Thursday, February 22, 2018

Books With Beckett || January 2018 Roundup

Starting a new series on Instagram where I post some of the books that I’ve been reading with my youngest.  I thought I would do a roundup here every few weeks so we could have it all in one place and I could post links to the books with the images.  
Books With Beckett | This week we read Owl Moon, Up and Down in the Garden, Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes, Annie and the Wild Animals, I’ll be Home for Christmas, Caves and Caverns, Anna’s Goat, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Winter in the Big Woods, and Winter on the Farm. Favorite this week... Mine | Owl Moon. Beckett’s | Pete the Cat.


Books With Beckett | Some of our favorite books I read with Beckett this week. The Hat, My Little House Book of Family, The Story of Ferdinand, Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes, G is for Goat, The Bully Goats Grim, and Grumpy Goat. My favorite: The Hat. Beckett’s favorite: The Story of Ferdinand. 

Books With Beckett | Some favorites read this week. My favorite: Over and Under. His favorite: The Tooth Book (he has it memorized.) Also read were We’re All Wonders, My Little Golden Book about God, and But No Elephants.

Books With Beckett || This week some of the books we read were Ginger, Insect Detective, Toot and Puddle You Are My Sunshine and Toot and Puddle Top of the World, Frog and Toad, Snowflake Bentley, and My Mother Is Mine. My favorite: Toot and Puddle. Beckett’s favorite: Frog and Toad.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chasing Slow Book Review


Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

This book was a breath of fresh air and a joy to read.  A book on simple living but also a lovely memoir and thoughts shared on motherhood, imperfection, and living this messy, beautiful life. 

Some favorite quotes from the book.

"People don't expire, not really.  Their traces linger far past our flat calendar squares.  Their fingerprints outlive our feeble clock's hands.  Their work gloves and work phrases do too.  The seeds they plant become trees - tall, proud - providing shelter for tomorrow, shade for today.  Legacies for a hundred years more.  And the seeds they didn't get a chance to plan?  Well, I suppose it's our turn for those."

"And we have told the truth.  I have finally told the truth that I've known but could not yet admit, that we are but fragile creatures, every last one of us.  That, on most days, we're not perfect, but we're fine, and on some days, we're not fine, but we're okay, and on a few singular days of the year:  nothing is okay, not even a little, and everything is terrible, and forever, amen.  And that this fragility, this delicate nature of being, is the life we're commissioned to celebrate."

"We can inhale buttery popcorn and a chick flick today while rationing rice with turbaned women in Haiti tomorrow.  We can fight the effects of rampant consumerism today and still purchase our mother a Christmas sweater tomorrow.  We can explore - in equal measure, if we choose - art and science.  Laughter and sorrow.  Truth and beauty.  We can lean in a lean out.  We can conquer and retreat.  We can teach and be taught.  We are not either/ors.  We are both/ands."

"I used to think the opposite of control is chaos. But it's not.  The opposite of control is surrender."

"Novelist Stewart O'Nan once wrote of this.  'You couldn't relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile.  You have to accept is as a whole - like the world, or the person you loved.' I am trying for this.  I am failing at this.  and I am no longer willing to call myself a hypocrite for the failings.  I am no longer willing to fell this tension and to label it something, a judge dictating the sentence of another, the sentence of oneself.  It is simply, not that simple.  The whole of it never is.  I must be all of my multifaceted self.  You must be all of your multifaceted self.  We must allow every part of us; we must learn in great form, in human messiness. And we must accept it all."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Simple Homemaking || Embrace Your Role as a Homemaker


Who are you?  What do you do?  What do you love? If you made a list, what would it look like?

I'm a wife, a mother, a lover of chocolate, a reader, a person of faith, and a homemaker.  My list could go on and I know yours could as well, and yours will look different than mine.  My question for you today is that did homemaker make it on that list?

Is being a homemaker part of your identity?  Is it something you celebrate, something you love?

Making our house a home can be a joyful experience and I would dare say that it should be.  Maybe not always and maybe not everyday, but overall it can be something we love and enjoy.  Just like a job in an office, at a school, or traveling from place to place, make your work at home something you enjoy.   This may take effort to enjoy the work of homemaking.  You may have parts of caring for your home that are boring or mundane, all jobs have aspects that aren't our favorite, but you can find ways to get those mundane things completed quickly and focus on the things you do enjoy.  Embrace your home, whatever it may look like, make it yours, and embrace yourself as the caretaker, the curator of that home.  As a homemaker we work with our physical space and add or let go of elements to our home to create an atmosphere that influences the feeling we get when we walk through the front door.  It is about organization and hospitality, cleanliness and coziness.  When we create a home we love and care for, it will become a place we celebrate.

