Friday, December 21, 2007

The Return of Victoria

I still remember the first time I discovered Victoria magazine. I went to the orthodontists office with my friend Jaycee when we were about 15. While she was getting her teeth worked on, I flipped through magazines in the waiting room. I picked up one with a beautiful photograph on it. I opened it and was astounded. There was an entire magazine devoted to the Victorian era?! A magazine for freaks like me who desperately wanted to travel back in time and wear those beautiful dresses, and live in a mansion that looked like a gingerbread house! A magazine filled with hair-do's from the past, food from the past, clothes, home decor and books, ALL FROM THE PAST!!!! I read the magazine faithfully for years until one month it inexplicably disappeared. Years went by with no Victoria.
Fast forward to last month. I stumbled across someone's blog and she happened to mention that Victoria mag was back! James surprised me with a full year subscription for Christmas and it came yesterday in the mail. He let me see it, because, he figured, it would be dumb to read the Christmas issue after Christmas was over. So, the above picture is what I did last night. I consumed an entire box of Godiva chocolates and read Victoria cover to cover. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hijacking - Part 2

It's me, James again. I had one more thought that came to me a few days before the previous one and thought I'd share that too. The other day, as I was pondering while driving in the car somewhat of a parable or parallel came to my mind. The thought occurred to me that reading and praying everyday is like regularly contributing to your savings account. So often it is said, “Pay yourself first” in order to encourage people to contribute to their 401K plans and set aside cash for a rainy day. I have no problem saving money. It is something I want to do. It is something I have made a habit of doing. I should also contribute to my spiritual savings account. Those contributions, for me, need to be made daily thru scripture study and prayer. I know that if I will do this that I will be blessed to find greater blessings from the Lord. He will bless me in the fight against the adversary and will help me be a strong leader to my precious family. There are other parallels that can be drawn from this such as compounding interest being compared to the grace of God and the atonement. Or that when the stock market is low it is usually a good time to invest because of the inevitable rebound in the market. This might be compared to the especial need to read and pray when times are tough and often the Lord will bless you with greater rewards/returns. The main thing that really stands out to me at the moment though is the need to contribute daily to my spiritual savings so that when I retire I might be blessed to have a mansion in heaven.

This Blog Has Been Hijacked!!!

Hi I'm James, Kristy's husband. I'm hijacking Kristy's blog to post a thought that had an impact on me recently and I can't get it out of my head. Since I don't have a blog of my own, and if I did, I'm sure no one would read it, I thought I'd post on my lovely wife's blog instead. So here goes...
A couple weeks ago, I had been helping the kids clean for a couple hours. I had told them several times throughout the day to put things away when they were done playing with them. Kristy and I have been preaching this for as long as they’ve been alive but it seemed to be a theme throughout the day yesterday. So at the end of the day Ella went outside for all of 5 minutes. Shortly thereafter I got in the car to go pick up some dinner and of course Ella had left out her bike, scooter, and a push toy. I discovered this because as I backed out of the driveway I could hear something dragging under the car. It infuriated me to the point that I had to just drive away because I knew I would blow a gasket on Ella if I got out and came into the house to yet again reiterate the day’s theme and tell her to clean up after herself. After a few minutes the steam blew off and I instantly stared to laugh when the thought came to my mind that this is probably how God feels about me. He tells me over, and over, and over, and over again to read and pray EVERY day. I am probably prompted at least once a week to "pick up" (get it?) the pace and yet I don’t do it. How grateful I am for the Lord’s patience with me, for His infinite mercy. I hope I remember these lessons and am more patient and gentle in my admonitions to my children in the future, and also that I might not try the Lord’s patience any further!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Assets and Liabilities

