Friday, May 30, 2008

The Shabby Show is Today

come try on the styles you find here. Today from 4-6:30. All are welcome. Free shipping of you order during the show. Shabby baby clothes (which actually size up to 12 in some styles) are available here too.

Their vintage styles, like this one and this one are my favorite. I will also hope to own the dress in this post before the weekend is over!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Her first...

trip to the dentist that is. After absolutely screaming when they wanted to weigh her, we thought she'd not last a minute in the chair. But watching her sisters Bryn and Molly go before her, she hopped right up (as long as I sat with her) and took her turn.

Kind of says something about her petite little size that she looks like she's having major oral surgery with only the scrubbing toothbrush in her mouth!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shopping with my girls

The truth that all of last summer's shorts are too small for the girls spurned a morning shopping trip for summer clothes. I snapped these photos as we-purses in hand as you see-visited the local shops to try and "fill in the gaps" for the summer's wardrobe. Hard to believe my daughters are big enough to take on "shopping trips". Harder to believe that trips to the "cheap stores" like Target and -what is that new one- Justice make my heart stop when its time to write the check for t-shirts and shorts. Thank heaven for $5 shipping from Old Navy; it is almost less expensive to pay that $5 than to drive my big suburban to the Old Navy nearest us. In the end, the best part was sitting on the floor in the Target dressing room while my little girls made faces in the 3 way mirror and my big girls consulted one another on which pair of shorts looked longest (I love that modesty has taken hold...bless them!). We ended our outing with a screaming two year old and a new pack of gum to pass around (after spending the dough on the shorts etc., I had none left for a lunch out with the girls-inflation is a total fact of life my friends!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

His moment in the sun

For a kid who spent the better part of kindergartners as the only kindergartner, Porter has missed out on some total FUN this year. No running from classroom to classroom looking for the gingerbread boy who ran away. Very few rides on a school bus. Not so many "rest times" during a busy school day.

But maybe last week's kindergarten program made up for all that just a little. For one moment, Porter got to tell all within the sound of his microphone projected voice that his favorite color is blue, and then later he got to be two planets (Uranus and Pluto if you care to know). The class taught us all how rainbows came to be (apparently it has something to do with a housekeeper who wore different colored scarves when she cleaned the solar system-and hurt the rain cloud's feelings until it was all resolved in a beautiful coming together of all her scarves on cleaning day; creative thinking I must say!). And Porter beamed with joy. And confidence. And kindergarten wonder.

His moment in the housekeeper's very clean sun. I'm so grateful for the sunshine he brings my life most every day.

What is a Mormon Post 3

This post has some to do with the FAITH of our religion. What do Mormons actually believe in anyway? Here are a few of the basics:

* We believe the original church that Jesus established was lost and has been restored again in our day. The priesthood, the authority given to man to act in the name of God, with apostles and a prophet to lead us, has been restored as have all necessary ordinances of salvation.
* We believe in and we use the Holy Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.
* And we believe in the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture which support and authenticate the Bible and testify of the ministry and divinity of Christ and of God’s ongoing revelation to man. Indeed, the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.(taken from Elder M. Russel Ballard)

I'd like to go just a tad further and explain that we believe in keeping the 10 commandments and honor and revere bible prophets as men of God who held authority to act in His name during their time on the Earth. We believe God has again given authority to men to act in His name, and that we currently have a prophet who is living upon the earth, and that he leads our church under the direction of Jesus Christ.

It is a comfort and blessing to believe that God is speaking to his servants today, and that He loves His children so much as to organize a place where they may worship and serve and learn of Him. We believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is such a place. I feel it an honor to be a member of this church, and to carry the nickname of "mormon".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Our morning routine

We made a commitment when our marriage began that each day we would read scripture as a family. For many years this time fell in the evening, just before bed. As the kids got older we saw that they were too wound up from the day's events to gain much, so we made the very hard decision to move family scriptures to the morning. It happens now at 6:20 a.m.-every weekday morning (we find time on the weekends and sleep in then :). Our policy has been that when the kids go off to a full day of school they get up for morning scriptures (we'd leave the little girls asleep in their beds if they would-but those two turkeys are early risers, and usually beat their older siblings to the scripture reading spot each day!).

