Friday, October 26, 2012

Friends, Winners and What's Pain Got to do With It?

A facebook (and writer) friend Kari shared this link: 10 Things Winners Do Differently.

All ten suggestions are great - here is # 9:

"Work through the pain. – One day this pain will make sense to you.  Sometimes it takes the worst pain to bring about the best change.  The strongest people you know became strong because of the pain they once faced, and conquered.  So in spite of all the put-downs and negativity you’ve heard from others in your life, stay focused on your goals, and remember that how you rise up is no one else’s business but your own. "

I think I'm still pondering that line "One day this pain will  make sense to you." Of all the things I've tried to make sense of in life, pain has not been one of them. I think up until now I've categorized it into to kinds: A.) productive and B.) non-productive (or in other words - useless, miserable, wretched, etc.) For type A, think of labor pains and childbirth. For type B, think of a pulled ligament in the knee. Reading that article today reminded me that even the type B pain in my life doesn't have to be senseless or useless.

Then this quote bubbled up in my mind. (And because of the magical internet, I can quote it here with accuracy.)

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”  ― Orson F. Whitney

Sobering, but comforting and true. I believe this is possible when we turn our hearts and lives over to Heavenly Father. He is the only one that can "consecrate our affliction for our gain." 

Here's to getting through the pain, not quitting and great friends that help us along the way!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marriage Article - Behind the Scenes

Thursday on the blog is usually Potpourri Thursday which is helpful since this post is a lovely combination of my Marriage Monday news and my Work-In-Progress Wednesday update. Phew. (Do not try to say that five-times-fast!)

First - some writing news: I'm a contributor to the new website offering practical family solutions. I'm thrilled to be a part of such a great community of writers.

Next - a little about my article: if you know me or my blog, you know I love all things marriage. So  hopefully it doesn't come as a surprise that I would jump at the opportunity to write about how to keep a marriage strong! (Okay, I don't know if I jumped, maybe squealed :)

I will say even with all my excitement, when I read this title "assignment" that I "volunteered" for (how's that for clarity?) - I thought "Wow. 15 Things?" I later mentioned it to a friend who said, "If I have to do 15 things a day for my marriage, I feel like I'm working too hard!" That's when I was sure I wanted to highlight so many of the ordinary things we already do each day that can strengthen our marriage!

Add in some research, some hours for the rough draft, a round of edits before submitting and voila, my first published on-line marriage article!


Thanks for stopping by & as always, I love your comments!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - It's Never Just Mopping

Today's Triumph = I mopped the floors.

Why does mopping earn the triumph award? It's never just mopping at my house.

You see, my mop doesn't have a home. Neither does my bucket. Our lovely house doesn't have a basement and so storage space is at a premium. That means I have to be creative when it comes to storing all our stuff. I like to follow the organizational rule of storing items as close as possible to where they are used. The practicality of this rule is obvious when you think of keeping utensils in a drawer in the kitchen so you don't have to go traipsing through the house three times a day for cutlery. It works for towels in a bathroom closet, laundry soap near the washer and dryer. It's all great, until there isn't space where there should be space. Like what I was saying about my mop. Homeless. I don't have a broom closet either, but at least there is a just-wide-enough space next to my fridge for that. My mop, on the other hand, has been relegated to the garage for half the year and the back patio for the other half. I don't even have a good reason for one place or the other. Both places have their pitfalls, neither are ideal. ( What does my homeless mop have to do with a Tuesday Triumph? -- I'm getting there, I promise.)

The mop bucket stored on the patio collects a fair amount of dust, sand and debris. In order to mop with clean water, I rinse out the mop bucket with the hose. As long as I have the hose out, I think, I might as well spray down the kitchen trash container. And once I've done that, the kitchen mat gets a good rinsing. This same tag-team cleaning happens once I'm back inside. I vacuum the floor before I mop it and while I have the small vacuum out, I can clean the laundry room and oh, look, this bathroom floor could use some attention! You see where this is going. When I say I've mopped the floors, rest assured half the house gets cleaned, too. It's a good feeling, if I ignore the fact that I had no intention of spending that much time on housework in one little afternoon.

Does anyone else tag team when they clean? Please tell me I'm not the only one.
And if I am, at least tell me your triumph!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Potpourri - Possibly Political

Are you watching the debates? President, Vice-President, liberals, conservatives, Big Bird?

Even Big Bird has been dragged into it, and consequently asked, in polite way, to be left out of it. After all, he is only a puppet. 

