Sunday, July 31, 2011

The New Secret Sisters Mystery!

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.

Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.

Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.

Second, come to the book launch!

You are invited to an

August Authorama!

Saturday, August 13th

Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

12 – 4 pm

Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,

and Dutch oven cobbler

prepared by world champion cook

Keith Fisher.

Authors Tristi Pinkston, J. Lloyd Morgan, Cindy Hogan,

Nichole Giles, and Heather Justesen

will all be there to sign books.

This is one book launch event

you will not want to miss!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shots From This is Kirtland!

Before the show

Megan's stage fright presented itself in the form of touching her face. All the time.

The Education scene. Megan's line is, "What's arithmetic?' Which, of course, she already knows.

"Horace needs you heellp!'

Education song! "History and numbers!"
Me asking Thankful Pratt to stay with me while our husbands are away on missions since her house burned down.

Emma Smith (Kim) holding Emma. She played Julia Murdock Smith.
Good thing we took pictures on the night Emma didn't pretend to eat everyone's noses in this scene.

This is Megan's favorite scene: Women's Response. She gets to eat fresh peas and green beans while we sing.
Me and the two girls next to me, we did a very winterguard-ish dance with the garden hoes we are holding. It was awesome! Our choreographer was a guard instructor for something like 10 years.

The rocking scene. Emma is supposed to pretend to go to sleep, which she actually did almost every night.

After the show. Boy are we tired and H-O-T with all those layers and lights!
 Doing this show was a huge time commitment, but it was also a great source of blessings for our family. I am really grateful that we were able to participate and for everything we learned from doing it.

Things I Learned From Being Elizabeth Ann Whitney for a Summer:

-How to use bobby pins.
-To see the blessings in the hardships
-To have more faith
-The importance of looking for opportunities to serve others
-and while I already knew this one, my testimony of the living Christ was strengthened

Monday, July 18, 2011

In His Fifth Year . . .

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

Wearing his nightshirt I made him and holding the Lego person he made at the Lego store.

I love the Dr. Seuss fabric line. I think I posted a picture of Emma with her birthday pillowcase I made, so here's Jeremy with his.
Cool clothes from Grandma Rosie

Remote Control Truck!
Wooden map of the U.S.

With all his loot

Jeremy wanted lava cakes for his birthday instead of a traditional birthday cake, which was just fine with me! He also picked out caramel and double chocolate Magnum ice cream bars :)

We love you, Jeremy! We hope you love being 5!

5 Fun Things About Jeremy: His favorite drink is water, he loves Legos, he loves to imagine new kinds of machines and then draw them, he can read but doesn't want anyone to know about it yet, and he is awesome!

Jeremy still gives the best hugs out of anyone I know. He's such a great big brother and he loves to play with Megan. He's almost always willing to play anything she wants to play and is so helpful with Lincoln. He was so patient while the girls and I did the musical, This is Kirtland! this summer. He even came to see the show a couple times and he paid attention!

The only thing this picture has to do with Jeremy's birthday is that it was taken on the same day, but look who's pulling himself up on everything!!

The next Einstein?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Inspired Independence

I've been thinking about Independence Day for a couple weeks now. It's my very favorite holiday. Very. Favorite. Christmas is great and all, but I guess I get too caught up in the commercialism of it because it's a really stressful time of year for me. Independence Day is low stress and, though it might seem odd, filled with the Spirit of God. As I'm writing this it's not even noon here and I can't tell you how many times I've already cried or come close to crying: in the car as I thought about the soldiers who died defending our liberties, as I said the pledge of allegiance at the flag raising ceremony this morning at the church potluck breakfast, as I shared with Nathan my feelings about how inspired our forefathers were, as I talked to the kids about what the Fourth of July really means. . . .  Like I said, it's been awesome!
Waiting for the bike parade to start

I pushed Emma and Lincoln in the parade

I wanted to share some thoughts here, not just for those of you who still stop by here, but for myself and my kids.

