Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What do you Spend on Food?

OK, so it is time to revamp my food budget now that my baby is walking, (YES, walking...he's so big now and it's gone so fast) and eating more solids. We are a family of nine and I'd like to know what other frugal families spend per month per person. Please scroll down to the very bottom of the gadgets (all the stuff on the right) and answer the question. Don't worry, your answers are anonymous.

Day Two of My Journey is Delayed...Please Help

My post about day two is delayed...I have more pressing matters.

My friend Rachael and I had a great time this afternoon discussing Democracy In America, the first 8 chapters of Volume I. Every third Tuesday I am hosting a free online discussion of this fascinating work at dimdim.com. If you want to join us in a discussion of the next 8 chapters (Part 2 of Volume 1) on Tuesday August 17 at 2 PM MDT I would love to "see" you there. Let me know and I will send you the invitation with the URL. I am learning so many things I didn't learn in my high school U.S. history class from this book. One of the juicy tidbits that I didn't hear in high school...de Tocqueville says that the reason that democracy and self-government thrived in America, (as compared to France, where it led to tyranny) is that it found fertile soil in New England. This fertile soil came from the righteous Puritans who were dedicated to God and family. DeTocqueville contrasts this to the scalawags who founded Jamestown. These were men of low moral character, single men who were speculators looking for gold and treasure. Because of their low moral character slavery took hold when the first slave ship came to Virginia back in the 1600s. Now that's something you won't learn in today's media or public schools. I love learning about real American history! I've been learning a lot lately. My husband got to give a talk on patriotism and the gospel of Jesus Christ in sacrament meeting. I begged him to let me write the talk so I did research for that. Email me if you want a copy of the talk.

I hope you all had a great Pioneer Day. I did. Two weeks ago, the same time my hubby gave a talk, I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting about "My Pioneer Heritage." This was a fabulous opportunity. I did not grow up knowing that I had a pioneer heritage because my parents are not natural storytellers, like my mother-in-law. Consequently the stories I've been hearing for the past 19 years have been all about my husband's pioneer heritage. This was a great time to do some research and I found out about my valiant pioneer ancestors. One of them, Luman Shurtliff, my 4th great-grandfather, got to have dinner with David Whitmer in Kirtland and hear him bear testimony that he saw the plates of the Book of Mormon and the angel. He was even confirmed a member of the church by Brother Whitmer. He got to hear Joseph Smith speak in person and shake hands with Joseph. He even got to see the Egyptian papyri and the mummies that the Pearl of Great Price came from.

Another one of my 4thgreats, Zerah Pulsipher, read the Book of Mormon in the fall of 1831 in New York. He prayed to know if it was true while threshing grain in his barn. He had a vision of an angel coming to him bearing witness that it was true. He got baptized and then was ordained to the priesthood and called on a mission. He taught the gospel to Wilford Woodruff and baptized him. Zerah and Luman both came across the plains to Utah and settled in Dixie and Ogden respectively. As I did this research I felt the spirit of God bear witness to me that this work of the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by Joseph Smith is true. Despite all of my trials in life, I find so much comfort in this truth. Jesus is the Ultimate Tree of Life and the One Sure Guide to us mothers.

Some of you may have noticed that the groups (dedicated to different womanly arts) that used to be up on the Tree of Life Mothering site are no longer there. My web site host, Ning, changed its pricing plans and I had to go with the cheapest plan which doesn't allow groups. All of the pages I had on the site under the tab "library" which were helpful handouts about homemaking systems and how to teach your kids to work are gone as well. Boo-hoo!

So here's where you can help...for every donation of $10 that you give to the Tree of Life Mothering Network (which will go towards upgrading the site so we can have the groups back) you will receive three mp3 downloads of talks given by natural LDS moms at the conference I sponsored last year. These talks are all about 45 minutes of inspiration. Listen to them while you do your exercise, housework or yardwork. They have been selling for $4 each on the site, so this is a special savings. By upgrading this site, I can also integrate it with Facebook, which will make it easier for all of you Facebook fans.

Will you please donate $10 or $20? If you do so, go to paypal and send the money to "treeoflifemothering." In the notes area let me know which talks you want sent to you. You can choose from the following talks given by well-known LDS moms who are all out in the trenches doing the hard work of mothering:

Leslie Householder on "How a Stay at Home Can attract Prosperity"
Vernie DeMille on "How to Enjoy Gardening with Little Children"
Jonell Francis on "How to Claim Your Life Back by Improving Your Diet"
Donna Goff on "How to Self Nurture a Mother Culture"
Diann Jeppson and Jodie Palmer "Mealtime Magic: Teaching and Bonding with Children over Food"
Joyce Kinmont on "Treasuring Children"
Aneladee Milne on "Getting off the Entertainment Conveyor Belt"

If you buy six, you can get the last one listed, please another one about eco-friendly funerals by my friend Joyce Mitchell, as two bonus gifts!

If you don't want to use paypal and want to arrange another payment, email me at treeoflifemothering@yahoo.com to let me know.

