Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This Guy Really Helped Me!

One person who helped to get me through a very long and difficult hardship in my life was Nephi. Nephi just seemed to get it! He understood loss, major relocation, abuse by those who should have loved him, betrayal, fear, pain, loneliness, you name it! But he also understood love, trust, faith, forgiveness, endurance, and looking to Father to find peace. I love Nephi! From day one, I felt like he completely understood me. So, having this kind of faith in this great prophet of God, I listened to him. I studied his words; I prayed about them; and I let him teach him.

From Nephi I learned that it isn't any variety of trial that destroys our peace. It is only when we allow the Spirit to leave our lives that peace can be taken from our hearts. In “Nephi's Psalm” (2 Nephi 4:19-30 from the Book of Mormon), Nephi's heart is heavy at the loss of his father and the other great trials in his life. He takes the time here to marvel at the wonders of God that have strengthened and sustained him numberless times. He lets us know in no uncertain terms that, yes, it's been hard, but he has decided to trust in our Savior Jesus Christ.

He then asks himself, and all of us, “Why should I yield to sin...why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?” I realized that the only thing destroying his peace was his willingness to give in to anger! I knew this was true in my own life as well.

Then he gives himself a to-do and a not-to-do. The to-do: “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, o my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul...Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord...” He beckoned himself to wake up and rejoice.

And the not-to-do he gave himself was simple: “Do not anger again because of mine enemies.”

I love his little pep talk, his day of decision! I love that he had the courage to say, “Hey, this is not right in my life. The Lord has been so very good to me, and I need to step it up for Him. Even if my own brothers are trying to KILL me, they are not the reason for my lack of peace. My own decisions are the only reason my kind Father would allow peace to withdraw from my heart.”

Then, in a great spirit of humility, Nephi pleads with the Lord for strength to do what he needs to do. We can do the same, and we will have the same outcome. The Lord will come to our aid; He will give us everything we need to make it through the days ahead. He will help us so we do more than just “make it.” He will give give us more than survival techniques; He will give us the power to THRIVE, for thriving is truly what living the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Trust in Marriage

One day, shortly after the divorce had been filed, I was walking with my friend, Ruth. As we were talking, I mentioned something that might help in a marriage. I abruptly stopped myself and blurted out, “As if I would know!” I realized a horrible truth in that moment. I was losing more than my husband.
I had lost two things. First, I had lost my trust in marriage. Second, in that painful moment, I realized I had lost trust in myself and all I had stood for. I didn't feel I could have an opinion on the subject since I was an obvious failure at the whole thing. Who would listen to me? How could I even listen to myself?

As the months wore on, I learned that this opinion of myself was shared by others. The most painful evidence came one day when I was offering my teenage daughters advice on dating, courtship, and yes, even marriage, although we knew it was down the road for them. One daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, not to be rude (a sure sign I needed to grip my emotional cuddly), but you giving advice on marriage is like a fat person giving advice on dieting.” (Where was my cuddly, anyhow?!)

“That may be true,” I said. But then I remembered Ruth's kind and peaceful answer when I had felt that way about myself all those months before. Her simple answer was, “Maybe you know better than any of us. Maybe, because of what you've been through, you could help the rest of us.” So I turned to my girls and surprised them with, in essence, “but maybe I'm just the one to ask!”

How did I get to this point? How did I go from stopping myself in mid sentence, feeling nothing I said or felt mattered because I failed at the ultimate relationship in life, from being so confident in myself? How did I go from doubting everything I said and did, to believing again? It was a path God has taken me down.

I had to start by regaining my testimony of marriage. I had to know. Is marriage in God's plan for all His children or is it for the few who can figure it out? I read the Proclamation to the World on the Family, I listened to LDS general conference talks on the subject, I watched as others around me kept on going. But mostly, I waited. My heart had been wrenched right out of my chest...... I had to wait.
I don't like waiting. I can be quite indecisive at times, but when I know what I need, I have a horrible time waiting for it. But wait was all I could do. Healing takes times; healing takes prayer; healing takes wisdom; healing takes patience. I was willing to work and learn while I waited- that's what made it bearable.

Elder M. Russell Ballard (in General Conference, May 1987) said, “Satan is always working to destroy our testimonies, but he will not have the power to tempt or disturb us beyond our strength to resist when we are studying the gospel and living its commandments.”

As important as I knew waiting was, I knew I could not wait and do nothing. Standing still drives me crazy, especially when I know it is actually moving me backwards. If I was waiting and doing nothing, I was going backwards, my testimony was shrinking, and my faith in myself and marriage was dwindling. It couldn't happen. So I prayed. I prayed for strength to smile when I saw a couple playfully holding hands. I prayed for courage to sit in the temple's Celestial Room with so many loving couples looking into each others' eyes. I prayed for wisdom to keep my sarcasm to myself when the pain was too much to bear, and I prayed for patience as I waited for my testimony to be restored.

One thing that helped me was that I made a decision; I chose to believe. I chose to look forward and not back. I chose to be glad in others' marriage successes. I chose not to be bitter toward the whole institution. Was I perfect at all this? Not hardly! I was horrible at times. There were times I let the hurt take over and the grief was too much to bear. I let it turn me angry inside. I'd go outside and shoot the bastketball at the backboard. I liked the sound it made- an angry, dingy, abrasive noise- a noise that matched my heart. Or I'd hit the punching bag, sometimes giving it a name. But then I would calm down and I'd remember that I had chosen. I had chosen not to be bitter, but to be believing. I would repent and try again. I believe this is what made all the difference.

One day I got up in Sacrament Meeting to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I was bearing my testimony, I felt a strong urge to share my feelings on familes. I had done this many times throughout my life, but with the changes in my family, it seemed difficult to get the words out in the preceeding months. I stood with confidence on this day and said, “I know that families can be together forever.” I wasn't faking it; I knew it. I absolutely knew it. And I knew that one day my family would be whole again. Oh! How I wanted a whole family! But even without all the members there, I knew we were still a family. I knew I was part of Heavenly Father's family, and He wanted me back. I knew that one day not only would I “cleave together again, that [I] stood," ( 3 Nephi 10:10),” but that my family would somehow, someway “cleave together and [stand].” One thing I have never doubted as I've faithfully read the Book of Mormon is that Heavenly Father keeps His promises. And He has promised an eternal family to all the faithful, not the perfect, but the faithful. As I turn my heart to Him, He will not deny me my greatest wish.

