer to a person being by themselves, he would comment, "He was all alone, all alone..."  It's become part of my vernacular now.

When we lived in San Diego, there was a Mexican food restaurant nearby called El Azteca.  They had ENORMOUS burritos.  I taught Sunday School down there, too, and two of my students, Tyler and ...dang.  I can't remember the other kid's name.  I called him Reggie because he was obsessed with some sports guy named Reggie.  So we'll just continue calling him Reggie, eh?

So anywho, Tyler and Reggie frequented El Azteca...frequently.  And they would always refer to the drowsy, full-tummy effect of eating one of those burritos as a "Teca Coma."

I got some cooked tortillas at a local Mexican food restaurant for some fajitas I made Friday night (once you've been spoiled with good, huge, homemade, authentic Mexican tortillas, it's reeeeally hard to go back to the store-bought kinds), and Ben and Chris just PILED the fajita stuff inside of theirs.  Their fajitas were enormous.  I had to take a picture of Chris's:
It's hard to tell, but that is a cylindrical shape Chris is holding.  It may look at first blush to be a flat quesadilla-type thing, but nope.  It's a cylinder.  With the diameter of, like, four inches.  Guys crack me up.  They can eat so much food!  We're in major trouble when my boys are teenagers.

After we ate, we played some games that I borrowed from my mom, Wackee Six and Ticket to Ride.  I don't remember who won Ticket to Ride, but Chris spanked the rest of us in Wackee Six:
May I point out my ineptitude in math?  I was the scorekeeper.  And look at where I actually carried the one in several instances. I can't carry numbers mentally.  And look at how I used dots to add five to eight.  It's ridiculous.

We all have our talents.  Math is not one of mine.

We had a good time with the Chris-meister.  We wish you could have been here with us, Lexi!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What I'd Play if I Was a Spinning Teacher

Who secretly took a picture of me???  Haha!  I have told that joke for as long as I can remember.  As my mom would say, that joke is old as the hills and twice as dusty. :)

So.  Music will make or break a spinning class, in my opinion.  One of my teachers is over-fond of Nickelback, which kind of ruins the class for me.  She is an amaaaaaaazing teacher, but when the music doesn't pump me up, I have a hard time staying motivated.

I had a spinning teacher in Salt Lake who once played all Styx music for one class, and it was one of the best classes ever.  Who knew that Styx would be perfect spinning music??

I'm always mentally composing lists of music that I would play if I was a spinning teacher.  Which I am not ever planning on doing. I'd have an eclectic mix.  Nothing slow or kiiinda slow or anything that starts out slow.  Those slow-starting songs lower my RPM's by like ten within seconds.

So here's what I've come up with so far:

Warm Up - this is two or three songs, so they don't have to be really fast, but they still must pump one up.
1.  No Diggity by Black Street  (Karlenn in full effect.  Natalie in full effect.  Brianna in full effect.  Lexi in full effect.)
2.  Kiss by Prince (You don't have to watch have an attiTUDE...)

Bulk of the Class - whether it's fast flats, intervals, pacelines, or climbs, you want fast, gooood music here.  I'd pick from any of the following:
1.  Scream and Shout by and Britney Spears  (All eyes on us, all eyes on us, all eyes on us...)
2.  Jesse's Girl by Rick Springfield (and she's watching him with those eeeeeyyyyes..... and she's loving him with that body, I JUST KNOW IT...)
3.  Dynamite by Taio Cruz  (I came to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE...)
4.  Rolling in the Deep by Adele
5.  Everybody Wants You by Billy Squier
6.  Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer
7.  Don't Bring Me Down by E.L.O.  (Don't bring me dooooooown, rrrrrroooooooshhh!  Don't bring me do-wow-own, rrrrrrrooooooshhhh!!!)
8.  Your Love is My Drug by Kesha (I like your beard...)
9.  Pokerface by Lady Gaga
10.  Rio by Duran Duran
11.  New Sensation by INXS (No male has ever rocked a hair bow in his ponytail like Michael Hutchence.)
12.  Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
13.  Blow Me One Last Kiss by Pink
14.  Meet Me Halfway by the Black-Eyed Peas
15.  Let's Get It Started by the Black-Eyed Peas (Sorry, but the Black-Eyed Peas have been my favorite for several years now.  Gotta have my faves on the list.)
16.  Hey Ya by Outkast
17.  Love Today by MIKA
18.  On the Floor by JLo
Cool Down - just a few songs.  These can be as slow as you like.
1.  Diamonds by Rihanna
2.  Class A Team by Ed Sheeran
3.  Suga Suga by Baby Bash

And I'd make like 10 different CD's with all different music so that my spinning students wouldn't get bored.  It would be awesome.  But yeah, I'm not ever going to be a spinning teacher, because the issue would be that I would sing along to the songs and try to dance with my upper body while spinning with my lower body - not very professional.

