Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Parable of the Broken Bow

There is a story (along with many others) that is told by those within my faith that is taken from a book we believe is scripture, The Book of Mormon. The story I’m talking about today is taken from the First Book of Nephi chapter 16. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, here is the gist.

A family left Jerusalem under the counsel of God. While journeying in the wilderness, they encountered many trails and hardships. One such hardship occurred when the brothers went out to hunt for food and Nephi’s bow, the one made with fine steel, broke.

As most Mormon born children….I’ve heard and read this story (along with many others), I dare say, a million times.  You then perhaps can understand my surprise when one day, I’m reading it again for the million and first time and see something I’ve never noticed before. The bow of fine steel may not really be a bow at all but a symbol for something else. Then in an instant the story I thought I understood changes, a parable unfolds and something new is revealed.

This is what I love about really great books. They can be read over and over and although the story may be rote, the message never is.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Get It Together-Ghost of Journals Past

On this day, 1990…

If I ever need to decorate for a Valentines dance or console a heartbroken 12-year-old…a review of this journal entry ought to come in handy.

I especially like the second to last line. I wonder how long it’s going to take me to “get it together”. Oh well, at least from this entry I can know how long I’ve been trying!

February 27, 1990                                    

Well a whole month has gone by and I haven’t made an entry yet. This month the 6th grade had a Valentines dance. It was so much fun. The theme was hearts delight the decorations were really fun. They had giant hearts all over the place, chairs set up on the side of the auditorium, a set up of a city was in one corner and in front of it was a park bench with two people kissing on it. There were lampposts made of paper with white balloons for the light. Then there were white trees with hearts and lights strung on them. There was a dance competition. Jason and I entered. We won 3rd place and there were about 15 who entered. Then I found out that Jason like someone else. My heart was broken and I still haven’t gotten over him. Every time I hear his name I want to cry. Most the time I do. In my journal it has all this stuff about how neat he is. I still really like him but I’m sure he sees nothing in me! I want to call him but if I were to hear his voice I would just crumble and cry! My life is confusing and it’s going to take a while to get it back together. My last words are….help, help, help & double help.

Other things I remembered after reading this entry…

To the dance I wore a white dress my mom had made me with a pink “unit”

I tried to talk my friend, Lori, into wearing a red satin gown that belonged to her sister but her mom talked her out of it. She told Lori that it was a costume and any friend who was encouraging her to wear it shouldn’t be trusted. Her mom figured the only reason a friend would want her to wear the dress was so that the friend (that would be me) would look better than her. (Lori could wear a burlap bag and still look better than me….I just loved the satin!

Oh and if this post didn’t bring back your own happy, drama-filled, 12-year-old memories then maybe this picture of my father-in-law will bring to mind other happy, gut busting, memories....or at least get you to crack a smile. J

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finished Project #1: The Christmas Present

I said goodbye to Finished Project #1: The Christmas Present, on Tuesday. What a feeling! I was so happy to fold it up, put it in its new box and send it away on the next plane to Utah.

Now that the package has been delivered I can show you what was inside. 

Finished Project #1: The Christmas Present 
aka: FP1:TCP.
fka: UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The Christmas Present, UPTCP or The Blanket

UPTCP came to live in the UNFINISHED PROJECTS box on December 26, 2009, when I missed my deadline and took on a "what's-the-point?" approach. It was heartbreaking really. You see, I’ve been making these seamless bundles of warm fluff and cozy since 1996. I knew what I was doing and I knew it wouldn’t take me more than 2 days to get it done. My confidence got ahead of me. I decided to,

"try something new”.

Construction of the saw-tooth border was a snap! From there, the rest of the construction was a disaster. Each time I attempted to work on UPTCP  it got smaller and smaller as I cut away mistake after mistake. At night I thought about UPTCP and what I could do to save it (and now this is sounding like a story from Jacob 5). I had no solutions. The only thing I knew was that if I continued on the path I was on, The (KING SIZE)  Blanket would be reduced to a dishcloth in no time at all. It didn’t deserve that, so I stopped. 

I had to clear my head.

Two weeks after Christmas, when I hadn’t done so much as look in UPTCP’s direction I realized something had to be done so I overcame my embarrassment and  finally called my sister to tell her that her Christmas gift wasn’t lost in the mail and that it would NOT be in her hands any time soon. I also had to apologize for avoiding her phone calls. 

--Yes, I was THAT ashamed.--  

I think she understood. 
I hope she understood.