In the run up to the first debate of the season, I started feeling a little sorry for the candidates. Given past debate debacles, there's a lot of pressure on these people. Don't check your watch - remember Bush Senior. Don't roll your eyes - remember Gore. Don't add inappropriate suffixes to your words - Bush W. Don't sigh - More from Gore. The list goes on. Is it better to look in the camera or your opponent in the eye? What about the moderator? If you cut him off are you too aggressive or demonstrating assertiveness? Imagine the pressure! These are human beings we're talking about here. Is it fair for Obama to lose the debate because he looked down at the podium so much? (Where is the list of acceptable focal points again?) How can you stand in one place, monitor every bodily function, manage body language messages and speak articulately about every issue facing the country?

Hmm. The country. Then I remember something. These people are asking to be President of the United States. If the debate is too much pressure what about holding the office? If you want one of the most powerful jobs in the world, shouldn't you be able to stand on your feet, look people in the eye and make your point--as a minimum requirement?

I don't know. Just a thought. 

In other news, did you know they invented cinnamon chips? Yes, you probably did as it has been at least a few years that I've known about them and I'm always behind the trends. But now that the temps have dropped and I'm pretending it's cold enough to be sweater weather, I'm toying with the idea of pulling out the Bosch and baking. Stay tuned.


A bit of inspiration on the blog. What Would You Tell Your 15-year-old Self?
I can't say I've always liked the concept of this- because your old self can't really make use of the advice, you know? But now that I have teenagers, it helps me think in ways of how to better teach my kids. So, what would you tell your 15-year-old-self?

Me? "Ease up on the hairspray, Tam, big hair won't be big forever!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - Trumped by the Milk Carton

Walking again. 
The cooler weather might have something to do with my motivation. 

However, my six-year-old mentioned to me this morning that she learned how to open her own milk carton at school and doesn't need the Lunch Aide* to help her anymore. I think her triumph totally trumps my triumph, don't you?

And despite my dinosaur age, I remember sitting at the crowded cafeteria table, struggling with that cardboard mystery, hoping I'd get it open without decorating my school clothes, or the person next to me, with chocolate milk.
*Yes, my daughter did say 'Aide,' and not 'Lady.' Maybe that's a triumph for Lunch ladies and gentlemen everywhere.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marriage Monday - Conference Quote

More book reviews are on the way, but I wanted to share this from General Conference. It is a serious and sobering reminder of the importance of the marriage relationship. As you've heard me say before, it is worth the effort!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Conference October 6,2012, said this about marriage in his talk about protecting children (emphasis added): 

"There are few examples of physical or emotional threats to children as important as those arising out of their relationships with their parents or guardians. Of utmost importance to the well-being of children is whether their parents were married, the nature and duration of the marriage, and, more broadly, the culture and expectations of marriage and child care where they live.
The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents. Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson. There are surely cases when a divorce is necessary for the good of the children, but those circumstances are exceptional. In most marital contests the contending parents should give much greater weight to the interests of the children. With the help of the Lord, they can do so.
Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur. Few measures of the welfare of our rising generation are more disturbing than the recent report that 41 percent of all births in the United States were to women who were not married. Most of the children born to unmarried mothers—58 percent—were born to couples who were cohabitating. Whatever we may say about these couples’ foregoing marriage, studies show that their children suffer significant comparative disadvantages. For children, the relative stability of marriage matters.
We should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender. The social science literature is controversial and politically charged on the long-term effect of this on children, principally because, as a New York Times writer observed, “[s]ame-sex marriage is a social experiment, and like most experiments it will take time to understand its consequences.”
We are speaking of the children of God, and with His powerful help we can do more to help them. In this plea I address not only Latter-day Saints, but also all persons of religious faith and others who have a value system that causes them to subordinate their own needs to those of others, especially to the welfare of children.
Religious persons are also conscious of the Savior’s New Testament teaching that pure little children are our role models of humility and teachableness.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4)."

You can watch the entire talk at the 1 hr 34 min mark 
Elder Oaks General Conference October 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conference Cookies, and Breakfast Too

Most Requested Breakfast Dish at My House

German Pancakes

topped with peach jam and powdered sugar

Ready to Eat - German Pancake 

6 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp salt
5 TBL butter (or margarine)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut up butter and place in two 9x13 dishes, put in oven to melt while mixing other ingredients. 

Beat eggs till lemon colored. Add flour, mix well. Add milk gradually. Add salt. Pour evenly into both dishes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Pancakes will puff up and sometimes sink or flatten once out of the oven. Yum.

While I was making the pancakes, my little helper made these. She called them Lemon Dollops. I asked her what the blue and red colors were and she said, 'blueberry and strawberry dollops, of course.'
Of Course!