Creation Therapy in Parenting

I have just discovered what I will call “creation therapy.” I learned about it quite by accident not to long ago. One of my children was being defiant and rebellious, and really didn't care that they were. They (covering up if said child is male or female) had gotten themselves into trouble without the least bit of remorse. They just wanted to know what the punishment was going to be. I knew if I handed out a punishment, I would get the nonchalant, shrug of the shoulder, “Okay.” I explained that I don't believe in punishments, but in discipline and natural consequences. The natural consequence of the behavior was the obvious temporary loss of trust, but this particular child didn't care about that and I knew there needed to be something more.

What natural consequence goes with “who cares if I break the rules, they are dumb anyway” attitude? I was stuck. I told my child I would let them know later what would happen. When they left the room, I got down on my knees and asked the Perfect Parent what I should do. I had the most overpowering feeling that my child should stay home from school the following day and can applesauce with me. “But I'm not canning applesauce tomorr....” I began to mutter. Oh, yes I was! ;)

The next morning I announced the consequence. “You will stay home from school today and help me can applesauce.”

“That's my punishment?!?!?” they exclaimed with a sly hint of “I won out on this one!”

The canning started, the silence in the room could've cooled my whole city in July. Once in a while I would give instructions on how something needed to be done, I'd let out a little giggle as I messed up on something simple, and I'd let them know they were doing a good job. After a while I got a response, simple and cold. Who was this drudgery for anyway? Me!

Some more time passed and my child started asking questions about why we cooked the apples first, “did they need to be pealed?,” and “were they smashed enough?” Then the questions changed to “can I do that?” And “is this the right way?” A humble demeanor was replacing a cold haughty one.

We even started having a few laughs here and there- together. I realized this precious child was learning to accept help, direction, and insight from someone they were sure they didn't need in their life. I also watched as the creation process unfolded, how good they felt about themselves. Waiting for the can lids to “pop” was our reward for a long days labor. Cheering quietly together as each lid did, was healing.

The act of creating is a God-like quality. It makes sense it is a natural way to heal from heartache, abuse, and even rebellion. I have since found other creative projects to do with this and the other children, some of which have come at crucial times when correction and bonding were needed. As we have sewed together, learned how to knit, and helped duck-eggs hatch, we have grown closer together. The child is not healed, but the relationship is mending by creating together, just as God knew it would be.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just one vote?

We the People

When I moved from South Jordan, Utah to Ogden, Utah a number of years ago I drove the 50 minute drive to my old city to put in my vote in the primary election. Why would I pack up my little children and make such a long drive just for my single vote? Because I grew up with a mother who taught her children through story telling.

She once told me of a far away land, a land where people were just granted voting rights, a land where there was incredible resistance and horrible violence done to those who used their new found privilege. A woman in this far off land had a daughter with no feet. When asked what happened to her feet, the brave woman replied, “They told me if I voted, they would cut off my baby's feet. They kept their promise.” Just for one vote!

I have a dear friend whose husband has Parkinson disease. Because it is so difficult for him to do small things, even as simple as getting in and out of a chair, they decided to vote early. After sending in their ballots, dear Mr. Smith realized he forgot to sign his ballot. So on election day, Mr. and Mrs. Smith drove into the city and had the election judge go through the box until she found his ballot, just so he could sign it. He knew his one vote counted!

I've had the opportunity to be an election judge on occasion. One year was I was taught a priceless lesson. The precincts and poll locations had been changed, creating an enormous amount of confusion to the voters. I watched as a young man walked in, found his poll location was different, stormed out of the building and shouted, “I just won't vote!”

I watched as another man came in, much older, much slower, with each step a burden to his entire body. He was guided by what looked like an adult daughter. I wished there were no stairs and that the table was closer to the door. When he got to the table he explained that this was his third try to find his polling place. I was so glad when we found his name in our large book. He then asked if his relative could sign the book for him. I didn't know, so I told him I thought he should do it. As he put his cane against the table and tried to balance himself while keeping his hand still, I could see in his eyes as the pain shot up his arm and went throughout his body. I apologized for making him do it. He was kind in his reply. He started toward the booth. After an extended period of time, he started the painful process back to his car. All to cast one vote!

Men and women have died so that we can cast one vote each. Did these people die in vain? These people died so we can be “we the people,” not “well, my one vote won't count anyway.” I once heard a man say, “No decision is your decision!” Yes, it is. And yes, your one vote counts because it is your decision. Make it count for you, for your children, and for America's future. Just one vote makes all the difference.

Friday, October 11, 2013

General Conference Traditions

“Mom, when is general conference?”
"Just three more weeks."
 “Oh, good!” is her sincere answer.

This is a conversation I had with my fourteen-year-old daughter, Christina, a few weeks ago. We've had similar ones ever since. My teenage daughter is sincerely excited for general conference!

Traditions are key to the success of any activity. My children thrive on traditions. One or more of them will remind me weeks in advance of what I need to do to start getting ready for the upcoming occasion. That's good because I am a very last minute person and if they didn't remind me, things just may not happen. One semi-annual tradition we have is watching the general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But not only do we watch it, we make it an event, a big huge deal! It is my favorite weekend out of the year, so why not make it big?!

We usually start the week off with a family home evening lesson on listening to and following the prophet. Then we write down questions we have that we want answered during the two days of watching, listening and feeling.

We start the day off with the traditional creamed egg breakfast and orange rolls. This tradition started with Gary and his first wife, Cheryl, probably to use up all the eggs from the Easter bunny. We have carried it on, although some of the new children are not fans of creamed eggs. The newest children, however, love them! It doesn't matter what the traditional meal is in any family; it only matters that something is special about the food.

Another thing we do is play conference bingo where we can use candy to mark the square of what is mentioned. In April the children use Easter candy for the game cards, in October it's Halloween candy, of course. The children also have conference notepads so they can take notes. We also get to snack on the food from the emergency kits since conference is a perfect six month reminder that the food is getting stale.

Saturday night is the Priesthood session of conference. We all bring food and meet at my parent's house. The ladies and children work on a service or other enrichment activity while the older boys and men go to the session together. When they return home, we eat....and eat and eat and eat. Over the years we have finally learned to bring enough food for our large family.

The activities are basically the same on Sunday, except on this day we dress up in our Sunday clothes. I actually dress up for the Saturday session, as well, because I once heard a person will dress up for something that is important to them. Conference is one of those things, so I make it a point to be in a dress. My children still choose to be in play clothes on Saturday. :)

Conference isn't over yet. When Monday night rolls around, everyone knows it's the semi-annual general conference family home evening jeopardy challenge! Any notes they have taken over the weekend may be used to help answer questions (with prizes, of course) for their team. I use the same game board every time so it's easy to write down questions and put them under the picture of the particular prophet and apostle that talked about that particular subject. My goal is to reinforce what was taught over the previous two days. Last spring I changed the questioning from “listening” questions to “feeling” questions. “What did you feel when the prophet said.....?” or “How can you better apply........?” Some of the answers brought tears to my eyes as I knew they children were getting it in the best way possible.