I can't seem to separate freedom, liberty, obedience to God's commandments, and joy. Every time I start thinking it over I go back to the scriptures. In 2 Nephi 2:25 and 27 it talks about how Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. It says we are free to choose liberty and eternal life, or choose captivity and death. Later in Alma 46:13 and 20 Moroni fastens on his breastplate the Title of Liberty. He bows to the ground and prays mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren and says that if they enter into a covenant with God that they will maintain their rights and their religion and that then the Lord will bless them.

I made Megan's skirt, of course.

I find it interesting that Moroni said they had to enter into a covenant to maintain their rights and their religion. They had to be obedient to God's commandments to retain those rights, to possess that liberty which was and is so necessary to us all. And in so doing, joy and blessings are received from God.

The liberty which Moroni spoke of isn't that different from the liberty we talk about today. The liberty to worship in peace and safety. The liberty to be in our families, free from persecution and fear. Liberty to work and live as we please as far as we obey God's command.

The Founding Fathers wanted these same things for their families and for the nation. Here's a little quick historical timeline for you. Being a history major and this being my favorite day, I couldn't resist!

In March 1775 in Richmond, Virginia Patrick Henry stood in a church aisle and with his wrists crossed in front of him as if they were chained, he cried out with a voice that seemed to get louder and louder, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!" With those words Henry flung open his arms as if casting off his chains. Then he slammed his fist against his chest as if driving a dagger to his heart.

That summer an official army was established, but a commanding general was still needed. John Adams nominated George Washington, a hero of the French and Indian War. Washington wrote about his concerns saying he didn't feel equal to the command and that the Americans were "not then organized as a nation, or known as a people upon the earth. We had no preparation. Money, the nerve of war, was wanting." Washington led what we would consider a ragtag volunteer army that had little training and barely enough gunpowder to keep their own weapons firing. Washington worked hard to hide the condition of his army, even from his officers. Not only were soldiers and gunpowder scarce, but clothing was, too. Most cloth had come from Britain. However, because King George III insisted on closing Boston Harbor until the colonists pay England for all the ruined tea from the Boston Tea Party, the colonists boycotted everything they could from Britain. When General Washington realized that the war would last into winter, he sent out an appeal for 13,000 coats for the soldiers. Patriot women in every colony heard of the need and worked making handspun coats for the army. The great need kept them spinning for so much a part of the day, that if they went to visit their friends, they took their spinning wheels with them so they could talk and spin and sew at the same time. Inside each coat the maker sewed her name and the name of her town.
Our friend Maggie

The following winter, Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, was published in January 1776. It worked a great change in the minds of the people, leading many to agree that a complete break from England was needed. Paine declared that America had a mission in the world as the champion of liberty. America was a place where universal freedom could take root and flourish.

By Spring, May 1776 Congress was referring to the colonies as "states" and encouraging each of them to form their own separate governments. In June it was proposed that the colonies be "free and independent States," and that they be "absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and that State of Great Britain" be "totally dissolved."

water fight with Ben :)

Weeks later, Thomas Jefferson began writing The Declaration of Independence. For two weeks he wrote, rewrote, scratched out, and ripped up. On July 2, 1776 until July 4th Congress went through the Declaration word by word, changing what they thought should be changed and adding what they thought needed adding. The final version was voted on and approved unanimously. Each man that signed it knew that by declaring freedom from Great Britain, they could be hanged for treason. One of the most famous lines from the Declaration goes, "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The scriptures that teach of liberty and joy help us understand a little bit of how the Spirit was working with these men as Jefferson and those from the Congress prepared The Declaration of Independence. God truly had a hand in preserving this nation for a sacred cause. It is He who has granted us with our life, liberty and happiness and I am grateful for those who came before me. I am grateful for those who fought because they saw a corrupt government trying to control them and their families. I'm grateful for those who continue to fight to help us retain our freedom, liberty and those great blessings bestowed upon us by God.

Have a fabulous Independence Day!