Enjoy the talks!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Treasures from Day One..the Journey to TJED Land

So much has happened since our trip to St. George. Family reunions...scout camp for my son this week...Young Women camp for my daughter last week...visits with other cousins...Independence Day...lots of reading on my part of Democracy in America and other books about U.S. history and running through our lovely wooded park. We also had a fun picnic yesterday at the park with Grandma, an aunt,and cousins and got caught in a freak hailstorm. That's July weather in Utah for you! What a full and lovely summer! I was also violently ill last week and had my share of messes of other violently ill family members to clean up, plus I've had some disappointments, but I won't dwell on those.

But the best news of all...my scholar phase son is now an Eagle Scout! The Eagle Court of Honor is coming soon. I am so pleased that he is done! The best part of it is that I haven't had to lift a finger doing all of this, well, besides have mentor meetings to encourage him. You know how some 12 year old boys get their Eagle rank? Well, I am willing to bet my house that there is someone named mother behind the scenes doing a lot of the phone calling and planning for the Eagle project. You can also bet the mother doesn't have a ton of little children younger than the Eagle boy. My son has really earned this rank, not me, so we are all dancing a jig.

I am really excited to read my new Leslie Householder book and apply the teachings of the laws of thought on a more consistent basis. We planted a garden this year and it is fun to see the plants getting taller and taller. When I read Leslie's writings, I feel this peace come over me. I think it's because these teachings remind me that success is like planting a garden. The success of my garden growing is up to me (and God). It's up to me putting the seeds in the ground, and giving the seeds water and sunlight. The success is up to no one else. If I pick things that will grow, like seeds, they will grow, if I follow the laws that cause growth. Success is not impossible, like changing a rhinoceros into a pile of diamonds.

Sure, there can be things out of my control to defeat my garden, like bugs and storms. But if I am in touch with my garden often, I can see the signs of bugs and do something to fight them off. I can see the signs of a storm approaching and do what I can to protect it. There might be times when I can't save the whole garden from a storm that ruins it all, but that's pretty rare. I remember hearing Vernie DeMille say that one year she and her husband lost their whole huge garden to a hailstorm in Missouri. They cried and then they got to work and planted a new one. So in the end if my success is defeated by something out of my control, I would cry, then get to work and start over, trusting that God, for whatever reason, wants me to receive some blessing from starting over.

So back to blogging about my trip. We left for St. George on a Sunday morning bright and early at 8 AM. Dad stayed home (he had to go something as frivolous as work the next day) and the rest of us waved good bye. It's important for me that we go to church every Sunday, even when we are traveling. But I didn't want to wait until after our meetings at 1. I felt adventurous so we wore our Sunday clothes and I planned on just finding some chapel off of I-15 and going to church in Fillmore or Cedar City. Wouldn't it be cool if we ran into the DeMilles or some other TJEDers? I thought. Maybe the Grofts, or the Simmermans. Well, since they are all in the same ward then that would be super fun.

By the time we got to Fillmore it was 10:20. I didn't want to wait until 11 for church (Latter-day Saints usually have church at 9 or 11 AM or 1 PM, yes we have figured out how to maximize meeting time and space, the only ones who do it better are the subset of Latter-day Saints who go to church at BYU in school buildings and classrooms). So we kept on driving. We got to Cove Fort at 11. I was excited to stop there and learn more about the LDS Church history there. We've been there before but haven't been able to take it all in.

TIP: If you are on I-15 in Utah driving south and have a nursing baby, a great place to stop and nurse is Cove Fort. You can always nurse your baby in the car, I do this all the time with the baby still buckled in his car seat. But if you want to nurse with the baby out (not while you are driving, of course, but after you park) it is so much nicer to pull over and get out and let the older kids stretch their legs and get a change of scenery. At Cove Fort you can all watch a movie and nurse in air-conditioned splendor. The tour guides were very friendly and I could tell the woman was a grandma. She seemed to have a "grandma heart."

We ended up going to church in Enoch at 1 PM. And we did see some TJEDers! We weren't lucky enough to hit the jackpot with the DeMilles, the Grofts, and the Simmermans all at once but we saw the Pattersons: Symbria Patterson and her family. Symbria used to work for GWC. I wanted to go talk to her but she doesn't know me from Eve. I let my shyness take over. Now I wish I had just gone over and talked to her. I found this great blog post about her on Teri Helms' tommymom blog. See

Then we drove around Enoch with me fantasizing about what it would be like to live in TJED land. I have been wanting to move for a long time and I can't decide between TJED Land (Enoch/Cedar City) or the Aneladee half of LEMI Land (Bountiful). I decided that Enoch is too windy and doesn't have enough trees. My husband sent me a text message. I was slightly disturbed that he was texting during church. At least it wasn't sacrament meeting, thank goodness. No we hadn't arrived yet. Since I was driving I could control the schedule and I wanted to linger a bit. We checked out New Harmony. I absolutely love New Harmony! It seems like the perfect little town to raise a "georgic" family. One church and one library and one gas station, what more could you need? If we moved there we would be only 20 minutes from GWC and shopping and 40 minutes the other way from our cousins in St. George. I found my dream house right next to the chapel in New Harmony. See photo above. Isn't it darling?

