Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anyone want fudge? - Giveaway!!

So, as I was cutting fudge last night, to send as a birthday present to my son-in-law, I was thinking about how much a little fudge can influence lives. I have taken a small package of fudge to hundreds of people over the years.

Most are people I know and want to let them know I am thinking about them, or to thank them for being a wonderful part of my life. Some are homeless people that I have taken fudge to because I believe in serving those who are struggling. Most years I make a lot of fudge, and while I do eat some of it, most of it I give away.

So, dear readers, are you hungry yet? I hope so! I have decided that I want to give away some of my fudge to those of you out in cyber-land. I will let you choose the flavors you want. I will let you choose if you want two half batches, one whole batch or a quarter batch of three different kinds. They are naturally gluten free, and if you have a nut allergy or need chocolate free fudge, I can accommodate that too.

I know you are thinking, what crazy thing do I have to do to get some of that fudgy yumminess. Well, there are a number of ways to get entered in the drawing.

1) Become a follower of my blog. (If you are already a follower you get one entry automatically.)
2) Post about this on your blog or put a link on facebook, and then leave a comment telling me that you did that!
3) Do some kind of service, bonus points if it includes food, and leave a comment telling me what you did.
4) Comment on any post on my blog between now and December 9th to get extra entries.

I am ending the contest on December 9th for three reasons,
1) It will definitely get to you by Christmas. (I am pretty sure this is true even if you live overseas.)
2) I have to make a bunch of fudge that night for a ward service project.
3) The next day Michael and Maddy will be coming, and I will be much busier for the next week, and I want to make sure everyone gets their fudge.

So, I will pick 3 winners at 8 pm PST on December 9th!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus - Getting into the season

We always love flashmob videos that are well done. I like this one because there is no fancy choreography, just great singing. I also love that the average age of the people singing is above 40, which is unusual for most flashmob videos I have seen.

Mindy Gledhill- All About Your Heart ( Nie version)

Lisa, who is my sister's sister-in-law, shared this song on her blog today, and I really like it.

I am not as cool as Lisa, but at least I can recognize cool music when she leads me to it. lol

If you want to see more of Lisa's coolness, then check out her blog here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Shall We Give?

I love this video too....the MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) always has beautiful music, and the beautiful pictures of the Christ child truly speaks to my heart. I am glad that we have such good reminders to find ways to serve one another.

Christmas Spirit

Thanks to my sister Katie for posting this on her blog, and reminding me, and lots of other readers, how important keeping Christ in Christmas is. It is the Spirit of Christ that brings us closer to each other, and that makes Christmas the life changing, and potentially world changing time of the year.

What are you going to do today, to bring the Spirit of Christ into your home?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Playing in the snow on Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving morning the kids and I went up to Government Camp to play in the snow.

The kids made an elaborate snow tunnel with their arms.

Sarah made a snow angel.

So did Kat!!

All of us had fun throwing snowballs, and then hugging afterwards.

By this point Josh was cold enough he was getting in the car, and the twins were not far behind. We stopped on our way down the mountain for hot chocolate, and then made it home in time for turkey sandwiches at Grandma's house, before they had the afternoon/evening with their dad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Poem -2010

In our family we have a tradition of writing poems on Thanksgiving, and sharing them. This is my poem this year!

Gratitude in the midst of turmoil,
Humility while the storm rages on,
Thanksgiving for the tempest raging,
Carrying me along.

Faith in the Atonement of my Savior,
Acting in the ways that He would,
Gives me the strength to continue-
Longer than I thought I could.

Confidence in Heavenly Father,
Leads me to sink to my knees,
Blessing the name of my Savior,
I, whom am, the "least of these."

Looking backwards and forwards,
Blessings I see all around me,
Even in deep tribulation,
Service, hope, and charity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I am thinking about tonight.....

Nearer my God to Thee

This song has been going through my head today, reminding me what is important. If you want to hear the tune, you can go here. These are the words:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
There let the way appear steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Day of Sewing

These pants are on their way to New Jersey. Hopefully they will fit. If you want to make a pair, this is where you will find the details.

