Thursday, July 31, 2008
So, look for a return of the newsletter tomorrow sometime. I guess I will have to finally fix that family post that I accidentally put over there...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
School started today. :) :( :/ Yeah. My emotions are mixed.
All of last week the kids groaned that they were going back to school, but last night at bedtime, the kids were so excited for school to start today that you couldn't wipe the grins off of their little faces. They set out their clothes in the bathrooms, ready for morning showers. They set their alarms for 6am. Mayzie found her glasses. Nevan got his AR books ready. Both, tripple asked me if everything was ready in their backpacks.
After a nice hot breakfast of brownie pancakes, bananas, and bacon, I found Nevan and Meeka snuggled under Meeka's blanket sitting in the sun to warm up from their frozen strawberry smoothies that accompanied the morning meal.
Yeah. It was a very sweet morning.
The pond had a morning gift for the kids as well. (6" across!!)I sent the kids off to school with hugs, pictures, prayer, reminders...
but not lunches.
See how teeny Mayzie's little legs are?! Skinny kids.
I guess I wasn't as ready as they were. Hmmm... I'll have to whip something extra special up and take over so they think I was planning a special lunch instead of the truth (I forgot their lunches).
Meeka and I miss them already. It's going to be a quiet day.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The winds of evolutionary theory can not blow me over because I am rooted in the fact that there is a God and I know it. It is truth, fact, unchangeable, but like any other fact, it must be tested to be true. I have tested it and found it to be true. The test is not to be made in the laboratory of a chemist, but in the laboratory of the spirit and mind. It is not an experiment of elements, but an Elemental Experiment Upon the Word. It is a test, in every sense of the word, upon individual doctrines of God. To truly learn for one's self that something is true, is more than just being told it is so. It is to study it, ponder it, and experiment on one's own, and to find individually (irrefutably because the study and work was YOURS), the facts, the truth.
For instance, we don't expect, except under controlled circumstances such as a classroom, for a chemist to create the perfect blend of ingredients on their first try, on the tenth day, in the first five years. However, that chemist, with a desire to prove viable their theory, would not give up easily. It is the same for those that do not know there is a God, or do not believe in the power of prayer. They must move forward, studying it in depth, experimenting with it, not giving up, until they have an individual (irrefutable because it was their OWN), fact, experience, evidential truth. Once they have findings on prayer, those findings can be utilized in further experiments to make new discoveries in faith, in divine inspiration and intervention, in life pre-birth and post-death.
I think this quote by John Widstoe is relevant, “Facts never change, but the inferences from them are changeable. … The careful man does not become so enamored of an hypothesis or a theory that he cannot distinguish it from a fact. … Theories of science can no more overthrow the facts of religion than the facts of science. … One cannot build a faith upon the theory of evolution, for this theory is of no higher order than any other inference, and is therefore in a state of constant change.”
This, too, from George R. Hill, sums up exactly what I was thinking:
"The theory of evolution as presently taught posits that higher forms of life arose gradually from lower stages of living matter. Inheritable genetic changes in offspring are assumed to be spontaneous rather than the result of arranged or directed forces external to the system.
This theory conflicts with a basic law of chemistry, the second law of thermodynamics, which states in part that it is not possible for a spontaneous process to produce a system of higher order than the system possessed at the beginning of the change.
An example of a spontaneous process is a boulder that dislodges from a mountaintop and rolls down the mountain. The only way to get the boulder back up the mountain (thereby increasing its height, or the order of the system) is for energy outside the system to be expended—such as someone directing the process by seeing that the rock is carried up the mountain.
One of the current explanations of the improvement in plant and animal species over time is that cosmic radiation caused genetic changes resulting in a higher order of offspring survivability than the parent possessed.
A number of years ago, a renowned biologist and geneticist told of an experiment he had directed in which grasshoppers in their various stages of growth had been subjected to radiation levels greater than that insect family had received during its existence. He said the experiment caused many genetic changes, including the loss of a foreleg, an antenna, or some other inheritable change. However, not one of those changes gave the offspring a greater viability or survivability than that of the parent.
Many Latter-day Saints, like me, recognize that the processes involved in evolution are valid. We see improved strains and varieties of plants and animals developed through judicious selection of their parents. But we would have to agree with those who understand the limitation defined in the second law of thermodynamics limitation that such changes can only occur if guided or if outside energy is available to improve the system.
We (believers in God) are in the very fortunate position of understanding that the Lord is in charge of the universe and that positive genetic changes can in fact occur under his direction. On the other hand, spontaneous improvements of the type hypothesized by devotees of current evolutionary theory remain an unsupported supposition.
We (believers in God) are also blessed with the knowledge that Adam and Eve, our first parents, were not subject to death until they partook of the forbidden fruit. They and all of their descendants are spirit children of God, created in his image, and are thus different from all other forms of life on earth. As literal children of God, we possess the inherent capability of becoming as He is. (NOTE: This last sentence is LDS belief, not general Christian or Divinity belief.)
