Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pennies from Heaven...

Mom Shared an email with me of a Penny Story and I just loved the message!
I was going to post a copy of it here, and went I went to find it, I had deleted it from my email.  So I went searching the internet for "the penny story".  There were more than one version of this story, and I have been reading and crying and having my heart all swelled up from the many stories and accounts written about pennies.  So I won't post it hoping I have to go searching again and have to read more really neat heart warming stories over again to find the one I remembered.

The common message is of Hope, and of Love....  

For the past week since I read that lovely email, I have been finding pennies.... 
in places expected, 
then places unexpected, 
and then there were just so many, 
it was not a coincidence.  

I have felt my heart filled at times when it felt very lonely.  I have felt Gods' love for me and his message to trust in Him.  I am trying, but it is taking all my faith at times to do just that, trust in God.
He is good, He is loving and He knows me and loves me.
So I believe.  And I know I can trust in Him to take care of my Son, as I show my love and gratitude towards His.
It's hard, it's the most pain and the most joy I have felt in the same moment.

In the laundry and laying around the house... may seem kind of expected.
But we never have cash anymore, we use our debit card always.
I never have even a dollar in cash on me, much less a penny.
So how are they falling out in my washer and dryer EVERY week?
Then to just find one randomly laying in the floor, in a location that is traveled hourly in our house and not seeing it one time, but then finding it the next, not even a coincidence anymore.
Then we were doing some repairs to our couch, and there was another.  Yes, kind of expected to find change under a couch cushion.  And maybe even fallen inside a couch, maybe even though the seems on top are all sewn shut and we had to dismantle it to get to the frame.
But after flipping the couch a couple of times right side up, then up side down a few times to assess the situation, then a few days later come back and flip it again to fix it and there was another penny laying on top, not fallen behind or wedged in, but right on top where we had been working on the bottom side of the couch... I had to grab it and push it to make sure someone hadn't glued to to the board... weird.  
But I get it!!!

I always gave my Dad a really bad time for forwarding jokes and stories via email, I thought they were a waste of time.  But if I had not read the story of the penny my Mom sent, I may not be noticing all these pennies showing up in my life right now.
Pennies from Heaven.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Naughty or Nice list?

Most of the time, our dogs are mature, and loving and so freely give unconditionally to us, and mostly obedient.

But Taylor still has a few wild hairs and so if we had to put her through the Santa test whether she falls on the naughty or nice list for the whole year.... well she is still under review.  And let me just say the week before Christmas is no time to be waivering!

This past week has been especially hard for her, she has been getting into the kitchen sink and pulling out dirty dishes again.
I know it's probably the bad mother she has that I don't always get the dishes done every night, and I know they should be done by the time I go to work the next day.  But some days I just don't get it done.

She seems to be very careful, I would imagine to find a pile of broken dishes under the sink on the floor.  But NO, she brings them all the way out to the living room, plates, bowls, tupperware, and YES that is a huge butcher knife!!!
How does she not kill her self???
We ask that more than I would like to admit.

One day she had been particularly naughty and we left and decided to come back home quickly and caught her in the act... she had been in the pantry (again probably my fault I left the door open) and found the big Costco size bag of treats that Nene had bought for her when she was here in November.
She knew she was caught, red pawed!  She didn't move an inch and knew it was TROUBLE!!
I went and got my camera and she still didn't move.  Good thing we came back, there was a ton of treats still left in this bag.
I guess if only good dogs get treats, then they last a pretty long time at our house.

We feed her plenty, 
she is not bored, 
it is totally a behavioral problem!!  
And yes, we know it's her... the theory has been tested, she has been found guilty, guilty, guilty.  With food on her nose and chocolate on her breath, she is 100% guilty!!

If it were my child I probably would not air our problems out loud.  I don't have photos of all the trouble she finds herself in... because I don't think to take pictures in those moments.  They are often heated and I am extremely volatile.
But let's just assume there would be a ton.

I do worry about her safety. 
I worry that she knows it was bad and does it anyway.
That in itself makes it really hard to move from the naughty to the nice list.

My poor puppy, it might be a very difficult Christmas for her this year.  It will be a real test of Santa's compassion and true Christlike love.
6 days, hmmm we will see.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where are you Christmas?

only a skiff... I am so afraid that will be all we get this year.
It's just part of what makes Christmas here for me.