Oh, and P.S. - Yes, adjusting the cleat things on my spinning shoes did the trick - no more numb toes!!  I'm in love with my spinning shoes.  I'm thinking of proposing to them soon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A True, Touching Christmas Story

So.  This is the only recent picture I have of my Uncle Kurt.  Haha!  Nice, right?  I'm, like, the BEST niece EVER.  This was during the 4th of July.  He had something wrong with his back, and my sis Lex, Physical Therapist-in-training-extraordinaire, was "working on it."  During the time this picture was taken, Kurt was yelling, "OWWWWWW!  OWWWW!"  And, being the best niece EVER, I took a picture of him and laughed at him while he was in pain.

Anywho, Kurt is one of the nicest dudes I know.  He's a hard worker and a really great dad.  He works as a welder.

His health started declining late in the summer, and in a matter of only two months, he lost somewhere around 30 pounds.  He was getting weak, was very, very thirsty, and used the bathroom all the time.  My mom, who has Type 2 Diabetes, saw these warning signs and talked him into going to the doctor.

He went to a local community care, and the doctor there started him on some type of treatment, but the treatment wasn't working.  I don't know enough about diabetes to know what he started Kurt on, but whatevs.  It wasn't doing the trick, and Kurt was as sick as ever.  My mom was trying to talk him into seeing a specialist, but he didn't want to miss work; he wanted to wait until he had a weekday off, which was weeks away.

In addition, he started noticing a mass on his hip.  He calls it alternately The Mass on his Ass or The Junk in his Trunk.  He's so funny.

Anyways, his health deteriorated so drastically and so quickly, and around the middle of December, he started throwing up blood.  So his wife took him to the local hospital.  He had to be taken down to the U of U hospital.  They did a biopsy on the Mass on his Ass, and luckily, it was some kind of infection - a staph infection, I believe (staph infections are nasty, but I was really glad it wasn't cancerous).  They also addressed his diabetes and got him on insulin shots and blood testing and all of that stuff.  He was down at the U of U hospital for a couple of weeks.  His doctors told him that, when he was discharged, he wasn't allowed to work again until his infection was gone, which would take about four weeks.

Like most people, Kurt only has two weeks of paid holiday per year, which was eaten up when he was in Salt Lake in the hospital.  And he wasn't sure how his family was going to survive without four weeks of pay.

And then he got news while he was down there - his five or so coworkers all gave up their paid holiday time for Kurt, so that his family wouldn't suffer financially while he was unable to work.  Not only that,  they each donated money into a pot to help him pay for some of his medical bills.  I believe it amounted to more than a thousand dollars.  When he got that news, as he lay in his hospital bed, he wept.

This touched me so much, that these guys, who, like anyone, probably really look forward to their two weeks of paid vacation, gave it up for him.  And it touched me that they, who don't make a ton of money, gave a large amount of their hard-earned money to him.

At a time when people are trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, perusing watches and socks and electric griddles, these guys gave the greatest gift to my uncle - a gift he - nor I - will ever forget.

Oh, and P.S. - Yes, Kurt is doing great.  After another trip to SLC to get his "pic line" removed - I have no idea what that is - he was given the green light to return to work, and he starts back on Monday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Christmas - a time to celebrate creepy centerpieces.

I was just (finally) re-sizing Christmas Eve pictures today and had a good chuckle.  My mom has this Christmas centerpiece of carolers sitting on her kitchen table every year.  My grandma really was quite a good artist and had painted the figurines, but I think she had a little trouble with the eyes:
They are quite creepy.  I've put them in order from creepiest to least creepy for you. 

I love teasing my mom about these centerpieces, but truth be told, when my mom passes away in 30 years or whatever, I want these.  Because they make me laugh.  And because they remind me of my grams.

So Mom, write this down:  Kar wants the creepy Christmas centerpiece when you and Dad are gone.  I don't care about fine jewelery or furniture or whatever. I just want the creepy centerpiece. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

He appreciates beautiful things.

My adorable mom made a skirt for Sadie.  I love it and Sades loves it.  And Mom actually found two shirts that match it perfectly!!

She wore her skirt and one of her shirts yesterday, and she looked so cute.  I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of her in it.  It's such a novelty to have clothes that fit that girl.  For her to have a skirt that isn't fitting like a mini skirt.  She is growing like a weed.  It became apparent to us in December or so that she was getting too tall for her size 7 stuff.  So we bought her some size 8 stuff for Christmas and guess what?  She's too tall for that, too.  My very smart mom was cognizant of this and got Sadie size 10-12 shirts, which are nice and long and cover that cute little belly of Sadie's.  She's just in that weird no-man's-land of too big for size 8, they don't make size 9, too small for size 10.  It's a weird land that Dylan resided in for awhile.

Anywho, when Micah saw what Sadie had gotten, he was green with envy.  He looooves beautiful things.  Especially when they involve sparkles (which Sadie's shirts both involve).  He was really upset and wanted a new shirt.