We finally arrived at 4:30. i was thrilled to see my sister-in-law Sally and her family. They had moved and their new place is so cool! So huge and totally family-friendly. Sally has these great plate glass windows in her kitchen with tons of greenery growing right there outside. I feel like I'm in a greenhouse. She even has a chinaberry tree right out that window. (This picture is not a chinaberry tree, it's something else growing in her yard.) I didn't know a chinaberry tree existed, I just thought it was the name of one of my favorite businesses (chinaberry.com). I had even brought along a book to read that I found at the library thanks to the recommendation I got from the Chinaberry catalog.

Next blog post, Day Two.

Feeling the Magic Again.., these Laws Work!

One of these days, I will start writing about the treasures from my trip. The trip I took to TJED Land back in June. But first I have to share my story from last week. I went to my friend Emily Clawson's class "Proclaiming Your Personal Liberty" last Thursday. I figured it would be a great, cheap date night for me and my husband. The topic, about how to free yourself from debt or addiction, interested me.

Well, when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was a review of the teachings I have learned from my friend Leslie Householder. As I reviewed these ideas, I felt the magic coming back to me. I've gone for months forgetting these teachings. I started to feel the possibility again that my dreams CAN come true. It was so great to feel this power!

At the end, Emily did a drawing for Leslie's new book, Portal to Genius. As soon as she announced that she was drawing a name, I consciously applied the "laws of thought" taught by Leslie in her book, The Jackrabbit Factor. I thought, "I feel so happy that Emily is announcing my name as the winner of the book." I imagined her saying my name and felt gratitude.

Portal to Genius

The first name was one of the followers of this blog, and then...lo and behold...the second winner, was ME! YIPPEEE! I have been wanting this book! So now I am a proud owner of Leslie's new book and am eagerly reading it whenever I sit in a certain spot in this house. (I always have two or three books I am reading, besides, the scriptures, and I read them whenever I sit down at that spot either to eat or nurse my baby.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today's the Day!

Today's the day for my online colloquium of Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville. What does a French guy who lived over a 100 years ago know about America? Anybody who hasn't studied this work is an intellectual wimp, according to Kurt Vonnegut. Even if you haven't read any of this, come join us for a fascinating discussion.

It's today at 2 PM. Go to http://zorap.com/wrmdlpi and log in. Please do so about a half hour before the class starts so you can work out any technical troubles. This is new to me too so if it doesn't work we may do this next Tuesday.

If you don't have a headset/microphone or webcam, don't worry. I don't either. I am planning to do this all by typing into the chatbox.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Families are a Type of Christ

I haven't been online much because this week in sacrament meeting my husband and I are giving talks, plus three of my children and I will be singing. (Our first time. I love to sing but my voice is very untrained and nobody beyond the ward choir director has ever begged me to come sing. We volunteered for this.) So I have been busy researching, writing, and singing. The themes are "patriotism and the gospel" and "my pioneer heritage." I beseeched my husband to let me write his talk, the one on patriotism. It didn't take much for him to agree. (To say that he doesn't like writing is an understatement.) This will not be your typical Mormon talk on patriotism, I assure you. None of the typical smug self-congratulations. No-siree. All is not well in Zion.

Last week we went to the beautiful Colorado Rockies for a family reunion. Oh, so many beautiful things happened. After we left Wyoming and entered Colorado my 12-y-o son serenaded us with "Colorado Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver as we drove. It touched my heart deeply. Some say it's a song about doing drugs but I prefer to see a nobler purpose in it.

Women of the Old Testament

I took along a copy of the new book Women of the Old Testament by Camille Fronk Olson. It was overdue at the library but I felt like I had not drawn enough from its deep well of living water. This book is so cool! The typical world's way of looking at these women is to marginalize them and overlook them or even say they were not good. But thanks to courageous scholars like Beverly Campbell, who wrote Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, and Camille, we know the truth about Eve. She was the first women's libber.

I love what Camille's book says about Eve and Rebekah, Isaac's wife. I have long wanted to understand better her story with Isaac and switching Esau and Jacob. I had a personal experience to deepen my understanding this past winter. She did something that was needed and righteous, within her bounds. This book confirmed my hunches. I had a great discussion with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law about this.

This book also discusses the same story that James Ferrell's The Peacegiver does, that of Abigail and David from the Bible. As I read the account in Camille's book, I was reminded of how women are types of Christ. Then I thought of how men are as well, when they serve others, especially when they bear the priesthood righteously. As I discussed this with my mil and sil I learned of something vitally important someone in our family did to help someone else. Then it occurred to me that families are types of Christ as well. Each of us are in roles where we can do something for somebody else that no one else can. I thought of one of my other sister-in-laws who has lightened my load and helped me when no one else did. I am thinking of all the possibilities for each of us to do good for someone in our extended family.

Well, I could go on but I need to go shopping and make dinner. And I still want to blog more about my trip to St. George. The trouble with life is it goes faster than I can blog about it. Here's an endearing video our nephew did of the bonding family reunion we had. Everyone had loads of fun and I found out that one of my online TJED friends in Colorado actually knows my sister-in-law. These connections are so much fun.