Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Blog

Welcome to our 2011 Christmas Blog!

This is the 2010 Christmas Eve picture.  We'll take a new one tomorrow night!

We'll start with Joshua Bruce, because he has the most exciting news of the year with his mission call for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the El Salvador San Salvador mission.

He will report to the MTC on Jan 25, 2012.  We are so excited that he is learning Spanish!  Joshua also went to two semesters at BYU Idaho this year, and earned a 4.0 in both.  This Fall he was also privileged to be the youngest member of one of BYU-Idaho's elite choirs, the Collegiate Singers (or the "Collegiates", as he called it).  He auditioned on a whim, and made it, so he adjusted his schedule somewhat and thoroughly enjoyed this choir, including a performance of the Messiah in December.

 Here am I on our annual family pack trip with the llamas in Idaho's wilderness country.  I have enjoyed a year of learning, growth and sharing.  I got to attend a C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy and Education) Training in Utah with Dr. David Stewart, and Young Living's National Convention in Orlando, Florida, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I began teaching Kindness Foot Zone Classes, as well as training others in Raindrop training and VitaFlex training.  I love teaching these classes!  I made a big change at the end of the year by pulling out of piano teaching, soccer refereeing and assigning, and one of my callings in our Church.  Simplicity and focus are some of my goals.  Being a Mom remains my biggest joy and challenge, and I'm so grateful to have such wonderful children.
Bruce has been able to go on several trips this year, including a llama pack trip with just the girls, which is what this picture's from .  He enjoys working from home full time now, and has moved into an architect position for his software engineering. He really enjoyed playing indoor soccer with Joshua and Joseph.  They had a great team and put the whoopin' on a lot of teams.  He continues to maintain his parents' 20 acre hay farm.
Joseph is pictured here in two of his Senior pictures.  Isn't he handsome!!  Yes - he's a Senior and is going to graduate in May 2012!  Joseph was co-captain for his Varsity Soccer Team and was named Honorable Mention mid-fielder in the conference.
Jesse had an amazing year.  She is pictured here at Shoshone Falls in Idaho.  She is so happy here, because we had just come from buying a Kawai 5'1 baby grand piano right before this.  She is preparing to become a piano performance major, hopefully at BYU, and playing on this piano is getting her ready for that big challenge.
She also went to SummerFest at BYU (which is a musician's camp) this summer and had the time of her life.  She thought she had died and gone to heaven to be surrounded by great kids who understood her passion for playing the piano.  Besides playing the piano 3-4 hours a day, she is in Show Choir, Madrigals and maintains a 4.0 at school.

Mary is having a great time in her first year in High School.  She has found a friend who is teaching her how to ballroom dance and swing dance.  He comes every week and they are getting a swing routine down while they practice.  She is singing in the auditioned all-girls choir at school, and excelling at that, as well as playing JV Soccer.
Peter and Libby are the caretakers (along with Dad) of our new puppies - Thor and Ellie.  After all these years, I finally gave in and told the kids they could get some puppies from our friends who were giving them away.  They are part golden retriever and part who knows what (we're thinking part lab and part retriever).
They are a lot of fun, and provide a lot of entertainment.
These are some of our favorite Elders that have come through our ward.  You will not soon be forgotten!

I love this picture of me and my girls!

Peter received his Arrow of Light this summer.  He is now enjoying 11-year old scouts and excelling in school.  His teacher really appreciates having him in class.  For our family reunion in Bear Lake he showed off his shoulder blade skills and whistled.  You'd have to see it to believe it!
Libby is a gymnast!  This is a new sport for our family (at least for the kids - I was on the gymnastics team at Bonneville Junior High in 7th grade).  We are excited to see what she does with it.  She also loves playing the piano and has straight A's in school.

For any of you who know Dave Ramsey, we are in the middle of our Total Money Makeover!!  For those of you not familiar, I highly recommend his book by the same name.

It is a joy this time of year to focus more closely on our Savior Jesus Christ.  To learn more about what we do as a family (and what I do personally) to worship and follow Jesus Christ please visit my profile on

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, Bruce & Lorena, Josh, Joseph, Jesse, Mary, Peter, and Libby - Family of Eight

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gymnastics Routine

Libby performs for our local Community talent show.

Harvest Dance

Jesse went with Dasan to the dance at the High School yesterday. They had a lot of fun. Jesse regretted not having a picture of everyone in the T-shirts that they bought and decorated for the dance, but at least we got this one.
Dasan & Jesse, Kalli & Hunter, Amanda & Travis

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm an Aunt again!

My two youngest brothers and their wives had babies only ten days apart.  How fun is that?!

Introducing Bryant Knowlton and Hannah Sophia:
Bryant Knowlton

Hannah Sophia
Bryant belongs to Chris and Elena, and Hannah belongs to Craig and Jenette.  Elena and Jenette - thank you for bringing such beautiful children into the world!  I'm so happy to be their Aunt!

Friday, September 16, 2011

El Salvador!

We finally opened Josh call tonight!  He is going to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the El Salvador San Salvador mission!  He will be speaking Spanish, and he will report on late January.

This is wonderful!  I had all my friends dial up my siblings (that were in MST or PST) and Bruce's siblings on cell phones.  It must have been chaotic over the phone, but I wanted all of them to hear.  I can't believe he will be speaking Spanish.  What a blessing!

Out of the nearly 100 guesses, nobody guessed El Salvador, so we don't have to give away a jug of apple cider.  Ha ha

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The time has come...

The call has arrived.  We have a letter sized envelope addressed to Elder Joshua Bruce Holmstead from the Office of the First Presidency sitting in our kitchen.  That is amazing!!