The acquisition of godly attributes, however, is not automatic. It requires our sincere desire, diligent study, persistent effort, and steady patience to develop our celestial potential. Although we may not attain perfection in our mortal lives, we can move toward it and enjoy the Lord’s choicest blessings as we continue to mold and fulfill our eternal identities, “that when he shall appear we shall be like him.” (Moro. 7:48.) Pursuing that course—the end of our creation—brings us unbounded happiness. (See 2 Ne. 2:25.)"
My blog doesn't accurately portray my interest in bread and yeast and the chemistry of cooking. The only recipes I post are those that I have been requested to share by one person or another. In truth, I am a serious baker. I read long technical books on yeast. Yeah. I am a big geek, no question about it. :) I really do believe that all things denote there is a God. Including the bread baking process. Allow me to explain.
Yeast. Yeast is more than a water plant, more than those little grains in an envelope that when added to water expand. They ain't no sea monkeys. It is a free-wandering wild, but useful, fungus. It is what turns a little cream into cheese. It's what makes a lump of flour and water into the staff of life.
I love to make sourdough breads. Sourdoughs, and all of the best other breads, are created by allowing fermentation of yeast. You do not need to buy a package of yeast to do this. You can simply add water or juice to flour and set it out on the counter and the wild yeast that is in the air we breath will find your wet wheat mixture and set up residence, building, growing, and souring your mixture, thus, improving it. You can't make a truly masterpiece bread by simply adding sugar. The secret is in allowing the yeast to break down the wheat and release the natural sugars that are already there. Did you know that french bread, though white and sweet, has no sugar? It has been improved by this wild action of yeast alone. Eating a grain of wheat is rather tasteless. Ferment that wheat and it becomes sweet. Yeast is the great improver.
If my life went the way I planned it, and desired it to go when I was young, I probably wouldn't be living in Gilbert or even married to my sweet husband, for that matter. If I merely followed my own path, I'd have been quite a wandering fool. I would have likely joined the peace corp and seen the world, trying to make an impact for good on the Earth, and been very happy doing it.
However, as a youth, though I had been taught religion at home and at church all of my years, I decided that I wanted to know for myself that there was a God. I experimented upon the teachings of His Word. I read scriptures. I carried them places and read them alone. I read them in coffee shops over a danish and Torani sodas. I wanted to know for myself, not because I had been told. I wanted a knowledge, not a theory.
I didn't have an angelic visitation. I didn't see visions. I didn't hear a voice in my mind. I didn't even receive the answers I wanted to my pleading prayers. As a matter of fact, if there was ever a time that I should have doubted God's existence due to my own turmoil and internal suffering, it was then. But then came the yeast.
I did receive comfort. I did receive guidance. I did receive ideas and feelings in my heart that were not my own. I am very intelligent, but these things did not come from me. They came from God. They were the outside influence that made a very real change on me. Those difficult times, followed by inexplicable experience, were my great improvers.
Since that time, I have had a multitude of evidences of Divinity in my life. I have had experiences, too personal to write on the blog (but feel free to ask me about it individually), that have proven for me that the Lord lives, that he loves me, and that He did in very fact, create this Earth, and is humble and modest enough not to sign his name in red print on every creation, nor stop people from coming up with their own ideas and theories as to the origins of mankind, amoebas, and butterflies.
I know that there is a God and that he has a Son, Jesus Christ, who by divine power created the Earth and all living things. I know all creation is part of his divine blueprints for the happiness and joy of us, His Children. I know that He loves us without comprehensible measure. I feel His love every single day, and recognize His Hand in blessing my life. I am happy. I am about the happiest person you ever did meet. :) I am because of this knowledge, and because I strive continually to serve my Lord, and for no other reasons. I know that there are many things beyond my understanding, because the Lord reveals knowledge at the rate we are ready to receive it. I know that my sense of humor, my curiosity, my ability to question, my desire for knowledge, my joy in service, my commitment to nature, my love for beauty, my talents for music, my every attribute is inherited from my Heavenly Father.
All of these things I know, I have learned from my own experiments upon the Word, not documented in scientific journals, but in the finest intricacies and fibers of my mind and soul. They are not facts that I can prove to you, but facts that the Spirit can prove to you, if you would experiment also. And like my experiences, you won't likely have a physical manifestation of proof, but, if you prepare your work environment (your heart and mind), study the lesson materials (Scripture), and utilize all of your instruments (ponder, pray, listen with patience, repeat), then you too will find evidences irrefutable of God.