I love how excited my family is for general conference because it is truly the best time of the year!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Updated March 12, 2014 for the 2014-2015 School Year

How things work in Corky's Kids Hands-on Learning Preschool
My main focus is reading. That is why it is mandatory for children to have reading books this year. The books cost $12.00, and they are yours to keep. I believe reading helps a child socially, scholastically, and spiritually! If I am the only one helping them, they will be better off than not; but if I am assisting YOU, they will soar!!! My goal for each of your children is that they will soar! I will send your child home with a sticker on his/her shirt when they pass off a book. (This is an exciting day for your child.) PLEASE LET YOUR CHILD READ TO YOU EVERY DAY!

Prayer- Heavenly Father is very interested in their learning. I will always do it with His help, so we will start each day with prayer. :) The children will take turns. I will help them if they need help.
Pick up and drop off- ON TIME! ON TIME! Pick up and drop off on my side of the street. Please don't let children cross the street without you. I will open the door for the children to enter right at 10:00 for the morning class and 12:30 for the afternoon class. IF THEY ARE LATE, it is your responsibility to bring them downstairs to the preschool room. But please, disrupting a preschool class is so hard. Their focus is gone so fast, and one late student really is a huge distraction.
Name- HOLD PENCIL. Please help your child learn to hold a pencil by making “pincher fingers” with his/her thumb and forefinger then resting the pencil on the other three fingers. We work on their name at least once every day. They will either use a laminated card (that will stay in class) or they will have a name paper that they will take home.
Payment- I understand tight checkbooks. I know there are hard months, but please budget preschool into your monthly bills. I have to pay my bills on time; that is why I had to set up a late fee this year.

AM class
10:00 - 10:05 Greeting, shoes, coats off
10:05 -10:30 Carpet time: Prayer, pledge, intro to letter/subject, blending, patterns, map, songs, etc.
10:30 -10:50 Writing time: Name, shapes, patterns, numbers, words, etc.
10:50 -10:55 Snack: crackers and water
10:55 -11:30 Activity: Create, play-dough, paint, cut, glue, color, etc
11:30 - 11:50 Play/Individual reading with me (Half of the children read with me each play time.)
11:50 - 12:00 Clean up and ready to go

PM class
12:30 -12:35 Greeting, shoes, coats off
12:35 -1:00 Carpet time: Prayer, pledge, intro to letter/subject, blending, patterns, map, songs, etc.
1:00 - 1:20 Writing time: Name, shapes, patterns, numbers, words, etc.
1:20 - 1:25 Snack: crackers and water
1:25 - 2:00 Activity: Create, play-dough, paint, cut, glue, color, etc.
2:00 - 2:20 Play/Individual reading with me (Half of the children read with me each play time.)
2:20 - 2:30 Clean up and ready to go

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Living on a Dime

I think the best way to save money is just not to spend it. :) That sounds easy and all, but there are some things that are necessary to buy and some things that, as a culture, we deem as necessary. Here are a few ways I have saved money this year.

Library fines
(Who me? Ummm......yeah, the librarians just count on it.)
I pay my library fines by finding fifty cent to $1.00 (no more ever!) movies at yard sales. The librarian will take them in exchange for my humungous fines.

I buy groceries at Walmart where I can price match. Before my Walmart price matching frenzies, I use to shop at Maceys. I loved Maceys. I was in Maceys last night and was amazed at how expensive everything seemed to be.

I buy birthday and Christmas gifts at garage sales, on sale, and at second hand stores. I buy them when I find them so my closet is always off limits because that's where I keep my treasures. I also keep in mind the things that are coming. We have a gift exchange at Christmas time; we have an ugly sweater contest in December; and we have extended family birthday parties once a month. There are always friends and family members having babies. Weddings are just around the corner. I keep my eyes peeled for gifts that look new and are something I wouldn't be ashamed of giving. I find so many things. For example, I found a  newlywed book written by Dr. Lund. He's a leading counselor on family issues. His ideas are great, and his stories are interesting and fun to read. It's a great wedding gift, and it was only fifty cents! For more examples see and

School Clothes
Yes, it's that time again, and I have 5 K-12 students this year. I mentioned the other day that as soon as my children's room were clean, I would pull out their school clothes. "What? We have school clothes?" Sure, we do. I have been stacking them on the top shelf of my closet, in order of age, for months now. Are they new? Not most of them, but they sure are nice. AND they were cheap! Again, I've been watching for great deals throughout the year. I was tempted many times to pull them down and give them to the children, but I kept in mind the day they would be so excited to have "new" clothes for the new school year.
There are still things for each child I need to buy. They all need socks and underwear, most of them still need shoes, and my six foot 145 pound Michael is not an easy one to find pants for, so I'll be having to find a tall and slim store for that one! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm going to be grow up and be a bum!

I first heard of this interesting line of work as a life's goal the first semester some of my children were in American schools. I was trying to convince my daughter to get her homework done when she asked in broken English, "Why you care? This my school."

"I want you to be able to go to college and get a good education so you can get a good job if you need to someday."

"I don't want to go college," she responded matter-of-factly.

"Oh, then how will you get a job if something happens to your husband?"

"I won't."

"Oh? Well, then how will you make money?"

"I'll beg!"

Shocked, I practically hollered, "I didn't bring you all the way to America to be a bum!"

Even more shocked, she shot back, "You just brought me here to work?"

ARG! I was swamped in a losing battle.

Obviously there was more culture shock than I was aware there would be. On both ends. I don't understand the mentality. But you know what? It's what they knew. When we hosted them, we asked them through a translator what they would like to be when they grow up. Christina and Alex had no idea. I've never heard of a child just not knowing what they want to be. Even the children in my preschool class want to be SOMETHING, even if it's a frog Prince. Jake did tell us he wanted to be a police officer. It took a very long time before our other ehildren would ever say what they want to be someday.

Today Christina dreams of serving an LDS mission to Greece, getting married, adopting a child from Africa, and even talks of becoming a pediatrician (after years of college!) She can do it, too. She's a bright girl and she's a girl who has learned how to dream, set goals, work hard, and how to accomplish what she can dream.

As for Alex, he found his dream job when we were in Mexico this past summer and saw a fire-breather on the street. Alex thought he was so cool, but wondered why he was doing it in the middle of the road. I explained that he was waiting for people to throw money to him. His eyes lit up as he almost yelped, "What a GREAT way to earn money!!!"