We will be opening Josh's mission call tomorrow night - Friday - after the local college football game.  Please come to our house, one and all, and join us!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mission Call on its way

We got word that the call is coming in the mail!  It is likely it will arrive in our mailbox on Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, Josh is in Rexburg, and still trying to figure out his classes, so he won't be here until probably Friday night or Saturday.  Bruce has already said he would steam it open.  I don't know I can talk him out of it.  Ha ha  I've updated the predictions list on the last blog - there were 97 guesses at last count, with somewhere North America (which includes Mexico and Central America) having the most votes.  Very fun stuff!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where will Josh go?

The long-awaited day has come!  Elder Joshua Bruce will be his getting his mission call to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the next few weeks (probably on 9/15).  His availability date to leave is 12/19/11 (after he goes to BYU-I for another semester).  

So, it’s time to hear all of your predictions.  I decided that the winner wins a free opportunity to milk Buttercup for a week.  Or, as Bruce suggested, you get the rights to Joshua’s firstborn child.  Well, maybe a jug of cider at the Cider Festival??  And first dibs on the homemade doughnuts?  Ha ha 

At the least you’ll get bragging rights.

You are all invited over when he opens his call.  And it will be the real thing - we don't plan to open it beforehand.  We'll let you know exactly when that is.

Both Bruce and I felt it a great privilege to serve the Lord on our missions.  When I met Bruce after he had served his mission, I told him that I was planning on serving a mission too. Instead of wanting me to stay home, he was very excited for me, and in the end, he was willing to postpone getting married for a year and a half in order for me to be able to serve a mission.  It means a great deal to our family that Josh would be willing, worthy and ready to serve as well.  We already feel a warm feeling of love for the people he will serve - wherever it is in the world.  (Of course, if they spoke Spanish, there would be just a smidgen of extra excitement in my little Mexican heart - ha ha!)

Here are the predictions:

Lorena - Bolivia, La Paz (if this happens, you will see a re-enactment of the Book of Mormon scene where Ammon faints)
Bruce - Hong Kong (the closest to China he could get)
Joseph - Germany
Jesse - Portugal
Mary - North Dakota
Peter - New York
Libby - Spain
Jarom - Sao Paulo North, Brazil
Lindsey - Venezuela
Cedric - Wichita Kansas
Carol - Florida Orlando - Spanish speaking
Matt and Chantel - Brazil
Whitney - Japan
Stetson - California Arcadia - Spanish speaking
Gale - Vancouver, B.C.
Mindy - Taiwan
Tom - Ukraine
Adam - Sao Paulo South, Brazil
Grace - Japan
Darcy - Korea Seoul
Stephanie Ann - Spain
Jacob - Poland
Sterling - Oregon
Capri - Taiwan
Connor - South Africa
Carlie - Philippines
Dalin - Utah
Samantha - South Dakota
Robert - Ireland
Alicia - Guatemala
Mayra - Mexico Durango
Hno. M. - Utah
Goldie - Spain
Paul - Mexico
Murlene - Spain, Madrid
Shauna - Spain
Shellie - Thailand
Adele - Washington (state)
Dania - Peru
Linda - Brazil
Carlie - Chile
Kenna - Bolivia (a wise guess)
Shelly - Bolivia (another wise guess)
Barbara - Ecuador
Sophia - Paraguay
Amber - Guatemala City, Guatemala
Todd - Australia, English speaking
Josh (cousin-in-law) - Uruguay Montevideo oeste
Bow - California Sacramento, Jive speaking
Curtis - Oklahoma
Michelle - Idaho Pocatello, English speaking
Carl - Japan
Carol - Columbia
Tracie - Russia
Lorna - Mexico
Natalie - Ukraine
Andrea - Wisconsin
Theran - Washington D.C. South
Richard - Michigan
Clarissa - Texas
Whitney - Australia
Isaac - Turkey
Elaine - Spain Madrid
Elder Josh - Alabama
Rex - Ukraine
Conal - Washington D.C. South
Kristie - Taiwan
Clark - Milan, Italy
Rachelle - Mexico City
Michelle - Argentina
Julie - Hong Kong
Jennifer - Taiwan Taipei
Aaron - Spain Madrid
Bruce - Truth or Consequences, New Mexico - Navajo speaking (Josh's grandpa went Navajo speaking!)
Monique - Houston, Texas - Spanish speaking
Rodney - Lisbon, Portugal
Craig - Samoa
Jenette - Madagascar speaking Malagasay
Hannah Sophia - Barcelona, Spain
Caralee - Paraguay
Vickie - New York
Leslie - Czech Republic
Teresa - Montreal, Quebec
Laura - Brazil
Kevin - New Zealand
Chris - France, Toulouse
Joshua Wayne - Brazil
Lynsie - Florida
Renae - Brazil
Marcy - Bolivia (my friends are wise)
Carson - Canada
Caleb - Washington (state)
Alyssa - Florida
Ethan - Australia
Angie - Denver, Colorado Spanish speaking
Kalli - Honduras
Laurel - Argentina
Tyson - Wisconsin

Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome Awegust

Happy 19th Birthday to Joshua!!  Every mother wonders, dreams and worries about what it will be like, or more appropriately, what their son will be like, when his 19th birthday comes.  Well, could a mother be prouder or happier about where a son is than I am of Josh?  He just finished the Spring Semester at BYU-Idaho and received a 4.0!  He worked really hard for it too - the hardest I've ever seen him work at school.  I have to say that Bruce put in a fair amount of time (as in hours and hours) over the phone with Josh, helping him with his computer science class.  Josh is as handsome as ever.  Bruce and I went out to dinner at a really nice Italian Restaurant with Jesse and Josh for their birthdays.  At one point during the dinner, Josh looked over and said something to me with this look on his face that was picture perfect.  I said, "Don't ever look at a girl like that unless you really, really like her."  It's a look of calmness, self-assurance and strength.  We had a great dinner, the only thing missing was the rest of the children.  :)  We took the whole family there in April right before Josh went to school and it was wonderful.  We had a gift certificate from Bruce's boss in order to afford it.  We are in the middle of getting Josh's papers ready to send in for a mission.  Yeah!  We decided that he will be going back to another semester of school in the Fall instead of waiting around to go on a mission.