On February 22, 2010 I was ready to put this behind list provided much motivation...I pulled UPTCP out from it’s UNFINISHED PROJECT box armed with my seam ripper and scissors—just in case it got REAL ugly. I was prepared to do whatever it took, to get this thang done! After initial inspection, I could clearly see the problem...

I was delusional.

That is the only logical explanation. The border wasn’t prefect but it certainly wasn’t as horrible as I had remembered it to be either. How had this happened? Did rodent friends fix the blanket so I could go to the ball? No! What had happened is that I had two months to brood over my mistakes and essentially make a mountain out of a molehill! Seriously, had I really made the whole thing up?!

Apparently so.
How frustrating.

I could have been done with UPTCP 2 months ago!

Merry Christmas
JK Mad Fam

May what's left of your winter be warm and cozy.


P.S. If I look unhappy in the picture I'm not....well...not really. I look unhappy because moments earlier, Boy told me that taking pictures is fun but finishing  The Blanket would be more I stopped shooting and resumed tying...and then he pics up the camera and starts shooting...boys....*sigh*

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Lost Symbol-Review


By Dan Brown


When Robert Langdon’s specialized understanding of symbols is needed to interpret the pieces of a madman’s puzzle; the existence of God and the mortality of man hang in the balance.

I thoroughly enjoy books that leave me no choice but to smooth out the wrinkles of my own thought. They leave me feeling invigorated and alive and profoundly connected to the God I Love. I really enjoyed this book because it did just that.

I really hated this book because in order for me to share the thoughts I have had, it will make me sound like a Dan Brown Looney for buying in. J

I loved this book because it was the first book that I’ve read in over a year that I actually wanted to finish and did so in a week.

I did not appreciate the excessive amounts of waste and repetition that this story contained. If you are worried that people aren’t going to get it the first time, then rethink how you present the information and get it right. I don’t blame Brown however. If an author gets away with that much regurgitation, it’s gotta be the editors fault. Seriously, read the book first before you send it to the publisher. As a reader, I was insulted that someone thought I was so dense that they would have to explain something more than once. 

In short, the story has its flaws, serious flaws. One of which is that Brown really builds the climax and couldn’t quite deliver. Although the revelations were not as profound to this reader as they were in “The DaVinci Code” I still really enjoyed the book and the places it took me.  I give this book 3 stars.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No Thanks. I'll....

“…just sit here on my rear and eat my cookie.”

Said me to Boy as he proceeded to plug away at his INSANITY program, after asking me to join him.

I’m obviously out of good excuses to pass on the invitation to exercise.

I should probably stop making excuses and

but I’m low on motivation for such things these days. I betcha the girl who wore the Reebok T-shirt that read “No thanks, I’ll walk” as she gave birth to her youngest, alone, in the front seat of the family minivan doesn’t have motivation issues.  I should find her and tell her to make me exercise.

Oh well, until that happens. I’m going to stare out my windows at the snow and think up of some better excuses. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons in DNA

Recently Roo has been choosing selections out of this book for his bedtime reading.

A few nights ago we read the chapter about The Cell.  He was very interested in the “twisty ladder” and proceeded to ask lots of questions.

Is that ladder in every cell?” Roo asked pointing to the picture of the nucleus in the cell.

"Yes.” I replied “That twisty ladder is a double helix and it’s called DNA. It holds the code that makes you different from everyone else.”

In an effort to clarify, Roo asked, “ So, everyone has a different code?”

“Yes sir” pointing to each rung of the ladder I continued, “Parts of the code may tell your cells to make blonde hair and green eyes and the code in another person’s body will tell their cells to make black hair and blue eyes.”

[long pause] “What about twins? Is their code different” Roo asks?

uhhhhhhhh” I stalled as I tried to recall every CSI episode I’ve seen that had dealt with twin DNA. “I think the code is the same. If it isn’t the same then maybe it is so similar that scientists might have a hard time finding the differences.”

“hmmmm” he said, pausing to digest what I had said. Picture an age-ed professor stroking his beard while he processes information that will lead him to a breakthrough in his research and you’ll have the look on Roo’s face (minus the beard of course) “sooooooo…if I want a twin                                      I just have to copy my code?”

                                                   **mouth open and eyes wide** uhhhhhh….”

What I said next was filled will wisdom and guidance. It was eloquent and concise and it had the perfect balance of warning and encouragement. I would share it with you but I was in a state of shock and can’t remember it exactly. I do remember that I had images of the movies “The Island” and “Multiplicity” crashing through my thoughts and I couldn’t help but smile.