(A fleece hat, with pom poms)

I am not a great seamstress, although I usually do okay with straight seams. I am not going to put pictures of everything I made today until after Christmas, but it was fun to make things on this icy, snowy day.

Gotta love a snow-baby!

Kat obviously enjoyed the snow!

So did Joshua!

Tomorrow, if it isn't too icy, I will try a cartwheel in the snow.

Monday, November 22, 2010


(This picture is from 2009 when it snowed, it is not current.)

It is cold, there is snow mixed in with the rain, but who knows if it will actually snow and stick. This is Oregon, and while everyone gets excited/worried about snow, it often times doesn't come when it is forecasted. So, we will see.

I have always loved snow, although more the watching it fall, making hot chocolate and playing outside just long enough to get my nose cold, rather than the skiing down winter slopes for hours on end. When I lived in Bend we had more snow, and it was not as messy as the snow we get here in Portland. So, I have many wonderful memories of playing in the snow in Bend, or just watching it fall.

One of my favorite memories was from when Michael and I had just barely started dating, We had gone out to dinner on a snowy night (I think it was sometime in February) and we were talking about fun things to do in the snow. I said I loved to do cartwheels in the snow, because it made me feel like a snowflake. Michael said that he didn't think I could even do cartwheels, and certainly not in the snow. I told him to stop the truck, and I got out, and on the side of the road did a cartwheel for him. We still smile when we think about that, and how goofy we both felt, like kids playing in a winter wonderland.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Daily - A start to the week

I am so glad that we have this time f the year to remind us to focus on the things we are thankful for, instead of just focusing on ourselves and out trials. In fact, it reminds us that we should be thankful for our trials, as they teach us how to become more like

What are you doing to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your life?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beautiful artwork

I have known Shirleen Bland since I was a child, but I never knew she was an artist. I love her work, and you can see it here, on her new blog.

You can order a print of this picture, as well and any other painting on her website!


Flashback Friday: Christ's love

I wrote this December 30, 2009. While life has changed, my feeling of being in the trenches, and struggling to be more Christlike has not.

Christ's love

I have always struggled with the idea of a loving Father, and an indulgent and guiding Elder Brother. As the oldest in my family, I have tried to follow Christ's example in loving my younger siblings, and trying to show that love in ways that are meaningful to them. The fact that I am not nearly as successful as Christ in doing this goes without saying, and I know some of my siblings are disappointed that I am not the older sister that they would choose if they could. I often wish that I understood my siblings better, but I also know that I cannot force a relationship when one side is uninterested. I think Christ must feel that sadness when He is offering his love, attention and gifts, and we do not see the value in them, or are offended that His gift is not what we want for ourselves.

I had it suggested to me some time ago that one of my particular failings is that I am not able to think like my siblings, and understand them. When I asked for clarification I only received vague responses that I personally found unhelpful, but it has made me reflect on a number of situations, although I doubt my reflections were those that were hoped for. However, in my studying of how Christ offers gifts to us, and how we are given the chance to accept or reject them, but not choose what they are, I have gained some insight into my own relationship with Christ and Heavenly Father.

My relationship with my own father is complicated, and generally very painful. For years that colored my views of Heavenly Father, and made Him almost incomprehensible. I could create an abstract "loving father" in my mind, but had a hard time translating that into concrete actions or feelings within my life. While I might have wished for another father, or one with qualities which I feel would have be more complimentary to me, that is not the "gift" that I was given. Just as my siblings may not always think that a gift I offer them is what they want, and may even be offended by my inability to read their hearts and minds, I was offended that a loving Heavenly Father would give me an earthly father who would cause me so much pain.

For quite some time, I have wished that I could change a significant portion of my early life, and in doing so create a family in which I felt like I belonged. I wanted relationships which I have never had, and a chance to look back on my life with fondness and a desire to relive, at least in memory, my earlier years. I recognize that while the Lord does not personally wish to give us pain, He does wish for us to have experiences that will help us grow and become more like Him. If he had given me a life without the pain of my past, how much farther away from His experiences would I be now? He was willing to take on all of the burdens, sins and sorrows of the world. He was willing to serve those who would rather that He would never have been born. He was willing to forgive those who spitefully used Him. If I had never had any pain in my life, would I be able to understand Him, and be appreciative of the gifts of the Atonement?