I've never met a little boy who cares about clothes until I had Micah.

My mom took pity on the poor little one and took him to Shopko to pick out something.  He made a beeline to the very shirts that Mom had picked out for Sadie, insisting that he wanted one just like hers.  My mom, after much persuading and hugging, led him to the boy's clothing department, and they found a Toy Story hoodie that made Micah happy:
He calls it his "Christmas sweater."  Not sure why.  And he looooves it.  He has worn it night and day for three days straight.  I'm going to have to fight him to wash it this afternoon, I'm sure.  Because I have to fight Micah on EVERYTHING.

I took him to preschool on Tuesday, and it was -9 outside.  And he refused to wear his coat.  "I already have my Christmas sweater, Mom.  I don't need a coat."  I told him that it was -9 outside and that his hoodie was in no way going to make him warm enough, but of course, he couldn't be persuaded.  So I just grabbed his coat on our way out the door and took it along with us. He was mad that I did that.  And he was mad when I took his coat in to his preschool and explained to his teacher why on this earth he wasn't wearing a parka in this weather.  Sighhhh.

She got him to put on his parka to come home.  Because she's magical like that.  He's really good for her.  Thank goodness.  I was terrified when I signed him up for preschool.  I thought, "He's going to get kicked out of preschool.  And I'm going to be so embarrassed."  But for the most part, he is really cooperative and good there.  He shows her his best side.  And I'm glad for that.  Wish he'd do the same thing for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Old Habits Die Hard

So.  I've been going to spinning class several times per week now, which I've been just loving.  I like my spinning shoes a lot - I can tell that they're making a difference with strengthening my whole leg - hamstrings and quads; and I feel like my pedaling is more efficient.  My toes have been numb a lot, though. 

I asked one of my teachers what was up with the numb toes.  She said that it's likely I've been pointing my toes while pedaling.  Figures.  I point my toes when I do everything.  Twenty years of ballet just makes some things engrained.  When I used to ride on the tube behind my parents' boat, my mom would always tell me I was pointing my toes the whole time. :)

My teacher suggested to really try to lead with the arch of my foot, instead of my toes.  I tried that last night, and it didn't improve things a whole lot.  A guy in my class suggested I adjust the cleat on the bottom of my shoe; so I might try to do that today.  Adjusting it forward a bit might force me to lead more with my arch. 

I think I also need to get new sport socks.  I've been wearing the kinds I jog in, but they've been rubbing my feet weird in my spinning shoes.  There's this one seam that's been bugging me.  Last night before class, I whipped out an old ballet remedy - toe tape:
Toe tape was my best friend when I was in ballet.  Picture that tape on each one of my toes - this would keep blisters from forming or protect blisters already there.  Add a spongey thing on my big toe called a toe cap, a sticky spongey thing called a bunion buster on my bunion bone, and these rubbery contraptions that go over the whole toe called Toe Flows.  And then you would see what my feet looked like in junior high and high school.  They looked something like this:
But with a few more gadgets on there.  It was good times.  Pointe is a painful, but beautiful thing.  So don't judge the picture above of my ugly feet too harshly, eh?  They've been through a lot.

The toe tape did the trick.  And will have to do the trick until I can afford new, seamless workout socks. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Freddy Krueger-Like Signature

Micah had his first homework assignment this week!  We had to trace his hand, cut it out, and put his name on it - we had to make 12 of them.  Micah doesn't really know how to write his name yet, and since we did his assignment like half an hour before preschool, I didn't have time to coach him on forming each letter.  So I write his name in pencil and told him to trace it.  The result looked like this:
Haha!  He kind of did it as if he was coloring a picture.  It was cute.

Monday, January 21, 2013

She's a playah.

Just like her mom.  But not in that way...  Sadie looooves playing board games and card games.  (As do I.)  Especially Monopoly, which she calls "Bonopoly."

A couple of weeks ago, we had her BFF, Londyn, over for a playdate, and we all played a rousing game of Blockers.
Over Christmas, we were at my parents' house, and we were playing Wacky 6, and Sadie wanted to join in.  I didn't think she'd get it or be able to do it, but she picked right up on it and did really well.

We're having my brother-in-law over for dinner and games Friday night; I have no doubt Sadie will want to join in with the adults.  Because she's a playah. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Lesson - How does the Holy Ghost help me teach the gospel? - What I Did

Kay, so you may have noticed this isn't the third lesson listed under January's Sunday School schedule - it's actually the last lesson.  We were counseled in a ward meeting to try to coordinate the lessons between the Priests quorum, Laurels class, and Sunday School class.  The Priests and Laurels gave me lists of what they were teaching this month, and I had to move things around a little bit so that the kidlets weren't getting the same lesson as they were going to get in Young Women's and Priesthood.  

