Sunday, December 29, 2013

Le Cotage Conversion- Janitorial Closet

Most people will use the closet by the front door for coats and stuff. My dream was to have the front door be for visitors to come through, and to have a family entrance into the mudroom. So, I made the front closet into a janitorial supply closet.

Here's the before:

 I used moving boxes as shelves., eventually having to stack containers to hold the cardboard up. I had the brooms and mops just sitting on the floor.
This is the stuff of nightmares, right? How can you know what you even have? Who wants to even look in this mess for something they need?

 This was my first attempt at getting the brooms and mops off the floor. Don't buy these.
Especially if you have children under 16.

I took measurements and asked my hubby if he had scraps at the wood shop that I could use for shelves. I hit the Ace Hardware and got some brackets. Then, on date night, we put the shelves together. We had to use drywall anchors for the screws. The studs behind these walls are not uniform. They are scattered here and there.

I also searched for a stronger design to hold the brooms and mops. It's been several months and these are still in perfect condition.

I have since added plastic storage boxes and small plastic drawers for : batteries, electrical cords, rubber bands, screws, tape, etc.

In here is where I keep user manuals for appliances and electronics. Tools come and go according to what work is being done in the house.

There is an outlet so I can plug in the vacuum when I just need to vacuum a duster or something. I also keep my drill battery charging in here.

Now, the kids know where everything related to cleaning belongs. They sometimes just throw stuff in here, not where it belongs, but at least it's in the right area and I can reorganize it very quickly.

I don't keep a lot of stuff on the floor because I want it to be easy to sweep and mop.

I got these curtains in a pinch, there wasn't much variety. I'll make more interesting ones eventually, with weights on the bottoms to keep them from billowing when the door is opened.

Our entryway.

Happy organizing!

Christmas Day 2013

What Nicole asked for was a bunch of material. This is part of the bunch. She is making a blanket- sans sewing.

Very warm blanket!

She allowed her sister to help. Garsh.

Three boys and three thousand Legos. Who are these people who sell thousands of Legos on ebay? What are they like? Do they live amongst hills of Legos? Do they organize them at all?

Porter received an artist's set of coloring pencils from Grandpa Larry who lives in Oregon.

In my never-ending quest to organize, I got the boys tackle boxes for their Legos. This was before Santa brought thousands more into the house. I'm thinking now we need a Lego table.

Morgan is very creative with Legos. As a child, I was limited to one room houses or whatever the set was designed to make. Morgan once used a castle set to make a viking ship. It was so cool.

Oh, the beautiful colors!

I always feel like somebody's watching me...

Memo of My MIssionary- Out of Sequence Post

Anthony, er... Elder Galloway,  has been transferred from Yreka (he pronounces it Y-ree-ka) to Medford. I already posted his Medford pictures, but here are the pictures right before his transfer. We were able to Skype with him on Christmas day for an hour and a half. He was at the home of a retired couple. It was great seeing him and hearing his voice and getting the chance to ask questions. So far, he has been to the temple once there in Oregon and he forgot to take the name that I sent him!

 He said it was difficult leaving the Yreka because of the great people he met, but there is a lot more opportunities to teach in Medford. So, bittersweet. He has worn out his tennis shoes with all the service they've been doing. He has only ridden his bike one time so far. They've either had a car or prefer to walk because they meet, and talk to,  more people that way. It seems like he has got his mind focused on and is entrenched finding those of Father's sheep who are ready to hear his voice. He asked each of us in the family if we are helping the missionaries to find people to talk to.

Elder Galloway will be 19 on Dec. 31st. Happy Birthday!!!

My primary class.

The Kilians. Mum and Miriam (one of the kids age 16) isn't pictured. Katelyne is the one holding the cat she is my favorite.

Ready to leave Yreka :(

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Memo of My Missionary- It's a Wonderful Life in Medford

me and my new comp,  his name is Elder Whitney from eagle mountain utah. he hasbeen out 3 months. he is cool. he has a scholarship to play FB at USU
happy Christmas!
this place was trashed when i got here!
our room
living room it is a mess right now cuz there are two other missionaries living with us temporarily.
our study room
part of my lesson for Lili!

this is for medford 6th elders...funny huh?
yummy home made goldfish. thanks Nicole!
Bill Gate's mom lives here!
sunset in the suburbs.
Huge pumpkin!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve...