I do not mean to say that I think that the Lord wants us to commit sins, or to make mistakes or hurt other people. Part of becoming more like Him is to not wish those things on others. However, we know that the Lord invites us to repent. None of us will escape this life without sin or blemish. None of us will go through life without offending another, or hurting someone else. None of us have committed such "small" sins that we could atone for them ourselves. None of us have the power to make ourselves, or others, whole after we have transgressed. Certainly the Lord desires that we do our best not to commit sins needlessly. He wants us to learn of Him and to do everything that we can to follow His example. However, if we think we can live a life that is good enough that we don't need the Savior or His atonement, we are simply deluding ourselves with foolish pride. We all need the Savior to intercede with the Father, if we wish to have any hope of returning to live with Them someday.

Since all of us have need of repentance, and of learning to ask the Lord for forgiveness, then to become more like Him, we also all have need to learn to forgive others, and truly move beyond those episodes. If we still hold onto grudges, hurts, or feelings of superiority over those who have sincerely asked our forgiveness, or for those who see no need to ask for it, we have not learned to be Christlike, and are in danger of having Christ refuse to forgive our sins. When we are told not to judge, because we will be judged in the same way we judge others, this goes beyond merely needing to give a token forgiveness. Christ does not forgive us, but refuse to let go of the pain and hurt caused by our sins. We do not expect that all future things we do will be found unacceptable because of a sin which has been repented of, and yet how often are we guilty of refusing to see the good that someone who has previously wronged us has done?

I do not want this to sound like a lecture. I am in the trenches of figuring out how to forgive others, especially when they show no remorse for what they have done. I struggle with frustrations and insecurities which make it harder to forgive and move on. I find that there are walls around my heart, put their by pride and past hurts, that I must allow Christ to show me how to tear down. Some of those walls are exceedingly high and wide. I have to remind myself that I am NOT justified in leaving them up. When I allow Christ to show me which brick is the foundation of my stubbornness, and work on that particular issue, I must constantly stay grounded through scripture reading, prayer and listening for answers after I pray.

I think the biggest lie that Satan tells us is that there is nothing positive that can ever come out of a sin. It is true that sinning is not positive, but if we let the atonement work in our lives, and strive to become better people, who are more in tune with the Lord, we can find many positive things which happen after we have committed a sin. It is the learning and growth that comes through repentance, forgiveness and restitution that allows us to become more Christlike, and closer to our Heavenly Father. It is when we forgive others that we can see the beauty within us, that comes from being Heavenly Father's spiritual children, who are struggling through an earthly and physical experience. When we understand that this life is a test, and that the score comes not from adding up every mistake we have made, but instead it comes from looking at home many mistakes we have fixed, and how forgiving we have been to others as they have made mistakes, that is when we truly start to understand Christ's love.

I believe that Christ will help me to forgive those who have hurt me. I have not completed that process, and I do not know all of the steps that it will take. I know it will include forgiving myself, and accepting that Heavenly Father knows me better than I do, and the Christ, as my elder brother, has gifts for me that I would not have chosen myself, but which are essential for me to live with Him someday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I started out today with a trip to Fred Meyer. I bought ten pairs of gloves. Now, you might be tempted to wonder if I have suddenly grown several extra appendages, but alas, it was nothing quite that cool. Instead, it was cold, and I was going to chaperon a field trip full of high school kids, and we were going to a cemetery. It seemed like a good time to have extra gloves on hand (pun intended) and after all, the gloves were $1.01 a pair, with my 15% off coupon. For those of you keeping track, that means I spent $10.10 on my gloves, and I even had exact change. The lady who checked me out was very impressed.

I then got to the school, listened to the last 10 minutes of my mom's class, and then helped get the kids loaded up on the bus. Then, while mom explained the rules of the field trip to the kids, I took the tags and little plastic holders off of all ten pairs of gloves. By the time we were at the cemetery, I was all ready for any potentially frozen hands. After walking around the cemetery for about 10 minutes I had my first customer, and before we were done, seven pairs had been borrowed. The kids were relatively well behaved (cold, wet weather seems to have that effect on high schoolers) and we made it back to the bus, and the school early.

