Has it only been 11 days?

Nona bought Wiley a belated birthday gift.

Wiley started Kindergarten 15 days ago. My in-laws came into town 14 days ago. My husband took his dad on a much needed kayak/camping trip – just the two of them – 13 days ago. I had to finish writing music (the piano music we decided on was written for a piano/viola and I wrote the harmony part I sang) for a duet I sang in church – 12 days ago. The Total Solar Eclipse seen from our backyard – 11 days – also said goodbye to my in-laws. My Aunt came into town from Austin, TX to see the eclipse, and stayed in town to visit with me for a day.  My middle child turned 3 years old – 10 days ago. Danny started school. My mother performed in a ballet – took kids down to my parents – had to see the mother perform. Racing home from my visit, to see mom on stage, to teach my Sunday School class….and so on…

All this time I’ve had to let some things slide. A grocery bag of un-openned birthday decorations still sit on my closet shelf.

They love reading.

Tyler, turned three, had the best day of his life. I gave him everything he asked for that day, I didn’t give him everything I planned, I gave him what he asked for and that made him happy. He wanted birthday donuts – no cake. He wanted to watch Youtube videos (supervised by me) during school hours. He wanted a tricycle – which he rides daily around my living room and kitchen – and Tow-Mater/Lightening McQueen cars. Done and done. Time in the sandbox. Play in the tub. Seems kinda like I was a lame mom for his birthday this year, but the birthday boy got everything he asked for, so I’ll call it a win.

Park time.

Four days after my in-laws returned home to the Houston, Texas area Hurricane Harvey hit.

I have been glued to social media – watching through the eyes of friends – heart sick – as my old neighborhoods, libraries I visited, restaurants I frequented, trails I used to walk – all flooded.

I’ve been uniting in prayer with friends and strangers for the comfort, healing and rebuilding of Houston, Texas. Just as the country united only four or five days earlier to watch the amazing beauty of the solar eclipse, so many people united once again during the chaos and damage that hurt millions “back home.”

My husband asked me if he should take this semester off from school (where he studies civil/environmental engineering in Missouri) to help clean up and restore his home. My husband was born and raised in Houston, Texas. We met in Spring, Texas. Married in the Houston LDS Temple. Lived in our first home two blocks north of the Temple. In his mind, after spending this summer as a storm water management engineering-intern for the City of Columbia, he felt like he could do a lot of good in the after math of Harvey. My response was, “you’re eight months from graduating with a degree – you can do a lot more good when that is completed, when you’re done, you can improve infrastructure not just in Houston, but anywhere in the world.” Right now, it would only increase our financial burden with him not in school and not working.

Danny will continue to do much good for everyday life as he finishes his degree. He will continue to do much good when he graduates.

I’ll do good here in the home.

So, I am continuing to pray for the aid (physical, financial and emotional) of those hurt by Harvey. In all the chaos of my life, I have not forgotten you or the other people suffering in the world.

After day four of Kindergarten, Wiley fell asleep like this.

No matter what is happening in our own lives, God wants us to think about and serve others.

Life can wear you down, just stop and rest a bit, but just don’t quit.

I Have Several Favorites, Here Are Two Of Them

The night before my husband and I moved away from Mountain Grove, our dinner was interrupted by a knock at the door.

Our unexpected visitors were, none other than, some of our all-time favorite LDS missionaries.

Wiley loved the Elders, always wanting to shake their hands.
Wiley loved the Elders, always wanting to shake their hands.

Over the course of several months, we had given rides, shared dinners and stories with these two young men.

As disappointing as getting “the call the serve” in the Tulsa Oklahoma Mission (which covers NE Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri) was over getting the call to Fiji, or Australia or someplace where you get to learn a new language.
Disappointed in serving in the Tulsa Oklahoma Mission? Not these guys...Disappointed in serving in the Tulsa Oklahoma Mission? Not these guys…

But regardless of where they served, hopefully they learned how to hear the voice of the Spirit.

That doesn’t mean that we didn’t have laughs – because we did – but these two Elders regularly took my sixteen year old brother with them when they taught lessons, they were always ready to serve – helping on my Dad’s property – castrating calves and helping with wood cuts.

Elder HolyOak on the left and Elder Blackburn (at the time).
Elder HolyOak on the left and Elder Blackburn (at the time).