This pic was taken by John, because it is our morning ritual right now. Porter, who would sleep til noon if we let him, crawls downstairs and into my lap. He is rousted for his turn to read his verse and then is back to sound sleep in my arms. A fit is thrown if one of his little sisters beats him to my lap-it just isn't worth the drama, so we make sure I sit down in time to catch him in my arms before our opening song.

I don't mind really. Pretty soon this kid won't want my arms around him much. Already he won't kiss me and if I press the matter he insists I can only kiss him on the cheek (with a sound and obvious wiping of the kiss after it is planted!). So, I'll take his cuddles for now as much as he is willing to give them. And maybe during that few minutes of spiritual enlightenment while he's safely cuddled in my arms some of that spirit will seep into him, and he'll become like the mighty prophets and apostles we read about each morning. I hope that's sinking into him as he sleeps on my lap in the morning.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Studio's first finished product

remember that studio I showed you several weeks back? The one that was a pile of stuff and then over the day I tried to organize it into a functioning room in our home? Yea, that room was supposed to begin a journey of personal creativity and enjoyment that would be experienced DAILY because now I had a space of my own.

For almost every day the room is not used. But I've tried to turn over a leaf, and finally started working in there, even for just 10 minutes a day; just 10 minutes of creativity and organization each day...and it has been hard to find those 10 minutes. But I've tried, and this is the end result (it took lots of 10 minute sessions). It is a collage of phrases and sayings to celebrate the dedication of our home-which took place on May 4, 2008. Each wall, door and window reminds us of the home we are trying to enjoy here in our part of the world. The phrases say:

foundation: a foundation built upon the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ
Walls: within our walls we wil speak kind words, learn to pray, sacrifice and forgive. Give service
Door: A safeguard against the dangers and temptations of the world & we invite uplifting thoughts and encouraging words across our threshold.
Windows: See the world with a compassionate heart & Invite the sunshine in & That we may view the world with hope
Roof: Where every diaper changed for a crying baby; every meal cooked; and every offer to stay home and babysit can be a Godly service and a step toward understanding the Savior and His love.

up the side of the piece it says; This home is dedicated as a place where the spirit of the Lord may dwell. Where our children may learn to love God and serve others, and where friends may come and feel welcome. Dedicated May 4, 2008 by dad, John Frank Graham

It might not seem much, but it is my first shot at creativity in my own space, and another of many attempts to use the walls and furnishings of our home to send messages of truth to our children.

I think I'm going to place it by the back door, where we enter the home most often.

I hope its not my last creative work to come from my little studio; here's to another 10 creative minutes tomorrow!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A lazy afternoon nap

Just before the photo was taken his paw was resting on her hand. Despite all the ear pulling and tail tugging he loves her so much. A protector and friend for our Lucy. Thank you, sir Cooper the mild.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My daily work...

consists of lots and lots of laundry. We sorted these loads on friday night (my girls and I, while the men were away on a church camping trip) and it is now Wednesday night and I've just gone to fold the last load. You guessed it, the hampers are full again, so I'll be sorting before I sleep and start it all over tomorrow.

We have so much laundry that I don't just separate darks, colors and white. We can have entire loads of red/pink and full batches of jeans alone. Work out clothes (between gymnastics, running, weight lifting and soccer) can be done in an entire load-can you believe that? You'd think we'd all be fit athletes for all the exercise clothing I wash.

I get tired of it sometimes-I've timed how long it takes me to fold a load and put in a new one (around 12 minutes if said load does not have any socks to mate) and I've tried many ways to curb the amount of laundry we wash (I cut fingers off if I see a child has put an article of clothing in the dirty hampers that is not actually dirty...).Our 3 oldest kids have been taught how to sort, wash and fold the clothes. My oldest even has his own laundry day (which hasn't worked well because of his soccer schedule; see exercise clothing comment above)but alas, it is still a never ending pile of work to be done. And that work, for the most part, is done by me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I want these

(hey, I live in Texas and just came from a country where animal skins are on everything from placemats to toilet seat covers)Its time for another pair of clogs, my back is bothering me and I wish for more fun clogs every day. Too bad they cost so much that it will be years before I own them...but it is fun to wish