And Jake? He's going to marry a rich woman who likes to work, so he'll be provided for his whole life.

Luckily, we still have time.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Preschool Information

Corky's Kids Hands-on Learning Preschool

Edited March 12, 2014
3-4 year old class: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am-12 pm
4-5 year old class: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-2:30 pm
Classes start on September 3, 2013
Preschool graduation in on May 22, 2014
2014 school year starts on September 2!
Tuition is $55.00 and is due on the first class of each month.
Registration fee of $40.00 is due at the time of registration.
There is also a $12.00 book set fee for at-home reading, and the books are yours!
I have a preschool room in my home where each class is held. I don't do field trips because I would need the parents to come along anyway, so I figure parents can take their children where they want when they want.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Caleb Ceran Missionary Fundraiser

Caleb is selling this picture he drew to raise money for his LDS mission to Mexico City! Yay!
It is the most loving drawing of President Monson I have ever seen! :)
He has 11x14s or 8x10s for $5.00. He is willing to mail them to you for $3.00 postage for up to five pictures. For each additional five pictures, it will be another $1.00. He would also be happy to arrange for pick-up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Routine Torture :)

 A summer routine idea is not an easy one for any of my children. They look forward to summer break almost as much as I do. But for my three adopted children, the idea of it is nearly unbearable. You see, Tina and Sir Al were sent to be hosted in Italy every summer because they lived in an orphanage/boarding school that closed down two times a year, one for summer and one for Christmas break. Jauco was sent to a place of "relaxation" called a sanatorium, a place I abhor. Nonetheless, the children were on "break," and "break" meant a break from everything for three full months. I don't share the same sentiment.

I was looking for something that would help decrease the contention level in our home., and with a bunch of teenagers and young adults now, I felt this is what would work well for our family. I require everyone who is home to participate.

(On Monday and Wednesday we start 30 minutes earlier to accommodate cross country.)

8:00 Family Devotional and Breakfast. This includes a song, prayer, and scripture study.

8:30 Learning Rotations. We have three rotations of 20 minutes each, and there are two to three in each group. They are as follows:
1) Piano practicing (whether they are taking lessons or not, and even though Tina told me it's taking up her childhood.)
2) Indexing (finding names from old records so those searching for their ancestors have access to them)
3) Personal Scripture Study

9:30 Chores and Bedroom

Then they are free!!!

Now really, that's not all that bad, is it? : )  : )   (Don't ask my poor poor children.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

An Example of My Garage Sale Deals

I love to check out yard sales and discount stores before going to a "real" store when I need something. This spring I have found two snow shovels from two different sales from people who were moving out of state. I've also found a rake, all sorts of gift wrap, and an easel for my preschool room. These are all great finds, but today I'm really excited about the finds I found for my son's birthday. Oh! I love a great deal!!! Remember I only buy things that are new looking and that I need anyway. Even then, my rule is that when I get home, I have to lose the same amount of stuff I found. :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
 Jauco's birthday presents looked so cute! All garage sale wrappings. too. And you know what? They were all in the boxes marked as free. (Okay, I know, the tall gift is too Christmassy, and I didn't notice until after the picture.)
This large stuffed frog, with tags, was one dollar! Jauco loves stuffed animals. He wasn't allowed to sleep with them in the orphanage, so he makes up for it here.

This craft kit was a nickel. Since Jauco loves crafts and dogs, I thought he'd like it. When he opened it, he said, "Why do I need a doll?!" A doll? Okay, a bit of a bomb-gift, but it was cute. ;)

I paid $2.00 for this brand new looking game. All of us loved it so much, Jauco finally took it away so it wouldn't get broken, which was disappointing to me because I loved it! :)

We also ventured to a REAL store and got the large dart gun for him he had asked for. He LOVED it! He loved everything, except the "doll." I loved having a nice birthday for under $30!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Letter from Our Son


"Dear Mom and Dad
Thank-you for adopting me. I had a wonderfull time with you. You're great parents and wonderfull people. Thank-you for keeping me safe. And trying to keep me happy. Thanks a lot.
your son

PhotoI can't begin to tell you what this letter meant to Gary and me. It came about a year and a half after we brought our three children home from Ukraine. Those days have been filled with incredible ups and downs that only parents who have adopted older children from that part of the world can even imagine. The dynamics of our lives have changed dramatically, and I would never go back to how life was "before" this adventure started. I look at each of my children at different times and can't imagine life without any of them. I don't WANT to imagine life without them! Each person brings their own challenges with them; they also bring their own unique gifts to build and strengthen our family as a whole.

One day as I was having a  particularly difficult day with Alex, I felt so strongly that I was experiencing this specific time for my benefit, not his. This was a time for me to learn, grow, and develop. It is a kind Father in Heaven who brings people together to benefit from one another. I am not here to "save" Alex, only our Savior Jesus Christ can do that. I am here to help him, and he is here to help me. That's what being a family is all about.

It's wonderful to be part of a family, no matter how it was brought together.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grocery Shopping at Half Price!!!

Oooo! I love a great deal. I've done so well this week, too, so I've got to share.

I like to do one large shopping trip each month, and do a lot of freezing. I break things into smaller sizes and freeze things like bread, butter, cheese, and smoothie supplies (bananas, strawberries, and spinach). I've tried to freeze milk, but I never remember to pull it out in time. I've also tried freezing cream cheese and yogurt. Umm....... not recommended, although I had a friend who did it, and was somehow successful at it.  

Gary and I saved 50% on our large run for groceries this week. Fifty percent to some people is not a whole lot, but to a family our size, that's huge! Like over $300 huge. We did it by using a website that gives all the sales for the week, and then we go to Walmart and price match. (When someone pops up in line behind me, I like to warn them before they stand there too long.) There are many different sites out there. The one we use is We pay $4.95 a month to use it, and we have to sign saying we won't pass any deals along, but since the deal is past I will give you an example. We got seven cucumbers for $.99. Not bad. It takes quite a bit of time, mind you, but $300? That's cool!

Christmas Shopping in May (on a Tight Budget)

I've been Christmas shopping this week. Yes, I know, it's May, but there are some super-duper deals out there right now. This one may put me in the loony category, but I like to start my Christmas shopping at garage sales. That's right. Another person's junk is my child's new treasure. I love it when I hit the end of a yard sale (between 1:00 and 3:00) because people are anxious to get rid of their stuff for cheap, cheap, cheap. I spent $33 on Saturday and I got eleven gifts, plus some supplies for my preschool, other supplies for helping my young boys practice their English, and some shoes for Tina.