1.  Making Connections

I deviated a little from the norm this week, not asking the usual, "What have you learned recently from seminary/young women's/young men's/experiences with friends" route.  Instead, I just focused on the "extra" making connections question they throw in every now and then.  This week's was "When was a time you felt the Spirit in a Church class, and what did the teacher do to invite the Spirit?"

So at the beginning of class, I handed out slips of paper and pens to every kidlet.  The slips each said:

Think about a time in which you have felt the Spirit during a Church class, in seminary, or in a family home evening.  What did the teacher do to invite the Spirit?

As they were thinking, I modeled the kind of answer I wanted.  I told them about a lady who used to be a Relief Society teacher.  Her name is Jennifer.  I told them that I always felt the Spirit in her class, and I knew it was because she had studied the material for a couple of weeks before.  I knew she had been praying fervently to be able to teach what we needed to hear.  She knew all of us and was able to call on us by name.  She loved us and wanted us to learn what the Spirit wanted us to learn.  Every class was different - there wasn't a specific formula she used every time she taught.  She allowed the Spirit to take the lesson in the direction that it needed to go.  So sometimes it was her teaching and testifying alone, but sometimes an entire class was us raising our hands and asking questions and answering each others' questions and testifying to each other.  And she always let the Spirit take it to where it needed to go.

So then the kids shared some things.  One kid said that opening hymns always seem to bring the spirit to different classes.  One girl talked about how her seminary teacher does the same thing that Jennifer does - allow the Spirit to take the class where it needs to go.

2.  Opportunities to Teach

At the top of the board, I had written (before class), "Opportunities I Have to Teach the Gospel to Others."  I asked them to give me examples of times they are able to teach the gospel to others, in formal and informal settings.  Among the list they made were these answers:

informal conversations
*  giving the scripture or thought or devotional in seminary, Young Women's, Priesthood, or meetings
*  giving a talk in sacrament
*  bearing testimony
*  activities you're asked to do in church classes or seminary
*  Young Women in Excellence and New Beginnings

I also pointed out that, not only are they teaching a lot now, but they will be teaching a lot very soon, whether they're going on missions in the next year or so, or whether they go to college.  I told them about my friend Rachel, who, as a freshman at Ricks, was immediately called into the Relief Society presidency and had to teach one lesson every month.  I told them they had to get used to being in front of people and teaching people, because they were going to be put in that position a whole lot.

3.  Scripture Activity

I wrote the following four questions on the board, but it took FOREVER and I wish I had just written them out on a poster instead.  Word to the wise.

Why is it important to teach by the Spirit?
*  How does the Spirit bless us as teachers?
*  How does the Spirit bless those we teach?
*  What should we do to invite the Spirit in our teaching?

I told them to pick one of the questions.  Then I gave them each one of the following slips of paper:

Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read John 15:26 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 50:13-22 and answer the question you chose here:________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 52:9 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 52:9 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read Alma 17:3 and answer the question you chose here:___________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read 2 Ne. 33:1-2 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 42:11-17 and answer the question you chose here:________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 11:21 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________


Write the question you chose from the board here:_________________________________________


Read D&C 84:85 and answer the question you chose here:__________________________________


We were missing a couple of kids, so we had two slips left over.  I modeled what I wanted them to do by filling out the extra two.  For both, I had picked the question, Why is it important to teach by the Spirit?  I had D&C 50:13-22, and I wrote on my paper, "Because the Spirit teaches truth to people.  Because if it's by some other way, it's not of God.  Because both teacher and receiver can be edified this way."  I also had John 15:26, and my answer was, "Because the Spirit is the one that is able to reach the heart of the hearers."  

I shared my two scriptures and had the kids mark them in their scriptures.  I had them sectionalize D&C 50:13-22 and write in the margins, "It's important to teach by the Spirit."

So now that I had modeled what I wanted, I had them share their scriptures.  We all looked them up together as the student read (or, if it was long, summarized) their scripture and give us their answer to their question.

And then we ran out of time!

But I'll tell you what I was going to do for the rest of the class.

3.  Elder Oaks's Talk

I was going to divide the kids into four groups.  Each was going to take one section to read, then make a list of things they could do to teach by the Spirit.  They were going to add to their lists as the other groups present. 
Here are the four worksheets I was going to give to the four groups:

Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.