What is a Mormon? Post 2

Local congregations are led by volunteer, unpaid members. Both men and women serve in assigned leadership positions. Membership in the church requires commitment and dedication, and great time and energy is given to serving fellow church members. I have personally been asked to serve as a teacher to children in our church primary, as a leader over the teenage girls (Young Women), as the compassionate service leader (organizing ward members to meet the needs of fellow members when babies are born, or in illness or tragedy…), as the ward activity leader-party planner ☺ , as the seminary teacher (seminary is an early morning scripture study class for kids ages 14-18. They meet each school morning at 6 a.m. for an hour of spiritual instruction before heading off to High school). I’ve also served as a training leader (Stake primary presidency) to help train newly called teachers and leaders of children, and most recently I’ve been asked to serve in our Relief Society Presidency. I am one of two counselors to the President, whose responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of all the women in our ward age 18 years and older. More on Relief Society and its mighty work in a later post.

Because service in our congregations is volunteer and unpaid, you’d think it would be sketchy at best. Quite the contrary; church members are dedicated in doing the best they can in the calling they hold-no matter what that calling is. In the Mormon church you may have a call to teach children for a time and then be asked to lead the entire congregation as the bishop. No one is elected to their position, each is asked to serve by the ecclesiastical leader-or bishop-of the congregation. Assignments to serve as bishop come from the local hierarchy of local church clergy, and so on. This system of service is marvelous, because we all lift and help one another knowing we aren’t perfect but that we all are doing the best we can-and knowing that sooner or later we may be standing in the service responsibility of one of our fellow ward members!

Monday, May 19, 2008

random thoughts for today

so, I've been thinking a little bit. Just some random stuff;

*I love my husband, and I am honored to be his companion.
*Yesterday was the wrong day to forget the church bag; John's first week in our ward bishopric and up on the stand he walked as Lucy raced down the isle behind him and Mason punched Porter in the arm...sigh
*yes, it was a match in the milk jug, many of you asked...
* I am schizophrenic about my motherhood right now; part of me is so very excited for my kids to be underfoot once this school year has ended. Part of me wants to extend the school year another-oh-5 months or so to make up for the days when my kids were underfoot and home schooled this year....
*I am not as self-directed as I would like to be-wish I was better at digging in without a deadline, and at tackling projects that need to be done but don't make a difference in our daily living (like the food storage mountain I showed you the other day-it is still a mountain, and not an organized bunch of commodities on our shelves at home)
*I'm sad today about the violent events in the world. I feel intensely thankful that we face tornado sirens instead of angry neighbors who want us to flee (see this article).
*My 13 year old had to turn in a scrapbook project for school and I did not format, design or tweak any of his lay-outs, which is amazing for me.
*In said scrapbook my kid said he was glad to have "such great parents" and I wanted to cry for joy.
*I can't wait to see my sisters and their kids (brothers and parents too) in just 6 short weeks!
*What am I going to do with MY kids for the next 6 weeks?!
*Jessica, will you be on our Ragnar relay team in October? We are running from San Antonio to Austin, and I want you to come with me...any sisters are welcome!

enough, but my head is swimming with lots more random-ness. Mondays are sometimes crazy that way...

A project worthwhile

You see before you over 600 lbs. of food, not one grain of wheat in the load. This is my new project, its called "find a place for all the food storage".
I'm very thankful we have the food storage. We've been counseled by our church leadership for many many years to store a surplus of practical foods in case we might need them. Those needs could range from unemployment or economic downturn to natural disaster to health disaster (like bird flu). Who knows exactly why, but for many many years the counsel has been coming (like, since I was a little girl).

John and I have had a food storage for some time, but it isn't truly complete and we had not replenished the food we had cycled through that storage, and found that it was very difficult to do that and store the extra in our last home; economically it wasn't extremely practical and our storage space was also quite limited in our darling bungalow.

But now, with Texas sized closets and the blessing of a little time mortgage free between our Salt Lake house and the purchase of this home, we've been able to fill in many of those gaps.

