Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Muddy Tubs and Fuzzy Heads

One of my great joys in life is to watch the kids play outside in the sunshine and dirt.  It just seems natural -organic.  They are always so happy to dig holes and push cars over dirt mounds.  I think my kids could win the gold medal for dirt accumulation on their bodies and I don't mind one bit.  It gets in their clothes, all over their face, in their hair.  Ok, in the hair isn't as much fun.  Something else I love, is to bring them in when they are all done playing and to wash the dirt off of them.  As the mud rolls off of them, they transform from little gold mining dwarfs, to my fuzzy headed little boys who are happy and full of life.  Is there anything better?  Well maybe, but for now, I'll take this.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What a Morning Without Power Has taught Me

This morning, our power was out.  We live in the foothills and it isn't unusual to experience the occasional power outage.  Growing up in the mountains, power outages were a frequent occurrence and my grandma always taught us to be prepared.  We always had portable water storage for washing and flushing toilets, a supply of drinking water, a way to heat water and food, a way to stay warm in the winter and anything else to be able to wait out the outage.  Sometimes they would only last for a few minutes but sometimes, as in the case of the winter of '99 (I think anyway), we were snowed in, without power for a full week.

This morning the power was out for about six hour (at least, that's our best guess).  And you know what?  It really wasn't a big deal.  Here's what I came to realize:

1.  My grandma taught me well.  We were very prepared.  We had water for drinking and bathing (sparingly) and a heating source for that water.  We had oil lamps and flash lights to light the dark places and our freezers were stocked with frozen water jugs to help keep the temperatures low when the power was out.

2.  A morning without the noise of the T.V. or other electrical noise, was really nice.  For once, the kids actually played nicely together.

3.  It's easier to conserve water when there's no power.  We don't have a gravity feed for our water to the house so after Bryce had run some water to get ready for his early church meeting, there wasn't much pressure left in the lines.  No big deal though.  We warmed up some water on our camping stove and used buckets to wash.  This helped us use much less water then if I had jumped in the shower or put the two youngest boys in the both after particularly smell messes.  I was much more water conscious because I didn't know how long the power was going to be out and I knew I needed to conserve.  What was interesting, was that as soon as the power came back on, I went back to using water exactly as I had before.  I noticed this.  When water flows freely, your usage becomes automatic.  You don't think about it.  Since we are in such a severe drought, this is something I need to be better at. 

4.  It's always good to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  All day yesterday, I was prompted to do certain things.  I was prompted to make sure the animals had adequate water (usually one of my morning chores).  I was also prompted to check on our in house water storage.  I was also prompted to wash my hair (confession, I don't wash my hair everyday), and to make sure I watered the little garden bed I had just planted.  By doing all these things yesterday, I didn't have to worry about them this morning.  Animals were taken care of, the garden bed wasn't going to dry up, and I was able to be clean and presentable for church.  Had I not done these things, it would have been a stressful morning.

So to sum it up?  If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear (or worry, or stress).  Oh, and it's not so bad to be without electricity.  However, I am very thankful for the blessing of electricity and electrical devices.  They make my life easier, allowing me to do much more with my time.  Also, I think it would be very frustrating to write as much as I do without a computer to write on.  Oh! Also listen to your grandmas who try to teach you what life was like back in their day.  Their wisdom can be the thing that gets you through a power outage.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Birthday Hike

On Monday, I celebrated a birthday.  It was nice and quiet with no fuss -just the way I like it.  After I had spent the day running errands in town, my mother-in-law came over so that Bryce and I could go one a quick hike.  I've lived in this area for most of my life and had never seen the top of Table Mountain and neither had Bryce.  We set out about 4:30pm, right from our house and started walking.  This first picture is near the top as you are heading up the trail.
Apparently mother nature is confused because Spring has arrived in our area, as evidenced by the abundance of wild flowers.  There were so many wild California poppies -our state flower.
This is a shot of the very top.  Since I know how the Table Mountains were formed, I had always imagined  a stark expanse of obsidian or lava rocks.  I never imagined a beautiful plane of grass with scattered trees and wild flowers.  It was as if I had stepped into a whole new world.
We walked around for quite a while, just enjoying the amazing views.  In this picture you can see part of Millerton Lake.  Please pray for rain.  The lake shouldn't be that low, especially at this time of year.
We stayed up at the top exploring until the sun set and then walked back home in the twilight.  It was a fun, quick and invigorating hike and a great way to celebrate my birthday.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