In simplicity: God lives. He created us. He loves us. I know it. That knowledge can not be taken from me. It is mine. It can be yours, too, if you would pursue it. I love you, but he loves you more. And so sure am I of these words, that I would say them in His holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
You're as popular and relaxing as vanilla ice cream. You go with the flow, and get along with all sorts of people. You appreciate peace and simplicity, so you sometimes find crowds and loud noises overwhelming. You are a chilled-out, calming influence on the people in your life, and your friends appreciate how supportive and flexible you are.
School is starting... These make a great breakfast treat served with some fruit and omelets!
French Breakfast Muffins
source: FamilyFun Magazine
prep time, including baking: 30 minutes
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup + 2 Tbs. milk
6 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide your butter. You will need 6 T. now, and 2 T. later.
Cut up your 6 T. butter into cubes. Pour 1 cup + 2 T. milk into a medium size microwavable dish. Add the cubed butter and microwave until butter melts into milk when stirred.
Test milk with finger to make sure it is warm but not hot. Add the egg and whisk in. (If the milk is too hot it will cook your egg...)
Whisk together dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix gently until combined. Don't over mix.
Prepare muffin tins by spraying with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Pour into tins so that all are fairly equal. I like to make mine mini-muffins because they are sweet. For mini-muffins, scoop by 1/8th cups (a coffee scoop). For regular muffins, scoop by 1/4 cups.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until toothpick comes out cleanly.
While your muffins cool slightly, begin topping preparation. Mix together cinnamon and sugar (if you don't already have some in the pantry like I always do). And cut up the remaining 2 T. of butter. Melt in a little dish in the microwave.
(** BONUS POINTS** to the person who recognizes this monkey dish [above] and knows where it came from. Hint: you have to have known me for 15 years!)
When muffins are cool enough to remove from the pan comfortably with your fingers (8-10 minutes out of the oven), dip tops first in the melted butter and then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on your serving dish.
Serve, devour, and enjoy!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
That's Luciana (above) making that big splash, and Nevan below.
A. Attached or single? Attached, but severely independent.
B. Best friend? I have lots... but Shane is at the top. :)
C. Cake or pie? Can't eat 'em, but I would rather create a beautiful cake any day.
D. Day of Choice? Monday. I like getting back to life.
E. Essential Item? Flexitol Heel Balm. It's up there with fingers. Very important.
F. Favorite color? Yellow. Orange. Purple. Blue. Green. I can't be expected to decide on just one.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Cinnamon Gummy Bears. I'll eat them 'till I'm sick, though not tempted by ordinary gummy anything else.
H. Hometown? Prescott, AZ.
I. Favorite indulgence? Guacamole! I think I'll have some for lunch... I also love Hot Tamales with Warm Popcorn. Mmmm.
J. January or July? January all the way.
K. Kids? Yep, in abundance.
L. Life isn't complete without? Oh, I know this one: True Love.
M. Marriage Date? September 14, 1996. I still can't believe I did it... Could it have really been nearly 12 years ago?
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 3 awesome brothers, 3 wonderful sisters-in-law. 2 cousins stayed with us growing up, and I have adopted them as my brothers, too.
O. Oranges or apples? Oranges.
P. Phobias? I can't stand to have Milk touch my body anywhere. Ew. Nasty.
Q. Quotes? Okay here are two. One from Mayzie yesterday:
"I didn't know that cows were made out of hamburgers!"
And one form Neal A. Maxwell:
"At the center of our agency is our freedom to form a healthy attitude toward whatever circumstances we are placed in. Those, for instance, who stretch themselves in service-- though laced with limiting diseases-- are often the healthiest among us. The Spirit can drive the flesh beyond where the body first agrees to go."
R. Reasons to smile? Because not smiling is... not happy!
S. Season of choice? Oh... that's a tough one. I love Winter for the white crispness and long sleeves and hats. I love fall for the changes and trick-or-treating. I love spring for the baby lambs. I don't love *spit* summer *spit, spit*. Just typing it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
T. Tag 5 people: Sherrie, Jamie Y (because you didn't do the last tag!!), Sheri K (because we have so much to catch up on!), Colleen (because I want you to put something new on your blog!), and Cindy.
U. Unknown fact about me? Well, everyone knows that I love bugs and that I can't stop whistling... I've never been skiing or snow boarding even though I have always wanted to learn, have gone on ski trips with Shane many times, and have lived near Ski slopes. I guess that is more of an un-fact than a fact... Oh! Here ya go: Drinking soda pop gives me hiccups. Without fail. The hard hiccups that hurt!!
V. Vampires or Werewolves? (I made this one up, there was no V in the tag I was given.) VAMPIRES!!!
W. Worst habit? Forgetting to serve leftovers before they smell bad. I hate waste.
X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ultrasound.
Y. Your favorite food? Mexican.
Z. Zodiac sign? Taurus
Sunday, July 20, 2008
But first I had to snag this picture of a Datura growing at the Comfort Inn. Ah! I will have to grow daturas again next year... I haven't grown them at this house.