Shortest Life-Span Snack

Disappearing Black & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(I mentioned them once here: Cookie Post)

One box of Krusteaz Chocolate Chunk Cookies
One Egg
1/2 cup of butter

Follow directions on the box.
I add half a bag of Nestle Toll House White Chocolate chips. Maybe it's my attachment to Toll House, or maybe the cookies just taste awesome!

Why I love General Conference weekend: Listening to the prophet and apostles with family and good food=happiness.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Do You Make Friends? - Friday

This is Miss Manners in reverse.

Do you ask people what they are reading? When they are sitting near you in a doctor's waiting area, or the subway or wherever? Or do you steal glances at the cover and try to read the part of the title that isn't covered by their hands?

And have you ever had someone ask you? Do you rattle off the title without taking your eyes from the page? Or do you offer a full synopsis of what you've read thus far?

What do you think? What do you do? 
Thanks for stopping by the blog and helping me satisfy my social-reading-etiquette curiosity!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - Cake

Drum roll please...
I did not eat any leftover birthday cake for breakfast.

Anyone who knows me, knows that is a triumph!
Be impressed. Very impressed.

Hmm, what will I have for lunch?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marriage Book Review - Strangling Your Husband is NOT an Option

Reading this book is like having a conversation with your big sister, who happens to have a fantastic sense of humor and a strong handle on marriage relationships. Her approach is bold, direct and refreshing. Especially in a world where there is little support for one of a woman's most fulfilling roles.

The Visual Aid:

TitleStrangling Your Husband is NOT an Option
AuthorMerrilee Boyack
Publisher: Deseret Book
Year: 2006
How I found it: Saw it on the shelf and laughed out loud!
Available on Amazon - Here
Audience: This book is written for women, specifically wives. 
Paperback, 184 pages
Book Description:
"Things can get pretty crazy in marital relationships. As one reviewer has said, “What wife hasn’t felt like strangling her husband at least once during their marriage?” With her lighthearted personality and humor, author Merrilee Boyack shares twenty-five years’ worth of marital perspective in this practical guide to improve any marriage. As an estate-planning attorney, Merrilee has dealt with many struggling couples going through divorce. (Seven-year marriages seem to have the greatest challenges.) She offers practical tips for women who want to better understand men (particularly their husbands) and build happier marriages. She invites women to dump the guilt, be open enough to learn about areas they’d like to improve, and then take the steps to make those changes. Readers will also find a wealth of fun and practical advice in chapters like “The Five ‘Don’ts’ and Five ‘Do’s’ of Wifehood,” “But How Do I Change My Husband?” and “No, Really, How Can I Change Him?”

The Gist & What I appreciate:
This is how to be a wife 101, 202 and 303 combined. Don't roll your eyes. It's not what you think. In fact, Merrilee makes you think about how you treat your husband. What I appreciate is that she is anti husband-bashing! I think our culture has developed a sad tolerance of the mistreatment of men by various kinds of unhappy women. She holds wives to the standard of treatment we expect from our husbands.
Quote from page 18:
                "A great gift we can give our husbands is to be content and not make stuff more important than them. We can focus on living modestly and being appreciative of the life they provide for us." Later on page 19 she says, "Walk through your house with the eyes of an orphan. We live in opulence."

Quote from page 27:
              ". . . Start meeting your own emotional needs."

Quote from page 46:
             "Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Write at the top "Great Things about My Husband. Now start to write a list. Write down the way he holds your hand. . . Write down that he took care of the whole house when you came down with the stomach flu.Write down how he looked across the altar when you were married." Later on page 47, "Value your husband. Value him deeply. In fact, get a "Why I Love My Husband" book and write down every day some little thing that's wonderful about him or something nice he did. It will transform your marriage. It will transform you."

My two cents:
            I enjoy the humor she applies to everyday life. Don't be fooled, though. One minute you're chuckling and the next you may be squirming as she calls you out on socially acceptable behavior that you know isn't good for your marriage. (See page 9, "Well, if I was your husband, I wouldn't talk to you either.")
           This is easy to read, maybe harder to absorb, but well worth the effort. It's not all do's and don'ts - she has chapters for self-development and being a 'fun-living wife,' with lots of great ideas and practical, usable advice.
Up Next:
           Side by Side: Supporting a Spouse in Church Service by Jeanette Goates Smith (unless I feel like re-reading something else this week :)

( Dear FTC, I bought the book. I know I buy a lot of books. At least this one was on sale, but I'd buy it again even if it wasn't. )


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