We went to a local reservoir for our annual camping trip that we do with our friends.  Fred & Amy, Elizabeth & Calvin, Todd & Kristie and their families, along with us, were the ones attending.  The water was high, especially for August, so the kayaks and the canoe were a hit.  Joseph, Jesse, Freddy and Kalli were inseparable.  We brought Britta and Dallas with us, friends of Mary and Libby, respectively.

Peter and Libby had their first day of 5th and 4th grade respectively. They have great teachers and are enjoying school!

Jesse turned 16 this month! Her friends had a surprise birthday party for her the day before her birthday, and then they also brought her breakfast on the morning of her birthday.  Talk about royal treatment!  She has already been on a "first date", which was fun.  She is a beautiful 16 year old, and Bruce is going to be cleaning his gun a lot.  Ha ha

Joseph, Jesse and Mary on their first day of school.

Mary gets to join the "high-schoolers" this year, which is right up her alley.  She will love the wider social circle.  She is in the AnimaMea choir at school, which is an audition all-girls choir.

Jesse is now the full-time organist in our ward, and also accompanies the choir.  She made the decision not to play soccer this year, in order to concentrate on piano practicing.  She practices around 3 hours a day.  She is also on a competitive clogging team, which she loves!

Joseph and Jesse have Show Choir together this year, and also Madrigals.  They LOVE these two activities.

Peter received his Arrow of Light Award.  Congratulations Peter!
Bruce has been busy working on the farm, coaching Peter's soccer team, and trying to keep up with all the children's activities.  Lorena has loved having all the children home for a short time.

Joseph scored the first two goals in his Varsity soccer game last week  He is doing great on the field, and is a real asset to his team.

Jesse has her Dad wrapped around her little finger, because this is what he found on Craigslist for her:

Of course it's not just for her, it's for the whole family, but she is the one who will play it the most.  This is one of the most wonderful things we have ever invested in, and fulfills a life-long dream of mine.  It's a 5' 1" Kawai GM-10 Baby Grand with a wonderful tone and touch.  It was built in Japan in 2005.  When Josh and Joseph first heard it being played, they said that from the kitchen it sounded like a recording coming from the computer.  The thing that has struck me the most about playing it is the ability to play piano, or soft.  I've never played on a piano that could go so soft.  And you can play loud to, so the dynamics you can produce are lovely.  We went around and around on where to put it, but ended up putting it in the only spot it could have been in the house, and that is the Living Room.  We have to invest in blinds for that room now, but it is worth it.  This Sunday afternoon we were all sitting around listening to Jesse play - it was so fun.

We had our Family Street Dance last night.  It was so fun!  Am I saying everything is "so fun"?  Well, that's just it.  Our life is fun.  There are challenging parts too, but mostly, we are very, very blessed and feel to thank the Lord every day for his bounteous blessings.

We have had Josh's friend Sterling staying with us for a week, and we had Kaleb overnight - so fun to see him!!  We also had our old Bishop and his family from Poulsbo stay with us overnight.  Since July we have had a family living with us up in our Entertainment Room.  Their little daughter Emma, who is 3, entertains us to no end.  Tonight she happened to be there for family council, and when we were discussing Mary walking to mutual, she piped up and said, "From the high school? No way!"  Oh, we just get a kick out of her - she's a hoot.  We also had some other friends from Poulsbo pass through - Bill and Laura and family.  We loved seeing them too!

One thing that has sorely needed attention that is not getting it is our garden.  We have harvested a few things - cucumbers, green beans, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.  Soon there will be corn and squash.  We haven't been over to look at the carrots.  I'm to scared to. ha ha  That will just make my mother squirm when she reads that.  Sorry, Mom - I'll get to it, I promise!

We love all of our friends and family.  You truly bring us great joy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July - one great vacation after another!

July was one crazy and fun month!

It began with a trip to Portland, OR for the wedding of my nephew Jarom in the Portland Temple on July 2nd.  Bruce & I, Mary and Libby were the only ones able to go, and it was a wonderful time.

The 4th of July was spent here at home.  We went to the parade and got in the "wet zone" where the firefighters have a heyday getting everyone soaking wet.  It was way fun!  We had my nephew Corbin with us all that week - from my side of the family - and he entertained us with his great sense of humor.

On July 9th we took off to Rexburg to see Joshua perform in the new BYU Idaho Center (a new building on the campus that is almost exactly like the Conference Center only smaller).  He sang in the Men's Chorus and was on the big screen several times for us to ooh and ahh.  The concert was great!  The next Monday we took off to Bear Lake for the reunion for my side of the family. 
Peter playing Ultimate Frisbee
We stayed at a Lodge for five days and had a wonderful time, especially because it was my Dad's 80th birthday and all ten of us siblings were there. 
Libby and cousin Hailey

Playing with cousins - Libby, Hailey and Alyssa
Bruce - in classic family reunion pose

We finished that week out with a quick trip to Utah for Jarom & Whitney's reception in Lehi.