Still would like to have some beans and a little more wheat. But I can add all that into my regular monthly food budget.

Now, the task at hand is getting this bundle out of my garage in an organized fashion and into our closets. Wish me luck ;)

For more on the counsel of our leaders to store a surplus, just go here.

Have a Happy Monday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Such a Great Mom...

This is my almost 6 year old Porter.
His tongue is green from eating the treat (those candy sticks you dip into colored sugar powder) that was supposed to be part of his friend's birthday gift.
We arrived at the friend's birthday party about 5 minutes AFTER IT ENDED.
Seems my kids have messed with my computer calendar program and I am NOT getting them where they need to be when they need to be there...
Porter spent 90 minutes at his sister's gymnastics team try-out instead of the local bounce world with his friends eating birthday cake and bouncing in/on various castles and slides.
I'm not feeling like a very awesome mom.
At least he said the candy was good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Our current state of affairs

It is May. May is crazy. End of the school year. End of the rope for the kids and their schedules. Thank goodness, with the move, we haven't had the end of the year recitals that always add to the frenetic pace that is the month of May.

But, as you can see by what I found in the milk this morning-after all the kids had used it on their cereal or in their drinking glasses, this is still a crazy time for us...

Glad for the Visit

We enjoyed a visit with a dear friend last week. A friend we met in Africa. Damen and his wife, Jan (I miss you Jann!!!) were our surrogate family while we lived in South Africa. We met them at church and found that our homes were just minutes away. These two and their kids (Hi guyz! Howzit?!) fed us, played with us, celebrated American holidays with us and just plain old loved us while we lived miles from any family. They are another testament to Christ like living, and another reason why we are blessed to belong to a world wide church.

Damen has made a huge jump, across the ocean, to work in the States and lay the foundation for his family to immigrate. We can't wait to have them all "this side", but for now it is great to have Damen drop in when he travels through Dallas on business (and Damen travels a LOT). We enjoyed a mediocre dinner of meatballs and heard all about Damen's family and how much his misses them. It was great to listen to his eager desire to plan and prepare a place of calm and comfort for the wife he loves desperately and the kids they raise and love together. After hours of our kids jumping all over him Damen made a smooth exit, with me begging him to let me know the minute he's booked flights for his family to join him on this continent. Jan, I'll be waiting! I'll come to wherever you land and be ready with open arms to welcome you this side...its my turn to take care of you. Be safe and know Damen is working to be ready for you to come and land softly and comfortably. He loves you very much!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing Martha

Last weekend our church congregation had a fun party, where in all met at the church and then were split up to smaller dinner parties held in several church members' homes. John and I enjoy entertaining and were lucky enough to host 4 other couples for dinner. Our "theme" for the evening was Napa Valley Mormon style. John was our head chef, preparing marinated pork chops served with asian mustard sauce and braised cabbage-a recipe from the Mustard Grill cookbook (the Grill is in the heart of Napa, and JOhn and I intend to dine there sometime before we die...) Of course, being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, none of us partake of the valley's notorious wines (no drinking for us mormons, and that suits me fine). Instead of a perfect red or white we served several sparkling and still waters from various parts of the globe-a fun twist on the evening.

John did all the cooking. He and I did lots of cleaning (kids helped too, great job kids!) and then I got to set table. I swear I could have a dinner party every night if it means I get to snip beautiful flowers, light candles and set out matching dinnerware (thanks Mandy and John that we actually have ten plates of the same color!) It was fun trying to act like Ms. Martha in the preparations of a dinner party that could be called a "good thing"...what a fun date night!

What is a Mormon? Post 1

I’ve felt it a good idea lately to perhaps elaborate on my religious beliefs. Now, lots of you who check in on this blog share my religion. And because of that, I refer you to two articles by Elder M. Russell Ballard . His inspiration has been the nudge that has pushed me in this direction. I’ll just share one thought each week, and hopefully as we near the end of my simple explanations I’ll have a few anecdotes to make it all more personal and worthwhile.