I love the idea of embracing your role as homemaker, taking it on as part of a full and happy life.  The time you spend in creating, curating, and cleaning your home will reward you with a home that works to comfort and care for those that live inside its wall.  Your home can be a refuge to your family and friends or those that stop by for a visit.  Your role as homemaker can be so much more then an extra list of chores to do when you find the time, it can be mindful and rewarding, a real part of how we cultivate a happy life.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Birthday London & When Miracles Don't Happen




We celebrated London's Birthday this last week.  I can't believe it has been a year since we welcomed our little girl into our family and had to say goodbye.  I shared some thoughts on instagram that day that I wanted to share with you here.  

"Celebrating this little girl today. One year ago today she was born and within the hour we had to say goodbye, such a short and beautiful life. She has affected me deeply, changed me in so many big and little ways. 

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and have been teary most of the morning, but the love and support of so many friends and family reaching out to us through messages, visits, and phone calls has lifted my spirits. There have been many sad moments this last year, so many times that I just ached for her to be with us. But even though I’m sad today, and so very wish I was celebrating this day differently, today I am choosing to celebrate her life. So I’m going to go get her a little cake and some balloons and have a little celebration for her this evening with our family. 

So happy birthday to my baby girl, wish you were here with us. I’ll be eternally grateful for the time I had with you and for the knowledge that I will be able to see you again. Love you always. 🧡"

I also thought I would share the 2nd part of a talk that I gave this last December.  I was asked to speak on the miracles of Christ and just felt I should talk about our little girl and our experience with her.  It was scary to share something so sacred as publicly as speaking in church, it has been scary to share so much here on the internet, but I have felt prompted to do it.  I feel our story of London's life is to be shared, that it was part of her purpose in coming to our family, so her story could be shared, and that hopefully through it others are able to feel the peace, hope, and light that Christ can bring into the darkest of trials. The following is the talk I shared.   


"I love miracles and am so grateful for them.  Miracles testify that there is a loving Heavenly Father that cares for us.   Miracles show us that there are miraculous things in the works that we can’t explain any other way.


Difficult questions.  Why do miracles sometime not happen?

It may seem a paradox to fiercely believe in miracles and also firmly accept the will of God in our lives, but through the Atonement of Christ and an understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan for us, it is possible to resolve this paradox.  We live in a broken world, a world where bad things can and do happen, and we know we chose to come here to be tried and tested. 

As many of you know in February of this year we welcomed and said goodbye to our 5th baby, our sweet little girl that we named London Ann.  My pregnancy with London was normal and problem free until we found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our daughter’s little body had not formed correctly and that if her broken body survived delivery, she would not live for very long after birth. In addition, because of the way her body had formed with the placenta there were dangers in continuing the pregnancy.  Our doctors counseled us to deliver her as soon as possible to avoid complications.  We took time to pray and ponder and after seeking the Lord’s will we decided to continue with the pregnancy and deliver our baby girl via C-section.  London was born at 34 weeks and was delivered without complication.  She lived for an hour after birth and then surrounded by our little family she peacefully passed from this life

So many could ask where the miracle was in this situation for our family? Our daughter was not healed and she only lived a short while after birth.  Did we lack faith or were we not righteous enough to receive a miracle?  Did we not have enough priesthood blessings or say enough prayers?  No, brothers and sisters, I can’t believe that.  I’ve seen too many righteous individuals go through extremely difficult things to believe that we were not given a miracle for one of these reasons.  I know that our desires were good in wanting another baby.  We prayed for her, we were thrilled to know she was coming, and we were completely devastated to learn we were going to lose her.  One thing I learn from carrying this daughter of ours, feeling her move inside me, knowing that when I would finally meet her I would have to say goodbye, is that Heavenly Father honors our righteous desires.  How could a loving father not?  He honors our desire to be mothers, he honors our loss and our sacrifice.  Those of us who have gone through hard things know that if we let them they can change us, and if we try to focus on God’s goodness throughout our trials, they can refine us and teach us things we could learn no other way. 

President Oak’s stated, “I have been speaking of miracles that happen. What about miracles that don’t happen?  Most of us have offered prayers that were not answered with the miracle we requested at the time we desired.  The will of the Lord is always paramount.  The priesthood of the Lord cannot be used to work a miracle contrary to the will of the Lord.  We must also remember that even when a miracle is to occur, it will not occur on our desired schedule.”  He concludes, “The revelations teach that miraculous experiences occur  ‘in his own time, and in his own way.’”

And though the miracle of healing our daughter did not happen for us, there were so many other miracles that did. 