We really enjoyed the fun at Grandpa John and Grandma Marilyn's house. The kids loved playing the electric piano, the accordion, the ukulele, and watching the turtles, talking with the Amazons, searching for lizards and bunnies, and feeding the rollie pollies. We even managed to take a container of them home as pets (they now reside on the counter next to the frog). The only thing we neglected to do was take enough pictures! It was so great seeing family! Eventually though, it was time to get on the road for home. :-(
We took the "scenic route" home and took a little longer, but Shane knows how I love to drive through farm land. I just feel so at home among fields and orchards. We passed through wine country and avocado farms, olive oil vineyards and horse farms. It takes a little longer to get home that way, but it's like the driving is still part of the vacation. Thanks, Shane!
After the 15 minute stop in Indio that turned into an hour, we were headed into the desert. Immediately traffic stopped due to an overturned cargo truck. We got to sit behind the HO BUS for a long time...Eventually we did pass the accident, and the Ho Bus (complete with pretty hippy chick at the wheel), and began the long trek across the wasteland. Half way across, Meeka had to go pee. Really bad. And so we stopped at Desert Center.
There used to be life in Desert Center. It used to be a place to stop halfway between Palm Springs and Blythe. Now, it has wasted into a rather nothing of nothing. We went into the Desert Center Cafe to use their bathroom (the only still-in-business operation around). I was running in with a crying three-year-old who was saying, "I can't hold it, I can't hold it!" I guess that clued in the waitress (who was probably also chef, receptionist, and clerk) behind the counter of our needs because she immediately stated upon my arrival through the door, "bathroom's to the right."
Two of the stalls in the bathroom were missing their toilets. The other two were ours. Mayzie went in the first one, and Meeka and I the second. Meeka and I were greeted by the afterworkings (probably) of a four year old boy who had no sense of direction and had been holding it for way too long. Pee on everything. The toilet seat, toilet back, stall walls, toilet paper dispenser, floor, etc. I doubt very much that this child had gotten any into the toilet at all. (This is why I have taught Nevan to sit down on any toilet that girls share with him. Peeing standing is great in boys-only bathrooms, I always say...) I wiped everything down as best that I could with the toilet paper that didn't seem so soaked and placed a sanitary sheet on the toilet afterwards. Meeka somehow (probably due to the pee-everywhere shock) had been able to hold it in while the cleaning crew (me) did their job. I set her on the disgusting toilet, knowing there was no other toilet for another hour of driving, and she found relief at last. We came out, and washed for a LONG TIME *again* and Mayzie still was in her stall.
"Mayzie, are you okay?"
"I'm locked in."
"Unlock the door"
"I tried. I can't!"
**grunting** "I can't do it!"
I looked at the poor lady in line and she looked at me. We both started giggling. The door went down to about 8" from the disgusting floor. Someone was going to have to go under it. The nice young lady in line actually offered (she was a very thin college-age girl), to which I thanked her and told it was okay, I could always shower later. And so, I went under the door. The only way was to let my whole backside slide across the floor and under. I hated to think what was in my hair after that. I brought a pillow with me in the car, but I didn't want to dirty it with my own head after this incident. I slid under, rescued my daughter (the door actually was very hard to open) washed up for a LONG TIME *again* and we left. Ick.
I advise everyone to go to the bathroom before crossing the desert and not drink anything, or let your children drink anything for an hour before hand. You do not want a Desert Center Bathroom Experience.
As we left, I took a picture of these old fuel pumps. The price the last time they were used? 39 cents per gallon. Those were the days. The days when Desert Center was a real place to live, breathe, and subsist. The bathrooms were probably nicer then. Before two of the toilets disappeared.But don't worry. When the pumps stopped working, they had this baby parked nearby and ready. Think it's the daily driver now?
We eventually made it home, with three sleeping children and a little scruffy escape artist (Blossom picked up from the Jorgensen's). It's good to be home. All four of our toilets are here. They are clean. I wouldn't cringe at the thought of lying on my back in the bathroom with my hair touching the floor. Yes, it's so good to be home.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
we got buckets...
we went exploring...
we relaxed and read books...
we found buried treasure...
we got cold...
we got crazy!...
we got cute little yellow polka dot bikini's...
Is there something on my bumbum?
we got dirty... we got creative... we got along...
we got deep...
we got warm...
we got messy...
we got soaked...
we got burried (some of us didn't like it)...
we got pummelled...
we got relaxed...
we got exercise...
we got dirty feet...
we got comfortable...
we got tan... (well some of us)
we got happy...
we got foot portraits...
we got wind-blown beautiful...
we got crustaceans...
we got lunch (yes, shaved ice was really lunch)...we got curious about the behaviour of others...we got beach memories...
we got cleaned up and went for dinner...
we got very full pf very good Mexican cuisine...
we got dessert.