Hells Canyon River Trip
Two days after getting home from that, we turned around and went on a 3-day River Trip to Hells Canyon.  We were invited by our friends, Dave and Shelly, who drew a tag for the first time in five years.  We have never done anything like this before, and it was amazing!  Josh couldn't go with us to that because he was finishing up finals week at BYU-I, and Joseph was down at EFY in Provo.  Hells Canyon was ruggedly beautiful.  We put in at the same visitors center that we went to at the Family Reunion years ago for Bruce's side of the family.  We traveled about thirty miles over three days and took the boats out at Pittsburgh Landing.  The oarsman for our boat was Steven, who is an Olympic downhill skier.  He is a long time friend of Erik, the son of our hosts, who is also a world cup skier.  Bruce was supposed to be the oarsman, but he broke his fourth metacarpal in his right hand, so he couldn't keep up the oaring without being in a lot of pain.  Luckily, Steven was able to step in and cover for him.

The week after the River Trip, we went on a pack trip with our whole family.  (Yes - the fun has not stopped - the whole month!)  We decided to go back to an old favorite - Langer Lake in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
It is a 2 mile hike in, which was "just about right" according to Bruce after we'd gotten there.  He had much higher ambitions in our discussions beforehand, but we were glad we opted for easier.  We took two horses - Lady and Sleepy River McGee, and two llamas - Achacachi an Huacuyo.  It was the first time we took horses.

They can carry a lot, but we found them labor intensive while we were camping, and also a lot more volatile while crossing rocks and streams.  Either they need to be trained better or we need to not take them again!  We found we much preferred the llamas.  Horses are more for riding than leading, that is for sure.

We thoroughly enjoyed the pack trip.  The highlight was the hike up to Ruffneck Peak.

We met Lookout Dave up there (the first time we have seen the Lookout manned), and had a fun time eating lunch and rolling huge rocks down the glacier.  Jesse was sick most of the trip and made a gargantuan effort to even attempt the hike, and she made it!  We treasured having all of our family together.

I'll have to post more pictures later of this trip - too many to put on right now.

Tomorrow we are off on another camping trip - I know - very crazy - to Sage Hen Reservoir, where we had the Family reunion many years ago on Bruce's side, and Joshua Wayne saw the moose swimming across the reservoir.  He also came with us another year.  I wish he and Rachel could come with us - maybe another year.

We have made many great memories this month.  Hurrah for summer, good friends and family, and beautiful places to visit!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camps, Camps, and more Camps

Joseph got to go the BYU Soccer Camp last week.  He came away with new friends, increased soccer skills, and two awards - one for the best tricks in juggling, and the other entitled "Camp Juggling Champ".  He won that by juggling 10,001 times!  It took him 2 hours and five minutes.  One time he had to tie his shoe, so he kicked the ball up onto his back and held it right below his neck while he tied his shoe.  Another time he had to get a drink so he did the same thing with the ball while he walked over to the cooler and got a drink.  He was still juggling by the time everyone had gone to lunch, so finally, the head coach came over and told him to just stop on a number he could remember!  The previous all-time record, for all the camps, had been 3,002.  So, Joseph kind of busted that one.
On the same week, Jesse was at the Young Musician's Camp at BYU.  She had the time of her life!  She also made some great friends, learned a lot of great things for the piano, and is more determined than ever to be a piano performance major.  She got in the top group of pianists while she was there, so she's well on her way to becoming just that.

Mary was at Girl's Camp last week too!  She had a great time, and was especially proud that our ward won the "Safari Sunrise" award almost every morning.  She missed Jesse, but still had fun with her friends.

So Peter and Libby were home for most of the week just with Bruce & I.  Wow - that was different!  They got really good at doing their jobs!  I was really proud of them.  Peter would have most of his done before I even made the chart in the morning.  This motivated Libby, so one morning Peter & I went on an errand, she had most of her jobs done by the time we got home.  Way to go Libby!

On the weekend, we got to go to Washington for Nicole's wedding, Bruce's niece on his side of the family.  She and Shawn had a wonderful wedding.  Michelle, Bruce's sister, was organized to the hilt, and we thoroughly enjoyed our little weekend get-away.  We were able to rent a PT-Cruiser-like car, (I don't even know what it was), and drive up there.  Unfortunately, Bruce did something to his back, because he is laid up this morning with bad pain in his back.  He is sleeping right now, but as soon as he wakes up I'll give him a Raindrop to see if that will help.

Peter and Libby got to stay with friends while we were gone, so they had a fun time this weekend too.  Josh has been more challenged this last week in school than I can ever remember him being.  He is taking some classes that are tough!  But he is getting through them and will come out just fine.  He is starting his papers for his mission.  YEAH!!!

Happy June to everyone!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Happy Mother's Day for me

What a happy Mother's Day for me.  I woke up early - 6:30 am - and worked on the Relief Society presentation for today.  I'm in our ward Relief Society presidency, and I'm in charge of Sunday instruction.  We chose to do a panel and have a group discussion instead of a lesson.  We asked three Sisters in the ward to be on the panel - Melanie, Maria and Kim - and I asked them to read Sheri Dew's talk "Are We Not All Mothers" and Pres. Monson's talk from last fall "Charity Never Faileth".  After reading a couple of quotes from Sis. Dew's talk, I asked the following questions:
Do you have any experience with a woman who "mothered" you, other than your own mother?
What keeps us from nurturing?
What worldly views have you run into that degrade motherhood?
Just those three questions took up the whole time.  There were some very tender, sweet comments made.  The Spirit was present in large supply, and I was very grateful.  One comment was made by Chelsea, a new sister in the ward, who related that she had been a foster mother to many teenage boys.  One of the lessons she learned is that no matter what they had been through with their mothers, the boys always loved their own mother.  One of the other comments that was made was by Maria relating to us what she had heard Jayne Clayson say in a Time Out for Women.  Clayson said that women would not take stay-at-home mothers seriously until they took themselves seriously, meaning that they needed to stop apologizing and making excuses, and saying, "I'm just a Mom".  I can tell you one thing - I never said that, or felt that I should apologize for it.  I think that is because I knew I could choose differently, and that I had chosen - literally - to be at home instead of in the work place.  At first it was a struggle for me, but when I finally came to the realization, and deep assurance, that no one could replace me as the mother of my children - NO ONE, not even Bruce could do what I could do for them and be for them - then I felt that I had a purpose, and that I was doing the most important thing I could be doing, bar none.  That was a huge life-changer for me, and I've been blessed by that knowledge and assurance.  I'm also grateful to know that my Savior Jesus Christ has offered the Atonement to me as a gift, and this makes all sacrifice, love, work - everything I do as a Mother have meaning and hope.