The Lord asks this question of each who has been ordained or set apart to preach the word of truth by the Spirit: “Doth he preach it [the word] by the Spirit of truth or some other way?” (D&C 50:17). In other words, applying these words to our own situation, do we teach by the Spirit, or do we teach by our own intellect?
Section 50 explains that if we teach by the Spirit, then the person we teach can receive the word by the Spirit, and both the teacher and the learner “are edified and rejoice together” (see D&C 50:21–22).
In contrast, the revelation explains, if we teach by “some other way it is not of God” (D&C 50:20).
That is a powerful teaching. If we teach in the manner the Lord has prescribed, He can send His Spirit to edify and enlighten those whom we teach. If we do not teach in His way—if we teach according to our own knowledge and according to our own intellect and if we slavishly tie ourselves to our own preparation or to someone else’s wisdom or text—our teaching “is not of God.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that principle in these words:
“If you teach the word of truth—now note, you’re saying what is true, every thing you say is accurate and right—by some other way than the Spirit, it is not of God. Now what is the other way to teach than by the Spirit? Well, obviously, it is by the power of the intellect.
“Suppose I came here tonight and delivered a great message on teaching, and I did it by the power of the intellect without any of the Spirit of God attending. Suppose that every word that I said was true, no error whatever, but it was an intellectual presentation. This revelation says: ‘If it be by some other way it is not of God’ (D&C 50:18).
“That is, God did not present the message through me because I used the power of the intellect instead of the power of the Spirit. Intellectual things—reason and logic—can do some good, and they can prepare the way, and they can get the mind ready to receive the Spirit under certain circumstances. But conversion comes and the truth sinks into the hearts of people only when it is taught by the power of the Spirit” (The Foolishness of Teaching [pamphlet, 1981], 9).
If we rely on debate techniques or sales methods or group psychology, we are preaching the gospel in some other way, and it is not of God.
We must teach the gospel by the Spirit, and we must testify to the truth. When this is done, the Holy Spirit will testify to the sincere seeker that the things that have been said are true.
Intellectual things—reason and logic—can prepare the way, and they can help us in our preparation. But if we are tied to them instead of to the Spirit of the Lord, we are not teaching the gospel in the Lord’s way.
The Lord stressed that truth when He said, “Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit” (D&C 11:12).
This is the way we must teach the gospel.

Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.

Teaching by the Spirit requires first that we keep the commandments and be clean before God so His Spirit can dwell in our personal temples. This principle is taught in many scriptures, and it is taught by all the living prophets.
We know that the Spirit of the Lord will not dwell in an unclean temple (see 1 Cor. 3:16–17). We must, therefore, cleanse ourselves by repentance, by confession when necessary, and by avoiding impure actions and thoughts.
The need to keep the commandments and be clean is also evident in the sacramental prayers we hear every week. According to the words of these prayers, when we partake of the sacrament, we witness that we are willing to take His name upon us, a very sacred and solemn thing. We also witness that we will keep His commandments and that we will always remember Him. Surely those who keep the promise to always remember the Son of God would not profane His name or use words of vulgarity or coarseness or deliberately expose themselves to surroundings or influences that are inconsistent with always remembering the Son of God.
We do all of this, the prayer pronounces, so that we “may always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77).
We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost—the medium of individual revelation—if we are in transgression or if we are angry or if we are in rebellion against God’s chosen authorities.
Similarly, the best way to have the spirit of revelation is to listen to and study words spoken under the influence of the Holy Ghost. In other words, we obtain the Spirit by reading the scriptures or reading or listening to the talks of inspired leaders.
In summary on this point, the Spirit of the Lord, which is the medium of revelation, will not dwell in an unclean temple, and if we are to have that Spirit with us, we must keep the commandments of God and keep ourselves clean in thought and deed.

Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.

As we devote ourselves to the Lord’s work, we must be involved in the hard work we call preparation.
Hyrum Smith learned this lesson in May 1829, just after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and almost a year before the Church was organized. The Lord gave him a revelation through his brother, the Prophet Joseph Smith. In that revelation Hyrum was told that he was not yet called to preach. And until he was called, he should keep the commandments of the Lord and prepare himself. These are the Lord’s words:
“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
“But now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto” (D&C 11:21–22).
In the revelation on priesthood given a few years later in Kirtland, Ohio, the Lord instructed the Saints further on this subject: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85).
In short, the Lord’s instruction to teach by the Spirit does not relieve us in the slightest degree from the necessity of making personal preparation. Indeed, in view of the foregoing scriptures, the Lord has emphasized it.
We must study the scriptures. We must study the teachings of the living prophets. We must learn all that we can to make ourselves presentable and understandable to our children, our students, and our investigators. That includes grooming, speaking clearly, and knowing how to avoid offending people through ignorance of their culture and their personal and family circumstances. All of this and much more is part of preparation. And preparation is a prerequisite to teaching by the Spirit.

Teaching and Learning by the Spirit

Directions: Read the following section from Elder Oaks's talk (Gen. Conference, April 1999). Either as you read or after you read, make a list below (or on the back of) the talk excerpt of things you can do to teach by the Spirit. Each group will be sharing their list with the rest of us. If they put something on their list that isn't on your list, add it.