When a parent sets out to teach a child
(with an anatomy book in hand)
 they should expect some difficult questions.

I though I had.
However, his question was not on my list…

…add it to yours…
…just in case. J

Oh and in case I was unclear, if you are looking for a book to introduce anatomy to your little one, I think this one is FANTASTIC! The pictures are beautiful, the explanations are simple and the context is appropriate for young readers. The one downside, Roo wants more.  After a few times through he started asking me questions about things that were not labeled and I didn't have the information (but I suppose that is a problem with lots of books and hence why writers are making a killing on series.) Anyway,  I am now looking to purchase one (or both?) of these books, from a 1st year med student in order to satisfy Roo's need to know….



Monday, February 22, 2010

Bread of Life

Bread of Life
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: 
he that cometh to me shall never hunger; 
and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

If inspiration, truth and enlightenment come from an unlikely source does it mean that God in not the only source of inspiration, truth and enlightenment or could it mean that the source, although unlikely, still comes from God?

I have found inspiration, truth and enlightenment from a wide variety of sources, some of which would seem highly unlikely. The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking, by Laurel Robertson, is one such unlikely source.

Is this sacrilege? To those who doubt I reference Matthew 7:18 and ask, “How can the acquisition of a skill, which can be used to nourish life, be anything but good?”

While you think about it. Chew on this: one of my favorite recipes from within its pages, 100% Whole Wheat Buttermilk Bread.
Consider yourself warned, to make this bread you may need to get a copy of the book and study it a little. You may even need to rely on the wisdom of someone else who has already studied its pages or has gained an understanding of yeast breads through experience in baking it ☺. I’m available to help if needed.

Stick with it soon enough you’ll understand the language of whole wheat yeast dough too.

May our search for knowledge never cease.
Enjoy the Bread of Life!

100% Whole Wheat Buttermilk Bread
Adapted by Gwenevere for a stand mixer.
I knead by machine unless the power is out.)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water

¾ cup very hot water
¼ cup honey
1 ¼ cup cold buttermilk

5 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt

2-4 tablespoons butter

In a large mixing bowl combine flour and salt.

In a small bowl combine yeast with ½ cup warm water. Mix until all yeast is dissolved and there are no lumps.

In a medium bowl, combine hot water and honey. Mix until honey is dissolved. Once honey is dissolved add cold buttermilk. The temperature should be slightly warm.

With the flat beater attached and the mixer on, pour the yeast and buttermilk mixture in with the four and salt. Test the dough to see whether more flour or more water is needed and adjust accordingly (page 40). The bread is lightest if the dough is slightly soft. Once you have reached the consistency you desire, switch the flat beater with your dough hook and commence kneading.

Knead for about 7 minutes on low or medium low. After 7 minutes add the butter in cold chips until well combined. Continue with kneading until dough is elastic. (page 42-46)

Once kneading is done, shape dough into a round and place in an ungreased large bowl that can be sealed with a lid or covered with a plate. Let dough rise, covered, at 70 degrees for an hour to and hour and a half.

Once dough is ready (see page 47) deflate the dough (page 48) shape the dough back into a round and place it back in large ungreased bowl and cover for another 30 to 45 minutes. Once the dough is ready (back to page 47 and/or page 49) deflate the dough again, divide it into two equal halves and then reshape each half into a round. Cover the rounds with a bread cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

While dough is resting, grease 2 standard loaf pans (8x4) liberally with shorting. Once dough is ready, shape the dough into loaves (p. 52 & 53). Cover pans with bread cloth and let rise (proof) for 30 to 45 minutes. After proofing is complete, place bread in a prepared 350 degree oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. You know when bread is done when you tap on the bottom and can hear a hollow sound (p. 57)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Callings v. Choices

I’ve always liked how people of faith say they have been called to a work. The use of the word called somehow elicits the idea that the work we are engaged in is bigger than all of us. And for me I often need that perspective in order to navigate safely through the challenges I face. Recently, I’ve noticed that the work my Catholic cronies say they are called to do, is something I would generally say I have chosen to do. For example:

Catholic Cronies                                                            Me
I was called to be a Science Teacher                        I chose to be a Science Teacher
I was called to be a mother                                         I chose to be a mother

I’m wondering if there is a difference in the use of those words or if I am just getting hung up on semantics. Perhaps both statements are true, however to be complete, they must be combined. For example:

“I was called to be a mother and therefore I chose to be a mother.”

This idea then takes me back to this scripture from Matthew 22:14

For many are called, but few are chosen.