I went back to sleep after awhile, and about 10 am, Joseph and Peter came in to escort me to the kitchen table.  They each offered me an arm, and I walked into the clean kitchen with a beautifully set table and Love One Another from Joyspring II, by Kurt Bestor playing.  I had the "You are special today" red plate, a big glass of orange juice, NingXia Red and chia seed on the side, and Libby poured me a glass of hot chocolate.  At my feet was the foot massager, and there were a dozen pink roses in a vase from Bruce.  The kids wrote me a poster with an acrostic poem on it.  L - lovely, O - outstanding, R - Reverent, E - Excellent, N - Never-failing, A - Awesome (at making smoothies).  Isn't that cute!  Bruce made the standard eggs, hashbrowns and bacon, and Jesse made crepes as well.  I'm telling you - I got the royal treatment!!  They even put a picture of Josh in his place on the table.  :)

I spoke to Josh this afternoon.  He is over with Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt Angie and her kids.  I told my Mother, "You are still mothering for me!"

Bruce had a fun time fishing the last two days.  They went up into WA state to fish on the Columbia river.  He said it drizzled the whole time and reminded him so much of Seattle with the low-lying clouds and the beautiful evergreen trees.  The trip cost him over $200 and he came home with one salmon fillet.  That is one expensive salmon!!  But he went with great friends, so he came home with more than just a fillet of salmon - good memories were involved also.  :)

I have been enjoying my Kindness Foot Zone Therapy class.  Wow - have I learned a lot!  I also did the Farmer's Market in our town yesterday, and had fun doing that with Karen, my friend and upline.

Soccer is over!  Whew - we made it through another outdoor season.  Luckily, Bruce and Joseph are still playing indoor, because I LOVE going to their games.  I want them to just keep playing year round.

It has finally started to warm up around here.  It doesn't fully seem like spring to me until it starts to warm up.

I have been buying Thrive freeze-dried Food Storage from Shelf-Reliance through my sister Angie.   I sent a can of Strawberries with Josh for school, and we opened up a can recently for Bruce to take fishing with him.  Wow - I really like the food.  I'm glad to have this new source of food storage, especially for the fruits and vegetables.

I read a great book - The Healing Code by Alex Lloyd and Ben Johnson.  Did I mention that already?  I think I did.  Anyway, I recommend it to anyone who has a health, relationship, or any kind of problem that you can't figure out how to deal with.

Can I just say that I love May?  I loev the green and flowers, the end-of-the-year things, and looking forward to summer.  And of course, there's Mother's Day and my birthday all in the same month.  It's just a GREAT month.

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Young Womanhood Recognition

Jesse has received her Young Womanhood Award!  She set a goal last year at this time to have it done in a year, and she accomplished it.  She is the personification of what the Personal Progress program is all about, and I'm so proud of her.  One of the neat things she did for one of her projects was to go over and help Rachelle, a young mother in our ward who has five children under the age of nine.  Rachelle told me that after the last time she was there, that her six year old son said, "I've noticed that the ______ (our last name)'s are always working to get to the Celestial Kingdom."  How cute is that?  Jesse is a great example for our family, and is a great strength in our home.  Congratulations Jesse!

PS In case you feel like I've give Joseph the slight on his Eagle Scout Award, he'll get his due recognition on his Court of Honor.  Speaking of which, I need to start planning...

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone!  What a wonderful time of year.  We had our dear friends, David and Elysia and their three children, over for Easter Sunday.  We had pozole, which was a treat!  We colored Easter eggs, had an Easter egg hunt, and then had a beautiful lesson about the last week of the Savior's life and the Resurrection.  We had Stake Conference this weekend, so we were able to discuss the talks that were given and the impressions we had from the talks.  It was wonderful, and I felt the Spirit during our discussion.

A quick update on everyone:

Bruce - has been struggling with constant congestion in his sinuses and nose.  We have been working with essential oils and supplements for two years.  Although he has avoided infection, we have not been able to clear up the congestion.  Recently, he went on a strict diet of no grain and no dairy.  He started to see improvement for the first time in years.  He had been doing that somewhat already, but he was much more strict this time.  He could use some prayers, in his behalf, if you are so inclined, because he is still in the middle of figuring this out.  Other good news - he applied for and received the position of Architect on his team at work.  What this means is that he will now design the software instead of just implementing another programmer's design.  He is enjoying the position, as it is something he has wanted to do for a long time, but has a lot of work to do!  He really enjoyed having Josh home the last four months.  He and Josh worked out on our weight set almost every day, along with 2-3 of Josh's friends.  He has also LOVED organizing and playing on a men's indoor soccer team.  They are on their second session in a row (ten games apiece) and have improved a ton.  They moved up a level, and have been winning almost every game.