No worries, these aren't lame gifts. I am VERY particular. I make sure they look new; I look for tags, and I look for things my children and hubby would really like. This week I even got two gifts, still in the box, for my grandbaby's birthday. I also got a baby gift, still in the box, for my pregnant friend's baby. She'll think I spent quite a bit of money on this cute little infant toy, but the truth is, it cost me $2.00.

Sarah was with me this week. As excited as she was with my preschool scissors and baby gifts (ha), she was thrilled when she got a whole bag of clothes for $5.00. In the bag she put a new looking dress, a few shirts, and a pair of summer shorts. She had extra room so she let me add a few of my own treasures, one that will be a Christmas shirt for my husband. It's just his size and style. It didn't have tags, but it still had the "I'm new" creases in it. Yes, all these things come from another home. They probably sat around for quite a long time, but they are great deals!

Some might worry that my children won't get what they want for Christmas. I remember a friend of mine being so surprised when she heard my children write Christmas lists for me. She had never heard of such a thing. I was actually embarrassed as I thought about it. I was inviting my child to be greedy, self-satisfying, and mightily disappointed. Many of the things on their lists, especially as they get older, are things that are no-no's in our home. Not even Santa breaks our "ridiculous house rules." I realized when I buy things and check them off from their "I want" lists, I find absolutely no satisfaction in giving at all. These aren't gifts; they are presents. Quite a difference. They still write their lists; it's tradition in our house, and I really will save some budget money for one thing they really want. I'm not a total scrooge. ;) I just love a great deal for my great kiddies!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Kind of Mom I'm Really Not

With the passing of Mother's Day, my mind has been immersed in memories of the kind of mom I was going to be- the kind of mom I was before I had children. I watched my mother do it, so I knew how to do it- and perfectly, too.

However, I should've known my mom was something extra special because of the awe in the praise I would hear from those who knew her. It was not uncommon for me to be asked, "How does she do it?" I would just shrug my shoulders and think, "Ah, that's what moms do." It never dawned on me that if I looked down the row of the other families at church, their eight girls would not be in matching homemade dresses and their three sons would not all have pressed white shirts and nice double-breasted suits. And they certainly would not all be sitting still (except for the occasional shoulder shakes we would get when we couldn't get rid of the giggles). It didn't occur to me that their moms hadn't just finished building a triple bunk bed or a new front porch. Their moms didn't make bread every single day, either, just to help keep the many bellies in the house full.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a great fear come over me. I hadn't turned into my mother. I wasn't yet twenty years old and I was still the same na├»ve, uneducated and very unskilled person I always had been. I had little sewing, cooking, managerial, or homemaking knowledge. I couldn't help but wonder at the daunting task that lay ahead of me. My biggest fear, though, was when I thought of the many nights my mom had stayed up into the wee hours of the morning sewing my prom dress, baking me a cake I needed for school the next day (because I was in tears after my three failed attempts), or finishing a decorating project she wanted finished before my dad would return from his business trip. I knew I just didn't have it in me to stay up all night. I required too much sleep. I just wasn't that giving of a person, either. I really didn't think I could love quite that much.

Then Rebecca was born. Oh! My precious baby! Never had I known a feeling like that. I absolutely knew there was not as much love in any other heart in all the world as there was in mine. It felt absolutely impossible. And then she taught me. That very night Rebecca cried until 4:00 in the morning. I couldn't get out of bed, but I wouldn't let the nurses help out and take her from my room. Her dad and I stayed up the whole night doing what we could to care for her. The next night was similar to her first, and so were many nights thereafter.

I was tired. I was sore from delivery and the other care an infant needs. I felt guilty that I didn't know how to care for her in such a way to keep her calm. But the one thing I didn't feel was the fear that I couldn't love enough. I knew on that first night I would have enough love in my little heart to care for her on that night and every night forevermore.

I'm really not the kind of mom I thought I would be. Circumstance has not allowed it. I don't make bread every day, and I certainly don't do construction work. I hardly even decorate. But do you know what? I don't sleep either. One child after another has come into my life needing my care, and I'm so grateful a kind Father in Heaven has filled my mother-heart with enough love for our own late night talks, snuggles after the nightmares, cleaning up a sick child, and you know what else? There was even a night when my dear Sarah was in tears after several attempts at sewing, and I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing her jacket for the beautiful prom dress we made together. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Smile Through the Pain

Mom, thanks. 

As I was thinking of the single most important thing you taught me, I kept thinking of the way you taught me to smile through the pain. You taught me this mostly by your example, but sometimes you used words, although I really don't know that you had specific intentions of teaching me at the time. You were just being you.

One day I was telling you about an answer I received to something I had been praying about for nearly six years. The answer was in absolute contradiction to what I had wanted all along. When I told you what a hard time I was having with going forward, you said, "If that's the answer you got, then you don't complain about it, you just do it." Wow, Mom! Your faith is amazing. You understand that part of trusting in God is being cheerful about following His will.

Another time, when you were single, I was having a hard time feeling like I didn't fit in. I remember feeling so very sad. We sat on the edge of your bed as you intently listened to my concerns. When I had said enough, but just wanted to be near you, you pulled out a Sear's catalog and we dreamed of what my room could look like someday. We didn't have the money to buy anything to decorate my room with, but that didn't matter. The problems didn't go away any time soon, but I learned that thinking of happier things helps one feel better. I also felt the power of your love. 

Mostly, I learned to smile through the pain by watching you. No matter what the problem, you could find some way of working through it- mostly by doing just that, working. Your hard work showed me that no problem gets better by whining about it. You would just pull out a shovel and try to fix it. Whether you look at the checkbook and see there is no money left so you choose to babysit 13 children while home-schooling your own and running a business out of your home, or whether you need room for six more people to sleep so you put up walls and build a new bedroom, you find a way with absolutely no complaining.

Mom, this has been of great value to me throughout my life. Being cheerful brings me closer to my family and friends, but also closer to God. I can feel His love for me more as I search for the blessings in my life. I could never thank you enough for teaching me to smile through the pain.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Part of Me by Caleb Ceran

This is Caleb's first song with lyrics. He has dedicated this beautiful song to his angel mother.
Do you know what I love about this video? It's Caleb just being Caleb. He's up in his room on his little piano just acting so natural, no pretense, no fanfare, just simple wonderful Caleb.
BTW, that little $200 piano he writes on is a special piano. It was a Christmas gift for his big brother, Ian, in 2006, for Ian was also a gifted musician. Ian never received the gift, however, due to an accident just before Christmas. It was given to Caleb instead. Caleb treasures it, and has brought honor to his brother by the songs he has written on it.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Video Game "Logic"

My kiddies think I'm anti-video games. Anti? Humph! That is  such a strong way to say it. To me 'anti' means against, opposed to, maybe even having abhorring feelings towards or hate for something. Anti? Let me think about this one.