A Mormon is a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints;

“Mormon” is a nickname for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are also sometimes called “LDS”. Saint means member…

There are over 13 million members of our church, spanning 176 countries and territories. 6 million members live within the United States. I have personally attended church meetings in the following countries; U.S., Sweden, Costa Rica, Haiti, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, France, South Africa and Canada. I have felt that attending church services in other countries is like having a family reunion with long lost relatives-members of our church are welcoming and friendly wherever we go, whether we can share language and culture or not.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Credit Where its due

Just want to formally thank REMODELING RESOURCE here in the Dallas area for creating our library shelves and our dutch door. They did a fantastic job of getting my design right, creating the pieces and finishing them well (the finish on the library is identical to our table, not easy to match!). The library is a series of moveable pieces (just in case our Texas house isn't the last one we live in ;) and it houses many parts, such as drawers behind cupboards to stash school supplies and books, and moveable book shelves for our beautiful picture anthologies. It also features a lighted glass cupboard up top for some of our more show-worthy momentos. It took more than a day to get this library looking just right, but the guys were patient and dedicated to my satisfaction with their work.

They even came back twice to re-work the dutch door until I was pleased with the installation...great job guys! I heard from Steve Turner about a hundred times by phone through out the process to be sure I was updated and to reschedule the installations (that was my only disappointment, a few reschedulings). I'm happy with the finished products and feel so lucky to get to enjoy such nice things in our home.

We'll be calling Steve and Ray again, a few years down the road I'm sure, to have new cupboards made for the kitchen...until then Happy trails to you guys at Remodeling Resource, and thanks for making our house more like home!

A little Pampering

I enjoyed a lovely breakfast delivered to me in bed, a relaxing pedicure by my talented daughters, and a fun wonderful crafts from my talented and thoughtful children and beautiful white curtains for the library from John. A happy mother's day for me indeed.

Enjoyable conversation with my own moms was, of course, one of the best parts of the day...

This morning some of my words are posted on nie's blog; read them here and follow her essays on having a mother heart all week long. You are a champion Ms. Nie

have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, May 09, 2008

To My Moms on Friday


Dear Moms,
Today I'm thinking of you collectively-the two of you who make up my children's grandmothers. It is on the subject of your grandmothering that I'd like to praise you in honor of Mother's Day this week...

Both of you have a grandaughter or two who do not share your DNA. Since those daughters are my daughters, I have had the chance to meet several other grandmothers whose grandkids don't have "their blood"

Not all grandmothers are created equal, I must say. Some whose children's children are adopted have a hard time with the whole concept. Most not, but I have spoken with a few who separate their "natural grandkids" from their adopted ones.

And that hurts

Today I want to thank you and tell you I admire, revere and love you for not being that kind of grandmother. You have, instead, been quite the opposite (both of you). ALL of your grandkids mean the world to you-and I'm not sure that, aside from the miracle of watching Ms. Molly and Ms. Lucy become Grahams in their own right, you distinguish in any way the modus apparandi for their entry into our home. You see them as ours, because they are in every sense ours. I don't in any way say that to diminish the wonderful birthmothers who chose to follow the road that led these precious souls into our home. I say it because you understnand and reverence that once these daughters entered the temple with our family they became GRAHAMS forever. As if they were born under the covenants of the marriage you blessed so many years ago between your son and your daughter. I love you because you recognize this fact, you know it to be true, and you rejoice in its truth along with our family.

And all the hugs and kisses and birthday wishes and phone conversations and letters in the mail that come to these grandaughters witness of your testimonies concerning this truth. I love you for knowing these things; for teaching them to your children and for witnessing them-and therefor teaching them-to your grandchildren. Thank you ever more for loving all your grandchildren the same...
Just wanted you to know.
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Thursday, May 08, 2008

To My Awesome Mom-in-law

Dear Mom,
Today I'm thinking of the many talents you enjoy and feeling so glad that some of them have rubbed off on my kids. Bryn and Madi, and Mason of course, show such aptitude for art, Porter is a wiz with numbers and the girls would love nothing more than to sew and knit and croche. One of the things I love about you is that you GROW YOUR TALENTS. Your yearly trip to California to paint, your membership in the guild, your interest in fly fishing and hiking, your ability to knit entire dresses for my daughters. You don't let your abilities STAGNATE, but instead you MAGNIFY them. It is something I want to do desperately in my life right now, and I hope that soon I'll be following in your footsteps and growing the talents, though different from yours, that lie somewhere in me.