I had a little before the hearing at the court house, so I went home to shower and change. I remembered not to wear my boots this time, so I didn't even set off the metal detector. Once I got there we found out they were running really late, so I got to hang out for almost an hour before we even went in. I will spare you all the details, but we have permission for Maddy to stay with Michael, as well as for him to bring Maddy back for a short visit in December to see me and the older kids. YEAH!!

One might think that would be enough excitement for one day, but the excitement-gods had other plans. At 6 pm I got to go to a neighborhood meeting at the police station to talk about the fence, or lack there of, at the end of our street. It was a meeting filled with an assortment of characters, from the two yelling bullies, the drunk lady who kept talking about moms who couldn't drive and had strollers, to the apartment manager who kept trying to explain that she couldn't evict people just because some neighbors didn't like them. (Darn those housing laws. lol)

Anyway, I stayed for the first 45 minutes and then had to leave for my next exciting event. (Props to my mom who stayed for the entire meeting. I am not sure I could have lasted the entire hour and a half.)

My last hugely exciting event of the day was going ot a training for FOS (Friends of Scouting) which was held in Milwaukie. (Just for the record, the Amtrak train comes through that time of day, and so if you go down the main hill, you will be even later for your meeting.) I got there twenty minutes late, to find that there were three trainers and four other people there. They were waiting for "everyone else" to arrive. Even after waiting another twenty minutes, it became obvious that I was the "last to arrive," and so we got started.

They did feed us a fairly nice dinner while giving us a completely boring training. I think that ten minutes of talking, ten minutes of reading through the materials and another ten minutes to answer questions would have been sufficient. Instead, it didn't end until after 9:00 pm, and I am still not sure what I am really supposed to do. I was promised at the end of this excitement-fest that the next meeting in January would be even better because they would actually be giving us the information we would use when giving presentations, as well as our unit goals. (I had thought that was what this meeting was for, so I am still not sure why I was there.)

So, I am home now, and heading to bed. I made it. I think.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cake Boss

The kids and I have watched several Cake Boss shows lately. They love seeing the cakes come together and how creative the process is.

Tonight we watched the episode where they made canolis. They were transfixed watching how they were made, and now they want to try them, whenever we get to Jersey, were they make them for real. :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Some days

Some days are just overwhelming.

Today was one of them, on a lot of levels.

Enough said.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Summer sun
Hits my back
Making me lazy

Autumn wind
Hits my face
Waking me up

Winter snow
Hits my soul
Making my heart happy

Spring rains
Hit my feet
As the flowers bloom.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dirty laundry

This story was shared by President Monson at the Relief Society General Conference. It has struck me several times, in the last few days, how often we are judged through the eyes of those who see through their own lenses, without the clarity of the Lord's sight. I have had well meaning people express their sympathy for circumstances that they have been told exist, and yet those circumstances are not real.

For the record, my husband and I are not divorcing. I am not having a mental breakdown. I haven't even lost my testimony. There are struggles in my life, but the Lord is my constant strength, and I know that He will provide the way for all things to work for His purposes.

As I am sometimes frustrated with the views of others, I am reminded that I must make sure that I am not judging others. They all have their own struggles. They may have to account for their actions, but not to me. I simply must love all of those around me, even when I find their choices to be destructive, or hurtful to me. I truly am learning to love those who curse me and pray for those who spitefully use me. It isn't easy, but it is what the Lord expects from me.

"A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Tonight I’d like to share with you a few thoughts concerning how we view each other. Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them?

Said the Savior, “Judge not.”1 He continued, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”2 Or, to paraphrase, why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in your own house?

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”

If you would like to read the entire talk, you can go here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A lonely Veteran's Day

Before I married Michael, I didn't think a lot about Veteran's Day. I had an uncle in the coast guard, and both of my grandfather's had served in the military when they were young, but it didn't affect my life a whole lot.

Since marrying Michael, Veteran's Day has become a time to honor him, and to share stories about his time in the service, with me and with the kids. So, it was hard not to have him here today with us, and not to hear any of his stories.