I'm no scholar on the subject. I've read a few articles on the effects and seen a few print-ups and reports from doctors asking parents to limit the use of video games and television for their children, but when it comes down to it, all I really have is what I've seen in my own home and in the other children I associate with. Besides that all I have is my own "Mama Bear feelings."

So let's reason together, why do people play video games? Here's a small list of good reasons I've come up with (don't worry, this is not an all inclusive list):

-We play to get away from reality. What's wrong with that? This is life, and it can be hard. We are here to learn, to grow, to progress, to experience. What's wrong with running away from it all?

-We play for entertainment. Entertainment is good. Aren't violence and obscene words and graphics good if they are for the sake of entertainment because that helps us to be cultured. These things have no real or lasting effect on us anyway. Those old sayings about thoughts turning to actions and what we think about is what we become are so old fashioned and outdated. They were certainly said before the invention of the video game!

-Quality time. We love it when our husbands spend so much time with our sons. They choose video games so they can be together. They don't need to talk to each other (in a soft voice anyway). They don't even need to look anyone in the eye. That's always so awkward for young men.

-They are good for hand/eye coordination. That logic is also good for a great laugh!

-They are stimulating.  Never-ending rhythmic patterns are stimulating to any mind. The growth one must be experiencing when they can't think of anything else is intriguing for any parent or teacher who is trying to get a single word of intelligence out of a child.

-They breed habit. We, as parents, want our children to have good habits, so we give them video games. And since these games are made in such a way that people want more and more of them, we are just helping our children form addicting behaviors before they are old enough to know what is happening inside their little brains.

-They are fun. Ever notice that a child who loves video games tends to find reading, playing outside, hiking and camping boring? They are boring. That's because they have been exposed to the most fun a person can possibly have, so anything that requires effort, brain power, or muscles is just plain boring.

Why would my children insist I am anti-video games?!? With all the compelling reasons to allow them to spend their days and nights in front of a screen, large or small, I think the greatest reason I can think of to let them play is that I really don't want to deal with children right now. So kids, stand back. Summer is on its way. Pull out the video games!!!!

(Sorry, children, this really is all too good to be true. We will have shovels, books, and balls in our hands, just like we did last summer and the summer before that and the summer get the picture.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

About Me!

I am Corrine Jensen Ceran.
 I am a Mormon! I know it! I live it! I love it!

I am a wife.

I am the mother of nine children- four by birth, two by inheritance, and three by adoption (they are in the order I received them, not in the order of importance or the most loved).

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and in His great plan of eternal families and happiness for all of his children. I know we will be with our loved ones after this life. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ makes this possible for all of us.

I am grateful.

I am proud to be an American.

I am a birth daughter.

I am an adopted daughter.

I  am the product of the home school environment.

I am the product of the public school environment.

I am a believer that no matter what life is good!

A brief history:

I moved to West Jordan, Utah, when I was eleven years old. It was my eleventh house. :) Before that I lived in California, Oregon, and Montana. Montana still feels like my second home. My growing up years were filled with learning and growth as my parents worked hard to teach us the gospel of Jesus Christ, how to work, how to be independent and reliable adults, how to love, and how to have a great time. With those important things as a base, one other tool they taught us that has been a great asset to me throughout my life is the importance of laughing through the hard times. I will be forever grateful to them for their love, example, and experience, but most importantly the fact that they never gave up- not on the family, and not on each other, and not on any of us.

My parents did not have an easy task. They raised eleven children! That's right. I have ten marvelous brothers and sisters. Those good folks of mine also managed to have foster children from the Indian Placement Program for the last few years I was home. Meaning, being the second child of this large brood, I went without a lot of the material things of life. Would I trade any one of those precious siblings for cute clothes or my own room? No way! Not then, and certainly not now!

My growing-up family is an interesting one. My mom married my father when I was eleven years old, thus the new start in Utah. Her first husband committed suicide when I was nine. My new dad adopted my mom's seven children (adding us to the three young ones he already had) soon afterwards on February 15. My heart celebrates this day every year as it comes back around. I was then and I am even more so now, ever grateful that a kind Father in Heaven saw to it that I also had an earthly father. I am better because of this good man. To my parents' great joy, a baby girl was added to their union just over a year after they were married. She has always been one of the bonding links in our family.

I got married two weeks after I turned 19 years old. I had the most gorgeous thing on the planet up to that time eleven months later- a baby girl. I was two weeks shy of twenty. Eighteen months later I had another baby girl. Almost three years later a baby boy joined our family. Two years after that, another sweet baby boy was placed in my arms. I knew I wasn't finished having children yet, but I sure had no idea what lay in store for my future.

After fifteen years of marriage, I found myself single with four children, having found it necessary to divorce my husband, something I never believed in. Still don't. It was a trying time for my little family. Visitation being the hardest to get use to for all of us.

I met Gary Ceran a year and a half after my separation and 6 days after my divorce was final, although I had followed his story in the news eight months earlier. His story was one of forgiveness and love. I watched as the story unfolded of how he forgave the drunk driver who killed his wife, teenage son, and young daughter early Christmas Eve morning 2006. I marveled at his strength and at the strength of his two remaining children. I was overjoyed when they were all released from the hospital and were able to have a belayed Christmas celebration together. I knew that if Gary could forgive the man who took so much, I could also forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband.

Gary and I were married eight months later, so together we had six living children; but we still knew our family was not complete. We wanted that 'link' that my parents had. Three months after we were married, I was in the Mount Timpanogus LDS Temple when I had a strong impression there was a child elsewhere waiting to join our family. Adoption was a new idea for Gary, but not to me for obvious reasons.

It wasn't until two years after this incident that we had a six week free subscription to the Deseret News and read an article about a foundation called Save a Child, a group that brought children over from Ukraine to be hosted for "an American experience." I couldn't get the story out of my head. I knew it was something we were to be a part of in some way. Still, I would have never guessed!

We hosted THREE children, a sibling group from this far away part of the world, in the fall of 2010 for 2 1/2 weeks. On the last full day they were here, I knew they were ours. I was the last in the family to have this confirmation from the Holy Spirit. I found out later the whole rest of the family was fasting and praying for me to know.

For the next few months we focused on fundraising and paperwork, so we could bring the last of our babies home for good. After two trips and six weeks in Ukraine, we came home on May 31, 2011. It was a wonderful celebration! Those three dear children were sealed to us six months later on November 5 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They may now be ours for this life and for all eternity.