I love it that you enjoy and grow your many abilities and talents mom. And thanks for sharing them so often with us.
Just wanted you to know.
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Dear Mom on Thursday


Today I'm off to an hour of Bryn's zoo field trip, followed by a hurried drive to get Mason to his dentist apt., then it will be gymnastics followed closely by piano lessons, with dinner after that and Bryn off to her first paid babysitting job. Whew. How did you do all this???

That is something I love about you mom, you DID do all this. And you are still doing, for Alex. And you do for your grandkids. You show your love by DOING for us all. Memories of all-nighters so I would have the perfect princess Leah wig for Halloween and the best class officer campaign come to mind. You show your love by action. You say you love us too, of course. But over the years I've come to know that every act of service was an expression of your devotion. Maybe I didn't all get it then, I didn't appreciate that each sleepless hour was an "I love you so much" from your heart. But I get it now.

And I'm trying to follow in your footsteps (accept for the all night wig making part; I'm just not able to follow your example down quite so tedious a road...where is that thing anyway?)

Just wanted you to know.
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

To Mom on Wednesday,

I was thinking today about how when you travel your favorite and most exciting adventure is going to church in your vacation destination. This photo was taken of you and dad outside the Johannesburg temple. It was all you wanted to do, besides be with your grandkids, to worship in the Lord's house on that continent.

I love that about you. I love it that your faith is strong and vibrant, and that it still touches your heart to see this mighty church working in different cultures and under different circumstances than those which you have grown up in. Not that the church itself is different. One thing I think you love is that the gospel is the same. And because it is a universal church, a true and living church, it crosses cultures and changes lives in all parts of the world.

I love it that you know this, and that you still love to witness it all, no matter where you are...

just wanted you to know.

To my Mom-in Law for Today

Dear Mom,
I will always remember the day you gave me this beautiful nutcracker. He was, you told me, the first nutcracker you ever painted-and you were sharing something special with me, perhaps in hopes that it would "stay in the family" (john and I were an item but he most certainly was not decided) but I think it was, instead, a gesture of generosity and friendship. That is something I love about you Mom, you are GENEROUS. You desire to give to others, and you try hard to see joy in giving what others would like to receive. And you hit it on the head with Mason's birthday! Cold hard cash, what more could a 13 year old really want?

You are willing to give yourself, your means and your talents to others-and it is something I really admire.

Just wanted you to know.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dear Mom in Law,

Are you so cool or what? Striding an elephant in malaria ridden Zimbabwe with only one pair of underwear (cause the rest got stuck in lost luggage...) and jet lag to boot. This is something I love about you Mom. You don't COMPLAIN. You've lived a life with its fair share of heartaches and dirty jobs, and you've sailed through them with grace and grit. I want to be like you in so many ways, and this is one of them. Thanks for your example.
I just wanted to tell you.

A note to you, Mom

Dear Mom,
Can you find yourself in this picture? It was taken only an hour or so after you arrived in South Africa. A long journey for you; hours of travel which is always hard on your psyche, and yet in moments you were reading stories to our children. That is who you are; a woman of purpose. You had come to be with your grandchildren, and so as soon as possible you were WITH them. Not just around them, patting their heads, but among them reading stories. On the floor with them, in their beds with them, wherever they are you are.

We have this blessing-different from most of my nieces and nephews-because we always live away from you. When you come you really are WITH us. And you give all you have (and more) to those who love you so much.

This is what Christ taught when he said "love one another" and "take my yoke upon you" because He gave himself completely. And when you do this for our kids you teach them who He is and that He loves this way.

Just wanted you to know.

The Why of the Evening...

Happily, I enjoyed an evening with the women of our local Relief Society (learn more about this awesome organization here) on Thursday of last week. I had been asked, along with 3 other amazing women, to introduce some of the ways that we foster unity in our family. For me, unity is a bi-product of identity, and creating a family identity has been important to me for a very long time. So I was happy to hop up on my soapbox and share some of my favorite identity building tools (creating your identity through your family environment, instilling a family identity through our traditions, and solidifying our family identity through our experiences). It was nerve racking for me on one level because I could talk about this for hours and needed to only take 15 minutes. But these women have already shown me such kindness, such acceptance and love, how could it not be fun to share with them a few things that matter a lot to me?