When I read this the first couple of times, I just couldn’t find the connection as to how it related to my question. I tried to drop it, but my mind kept taking me back to it. Today, I was able look at those words in a new way that has led me to a connection between that scripture and my thoughts.

I believe that I, along with all who reside on this green earth, am among the many who have been called. Have I, or you, been chosen? Perhaps that will depend on how well we fulfill and magnify the callings we chose to accept. Maybe, just maybe, the idea of being chosen isn’t an act of God, but an act within our agency to follow God.

30.       And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.

31.        He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.

Just a thought…

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Birth Order- Ghost of Journals Past

I am in the process of  “backing up” my hand written journals by transcribing them into digital format. I wonder if I can do it WITHOUT editing the spelling, grammar and stupid-me-why-did-I-write-this-down errors? As I was flipping through some of the “back issues”, this sidetracked me:

Boy              Boy
Girl               Girl
Boy              Boy
Boy     OR     Boy
Girl                  Girl
Boy               Girl
Girl                  Boy
Girl                   Girl

Anyway I don’t know which if more entertaining…the fact that
A.   I wrote down the preferred birth order of my unborn children
or that
B.   I wrote down so many! (I’m not ruling out 8 but WowZa! From where I stand today, 
                that is highly unlikely.)

If nothing else, this transcription process should provide a good hearty laugh.
I love my journals.
I love to see how things change over time.
I love to have proof to back me up when my memory 
(or someone else’s) 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unfinished Business

The Baby Quilt
The Barbie Wedding Dress
The Birthday DVD’s (x3)
The Birthday Photo Albums (x3)
The Black Dress/Skirt?
The Blanket From Christmas Scraps                                    Finished 02/26/2010
The Blanket From Last Year’s Christmas Scraps            Finished 03/03/2010
The Book
The Bow Hangers
The Bows
The Christmas Present                                                Finished 02/22/2010           
The Christmas Tree Skirt
The Cleopatra Hair Hat
The Cross Stitch
The Denim/Khaki/Red Quilt
The Doll Clothes
The Dress-Ups
The DVD (favor for a friend)
The Easter Dresses 2010
The Embroidered Quilt
The Family DVD’s v.1- v.?)
The Framing of the Cross Stitch
The Halloween Apron
The Karaoke Book
The Kitchen (painting)
The Mending
The Mission Movie
The Other Christmas Present (painting)
The Other DVD (favor for a friend)
The Other Wedding Present (DVD)
The Pettiskirts
The Picture Frame
The Picture Recovery & Organization
The PJ Bottoms (x3)
The Playroom
The Rag Quilt From Christmas Scraps
The Recipe Book
The Shopping Sacks
The Summer Dress for Little Girl
The Summer Skirt I
The Summer Skirt II
The Vintage Summer Dress
The Wedding Present (DVD)

Isn’t that list

And by Romantic  I mean:
of or characterized by,
or suggestive of an idealized view of reality.

That list up there is my attempt to breathe new life into what has been left undone and eventually forgotten. It is NOT a list of movies I love, books I hope to read or songs I have sung. No, it is a list of all the projects I have started and am yet to complete. (For my own dignity, I’ve let off the date these projects began.) As you can gather… I am notorious for biting off more than I can chew-I blame it on (wo)mans natural instinct to create.

Well, since my crafting budget was cut [by me], I figured now would be a great time to finish the projects that I have been carting around the country (since the beginning of time) and which have taken up residence in several boxes labeled “UNFINISHED PROJECTS”. With each move our family has made I vowed that if the projects remained unfinished, I would leave them behind. Somehow I never could. Leaving a project behind is like making it to the Final Four and then not showing up to the game.

I’ve come this far, only to quit now?


Giving up is something I’m not very good at so until I get better at it….
I’m going to start chipping away at those boxes,
by finishing one project at a time.

So…. Do you have a list that you are trying to get to the bottom of? Do share. Depending on our progress, we can either commiserate or celebrate together.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gone Nutty

WAS expecting our first paycheck of the year to be smaller than usual
– according to news reports, we were not the only ones.

I was NOT expecting the pay cut to DEVASTATE my monthly finances 
–as it did.

A few days were spent crying and worrying [over the huge loss].

One evening was spent frantically cutting [the family budget].
Sadly, my crafting budget was left on the cutting room floor.

5 HOURS were used to pour over pay stubs and bank statements,
– determined to find something I had missed.


My discovery came at a cost.

In finding the missing funds I also found something
I hadn’t realized I was missing!

(ok that’s not entirely true, I have had some sneaky suspicions.)