 These are the gingerbread houses that haven't been eaten. My phone went for a trip in the washing machine, so taking photos is not as convenient!


 We made new stockings as our old ones have been lost in the shuffle of moving.




This painted glass ornament is a replica of one of my Auntie Judy's batik paintings.

Santa has definitely been here!

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mary's Perspective

Last year, I wanted to write about the first Christmas from Mother Mary's perspective. I read what I could about her in the scriptures. I used my own experiences and feelings as a mother to relate to what her experience may have been like. This year, I share it with all of you.

Merry Christmas!

Mary's Perspective

Young Mary, so pure and virtuous, was visited by an angel who told her that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Her feelings of unworthiness must have shown on her face for the angel reassured her that she had found favor with God.

She was told that her son would be great, the Son of the Highest, that he would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Of course, every mother hopes the best for her child, but did Mary know what her son would have to bear as he fulfilled his role as the Savior of all mankind?

Did she realize right then, the implications this would have on her betrothal to Joseph? Yet would she, or could she, even for a second, have refused this heavenly call to motherhood? Of course not. She knew that no matter the difficult things she would have to deal with, God would be there to take care of everything. So she answered the awaiting angel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word."

Mary, now with child, visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose own pregnancy was such a welcomed miracle. Upon Mary's arrival, Elizabeth's baby leapt in her womb and she was moved by the Spirit to pronounce Mary blessed among women.  She was honored that the mother of her Lord should come to her. They found great joy in each other's company and in praising and magnifying the Lord. A few months later, Mary returned home where she faced the reality that Elizabeth's miracle was much easier for others to accept than the miracle growing within her own womb.

Joseph must have loved her dearly. He loved her so much that he refused to shame her openly and publicly. While he pondered on how to secretly release Mary from their betrothal, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

Now, Mary needs nothing more. With the support and love of her husband and knowledge that the Lord God would be ever watchful as the long foretold prophecies played out, this young mother could now enjoy and revel in the expectations of the new life they would welcome into their home. Her heart skipped with excitement when her baby moved within her. She made their house a home and prepared the necessary items for the upcoming birth.

Traveling to Bethlehem was so very tiring. Mary had to work to stay balanced on the donkey which Joseph led along the path. Being her first pregnancy, Mary would be completely unfamiliar with the physical signs that her time was approaching. This was a mandatory expense of time, however, and knowing her husband's heart was full of worry and compassion for her condition, Mary tried to keep her spirits up as the baby weighed heavily  down on her.

Entering the town of Bethlehem, they were both aware that the time had come. Their baby Jesus was soon to make his appearance. The town was crowded with people and the only place Joseph could procure for his traveling company to abide was already occupied by the tired animals of other travelers. Joseph did his best to help his wife through the trying delivery of her firstborn son. He found clean hay to place in an unused manger and sought out clothes in which to swaddle the baby. Silently, he thanked the Lord for the mild temperatures.

Was Mary aware of the angels in attendance? Were her pains reduced by an intervening, loving Heavenly Father? Did she have any woman to attend to her with comforting assurance that all was going well? When her final pains subsided, was she rewarded by having the warm, tiny infant placed upon her chest? Her tiny Jesus, foretold of for centuries, was now in her arms, her heart  already bonding eternally with his.

Joseph watched as Mary tended their newborn son. There still lingered a very special feeling in the room, as if the doors of Heaven had been left ajar. Being evening, they were surprised to hear voices of men approaching. Joseph went out to belay any unwanted intrusion on the peacefulness his wife was finally able to enjoy.

He met the shepherds just outside the entryway. His eyes widened in surprise when he heard them say they were looking for the baby who would be lying in a manger. They started all talking excitedly and Joseph caught the words "angel", and "sign", and "Savior". He asked them to wait while he checked to make sure that Mary was presentable. Joseph returned and they all reverently entered the room where the shepherds quietly expressed amazement that they were viewing exactly what the angel had described to them out in their fields.

Mary shyly looked up at Joseph, then he looked over to the men and asked them to please tell them everything. They spoke of the fear they felt as they noticed the dark of the night pierced by brightness and a vision was opened up to them. They spoke first of one angel who told them to fear not for he brought good tidings of great joy.  The angel had said that a Savior, which is Christ the Lord, had been born that day and that they would find the babe in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Next, they spoke of a sudden multitude of angels all praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." When the vision ended, they had unanimously decided to go right then and see this thing which the Lord had made known to them.