Lorena - is loving life.  I am taking a Kindness Foot Zone Therapy class (reflexology), and have been learning about chakras and energy.  I have come full circle, as I started to study some of this 20 years ago, and then moved to Washington and didn't do much with it after that.  But I'm back to studying about it again, and have loved learning.  I put oils on people's feet all the time (this is one of the best places for oils to absorb into the body), so I will be more effective with that with this new knowledge.  I also read a really interesting book called The Healing Code, and can recommend it to everyone.  I became a Young Living Executive in February, which was an exciting step for me.  I also enjoyed having Josh home, and watching Josh, Joseph and Bruce on this indoor soccer team.  I have been to every single game, and am well known as their best fan!  They play late at night (from 8 pm to 11:30 pm starting time!), so I am able to go to the games.

Josh - I thought Josh would be bored being home, but he was not.  He had three friends who received mission calls and were waiting to go while he was here.  They spent a lot of time at our house, and it was so fun!  Our entertainment room became the defacto hangout for that age group, and there were a lot of midnight parties at our house the last few months.  Bruce and I have our bedroom directly underneath the ER (as we call the entertainment room), and many nights we would say, "That's really loud up there", and then we would turn off the lights and go to sleep.  Conclusion - it never bothered us past that one sentence.  Our big house was a blessing these past few months (as it continually has been).  There were also a ton of Institute activities that Josh enjoyed.  Josh played really well on the indoor soccer team, scoring lots of goals, and came to the conclusion that he enjoyed indoor better than outdoor.  Josh is now at BYU-I, and settling in to his classes.  He was making fajitas last night, so that is a good sign.  :)

Joseph - has been so busy!  He sleeps little during the week, and many long hours on the weekend, and sometimes not even then.  He went to prom with Tiffany, and had a great time.  They (three couples) ate at a fancy Italian Restaurant and had fun wandering around parks after the dance.  Joseph is playing on three different soccer teams - crazy!  I've already mentioned the men's indoor team, and man, is he playing well on that team.  He is the leading scorer on the team, and makes some sweet moves on a regular basis.  Of course, he has great backup on this team that get the ball to him in just the right place, but it still takes a great deal of skill to finish, which he has and does.  He also plays on an outdoor team for our local soccer club, and another indoor team with high school players from his Varsity team of last fall.  A great accomplishment for Joseph - he has earned his Eagle Scout!  He has an Idaho Driver's License to show for it, too. 

Jesse - Jesse took over Josh's milking of Natalie, the Jersey cow when he went to college.  She gets up at 4:30 in the morning to milk, and then starts practicing the piano at 5:00.  She milks again at 4:30 pm after school.  Both Joseph and Jesse have LOVED singing with the Madrigal Choir at the high school.  They performed at Festival last week and got a score of 39 out of 40 from more than one judge.  They get to sing at a Choir Showcase this Saturday, to which only select choirs are invited.  Last Thursday I got to be the substitute teacher in their choir class, and got a personal recital of some of their songs.  It was awesome!!  I had tears in my eyes as I sat there and thought, "I'm the most fortunate person in the world!".

Mary - is in the "head turning" stage, meaning that every time one sees her, one has to do a double-take because she is getting to be so pretty.  She told me today that one of her friends has on the background of her phone, "Pretty girls turn heads.  My friends and I break necks."  Ha ha  Mary has been learning to play "Hallelujah" on the guitar - the recent pop song.  She will be trying out for the middle school talent show singing this song with her friend, and then also singing a solo of "The Call", a song from the Disney movie "Prince Caspian".  She sang this song for festival, and it is beautiful.  She is also playing soccer and running the hurdles on her school track team.  The track team is a big social event, which is what Mary's all about.

Peter - got a cracked bone in his right forearm last week.  He had a rough day the first day, but he is healing quickly with the oils we're putting on him, and already has a lot of mobility.  He got Advanced on his Language Arts ISAT, which is a big accomplishment.  Peter's soccer team relies on him to play keeper, and he does a great job.

Libby - had her Gymnastics recital last week!  She performed beautifully, and it was fun to see the amazing skill she has gained in just 8 months. She can do a free-standing back hand spring, which is so fun to watch! She is working on a Science Fair project of watering plants with water that has been warmed up in the microwave, the stove, and tap water.  She spends a great deal of time doing flips on the trampoline. 

Family - we had a fun trip to Jackson Hole for Spring Break.  Just Bruce and I and the three younger kids went.  It was nice to give them some added attention.  Mary had a great time ruling the roost.  We went to art gallery after art gallery, and became quite the western art connoisseurs.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a view of the Tetons because of stormy weather, but the visitors centers were really cool!  We loved watching General Conference, and feeling the power and spirit that comes from listening to prophets and apostles.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and keeping the commandments and covenants we have been given is a continual and deeply profound blessing for our family.  We have protection and guidance, and best of all - great joy!

Happy Easter to all!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Meanderings

Josh finally got some work this week, thanks to the generosity of our friend Lane.  He has a Jersey cow that he uses as a nurse cow for raising calves, and circumstances were such that he needed to have someone milk her (Natalie is her name) for a few months.  With the milk he gets, he will nurse four calves and sell them in a few months for a handsome profit.  It's a very generous deal from Lane, and we're very grateful that Josh will have some cash flow.  It's like a part-time job to do the milking twice a day on your own, so this is an adjustment, but he's been doing very well!

Today, one of Josh's best friends for the past eleven years, Drew, gave his Farewell talk in our ward, and he'll be leaving on Tuesday for his mission in Iowa.  He has spent countless hours at our house just hanging out over the years, so I feel like our family has a small part in sending him out as well as his own.  Josh also received his Duty to God Award today.  Congratulations Josh!

Joseph and Jesse have been busy with Choir happenings.  They sang in Solo & Ensemble Festival last week.  Joseph sang a duet with Amanda called "When I Close My Eyes" that was beautiful.  Jesse and her best friends Kalli sang "I'm a Wanderer", which is a spiritual.  They got a high enough score that they got to do a repeat performance at the high school choir concert.  Jesse also accompanied for three people, including Joseph and Amanda.