The miracle of peace.  It started in the ultrasound room, as panic began to consume me, a sense of peace enveloped me and calmed me.  This feeling of peace and comfort came to me time and again throughout my pregnancy, something I would have never thought possible beforehand.  

The miracle of acceptance.  I believe in miracles, I always have, but in this situation with our little girl, Steve and I both felt early on and accepted that the blessing of healing was not going to come to our daughter in this life, that her time on this earth would be short, and that there was purpose in it. 

The miracle of her birth, that she survived inside of me for 34 weeks, that she survived birth, and lived for an hour.  The miracle of a smooth c-section with no complications for me during her birth.  The miracle of being able to celebrate her life and the happiness we have felt knowing she is ours. 

Brothers and sisters, my heart aches to hold her and there is an emptiness, a place in our family where she should be, and I have had plenty of hard days and dark moments of heartache and pain.  But I will be forever grateful we were all able to meet her and hold her, and feel so blessed to know she is a very real part of our family.  We know that we will see her and be with her again and that brings us so much peace.  I wish all of you could have met her.  It was a sacred experience to be in the room with her for her short life, to feel of her sweetness, her goodness. We feel so blessed to be able to call her our little girl.

So when we speak of miracles we must always consider God’s will, his plan for us, and the trials and heartache of this broken world that we live in.  And if we are going through our own personal Gethsemane, look for miracles, they may not be what you expect to find, but they are there. 

Finally, the atonement of Christ is the greatest miracle of all.  President James E. Faust spoke of the greatest event in all of history.  He states, “That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place.”  He continues, “The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man.”

Because of the atonement of Christ all that is lost will be restored, all that is broken will be made whole, all that is wrong, unfair, and unbearable will be made right.  He gives us peace in this life as we endure our trials and a promise of miracles to come.

I’m grateful for a Heavenly Father who provides a plan of happiness for each of us.  For commandments, service, scriptures, family, temples, and all the many gifts we have been given in this life to move forward and progress.  I believe in miracles and am grateful for them.  I’m grateful for a Savior.  I know He lives.  I love this time of year to celebrate his birth, to marvel in the miraculous miracles that surrounded his arrival into a broken world.  A virgin mother, a new star, angels appearing to shepherds, all to welcome a babe born in a manger and prophesied to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And the greatest miracle of all, that through His miraculous atonement I have felt the peace and reassurance time and again that one day all will be as it should."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New On the Stack February 2018


Excited to read these titles.  I actually took this photo towards the end of January, just gathering all the books on and around my nightstand, and I have already finished The Sun is Also a Star and reviewed it here.  Such a good read.  I'm currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my 14 year old, Booked, and I'm working through Savor a daily read.  I big old stack of books is the best. 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon
Why did I pick it up?  National Book Award Finalist

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
Why did I pick it up?

Crossing to Safety by  Wallace Stegner
Why did I pick it up?  Recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy

Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson
Why did I pick it up?  Nephew's Favorite Book

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Why did I pick it up?  Love her podcast Happier!

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Why did I pick it up?  Recommended from a friend.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Why did I pick it up?  Reading it to Oldest, one of my favorite books.

Savor by Shauna Niequest
Why did I pick it up?  Loved her other books.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Why did I pick it up?  Recommended on the internet, loved the cover.

Booked:  Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior 
Why did I pick it up?  Loved the idea of a book about books.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Why did I pick it up? Recommended on the internet.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Foggy Mornings & Favorite Games












It has been rainy and foggy and wet and drizzly, basically a normal winter in the Pacific Northwest.  Just very warm for this time of year and not a dusting of snow or a chance of freezing rain.  We have been plugging along with school and work, lots of basketball and band.

Our remodel is moving forward, with lots to do and it is keeping us busy.  We also are in the process of purchasing a rental which is adding extra to dos to our lists.  We knew jumping into all of this that it would be a bit crazy for a few months, but we are planning on it being busy and trying to embrace the mess and chaos of it all.

We have been enjoying playing a new to us game called Clank.  It is a strategy deck building game, so every game is different and so much fun.  I'm loving playing games with my kids, they are so smart and strategic.  Games have been a favorite throughout my life and with Steve not loving games, it is fun to have other game loving folks living under the same roof as me.  So if you didn't marry a game lover, choose to raise game lovers.  Life lesson.

Speaking of games, I also bought the game exploding kittens to gift to the family this Christmas and it has been a fun one.  Easy to learn and fun to play with everyone. 

I have always loved January, the calm that comes after Christmas, the momentum that comes with a new year.  So we are just moving forward through the busy days of January, reaching out to accomplish goals and spending time with those we love most.