500+ Words A Day

Yes, I am still alive.  Most of you see me on facebook anyway and already realize this.  For others, this blog is the only reason you even know I exist somewhere out there in the world full of billions of people.  Once again I have vacillated in and out of the realms of "yes I want to have a blog" and "this blog is no longer meeting that need I once had for it."  I have kept this blog up for a long time as a sort of journal.  It's filled with my personal thoughts, things I enjoy or am excited about.  It keeps people up on what projects I have been working on or things that we have done. But it's also time consuming.

Every spare moment of time since . . . October (I think), has been filled to the brim with family, church, and writing.  Sometimes I squeeze some soap making in there.  Sometimes.  And you know what?  I love it.  It's so fulfilling to be doing something I love. 
a stack of writing -all the work so far that has gone into one book
At the beginning of the year, Bryce and I sat down and made a list of goals.  We do this every year.  Many of my personal goals involve writing.  I have a master game plan created and I don't think I've ever felt this focused on something I've wanted.  Some of my goals this year:

I will, by the end of the year, have my book ready for beta readers. 

I will go to a writing convention or event.

I will look for a literary agent.

These goals have several mini goals attached to them -or steps to accomplishing them.  Having my book ready for beta readers requires an extensive revision process.  It also means that I've been reading every book on writing I can get my hands on, reading every blog that looks worth my time and . . . joining a writers group.

Joining a writer's group ties into my goal of going to a writing convention or event.  I did a lot of research, trying to find a good convention.  I found several awesome ones -clear across the country and requiring more money then we can afford right now.  (Anyone want to buy some soap? :-) So, I started thinking of other ways to accomplish this goal.  I will simply save, get better at writing while I wait, and go next year.  I think this formula will actually work out perfect and leads right into the last goal of finding a literary agent.

So, I've actually already found a literary agent -they just don't know it yet (how's that for confidence!).  I have three possible ones that I would absolutely love to work with.  I have all their contact information and everything I need to know about them.  I just need to get a whole lot better at my writing and . . . go to the writing conventions that they will be at so I can actually meet them in person.  This is why my waiting until next year to go to these writing conventions will actually work out perfectly.  It gives me that precious time I need to learn, practice, get better and actually have some work ready to go for other discerning eyes.

This of course leads me to the purpose of writing this blog post.  One of my tasks that I have assigned myself is to write 500 words EVERY DAY no matter what they are.  This isn't a difficult task.  It's usually no big deal for me to crank out 2000 words or more a day, but I recognize that some days are going to be more full of life then others.  And then there's Sundays.  I have always set aside Sundays as a day of resting from writing.  Today however, as I have stayed home with a sick little girl, inspiration has poured out of me while I have studied the scriptures, done indexing, read conference talks and studied for my upcoming Relief Society lesson.  Writing is a process of creating and Pres. Uchtdorf has said, "The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit of the Lord, the greater your capacity to create."  So, I'm going to go ahead and write on Sundays.  However, I will write the things of the Lord.  I will write in my journal, or on this blog, things that the spirit moves upon me to write.  Now that's not to say my other writings (not written on Sundays) are uninspired, it just means I won't be focused on writing fiction.

Heavenly Father has blessed me with many great gifts.  Creativity is one of them.  I don't know for what purpose, but he has given me a talent and desire to write.  I have often struggled with how this could possibly be useful in the work that he will have me do.  I still wonder if I am on the right path for what he wants for me.  But as a cousin of mine says, I am following those bread crumbs.  I am constantly asking Heavenly Father if I'm going in the right direction and he keeps sending me little messages, confirming to me that I need to stay the course and he's revealing to me little possibilities for where this may take me.  I think that's why I'm so excited.  I am learning so much, devouring everything that seems to be placed in my hands exactly at the time I need it -and that's not just limited to what I'm learning about writing.

So, you may be seeing a lot more of me -or you might not.  Those 500 words or more on Sundays are going to go somewhere though, even if it's a new file on my computer entitled "Sunday Writings."