The next principle after preparation is the requirement that we desire to be led by the Spirit and so are willing to put aside all our preparation and follow the Spirit’s direction. That is a difficult principle to understand and an even more difficult one to apply.
When I have tried to teach that principle in the past, I have observed that some people use it as an excuse for not preparing. Some will say, “Since the Spirit may prompt me to cast away my prepared talk, perhaps I don’t need to prepare at all.” That approach is not “treasur[ing] up in [our] minds continually the words of life.”
We should be in constant general preparation by treasuring up in our minds the teachings of the gospel, and when invited to give a talk or to present a lesson, we should make specific preparations. Most of the time we will carry through with our preparations. But sometimes there will be an authentic impression to leave something out or to add something. We should make careful preparation, but we should not be exclusively bound to that preparation.

4.  Brother Richardson's Talk

I was going to give each kid an excerpt from Brother Richardson's talk, and then have them do a crossword puzzle to kind of get the main ideas out of it.  I knew that, by this point, they would be tired of lists and of writing sentences and would need a new way of synthesizing.

Here is the excerpt I was going to give to each of them:

An Excerpt from “Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit” by Matthew O. Richardson (Gen. Conference, October 2011)

First, the Holy Ghost teaches individuals in a very personal way. This makes it possible for us to intimately know truth for ourselves. Because of our different needs, circumstances, and progression, the Holy Ghost teaches what we must know and do so we may become what we must be. Please note that while the Holy Ghost teaches “the truth of all things,”4 He does not teach all truth all at once. The Spirit teaches truth “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.”5

Those who teach after the manner of the Spirit understand they teach people, not lessons. As such, they overcome the urge to cover everything in a manual or teach all they have learned on the subject and focus instead on those things that their family or class members need to know and do. Parents, leaders, and teachers who mirror how the Spirit teaches learn quickly that real teaching involves much more than just talking and telling. As a result, they intentionally pause to listen, carefully observe, and then discern what to do next.6 When they do this, the Holy Ghost is in a position to teach both learners and teachers what they should do and say.7

Second, the Holy Ghost teaches by inviting, prompting, encouraging, and inspiring us to act. Christ assured us that we come to the truth when we live doctrine and act accordingly.8 The Spirit leads, guides, and shows us what to do.9 He will not, however, do for us what only we can do for ourselves. You see, the Holy Ghost cannot learn for us, feel for us, or act for us because this would be contrary to the doctrine of agency. He can facilitate opportunities and invite us to learn, feel, and act.

Those who teach after this manner of the Spirit help others by inviting, encouraging, and providing them opportunities to use their agency. Parents, leaders, and teachers realize they cannot feel for, learn for, or even repent for their family, congregation, or class members. Rather than asking, “What can I do for my children, class members, or others?” they ask, “How do I invite and help those around me to learn for themselves?” Parents who mirror the workings of the Holy Ghost create homes where families learn to value rather than just learn about values. In like manner, rather than just talking about doctrines, teachers help learners understand and live gospel doctrines. The Holy Ghost is unrestrained as individuals exercise their agency appropriately.

And then here is my jpg of my crossword puzzle:

And that's all, folks!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Moors

We had book club tonight; we read a book by Anne Bronte this month - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  I loved it!!  I'm not as familiar with Anne's works as her sisters' works, but I really enjoyed it; I may even have to read Agnes Grey now.

I was so mad at myself; I forgot to bring pictures of the Bronte parsonage with me to book club - I visited there when I did study abroad to London in 1997, and I wanted them to see where Anne and her sisters grew up.  I told the girls in my group that I would scan the pictures in and send them to them.  I thought maybe I'd put them on here and then just send them this link.

I bought a postcard while I was there that showed the sisters' pseudonym signatures.  They published under men's names:  Charlotte was Currer, Emily was Ellis, and Anne was Acton:
We received this map from my professor when we got there.  If you click on it to see it bigger, you'll see the sites that some of the settings of the girls' books were based upon, which is fun:
So here is the front of the parsonage where the girls grew up (my friend Meliss is on the left, and I'm on the right. Yes, I used to be skinny.  Those were the good old days):
You can see more of it in this picture, as well as the graveyard, which is essentially in the girls' front yard:
Can you see why the Brontes' books are a little...dark?  This is what you see from their front door:
My friends and I posing in the middle of the graveyard:
Don't ask me what any of us was doing - I have no idea.  All I know is that I was really spazzy and had a ton more energy back then.

Anyways, then you can take this long walk along this path through the moors, which really are pretty bleak.  They're windy and cold.  Which again gives you more of an idea of where these girls got their kind of dark/bleak sensibilities in their writing:
The parsonage is just outside of a darling little village named Haworth.  You can see it from the path.  Along with lots and lots of heather:
So yeah, the moors are a little bleak, windy, and cold, but living in Southeast Idaho, I think the Brontes had no idea what bleak, windy and cold is.  Try 60 mph winds each spring, girls. Try -7 degrees when I dropped Micah off at preschool this morning.  Then we can talk.  I'll have to compare notes with the Brontes when I meet them in the afterlife:

"So you think you had it bad??  We had no insulation in our 1945-era house!  When we heated it, it did very little to warm the house up.  Food from my pantry felt like it was being refrigerated!   My butter on my butter plate on the counter would never soften in the winter!"