Celebrations?  Yes being with friends helps bring Christmas near.
We had 3 this week, two company parties (no pictures ugggg) but they were lovely.
And our annual Breakfast with our church family.
They go all out, everyone helps...
The young men helped to set up a really fun price is right game for everyone to participate.
The men cooked the breakfast, the young women and ladies helped serve.

And the kids made the table decorations... my favorite!
A good time was had by all.

And we even did some present wrapping and delivered some secret gifts, we enjoy that part of Christmas too.

With all that Holiday Whoobie Whatie stuff, I still woke up Friday with an empty place in my heart asking myself, "where is Christmas".

Trying to console me, my strong silent mysterious man said tomorrow we will go out and serve someone else, that will help bring Christmas!

And he was right...

we had noticed the gutters were full, and I actually have experience in this area.
Yep, my Dad taught me a little of everything.
I was just the right height to hold the bucket over my head for him to drop the mud and good down into it, carefully aiming as not to drop any on me (giggle)

I have to saw, Jim had way too much fun with that part, exclaiming "woops" here and there as I ate a few more pine needles that I should have.

After waking up sore the next morning we realized what a big job it had been, and next year we know a few teenagers in town that we will call to come help "bring Christmas" in with us :)
But now this roof is ready for Santa and his reindeer to land safely!

If you are looking for Christmas too, 
I promise you don't have to look very far.
This was the best thing for my empty aching heart!
I don't share this to brag or boast at all, but just to help you to know that the old adage "to give is better than to receive" is SO TRUE!!!
I think my heart grew three sizes that day!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bountiful Basket...

I do still love getting a Bountiful Basket from the Coop now and again... it helps to have fruits and veggies in abundance in the house to keep me on track eating more healthy.

But once in a while there are things I have to google before I cut into them...
Last week I found these... persimons.
I can remember my dad talking about persimons, I am not sure if I ever heard anyone talk about them except him.  So it felt a little special, like a secret hello from heaven from my Dad.

For the record, I learned this week that I don't like persimons.
What is that weird residue they leave in your mouth?????
I started my google search on this one in the squash categories, but when I moved to fruits quickly found it... I knew that, it's a papaya!!
I wasn't stumped for very long.  
I did not love fresh papaya, but I dehydrated it and I LOVE it that way.  Why does it taste different dehydrated????

I have never been impressed with a watermelon the size of my two fists... because I can eat a whole regular watermelon pretty much in one day.  So the tiny ones just seemed like a tease. 
But I have to say, last night I wanted something sweet and I cut the mini watermelon in half and ate out one side with a spoon and half was just the ticket, I was really impressed!!!
I never gave these little guys the credit they deserved.
I can't wait to eat the other half today.

 I am super excited to try the multi colored carrots, those will be a first too.
My strong silent mysterious man is waiting patiently for his broccoli cheddar soup I make that he loves so much!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Christmas Box...

NO way we could wait until Christmas Eve!
We opened the box, we laughed and we cried, there were so many neat things from where he lives now.  But there were also hundreds of bus tickets and taxi receipts and a magazine in Spanish with he and his companion in it about Mormons.  He kept EVERYTHING... like his Mom, and we have a trunk to put it all in and we CAN'T wait to go through it all with him when he gets home.  We know there are stories to every single everything!
I personally can't wait to hear the story of how he got the Paraguay Police hats, they have the original owners names inside them.... how do you go about getting a police officers hat off his head?? Hmmm should be some great stories, CANT WAIT!!!!

hand woven back packs and bags, I LOVE THEM, I hope one is for me!!
this custom leather work is amazing
hand whittled and painted animals, adorable
the marble that we have a photo of the kid that gave it to him... must be super special!!
hand leather coasters and beaded bracelets so beautiful
polished stones hand woven into necklaces, Jim thinks these are more masculine for him
operation smile, what a neat memory
hand carved and painted flutes, yes they work!
hand woven bags, wouldn't I look so cute sporting this as my new church bag?
It was so neat to touch and smell things that had just been in his hands.  We could not believe how much stuff he got into a box that small.  Beautiful artisan work, great keepsakes, we are not sure if any of it was for us (probably not) but it was the best Christmas Box EVER!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Manna from heaven...

Okay wells it's probably not fair or very accurate to compare having your only son on a two year mission to the starving Isrealites traveling through the desert.  

But I can tell you "Packages from Paraguay" are really really special at our house!!

And I can pretty much guarantee a sealed box will NOT wait until Christmas Eve or even through the weekend!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby Blessing...