The High School Choir concert was awesome!  The Madrigals sang an extremely technical song called "The Sounding Sea", and it was one of the highlights of the evening.  Mary also had a Middle School concert the week before that, and she had fun doing that.

She had such a busy month of February playing the piano and the organ, that it was a miracle she got through it.  She had Piano Festival (which she got a "Superior" rating on - Yeah!), the Solo & Ensemble Festival, which I just talked about, she accompanied the congregation on the organ, and she played for the choir too.  Good thing she loves to play the piano and sing!

Mary also played in Piano Festival (and got a "Superior" also - Wahoo!), and sang "The Call" in the Middle School Solo & Ensemble Festival.  She sang beautifully - I was so proud of her.  Mary had some time off of soccer and track (yes, I know - two sports is crazy) this week because of a hurt knee.  We have been putting Lemongrass, Marjoram and PanAway essential oils on it, and they have helped it heal much more quickly than it would otherwise. 

Peter has had two outdoor soccer games, with Bruce as his Coach.  He plays goalie for half the game, trading off with other players.  He also played in Piano Festival - one song called "Race Across the Serenghettti" and another called "Un Poco Espanol", and he got an Excellent rating.

Libby played  "A Knight's Tale" and "Bewitching Boogie" for Piano Festival and got a "Superior" rating!  Way to go Libster!  She also had a gymnastics performance last weekend, and she was the only one to do several hard moves.  She is going to start soccer this week, and now soccer and gymnastics are on the same day!

Bruce Josh and Joseph have had a great time playing for an Indoor Soccer League, and I've had a ball being their #1 fan.  They have a really good team, so watching them is a clinic in soccer every week.  Their last game was this week, so now they're thinking of signing up for a new round of play, which I hope they do!

I gave a lesson today in Relief Society about Service, which was really fun.  I enjoy teaching RS!

The Lord has been blessing us in so many ways, and we are so grateful.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Family's Got Talent!

I started to write this a month ago, but never finished, so I'll post it now:

While this title may raise some eyebrows, it simply must be the title of this blog, because I have to report that three of our children participated in _________ (the name of our town)'s Got Talent last weekend!  Fifty-two contestants auditioned for the finals, and twenty-two made it in, three of which were Josh and his friend Connor, Jesse and Libby.  Josh played the piano while Connor sang "Go the Distance" from Hercules, Jesse played the Revolutionary Etude by Chopin, and Libby did a gymnastics floor routine to "He's a Pirate" from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Libby was the youngest solo contestant, and she did great on her routine.  It wasn't quite as good as what she had practiced, but to get out in front of a crowd of 300-400 people and perform is brave, and she did it!  Two days before she did a back-handspring on her own, so she added that to the routine.  She stumbled on it during the performance, but it was fun that she even attempted it! 

Jesse's number was amazing!  Her fingers were flying up and down the keys.  Unfortunately, before she started the piano was moved to the middle of the stage, and the top was left down and there was no microphone on it, so you could hardly hear the piano at all.  It was such a disappointment.  Bruce had nightmares that night about not going up on the stage and fixing it right in the middle of the performance.  But we didn't think of it while she was performing, and I will explain in just a moment why we think that happened.

Josh and Connor were the next to last performers.  The arrangement Josh played is actually an arrangement for piano, and they took an arrangement for voice and put them together, even adding a whole last page that they made up on their own.  This made a big difference, because when Connor wasn't singing, the attention switched to Josh on the piano, and his part was just as exciting, so the energy never went down during the performance.  Two other women with beautiful voices had sung earlier, but they both sang to recordings, and when they weren't singing, it was just awkward, watching them pass the time up on the stage.  In addition, "Go the Distance" is a familiar song to many in the audience, and since the audience had a vote and many in the audience were young kids, I think that helped.  Also, Connor and Josh are well known because of the MAD Boys (an acapella group that they performed and recorded a CD with in High School), so that helped also.  Interestingly enough, Connor's microphone got a short in it right when he started singing.  It kept cutting out, but Connor just kept singing without missing a beat, and Josh did the same playing.  I was amazed at how they acted cool as cucumbers and it didn't affect their performance in the least.  It turns out that they didn't even know!  They couldn't tell at all that it was happening, but we couldn't tell that in the audience, so it sort of earned the audience's respect right off the bat.  So the long and short of it is, they won the whole thing!  They won the top prize, which was $500 in cash!  They were thrilled, of course!  They split the cash and have put it away for mission funds.  Connor already has his call to the Manchester New Hampshire mission, and Josh will start processing his papers in April.  

So it was a character building experience for Jesse!  She handled it SO WELL.  I was more proud of her for how she handled the disappointment than if she had won.  She did have to go out to the car right after it ended and pull herself together, but by the time we got home, she went to the piano and played the Etude for us again while we gathered around and did our own cheering for her.  Bruce came home and said that one of the ladies there said that she had played the same piece when she was a teenager.  She said it was one of the hardest pieces she ever learned, and that she played it about 1/2 the tempo that Jesse had played.  She was impressed!  I think what really happened is that if Jesse had performed at full capacity, it would have been too close of a contest.  It was Joshua's night to win, and Jesse had a character building experience - and WOW, did she handle it well!  She will have other nights and other "wins".

The last three weeks have also been a big transformation as far as eating goes.  I saw some videos put out by the Gerson Institute that really galvanized me into action.  The videos talk about how they heal all sorts of very serious disease, even life-threatening ones, by changing the diet to fruit and vegetable juices.  One of the facts they gave (and this was in the early '90's) was that if you practiced medicine in the State of California, if you treated cancer with anything other than surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, you would loose your license.  So when patients at the Gerson Institute would go back to their doctors and tell them that they were cured, the doctors would say, "Well, keep on doing what you're doing, but I don't want to know about it."  What a truly dismal state of affairs.  Sadly, I don't think much has changed in twenty years on the doctor side of things, but I think things have changed tremendously on the patient side.  People have choices and they are researching and figuring out a better way to live!