So, I thought I would share one of my favorite stories that he has told us.

Michael was in charge of a number of logistics things for his base. They were constantly having drills to be ready for any kind of emergency. Part of making those drills "real" was that until the drill was over, only the "top brass" knew for sure that they were a drill. So, one evening Michael got a call from a Colonel telling him that all of the fuel on base had been contaminated, and that he needed to secure a new supply of fuel. Michael made the mistake of asking the colonel if it was a drill or not. The colonel chewed him out and said that it was never a drill, it was always real. So, Michael did exactly what the handbook said to do in that situation.

Within fifteen minutes base security had gone to the nearest town, taken over all of the gas stations there, and started pumping their fuel tanks dry. The tankers from teh base then were to proceed to the base so that there would be sufficient fuel to keep the base going until new fuel supplies could be brought in from a neighboring base. Within a short amount of time Michael was called and told that the fuel supply on base was really okay, and that it was just a drill. I am not sure how they got all the fuel back to the right gas stations, or maybe they just paid them for the gas. Whatever the details, this "drill" and its consequences did not even get mentioned in the local newspapers.

While I know that there are many serious and life threatening things that happen every day in the military, there are also funny stories to share. Each of my family members or friends who has served has shared their own "funniest moments" at one time or another.

I miss my husband, and wish he was here to share this Veteran's Day. Next year, hopefully we will be reunited!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A little thought

Sometimes I am small
Just a little thought in the mind of God
Amplified by my prayers
As He holds me up
Carrying me when I need the lift.

The more I rely on Him
The less He must carry me
And the stronger I become
Making me able to carry others
When they struggle and fall

As I carry someone else
I see the Lord keeping both of us going
Reminding me that I am acceptable
As I serve those around me
Who are the proxies for serving Him.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The rain is here...

My kids love to dance, even when we are on an urban hike. This is a picture of all of them spinning down the trail. You will notice it is warm enough for short sleeves. :-)

This picture is from last week, from when the weather was almost 70 degrees, today the high was less than 50, and it was cold, wet and rainy. So, instead of focusing on the fact that even inside I am wearing a sweater, socks and sweats, I am remembering our great hike last week.

A quick update for those who are following the recovery of my grandfather. He got to come home today, and is doing well, although still moving slow! YEAH grandad!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Update on Grandad Jenkins

(For those of you who don't know, my grandfather had heart surgery last Friday. They did a single by-pass and replaced a heart valve. The surgery itself was fairly uneventful, and the doctors tell us that he should make a full, if somewhat slow, recovery.)

This is today's updatee:

Grandad is getting better, although not as quickly as he would like. Nana says the nurses say he is doing fine though. He was up walking twice today and ate all of his meals without any problems. He is trying to pretend he isn't in pain, but the nurses see through him and make him take the pain meds anyway so that he will heal faster.

Maury and Linda are still there, and Nana says they are each helping Grandad in different ways. Linda is matter of fact about the medical stuff, and Grandad believes her since she was a nurse. Maury prays with him which helps to calm him down and get to sleep.

Nana keeps reminding him that he has to do what the doctors and nurses say if he wants to go home. Apparently he isn't a very good patient, so she is asking for prayers for patience for both Nana and Grandad.

They are still hoping to have him go home sometime later this week.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nothing but the tooth

We took a bunch of pictures tonight while the kids were here. My eyes are closed in all of them, and none of the pictures were "great" pictures of everyone. This one I like though, because you can see how many teeth the kids have lost over the last few months. We are truly keeping the tooth fairy well stocked with teeth.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A story of gratitude...

I want to include my testimony that gratitude, is an eternally important principle. Even when life is most difficult, when the storms of trials and tribulations rage against us, there is peace to be foudn in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the gospel, and for the prophets and apostles we have on the earth today. I am grateful for the peace that the Holy Ghost brings, and for the love that I feel from my Heavenly Father.

No matter what your trial is right now, I know that the Lord wants to share His blessings with you, and that He is waiting for you to open your eyes to those blessings, just as the eyes of the children in this story were opened.

The following story is from a talk by President Monson. I am including the link to the entire talk at the end of this post.