Friday, December 5, 2014

Beautiful Morning

 We've been running around all week and it's been cloudy and rainy (which we are very happy about).  So it was very nice to be able to stay home this morning.  Tank and Taz(Baby H) happily played while I did some work and I am convinced that nothing makes little boys happier then dirt and sticks and dogs.
We are very fortunate to have such an easy going dog.  The kids can climb all over Apollo and he never minds.
By the way, in case you were wondering . . . apparently it's Spring here and not almost Winter.  Just take a look at all that green grass!  Bryce actually commented this morning that he might have to mow -in December!
 Teancum had to come and see what all the excitement was about.  He wasn't impressed and left.

 The boys even drew the curiosity of the cows.  They are starting to get really big!
 Isn't he pretty!  Or maybe it should be handsome.
 While we were in the back yard playing, Taz lit up at one point as if he had suddenly remembered something.  He took off running and before I could catch up he was playing in the puddle in the driveway.  By that point there was nothing to do but let him enjoy splashing.  After all, he'd been eying the puddle from the kitchen window for a few days.

Now the sun is blocked by clouds and hopefully it will begin to rain soon.  I made bread bowls last night and will be making clam chowder for dinner in anticipation of the rain.  Crossing fingers!

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's December! Our Blessings Jar

Wow!  It's December.  Things have been crazy around here.  My biggest craft show of the year went amazingly well -almost doubling what I made the previous year and Bryce is in that "End of the Semester" mode where's he's been writing papers and doing research like crazy.  Amongst all that we managed to remember Thanksgiving and our year long experiment with naming our blessings and expressing our gratitude.  Thanksgiving evening we opened up the jar that's we've collected these blessing in and read them, remembering the amazing things we experienced in a year.  It was amazing.  We were blessed so much and even though things were sometimes hard, we always had everything that was needed.  Among those blessings included in our jar were my amazing in-laws (parents and siblings), the gift of motherhood and being able to be a stay at home mom, unexpected help from strangers and . . . Bryce getting a job!  He's now working for the Fresno EOC in the IT department and loving what he is doing.  So yes, he now works full time and goes to school full time.  Speaking of school, we also recently found out that Bryce gets to graduate this next spring (pending completion of classes of course.)

So as you can see, we've had a lot of blessings recently, as well as being constantly on the go.  So, back to Thanksgiving.  These are some pictures from that day before we went over to Bryce's parents house.  My Visiting Teacher had given the kids pictures of turkeys to write what they were thankful for and to color.  The lists that they came up with were pretty good.  Tank kept saying "Toothpaste" as something he was grateful because it was making us laugh.  All the kids said they were grateful for rain which is something we've been in desperate need of in our area.
Something that I'm grateful for is my family.  My kids drive me crazy, but they are a lot of fun.  Life wouldn't be the same without them.  Something else I'm grateful is this guy right here.  He works so hard at everything he does.  He's such a blessing in my life.

 And of course, this guy.  He's our goof ball, our class clown.  If you couldn't already tell.  :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Flock

I have so much good news!  But I can't tell it all right now.  I should be wrapping soap like crazy for tomorrow's craft show.  But I wanted to introduce to you our new flock of chickens.  I have no idea what kind of chickens they are but they are beautiful.  We have had them for a week and this morning is the first time we've let them out of the chicken run to explore their new home.
Our rooster is also absolutely wonderful.  Aside from the 5:00am crowing while I was trying to write (very annoying), he is the first rooster we've had that I haven't immediately wanted to get rid of.  He's very mellow, doesn't attack me (yet) and is very protective of his flock.  In the evenings he ushers his girls into the coop and then sits guard at the door before it gets close up.  When one of his girls goes into lay an egg, HE'S the one who does the egg song.  I hope we continue to get along.

Ok, off to wrap some soap.  Remember to come by the craft show tomorrow!  More good news to come. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Craft Show Time!

Well if you couldn't tell by the lack of blogging for nearly two months, I have been busy busy BUSY!  I've been busy making soap and taking care of the kiddos while the Hubby is in school full time, and working/looking for work full time.  Because I've got such a crazy life schedule as it is, I typically only do one big craft show a year and it's almost here.  This year I will be offering several new types of soaps as well as your old favorites.  I will also be offering for the first time, some lip balms.

This craft show is always a big hit every year and supports my children's' school.  So, come visit us!