So the action I have taken is to go to much more of a diet that follows the Word of Wisdom.  (Why do we - mostly meaning me -- need an outside source to confirm that the Word of Wisdom is wise???)  Another impetus was that Bruce has been having severe congestion in his nose and sinus area.  It is not getting infected, which is due to the oils that we use, but we haven't been able to pin point what's causing all the mucus formation.

I found a great website that has the education, the research and the recipes that I have been looking for.  It is  I wrote a seven page document in the last couple of weeks that details what substitutions you can make to eat healthier.  It is fun to have done that.

I have good news - I am a new Young Living Exectutive!  This a level in YL that I've been striving to meet for awhile, so I'm very excited!

Joseph and Jesse sang a trio in Sacrament Meeting today.  It was a beautiful arrangement of Come Thou Fount with the words being the lyrics from "Oh How Lovely was the Morning".  It was very nicely done!

Peter scored 2 or 3 goals yesterday in his indoor soccer team.  He is a great player!  Bruce is coaching his indoor team, and has already started practices for Spring outdoor soccer.

Mary did a great job on her Festival songs yesterday.  She played a Jazz piece and then a Clementi Sonatina for her numbers.  Jesse, Peter and Libby also played, and they did great!

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Games Report

Nobody wanted the break to be over.  We just played and had the best time.  Telestrations has been the hit game so far.  We played twice on Christmas Day and laughed so hard!!  The game is basically like the telephone game, where you whisper something to the person next to you and it goes around the circle and you see what you end up with.  In this game instead of whispering, you alternate between drawing a word and guessing what was drawn by the person next to you.  We actually took pictures of two of the drawings, but you have to look at the progression going down, not left to right.  On the left is one word, and on the right is another.

You won't laugh nearly as hard as we did - it was one of those things where you had to be there, but I tell you, when we saw Bruce reveal that he had written "Fun", we laughed until we were crying.  Fun?  How is Josh supposed to draw "Fun"??  And when Jesse put "Ugly Man", there were more tears going down faces.

We have gone to the late church schedule.  Hallelujah!  Since we don't get to sleep in on Saturdays a good part of the year (because of soccer games), I love sleeping in on Sunday.  One of life's little luxuries that I am grateful for.

Josh is still looking for work.  He has applied at a lot of places, but nothing has come up yet.  He will keep looking!

Joseph gave a great talk in Church today on Faith.  He used a lot of material from True to the Faith, Preach My Gospel, the scriptures and conference talks.  He spent about 5 hours researching material and another five hours putting it together for the talk.  He said he only included about 1/2 of what he had written down, and even at that his talk was still 12 minutes long.  The counselor in the bishopric had to tap on his leg to tell him to stop.  :)  I told him afterward to not give Joseph 3 minutes.  He's got to have more time than that!

Jesse made the commitment to learn Jeux d'eau (by Ravel) for Festival in about 6 weeks.  She has learned 7 out of 13 pages.  This is the hardest piece she has learned yet by far.  She knows the first 7 pages really well, but they are not a tempo yet.  A tempo is an eighth note equals 144 bpm, and there are 32nd notes all over the song.  Craziness!!  I love hearing her playing this song.

Mary had to do a project for science class in which they had to model an element, and her group is "Neon".  She made a vest out of purple felt.  She did it by making her own pattern from butcher paper and sewed it herself!  I was really proud of her.

Peter has been playing the Wii like crazy.  So has Bruce.  I won't make any more comment on that.  Ha ha  Peter has made a goal to read the Book of Mormon this year.  Yeah!

Libby surprised me this week.  I was getting her piano pieces ready for Festival.  I made a guess at what level she was on and played through some of the songs and thought that they would be challenging, but she could do it.  When I played them for her, she listened and then sat down and played through one of them.  She learned the whole song in about 10 minutes, playing it all the way through, a tempo, no problems.  Wow!  Needless to say, I went back to the store and picked a book that was at the next level for her.  Festival songs are not supposed to be terribly hard, but if you can sight read them and play them in ten minutes, that's too easy!  She's only eight, but she's really moving along in piano.

Libby also performed at halftime for the boys basketball game on Friday.  She did her Gymnastics routine.  She got lots of compliments afterward because she did so well!

I did 3 Raindrops this week within a twenty-seven hour period! In case you haven't heard of the Raindrop Technique, it's a method of applying essential oils to the feet and to the back, incorporating massage and reflexology techniques.  One lady I work with has had wonderful results with the Raindrop.  She gets one every two weeks.  I incorporate the oils that come up on the Compass for her, and she takes NingXia Red Juice on a regular basis.  (Contact me if you want to know more NingXia - I have a good website for it, but it has my full name on it, so I don't want to give it out on this public blog.)  It has been a tremendous blessing for me to be an instrument in the hand of the Lord in bringing some healing to her life.

A few months ago, at Bruce's work, they announced that they wanted to reduce the on-site workforce by 20%.  Bruce promptly signed up for it and got it approved.  At the end of last year he cleaned out his cubicle, and now works completely from home.  This makes sense, since his team is all in Vancouver and Israel.  If you wonder if globalization has taken place, let that be an indicator.  So we can live on our 2 1/2 acres, have our little farm here in Idaho and be close to great outdoor recreation and beautiful rural surroundings while Bruce works from his office in our home with Israelis in Tel Aviv.  It's a beautiful life.