"This is an account I read many years ago and have kept because of the message it conveys. It was written by Gordon Green and appeared in an American magazine over 50 years ago.

Gordon tells how he grew up on a farm in Canada, where he and his siblings had to hurry home from school while the other children played ball and went swimming. Their father, however, had the capacity to help them understand that their work amounted to something. This was especially true after harvesttime when the family celebrated Thanksgiving, for on that day their father gave them a great gift. He took an inventory of everything they had.

On Thanksgiving morning he would take them to the cellar with its barrels of apples, bins of beets, carrots packed in sand, and mountains of sacked potatoes as well as peas, corn, string beans, jellies, strawberries, and other preserves which filled their shelves. He had the children count everything carefully. Then they went out to the barn and figured how many tons of hay there were and how many bushels of grain in the granary. They counted the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and geese. Their father said he wanted to see how they stood, but they knew he really wanted them to realize on that feast day how richly God had blessed them and had smiled upon all their hours of work. Finally, when they sat down to the feast their mother had prepared, the blessings were something they felt.

Gordon indicated, however, that the Thanksgiving he remembered most thankfully was the year they seemed to have nothing for which to be grateful.

The year started off well: they had leftover hay, lots of seed, four litters of pigs, and their father had a little money set aside so that someday he could afford to buy a hay loader—a wonderful machine most farmers just dreamed of owning. It was also the year that electricity came to their town—although not to them because they couldn’t afford it.

One night when Gordon’s mother was doing her big wash, his father stepped in and took his turn over the washboard and asked his wife to rest and do her knitting. He said, “You spend more time doing the wash than sleeping. Do you think we should break down and get electricity?” Although elated at the prospect, she shed a tear or two as she thought of the hay loader that wouldn’t be bought.

So the electrical line went up their lane that year. Although it was nothing fancy, they acquired a washing machine that worked all day by itself and brilliant lightbulbs that dangled from each ceiling. There were no more lamps to fill with oil, no more wicks to cut, no more sooty chimneys to wash. The lamps went quietly off to the attic.

The coming of electricity to their farm was almost the last good thing that happened to them that year. Just as their crops were starting to come through the ground, the rains started. When the water finally receded, there wasn’t a plant left anywhere. They planted again, but more rains beat the crops into the earth. Their potatoes rotted in the mud. They sold a couple of cows and all the pigs and other livestock they had intended to keep, getting very low prices for them because everybody else had to do the same thing. All they harvested that year was a patch of turnips which had somehow weathered the storms.

Then it was Thanksgiving again. Their mother said, “Maybe we’d better forget it this year. We haven’t even got a goose left.”

On Thanksgiving morning, however, Gordon’s father showed up with a jackrabbit and asked his wife to cook it. Grudgingly she started the job, indicating it would take a long time to cook that tough old thing. When it was finally on the table with some of the turnips that had survived, the children refused to eat. Gordon’s mother cried, and then his father did a strange thing. He went up to the attic, got an oil lamp, took it back to the table, and lighted it. He told the children to turn out the electric lights. When there was only the lamp again, they could hardly believe that it had been that dark before. They wondered how they had ever seen anything without the bright lights made possible by electricity.

The food was blessed, and everyone ate. When dinner was over, they all sat quietly. Wrote Gordon:

“In the humble dimness of the old lamp we were beginning to see clearly again. …

“It [was] a lovely meal. The jack rabbit tasted like turkey and the turnips were the mildest we could recall. …

“… [Our] home … , for all its want, was so rich [to] us.”

My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."


Friday, November 5, 2010

A few favorite blogs....

I thought I would give a shout out to a few favorite blogs tonight. So many people have amazing blogs out there, but here are a few that I have been reading regularly.

Cake Wrecks - I know a lot of you probably already follow this one, but if you haven't ever seen it before, it is great for a daily laugh. I also have been watching Season 2 of Cake Boss, and while both bring a smile to my face, I still wouldn't want to eat a cake with fondant on it, or buy one from a store. I like making them at home, even if they aren't quite as pretty.