Things I know a little bit about:

-- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the "Mormons"
-- Adoption
-- Marriage
-- Parenting birth children, inherited children, young adult children, adopted children
-- Suicide among family and friends
-- Blended families
-- Foster siblings
-- Abuse
-- The joys of sharing a room (once with six sisters)
-- Home school
-- Public school
-- Anxiety/depression
-- Divorce
-- Remarriage
-- Scripture study
-- Brothers and sisters as best friends
-- Teaching preschool

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meet Caleb

Caleb is my son. I first met Caleb when he was thirteen years old. He came to my room with his dad, to bring me flowers when I was sick. The first time I saw him I fell quickly in love with his glowing eyes and easy smile. I have many children. Some came to me through birth, others through adoption. Caleb came to me through "inheritance." I married his father, and I inherited this great young man. :)  I know that I in no way take the place of his angel mother, but with all my heart I feel she and I share in our motherly love for this special individual.

There are few people I know of who have a firmer testimony of the plan of salvation than Caleb has. I have watched first hand as he has utilized his testimony and allowed it to pull him through the great difficulties of life. He knows he will see his good mother and precious brothers and sisters again. (Caleb lost 5 other siblings before the Christmas Eve accident, four of them before Caleb was born).
 Caleb was born three weeks after his 14 month old sister, Brianna, died of a brain tumor. At his baby blessing, Caleb was told he would be a comfort to those around him. Caleb brought insurmountable comfort to his mother at that time of great heartache. Nearly thirteen years later, Caleb was his father, Gary's, comfort at the hardest time of his life. Today Caleb continues to comfort others with his peaceful presence and unconditional love. He has been a great source of comfort to me through the ups and downs of my own life.

Caleb, thank you for allowing your testimony and love to be shared with the world. Your mother in heaven and your mother on earth are so very very proud of you!

This is Caleb's testimony done by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of the great plan of salvation that Heavenly Father has for each of us, His children.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Let It Go by Caleb Ceran


This is Caleb Ceran's best song yet!!!

Caleb is 19 years old.

If you love it, please share it. :) 

(Love you, Shisk!)


My Littlest Boy

This is my son "Jauco." He is my youngest child, and has a heart of gold. At his class field trip last week, Jauco made sure I always had a seat. Once he even got up and asked his friend to get up with him before instructing me to sit down.

Once a week we have a family temple night. Upon leaving the temple, Jauco insisted I borrow his coat because he knew I was cold. He shivered as I cuddled in his little coat. I think my heart was warmer than anything! :)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Phew! It's the Teacher's Fault!

I had just gotten off the bus from a field trip with one child. I was chatting with some newfound friends when I said that  I needed to go to the office to get my other son who had spent the day with the principal, due to some very bad behavior. One woman asked which teacher the second son had. I told her, to which she responded, "That's why he's in the principal's office! That teacher can't keep control!"

I was shocked, but also reassured. My son's behavior had nothing at all to do with his own choices to act disrespectful, disobedient, and obnoxious. Well, good. That just made my job as mother easier.

That awful teacher! How dare she not control this child of mine! How dare she let him rip up his homework  right in front of her! How dare she stand by and watch him crawling around the room like a small child! How dare she just ask my son to stay on task and do his work with the other students, and be expected to comply! Some teachers! And then when he wouldn't, she had the audacity to bring him to the principal's office! First time all year, too, and this is no easy child.

This is a boy who has been in this land for two short years, and he doesn't know what to do when he's had too much. He doesn't know how to respond, so he shuts down............totally. He goes to no man's land and he's almost impossible to penetrate. Then, after what seems like hours, he pops out of it, and he's my nice respectful funny amazing son again. And this teacher just doesn't know how to handle this child. Shame on her.

Wow! I do not envy teachers today. It is all on them. Children can't be blamed because they are just children. They don't have to be responsible until..............wait, until when? Oh, when they are good and ready. Well, that will be just about never! So teachers, stand back. This new generation of  ME! has just gotten totally out of control, and it's YOUR fault.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Difference II

One day I sat in a church and watched as a young girl left the meeting, presumably to use the rest room. I watched as she left. Her hair was greasy and sloppily done, her clothes were too big and quite disheveled. Her face was drawn with seeming nervousness. It was evident she was at the awkward pre-adolescence age, where a child is learning to care for themselves.

A few minutes later I watched as she re-entered the room. "What is the difference?" I wondered. "She looks just like some of the children in the Ukrainian orphanage we left not too long ago."

As she sat back down on her bench, her mother smiled as she reached her arm past another child to place her loving hand gently on this girl's shoulder. "That's it," I realized. "She's been gone, and someone is happy now that she's back. THAT is the difference."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meet "Tina"

This is my beautiful daughter, "Tina." I first saw this precious child in a photograph in Nanette Garrett's living room, where my husband, Gary, and I had come to view profiles of children we would host. I felt strongly we were to host two boys and a girl. In the photo, young Christina had her protective arms around two little boys, her brothers. These were the children we would choose to host for a 2 1/2 week "American experience."

We prayed for them daily from this time on. Gary and I looked at the picture day and night, longing for the day when they would come to our home, wondering if they would come for good, feeling deep down that they would. They became an intricate part of our lives before they ever even knew we existed.

I first met Tina when she was coming off a plane after a full days trip from Ukraine. She was eleven years old. She was small with blond hair with a red headband in it. All the other children were in heavy winter clothes. Tina wore a light jacket. She stiffened and shyly put her head down as I put my arms around her and her two little brothers.

Things are a lot different now with this precious child. It has been a joy to come to know her.  She laughs easily, plays hard, and is quite a leader among her family, church group, and friends. She likes to dance, has a beautiful voice, is learning to play the piano, and is a great cook. She excels in school and everything else she sets her mind to. She has a fabulous sense of humor and loves a good joke. She is creative and has great taste in style and hair. She wants to serve an LDS mission to a foreign land and go to college when she is older. She is a beautiful young woman inside and out. It is an honor to be her mother.

Corrine Ceran gives a welcoming hug to Sasha, Eddy and Christina, three Ukrainian sibling orphans, as they arrive at the Salt Lake International Airport Oct. 22 to stay with the Ceran family for 2 1/2 weeks through the Save a Child Foundation. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Deseret News Picture at the airport that blessed day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Difference

As I sat at the table making Valentines, I had two totally different conversations with two of my boys. The first son, my youngest gem, was adopted from Ukraine when he was seven years old. He asked, "Who are you making those for?"
My answer was the same one my mom would've given me many years ago, "For my favorite people in the world."
His innocent little question tugged on my heart, "But WHO?"
The next son was my youngest child before our treasured additions. I gave birth to him. He walked up and asked, "Who are you making those for? "
My answer was the same, "For my favorite people in the world."
"Awesome!!" He said as he grabbed for one.