"Um, I died of tuberculosis at the age of 29."


Yeah, they win in the "bleak" department.

The moors really aren't ugly.  It's just that they're wild and ungroomed, which is different for England.  This is the view of the outskirts of Haworth when you walk along that path - see all the manicured fields, all with little neat stone fences separating them?
That's what most of the countryside looks like.  I know because we drove all over that country.  Nothing but beautiful, green fields, sheep, and little stone fences.  It's so beautiful.

Again, I really don't know what we were doing in that picture.  But I think it's funny.

At the end of the path, you get to this little bridge, called Bronte Bridge:
That's my friend, Lish, with her imaginary friend. :)

Study Abroad in England is, like, in my top five best experiences of my life.  I got to see all of these authors' houses - Dickens (even though I don't like him), Fleming (I am a James Bond-aholic, after all), Austen, Wordsworth, Doyle, was like a dream come true.  Plus see all the other great stuff there is to see in England.

It was fun to look through these old pictures.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Would You Cook with This?

Sadie had saved up her allowance for three weeks and wanted to go to Family Dollar to get a My Little Pony (their selection is way better than Wal-Mart's).  I needed to go grocery shopping and happened to have my list on me, so I thought, why not buy some stuff I need here?  So I bought what I could, and I actually found, in some cases, better prices there than at Wal-Mart, which was pleasant. 

I needed a pound of baker's chocolate to make some chocolate toffee cookies, and to my surprise, they actually had baker's chocolate there! 

So I brought it home and unwrapped the individual ounces so I could get to melting them down for my cookies, and.....
...this is what they looked like.  Really, really weird.  I checked the expiration date - they weren't set to expire until, like, 2015.  Each box holds 8 ounces, so I opened the other box to see if it was just an anomaly.  Nope.  Weird, bubonic plague-like chocolate in each wrapper.

I was nervous to cook with these.  But then I thought, "This isn't fresh produce.  It's chocolate.  And I'm melting it.  Dare I try??"

Again, my fear of food poisoning was really causing me stress.  And I didn't feel like packing up the kids and taking it back to the store.  Plus, would they take back unwrapped chocolate??  Who knows; I think not. 

So I just gritted my teeth and made the cookies.

And they turned out fine.

Maybe Family Dollar gets a special deal from the Baker's Chocolate company - they get a discount for buying the ugly batches?? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marriage Wisdom Imparted by Eunice. (Eunice? There's a person named Eunice?)

It was our anniversary on Sunday!  We celebrated on Saturday night, going to a movie and then dinner.   We saw Jack Reacher, which was fantastic.
The previews make it seem...I don't know.  Like, he says a lot of tough-sounding one-liners in the preview, and when I saw it, I was like, meh.  But the movie was so much better than I thought it would be.  It truly reminded me of a John Grisham book or movie.  It had a good plot.  And lots of good butt-kicking, which always makes me happy.

I'm different than most girls in my movie preferences.  There's a part where Jack Reacher hits this guy from behind, in the head, with a big rock, and Ben said that I actually yelled out loud, "Yessss!!"  I seriously don't remember this happening, but dude, if it did, I was justified in my happiness.  That guy was trying to kill him, and the guy had killed an innocent woman!  Good for Jack Reacher for hitting the bad dude in the head with a rock!

I'm almost to the point of forgiving Tom Cruise.  Almost there.  (I've held a years-old grudge against him for having said that postpardem depression wasn't real and that depression can be helped solely by taking vitamins and exercising more.  You try having a baby, Tom, and then we can talk.  Or you try coping with clinical depression.  And see how much exercising and vitamins help you.)

Anywho, and then we went to dinner at Johnny Carino's.  I had some kind of mushroomey/creamy/chickeney/spaghetti-ey thing, which was wonderful.  Ben got some lobster ravioli, which actually ended up having no lobster whatsoever inside it.  Ben said there were juices in there that might have a lobsterey taste, but no lobster itself.  They gave us half off his meal, which helped a little, I guess.  I still felt badly for him.

Ben gave me this book, which I'm really excited to read:
And he bought me some Black Dutch fudge.  My favorite.  Ben and I were talking to a few dudes in our ward on Sunday (our actual anniversary) and we told them it was our twelfth anniversary.  They said, "So what's your secret to marriage?"

My answer:  "Black Dutch fudge.  Lots of it."

Haha!  Just kidding.  I'd say the answer is lots of work, lots of forgiveness, lots of prayer, lots of hugs, lots of talking.