Finding My Way - This is my mom's blog. It is always interesting to see what she is thinking about. Sometimes I am completely surprised, which is always fun. Beyond getting to know her better, I also love that she is a great writer and poet, and she often shares things she is working on, or old favorites, on her blog.

Bridget of Arabia - I am not sure exactly how Bridget connects into our family. I think she was roommates with one of my sister's in-laws, or something like that. She writes a fabulous blog about what it is like to be an ex-pat living all over the world. Her family is currently in the UAE, and I love reading about all of her adventures!

I read quite a few other blogs regularly, but these are my three favorites. I always love suggestions for new blogs to check out, so feel free to leave your blog address in the comments section. (Plus it is always fun to know that you read my blog too. lol)

Happy Weekend everyone!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A good hike

Today it was 70 degrees, in November, and so we did what any self-respecting Oregonian would do in those circumstances; we went on a hike. It wasn't a long one, but it was about 2.5 miles of pure enjoyment. The kids did a great job getting their wiggles out, their voices carrying like the little magpies they often are. We got to make sure out night vision still works, since it was dark for the last few minutes of the hike, even though it was only 6:45 pm when we got back to the car. In almost full dark, we still didn't need more than our sweatshirts.

I am tired, and heading to bed, happy to have had a wonderfully beautiful evening. I still can't believe we went for an evening hike, without a winter jacket, in November.

(I will post pictures tomorrow....something is not working in downloading from the camera.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Something Yummy to try

I saw this on the NPR website, and had to "borrow" it for today's post. I love truffles and goat cheese but never thought of combining them. Now I am going to have to try it out!! If you want the link to the entire article, it is at the bottom of the post.


Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Goat cheese's lightly tart and grassy taste takes chocolate to another level. To make these truffles, I adapted several recipes until I had a balanced batch — not too sweet, not too "goaty." Select a fresh local chevre and pair with a high-quality dark chocolate. To make things even more interesting, add a teaspoon of absinthe, fernet or sambuca to half or all of the goat cheese mixture. The extra sweet, herbal element brings out similar characteristics in the chevre.

Enlarge Kirstin Jackson for NPR
Goat Cheese Truffles
Kirstin Jackson for NPR

Makes about 30 truffles

6 1/2 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped

7 ounces fresh chevre, brought to room temperature

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon absinthe, fernet or sambuca (optional)

1/3 cup cocoa powder, for dusting

Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl resting over a small pot of simmering water, an inch or more away from the water. Alternatively, heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until melted, taking the bowl out to stir every 30 seconds. Chocolate should be smooth when melted.

Mix the chevre and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix until completely smooth. If adding liqueur to half the mixture, separate into 2 batches and whisk the liqueur in one. If adding to all, double the amount to 2 teaspoons and mix into entire batch. Refrigerate for anywhere from an hour to overnight.

When ready to make the truffles, roll heaped teaspoons of the refrigerated mixture into small balls, then roll the balls in the cocoa powder. Either eat right away or let chill on a sheet pan until ready to serve. Truffles will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Have you voted?

It is election day. I am a political junky. I can admit it. It has been a couple election cycles since I have been really involved in a campaign, although I did take the kids out to put "please vote" door signs on doors in 2008.

So, this year I voted early, but I didn't help with any phone banks, nor did I do anything other than encourage my family and friends to vote. Does that stop me being glued to NPR today? Not a bit. I will keep listening to all of the extra coverage on NPR, and probably on PBS later tonight. I am even wearing my "Vote Nov 4th - Obama * Biden" shirt left over from 2008.

I don't expect to influence the process much beyond my vote, but I love to watch our democracy at work, and this is one of those times that we get to see how power changes in a democracy. I am thankful for peaceful transitions of power. No matter how much I may dislike an election result, I know that no one is going to be out shooting or looting in the streets because their candidate didn't win. Democracy isn't perfect, but it is so much better than the alternative!

So, today I listen as people go to the polls, letting their voices be heard in their votes, and tonight I will be glued to the radio/television to hear what their votes said!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Few Halloween Pics

I am cheating and going to share Halloween pics today, instead of yesterday, so that I don't have to be super-creative on the first day of NaBloPoMo. I promise, I will get more inspired, but I am not sure when.