It was the sweetest experience ever to be invited back to Tristan's baby blessing.

It was Jim's first to stand in on, and he was so honored.
After all this family has been through, fighting for life each day from the beginning and then the loss of everything in their house fire just 3 days prior, it was the biggest testimony of faith and my heart was so touched.   Tristan's great grandfather blessed her and it was so sweet and precious.
(Mom handing the baby into the Priesthood)

Her aunt had made her a special dress and Mom, when asked about the beautiful dress she was wearing, just gracefully said "the one that was made especially for her, well isn't here for obvious reasons" and she just accepted the sadness of that, and was so thankful she had a new one to wear.  

Keep putting one foot in front of the other... it is such a hard thing to do, but I know sometimes that is just what God is watching to make sure we do, and He is so excited when we do it with such grace as this Mom.  She was amazing!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving morning started off with the traditional "turkey bowl"... the only non-traditional part was that my strong silent mysterious man went to fill in for the missionary. 
It's his favorite part of Thanksgiving... and they miss him, next year he will be right in the middle of it again, I am certain!
The good news is no broken bones!  Yay!
The turkey gift from Jim's boss, so good.
Turkey for a year for the two of us :)
But so super grateful!!
Jim's ONLY request was mashed potatoes and gravy!
It is all he ever asks for on Thanksgiving.
And it's not like we don't eat it every week!
Hello, we live in Idaho :)
But that's what he wants, so that's what I make... if I make more it doesn't get eaten unless I eat it.  So I don't need it, so I didn't make it.

Except for pie.
He does eat apple pie, so I made one, cut the recipe in half and it made two?????  

I didn't question it, I just kept baking.
It was one of those laws of heaven opening and the blessing pouring out... who questions that?

But then I had extra pie crust so I found some fresh pumpkin in the freezer from last year (I didn't think that was gross, was it?)

Yes, looks really pretty right?
When I cut into it, it was like puke on the inside... something went terribly wrong in the making.  Was it the year old frozen pumpkin?
I allowed for extra liquid from it being frozen, but it was NOT enough apparently?  It's hard to fix what you don't know went wrong?  Oh well, I have a pretty pumpkin pie PICTURE and if I never say anything, nobody will know, ha ha ha.
I don't remember ever making pumpkin pie, so it just goes to show the first time flop always gives you something to talk about for years.
Don't even get me going on my first 10 years of turkeys!!

Oh and we had company, Cocoa came to visit while her Mom went to stay the night with her Dad.  He is doing well and healing, he got his stitches out from his surgery this week and next week hopes to get to sit up for 5 min. at a time.  It's a super slow process of healing, but all is going well.

This is what a turkey hangover looks like... or maybe his was just a mashed potato and gravy one.
We ate early and so naps were really in order :)
I spent my nap time freezing leftover turkey.... well someone had to do it.

Tuesday Jim called our friends who just got home in October with their little girl who had heart surgeries since she was born in June in California.  And he said they were all fine, but their house burned down.  What???
Our hearts sank, but immediately we saw the troops from the church rallying and gathering some much needed items for this family.
So he called him again Thursday to find out where they were staying and the Bishop in their ward had a house for them to stay in for as long as they needed.  And he told Jim they were in it, and their friends from our church had it all set up for them with beds and they were already having Thanksgiving dinner there!

Wow, what blessings!
It really is wonderful to see our church following in Jesus Christ example to do everything it took to absorb this kind of wave for this family.  They sounded good, but we had a painting that belonged to his grandmother we purchased at an auction earlier in the year at a fund raiser for his baby.

I told Jim, they had to have this painting for the house they were staying in.  They had lost EVERYTHING except their family and they needed something that would have new/old meaning to them.  

We were right, they loved it!
It was so awesome to see Tristan, she is beautiful and doing so well!
Still not going out in public and has a feeding tube, but she is great.
It was horrible circumstances to go see them, but we were so happy we did.  What a comfort to know they are going to be okay, somehow, someday.
The blessings of that Bishop having a house sitting empty and the blessings from the community being able to come furnish it for this family.  They even thought to copy photos from facebook and print them and put them in frames around the house to try and make it feel like home.  That really cushioned so much of the blow.
They did not miss a beat, it will be a long recover in their hearts... but we were so grateful for the reminder of all that we have to be thankful for this season.
It's not about the stuff.

I am so grateful for this story touching so close to us to help me remember that.  Stay tuned, we were invited back Friday night with them, for a really special special occasion.

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