Before the evening was over, the most notable of my audience came to see my display. And all the reasons a family identity is important to me was reinforced. Love you, Grahams. I'm so glad to be one of you!

Monday, May 05, 2008

To Mom,

Dear Mom,

What a great chance to share my love for you every day this week. Today I want you to know how nice it was to talk to you on the phone this weekend. To know you understood me, to feel like I could find out what is happening for my siblings, to hear that you and daddy are well-all of this is safety and security in my life. Even as a grown-up mom of my own little crew I feel anchored by your presence, even though distance separates. Thank you for your phone calls, even when they find their way to an answering machine. It means so much that you care to know how we are doing, and that you are there for me.
I just wanted you to know. I love you,

To a Great Mom in Law...

Dear Mom,

In honor of Mother's day I'm trying to write you a note each day this week. I want you to know today that it was fun for me to watch my kids run to the phone last night when they heard it was YOU that wanted to talk with them. You light up their faces, Mom. You're own special way of being a Grandma is just what they need. It means the world to me that you love my children and desire their happiness, and more important-their righteousness. Thanks for being an interested, loving, enthusiastic Grandma to our children.
Just wanted you to know,
love, Me.

A truth I am learning

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A lovely moment

Thursday found the little girls and I on errands "down in Dallas". One of our stops was to the Dallas Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Just inside the door to the temple, near the waiting area, the church has a distribution center where church members can purchase supplies and services such as subscriptions to our church magazines or purchases of scriptures. Our business was in the center, so I explained to the girls that we would go in the doors of the temple to take care of our errand. Molly's disposition was of quiet excitement. As we walked in the doors of this holy and sacred place her entire countenance radiated reverent joy.

And Molly is rarely reverent

We walked into the center and Molly quietly found a chair. She sat, hands in lap, without a word as I spoke with the sales woman and took care of my purchase. As I turned to go I noticed Molly's behavior and was surprised. At first I wondered what she was wanting to "get away with", as lately Molly has been the persona of a mischievous toddler. But then I looked more closely at her face. She was being reverent. She was being GOOD.

I acknowledged Molly's stellar behavior and pointed out to her bustling and boisterous sister that Molly understood that the Temple is a place for reverence and respect. A special place. A place of eternal covenants and of eternal families.

Molly seems to know this.

As we walked around the temple grounds after our errand Molly quietly sang a children's song that goes like this:

I love to see the Temple
I'm going there someday
to feel the Holy Spirit
to listen and to pray

for the temple is a holy place
a place of love and beauty
I'll prepare myself while I am young
This is my sacred duty

In my heart I believe Molly feels at home in the temples of our church. She's visited another temple, and walked not just through its door but through its hallways to beautiful rooms within where families can be joined together for all eternity. Because Molly joined our family through adoption, we have had the privileged to be in such a holy house of worship together, in order for her life as one of the Grahams not to end with her mortality, but instead her place with us, as our daughter and sister, has been sealed on earth and also in Heaven by men holding sacred priesthood authority, for time and for all eternity. (to learn more about temples go here)

Molly understands this, in her own little way. And the respect and reverence she showed in the Dallas temple is evidence of that fact.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dreams do come true!

Installed. Still a few bugs to work out, but overall a job well done. A noticeable sigh from my handsome prince as the check was written for the balance. And then he pointed out all the flaws-which is good-so i can get them situated and sorted out.

But overall, I'm totally happy. In honor of the dutch door I wore my frilly apron all day long. Nothing says mothering like an apron and a dutch door...baked chocolate chip cookies too.

Feel free to come to the door any time you are in the neighborhood. You can holler at me through the open window to see if I can chat. My kids can run to ask if they can come in from weeding the garden. I can ring the dinner bell, elbow perched comfortably on the doors little ledge...

Happiness in these details.

We haven't even begun to address the library shelves. More to come on that indulgence later!