Mary looked down at her little babe. She listened as Joseph continued to speak with the shepherds. He shared with them their own visions of the angel. Mary recounted in her mind her visit with Elizabeth. She committed to memory what the shepherds had shared with them.  She stored all these special things in her heart so that as her child grew, she would be able to share them with him.

As she softly caressed her baby's fine hair, Mary fought back tears. Her heart was full. Every mother's baby was a miracle, but this miracle was not just for her. This miracle was for all of mankind.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

She Is My Daughter so... okay, I'll play... the piano for her in front of... an entire school... of teeny-boppers...

Every year, the middle school has a talent show. Last year Rylee sang "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn along with her guitar. This year, she chose to do the song "I Am His Daughter" which was written by Stephanie Mabey. Guess who accompanied her on the piano???????? Ack!!!!!! She was also invited by Mr. Saunders to join a square dancing group. Anthony did this very same dance performance when he was in 8th grade. Except, he was a boy...

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Memo of My Missionary- He's Really Doing It!

 service is the best part of missionary work
Guy in the black sweater is an ex Special Warfare soldier!

ready to clean the toilet lol

tired me!

waiting for turner! on the comfy couch

just another day

Anthony is changing. I can see it in his face. I can see it in his body. I can see it in the way he stands. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is when they get old enough that they are able to go out and have new experiences without you by their side. It starts little by little: playing over at a friend's house, going off to school, participating in extra-curricular activities... then comes the time when they would rather spend their extra time with other people besides family. Then, they graduate, move out, start carving out a life of their own.  It's all part of the natural process of life.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there is an additional step to the process of life. Serving a full-time mission. It is not a requirement. It is not stepped into lightly. For young men at least 18 years of age, it is a commitment of two years. For young women, it is a commitment of 18 moths. For retired, married couples it can range from 1 to two years, and they can serve as many times as they desire.

One day in church, someone was giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting and they posed the question: Why do missionaries do it? Why do they leave behind friends and family to basically put their lives on hold to serve in almost any region world? That question really hit home for me right at that moment. I wonder why??? Ironically, this talk was being given by grandmother who was about to leave with her husband to serve an 18 month mission. Even more ironically, before she was asked to give this talk she hadn't really known the answer.

During her talk she referenced this article which was written about one of her grandsons being greeted by his family upon returning from his mission. The author wrote, "As I stood back watching this sweet moment between mother and son, a family friend, who isn't a member of the church, leaned over and said to me, “How can you go two years without seeing your son? I don’t understand how they can go two whole years.”

This brought tears to my eyes. I know why. The author of that article knows why. About 14 million people throughout the world KNOW why. And if my son doesn't currently know why, I pray that he will gain that knowledge while he is serving full time in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

There was another talk given in Sacrament Meeting where a poem was shared. As I listened to that poem, I thought, "THAT'S why."

Here is the poem:

WHICH LOVED BEST? by Joy Allison (1917)

"I love you, Mother, said little John;
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on.
And he was off to the garden swing,
Leaving his mother the wood to bring.

"I love you, Mother, said rosy Nell,
"I love you better than tongue can tell."
Then she teased and pouted full half the day.
Till her mother was glad when she went to play.

I love you, Mother," said little Fan,
"To-day I'll help you all that I can;
How glad I am that school doesn't keep!"
So she rocked the babe till he fell asleep.

Then stepping softly, she took the broom,
And swept the floor, and dusted the room.
Busy and happy all day was she;
Helpful and happy as a child could be.

"I love you, Mother," again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that mother guessed
Which of them really loved her best?

As this poem illustrates, love is shown not by words alone. When you KNOW how MUCH your Heavenly Father LOVES you, and that he loves you no matter how many times you fail to meet the mark, you will WANT to love Him back. You will want to show that love by picking up that proverbial broom, packing it in your suitcase and leaving all the comforts of home and family to do the Lord's bidding.

My son left us six months ago. Today, as I looked at these pictures to share with you all on my blog, I thought to myself, "He's doing it. He's really doing it."

Anthony is OUT THERE. He's waking up early, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes to study with his companion. He's putting on a clean white shirt and a tie every single day, and standing tall as he ministers among the children of God in Yreka, California. At the end of his long days, he's plopping down somewhere and evaluating his day as a missionary.

He is sacrificing because his Brother, Jesus Christ sacrificed for him.

We love you Elder Galloway.