The difference between these two sons is not the gift offered. It is the same for all my children, whether they came to me through birth, inheritance, or adoption. The difference is that one son knows, and the other is longing to know.

Is it not the same way with our Father in Heaven? He has offered His Son Jesus Christ for all of us. Some people know this very well and take full advantage of the gift given, others have never heard of such an incredible gift (making our responsibility great), and others still are longing to know for themselves. But the gift itself it the same for all of His children. It is up to us to accept that precious gift.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bitter? Not today!

Trying to salvage the broken pieces of my dreams was never worked into my life's plans. But when I found myself going through a divorce, I decided one thing. I wouldn't become what I thought was the worst person on the planet to try to talk to- a bitter divorced woman. I had to come up with a plan.
This is how it went:

 - I would pray 100 times a day.

 - I would attend the temple as often as possible, but mainly when my babies were taken for visitation.

 - I would stay in the scriptures every single day.

 - I would smile, smile, smile.

 - I would make time to cry, cry, cry. (This was vital to my healing.
  I had to let
 myself feel. My dad actually had to teach me about this one. He let me know it was alright to feel what I was feeling. 

 -  I would associate only with people who were on my side for the first long while. I couldn't let anymore negativity into my life.

 -  I needed to have a lifeline and a backup lifeline. Any hour of any day or night, I had people I could call for comfort and advice.

 -  I made sure to leave my heart open to forgive completely, and be patient while I wait for it to come. I have found it comes in stages, and these stages are very vulnerable.

 -  I would serve, serve, serve.

 - I needed to choose to believe in love and in eternal families again. I prayed for a renewed testimony of marriage.
- I would read one section from my Patriarchal blessing every night before going to bed. (A Patriarchal blessing is a special personalized blessing given to an individual  by a certain holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood given the authority to do this.) My blessing is a constant reminder that the Lord is not finished with me yet. 
- I needed to teach my children respect for their parentage, no matter how my heart is hurting. They have a lot to be thankful for.

- Pray AGAIN! Oh, and again!

I am a work in progress. I know that. Being what I want to be is not happening over night. I still have triggers that can put me into a downward cycle for days, but I am trusting my Savior Jesus Christ to take my best efforts and make me into far more than my puny young heart could've ever dreamed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Housewife Versus a Career

 I am in no way downplaying anyone else's chosen career, but I would like to share some sentiments based on a journal entry I wrote on February 26, 2013.

I heard from my dear child today, "I could never be a housewife. It's good for you and all, but I am having a career."

A "career" verses a "housewife?" First of all, what in the world is a "housewife?" It sounds like something you'd wipe your feet on as you walk in the front door. Or something that belongs in the same family as the dish-rag. Whatever it is, it has little or nothing to do with how I spent my day today.

I woke up at 6:20 AM, got up on the 2nd or third alarm at 6:27 AM. Woke the children so we could all gather around the piano to sing "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus." We then read scriptures while eating wheat squares, Raisin Bran, and Corn Flakes with dried strawberries. This was actually after we knelt together in prayer. Gary asked me to pray this morning. It was nothing but a gratitude prayer- gratitude for my good husband, for each one of my dear children and grandchildren, for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and so many more things, but mostly that we could be alive during the greatest time in all the history of the world. :)

I then read my scriptures, had couple scripture with Gary (after kissing each head before they walked it out the door), then took a thirty minute cuddle nap with Gary. We had both been up 'til midnight last night getting some internet posts written up for my sister's company. We got up. Gary continued writing the posts while I cleaned up the house to get it ready for preschool. I taught preschool for two hours. I then ate and talked to Gary and Rebecca. Rebecca then took me on a walk/run to start my training for a marathon (yup, life's goal).

After lunch I went visiting teaching. I then taught piano lessons to two of my children before going to a track meeting for "Jay" and "Tine." I came home and rallied the troops to clean a very bombed looking kitchen. I then taught another piano lesson. Michael, Tine, and Sir Al all had productive piano lessons. Caleb helped Gar downstairs, while I listened to "Jauco" read.

Finally it was time for evening prayer, and we put the children to bed.

This was all in-between talking to Sarah on the phone, texting Dad, chatting with children, complimenting Gary's work on the basement, making him food, and laying out a dream preschool room.

A housewife? Who would want to be a housewife? Yuck! But a homemaker? That's what I want to be! A teacher? Definitely! A friend? Oh, yeah! What a great life! I have the career of all careers!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Journey of Light by Caleb Ceran. Caleb is just starting out his music career. Please support him by reposting this beautiful song.

What Kind of Mom Were You?

One day I was busy in the kitchen having a conversation with myself and my former self. What kind of mom were you? I was the type of mom who let my children play with knives. Play with knives!!? Yes, I did. Do you care to explain? Sure.

When my children were small, all our sharp knives were stored in a top cupboard in the kitchen. I did this because I didn't want the little ones getting into them and playing with them when I wasn't around. But when it came time to cook dinner, do crafts, or make a snack, out came the knives. The children would pull up a chair and start chopping the cucumbers and the carrots. I was there to give guidance when needed, but mostly I let them do it their way. Why? Because they could.

Do you know what else my little ones did? They got dirty. Awfully dirty! When they'd go out to play, I'd say, "Go get dirty!"  I could tell how much fun they had while playing by the mess on their clothes.

When the rain came, it was time to put away the umbrellas. Umbrellas were for dress up. We'd put on our shoes and go jumping. Jumping in the puddles that were formed just for us. We'd have contests to see who could get the wettest.

We got plenty of stares, glares, and distasteful comments. Others just didn't understand.

But our days were not all fun and games. Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. There were many things my children GOT to do, like grow a garden, practice the piano, go to church, mow the lawn, and do Sunday Circuits. You see,  I believe in children being privileged to grow and develop.
And homework? Oh sure, if that's what you want to call it. See, learning is another one of those privileges. It's fun and exciting. So if my children were reading a book and they became frustrated, it was time to put it down. They could go back to it when they were calm and were ready for some fun.

Some of my children have grown, and others are still in the process. One day I got a call from my daughter who is on her way to the  Philippine Islands to teach people the gospel. "Mom!" she exclaimed, "They don't have toilet paper, and they have earthquakes and typhoons!!"

"If you're trying to scare me, it's not going to work," I lied.
 "Scare you?!?!? Mom! This is exciting!"

All from playing with knives!