As we were listening to the Little House books on CD as a family a few months ago, it struck me over and over again how much help the children were to the parents. Children were an asset. I kept thinking about how children are raised today, and how parents give, and give, and give to their children, and these kids sometimes turn out to be black holes of need and want, rarely giving anything back.
In a society like ours, where existence doesn't require all of our time and energy, it can be so easy to spoil a child. I look at the amount of toys and clothes my kids have, and it makes me shudder that they're surrounded by nice things and they don't take care of any of it! Then I listen to the story of Laura Ingalls, and how she cares for that rag doll of hers like it is a treasure. She had one Sunday dress and she was very careful never to get it dirty or tear it.
I'm not suggesting that we take all of our kid's toys away and give them just one set of blocks to play with. We're all products of our time, and it's okay if our kids get their clothes dirty, that's what washing machines are for! But there's a balance somewhere, I'm sure of it. Just as I'm sure that most Americans (and for sure their kids) are on the spoiled side of the line. I think we're producing a generation that "can never get enough of what they don't really need, now, my oh my..." So what do we do? Maybe we could try a couple of these:
1. Teach our kids good stewardship. We (meaning my family) need serious work in this area. Somehow teach them to make the things they've been blessed with last. Maybe if they mistreat a toy, then it gets taken away. Maybe if they leave their toys out to be stepped on and ruined, the toy needs to be put away for a time. I welcome any tips in this area.
2. Teach them not to be "consumers". It gets on my nerves that I'm called a "consumer" by the media, by corporate America, and anyone else trying to get their hands on my money. I devour my fair share of food, products, and resources like everyone else. But I'm more than a guzzler, an inhaler. I don't like to think of myself or my kids as brainless "consumers", prey to the marketing whiles of whatever is touted as "hot" this holiday season. I work hard to keep my kids from wanting the next big thing. One really good way to curb this tendency is to homeschool! Another really good one is to severely limit TV time with its commercials. Think twice before buying toys at random for your kids. Watch and limit the amount of "stuff" that comes into the house. Teach them (when they're old enough) to be savvy to common advertising tactics. Teach them to take the next big thing with a grain of salt. Let them know it really won't change their lives for the better. Be happy yourself, without that next big thing.
3. Wake them up to the fact of want and poverty. Don't just tell them that there are kids out there who don't have as many toys as they do (or any toys at all), show them. Take groceries to a family who has to make a choice between utilities and food. Take toys to a needy family personally if possible. Make a conscious choice to give to those less fortunate and involve your kids in the joy of it. This is a perfect time of year for it.
4. Teach kids to be obedient. Obedience has somehow become a nasty word in our generation of raising children. Like it somehow stifles their individuality or their free will. The truth is, obedience increases freedom. If your kids don't learn obedience from you, they'll have to learn it from a teacher, natural consequences (like heavy debt or bankruptcy, strained personal relationships, or difficulty with employers), or eventually a judicial system, none of whom love your child like you do.
We all hope to raise assets, not liabilities. Assets to us as parents, and assets to the world at large. There are a million different ways to parent. We're all trying to do the best we can. Maybe these tips will help you, maybe they won't make any sense at all. Take them or leave them. They're just my two cents!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Just a Fun Website...

If you homeschool, you've probably heard of or seen this site, but it is so fun! It has all kinds of fun, interesting and fascinating videos (mostly taken from YouTube). There are science experiments, music videos, poetry put to music, funny animals, decomposing fruit and veggies...I promise your kids will love it. Here is the link:

Enjoy the site!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What I Don't Do

"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a woman should run faster than she has strength." Mosiah 4:27

This post is prompted by three things: a previous post I did about how women can't do it all, and a post on my sister in law Lindsay's blog about how she thinks she's lazy (she's definitely not), and a great comment from my mother in law regarding Lindsay's "lazy post".

Here are some things that I've decided not to spend my time on in this season of my life:
I don't shop. Except for groceries.
I don't garden.
I don't do crafts.
I've decided to not sew anymore, for now.
I don't decorate my house.
I don't scrapbook.
I don't devote time to bettering my cooking skills. I feed the family and get it over with.
I don't play a musical instrument.
I don't "entertain".
I don't exercise regularly (though I would like to change that).
I have just decided that "couponing" will have to wait awhile.
I don't work outside the home.
I don't do service outside of my church calling.
I don't do household projects, such as painting a room.
I'm not involved in any sports.
I don't collect things.

There are many more things that I don't do, but I won't list them all. This isn't meant to be a negative post. I'm looking at it calmly and have made the decision not to do these things right now because every thing we do takes time and energy, and there's only so much that I have. When you make the decision to do something, there is another activity that you won't be able to do. Obviously, there are other things that I do spend time and energy on, and those are the things that I have chosen for this part of my life. Almost all of the things on this list are things that I wish I could do, and things that I want to do. But based on my limited time and endurance, I've chosen to do other things. And I'm glad! I wouldn't want to be doing them all at the same time!
So, now. What have you chosen not to do? Let's all celebrate what we don't do!