I bought Ben an imposter Underarmor shirt (real ones are like $45), which ended up being skintight and see-through, so he'll have to take that back.  And I also got him a Duck Dynasty shirt (he loooves Duck Dynasty):

As the years go by, I see the initial sizzle in Ben's and my relationship as not as strong, but our friendship as being stronger than ever.  It's still love, but it's a friendship-based love, which is deeper love.  From everything I've read, this is normal and good.  Ben and I often tell each other that we are each others' best friends.  We know each other almost more than we know ourselves. 

This concept of sizzle fading and being replaced by a deeper, friendship-based love reminds me of a scene in my very, very, very favorite movie of all time, What's Up Doc? (1972.  Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.)
This movie still makes me laugh so hard that I cry, every time I watch it.  And I've watched it probably a hundred times.  I had my friend Megs over while I was recovering from surgery last month sometime, and we watched it, which was probably a bad idea.  My stitches hurt so badly the next day from all of the laughing. :)

Howard is played by Ryan O'Neal, and he is yummy:

Eunice, Howard's fiancee, is played by Madeline Kahn.  She's really psycho in this role and soooo funny:

Anyways, in this one scene, Howard and Eunice are getting ready for this banquet, and this is the conversation they have:

Eunice:  I'm not looking for romance, Howard.
Howard:  Oh?
Eunice:  No; I'm looking for something more important than that, something stronger.  As the years go by, romance fades and something else takes its place.  Do you know what that is?
Howard:  Senility?
Eunice:  Trust!
Howard:  That's what I meant.

So Eunice put it perfectly.  Romance fades just a little through time, and trust takes its place.

And one more picture to go with my favorite scene and quote from the movie, just for kicks and giggles:
Judy:  We're just testing a theory Howard has about Vocal Reverberation Under Spinal Pressure.
Professor Hosquith:  What?  Vocal Reverberation Under Spinal Pressure?
Judy:  You know, V.R.U.S.P.?

Seriously, come on over and watch this movie with us.  You won't regret it.

And Happy Anniversary, my love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

25-year-old Sheets and Expired Juice

The other day, I was out a-shoveling.  (Just like a-wassailing.  But way less fun.)  And my adorable 86-year-old across-the-street neighbor, Nephi, came over to help me.  The man is a machine.  A shoveling machine.  He really is so cute.  Like a third grandfather to me.  I love him.

We can talk quite frankly about anything.  While we shoveled, we talked about how his heart has stopped hurting when he shovels, but he pointed out that this could be one of those false recovery things that precedes death.  I nodded.  We talked about his wife's last moments, how she wanted to sit up and look at the Christmas lights hanging on my house (when someone else was living here) and how much that meant to her.  She was dead 15 minutes later.  We talked about how December is a really hard time for him. And we talked about how he was sick for three entire weeks in December but refused to go to the doctor for it.  He's going to "quit" his doctor, because his doctor keeps giving him medicine that makes him sick.  He talked about how he doesn't want a funeral when he dies (he doesn't like to be the center of attention ever), and how that makes his kids sad.  I gently told him that sometimes, funerals are for the living left behind.  To help them.  He nodded.

I love that I have such a good friendship with him.  He really has enriched my life.  I'll be sad when he passes.  We watch out for each other.

He told me that he was going through some of "the wife's" stuff - that it has taken him several years to feel ready to go through her stuff.  Which made me so sad for him.  And he said he found a twin bed fitted sheet, still new in the package.  He asked if I wanted it.

Now, I know a lot of things about Nephi.  One thing I know is that he's sensitive.  Even more so than I am.  So I heartily accepted, though in my heart, I'm like, "But a bottom sheet that doesn't match a top sheet?  I don't know if I can handle the mismatching!!"  He also asked if we wanted some juice.  He has, like, hundreds of bottles of juice in his food storage.  I'd say 200 of each kind of juice.  It's awesome.  So I was like, "Sure!"

So he brings the sheet and the juice over.  Here's the sheet:
If you can see the price tag there, this bottom sheet only cost $4.79.  Now, I haven't been in the market to buy sheets in a really long time, but my guesstimate is that a single fitted sheet nowadays would be at least $10, right?? 

That means that this sheet is reeeeeally old.  And, honestly, quite ugly.  But I accepted it with gratitude.  One of the bottom sheets I've been using on the kids' beds (which I used as a child) is starting to tear at the corners, so this will be the perfect replacement. 

Micah is in love with it.  He keeps asking if I'm done washing it. 

No, I'm not.  Because I'm constantly behind on laundry.  It's my schtick.  They should call me the Late Laundress.

So I brought the sheet inside and the juice, and I checked the expiration date on it.  I have been burned by Nephi's juice before.  Sure enough, both bottles had expired in 2010.  So I went ahead and took them straight out to the dumpster.  No need for him to know.  He gave from his heart and I want him to feel happy about that.

I mean, mayyyybe the juice would have been okay?  But I'm extremely paranoid about food poisoning.  Once you've had it, you will be forever paranoid, too.  Trust me on that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Gym

 Doing some benchpressing.

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