These two young men left their families, their educational and vocation pursuits, dating…


to don a suit and tie, name tag, and go where they were called to go to serve and teach the people about Christ.

Christ lives, He loves us and He wants us all to be happy – He has a Plan of Happiness.

I can say I’ve had about ten all time favorite missionaries, these two are definitely on that list.

How could they not??
A little humor goes a long way in our house. A lot of humor goes a little longer.  Maybe I should have gotten a photo of these two while they gave the spiritual thought, but I was listening to the message…definitely less laughs, but more affective in teaching is having the Spirit with you…and not a good time to take photos.

Their mothers should be proud of who they are and what they have done.

I hope my son can be that kind of missionary too.

Hey ladies, this guy is home now...but he is not really single. He is waiting on his girl, she comes home from her mission later this year.
Hey ladies, this guy is home now…but he is not really single. He is waiting on his girl, she comes home from her mission later this year.

Record of Things I Saw And Somethings I Learned

I recently read an article about the importance of keeping a dairy, or journal if you will.  I came across this gem while preparing for an early morning seminary lesson, it was written in August of 1976 by Don Hemingway for the LDS magazine New Era.

“There will be many special occasions that will arise, and a record of them will be invaluable (NewEraArticle).”


My sister Klara and her husband Ryan had a wedding to attend earlier this month, out of state, so Dan and I had the special occasion to stay with their four oldest children aged 7 1/2 through 2 years.

Imitation is the best form of flattery! Niece E copying my chalk art.

Five kids, four days, two adults.  We had plans to take them to the splash pad and to Market Street, when all else fails there is a TV, so shouldn’t be a problem.

and this is when my son started having diarrhea....
and this is the day before my son started having diarrhea….

“If you look closely, there is something special every day that needs writing about, for you and for those who follow. A few minutes should be set aside to quietly evaluate and record those things that have personal meaning. Is there not some precious moment, some sacred thought, a dream, an acknowledgement of the hand of the Lord, some personal blessing, the beauty of earth or heaven, some eternal decision, or someone’s kind word that might well be recorded? (NewEraArticle)”

This is where Nephew J started having diarrhea....
also the day before my Nephew J started having diarrhea….hmmm, something in the water?

Here were some of the not so precious moments:

bedding needing to be laundered every morning

cereal and milk bowls poured on the carpet

two year old constantly taking diaper off and leaving booby-trapes in some hidden out of the way place – but not to worry, you can often smell them out

Ah, yes, gather round and watch uncle Danny play a game on his phone!!
Ah, yes, gather round and watch uncle Danny play a game on his phone!!

the seven year old telling Dan that he is not in charge

poop. poop and more poop….waiting in a toilet bowl, on the carpet, on the bed, on the toy gun my son has in his hand

liquid soap covering the bathroom floor

A day in Market Street
A day in Market Street

Cleaning, lots of cleaning.

I decided to take a field trip to The Woodlands, TX Market Street and visit Hubbell and Hudson.

I told the kids they could each pick out some candy.

Everyone wanted Skittles and one thing different
Everyone wanted Skittles and one thing different

I was to hold onto their candy and if there were any problems before we got home, they would have to wait longer to receive the candy. I also threated to eat the candy myself. Bwahahaha.

Enduring the August weather in Texas.
Enduring the August weather in Texas. It helps to drink something cold.

It didn’t take long before one child ran into another leading to heads colliding and then fists being thrown.

“why would anyone have five kids?!?!” I asked myself, “this is nuts!”

it was all fun and games until someone got a black eye....
it was all fun and games until someone got a black eye….

There was some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on the way back to the car and in the car.

FINALLY, I turned on some classical music and told them all to be quiet and listen to the story.

“what story?” they asked.

The music tells a story, you have to listen to the music to hear the story.

“I can’t hear a story..” says the 7 1/2 year old with her face frowning.

Dan feeding the two little guys chocolate covered raisons...
Dan feeding the two little guys chocolate covered raisons…

I started making up a story that seemed to go along with the music. It was genius how it came out and flowed with the music perfectly.

With each new song came a plot twist – the kids hung on every word – I couldn’t believe how much they were eating this up.

I'm sure those raisons really helped the diarrhea issue.
I’m sure those raisons really helped the diarrhea issue.

I ate some of the kids candy later that day because the kids were being so disobedient – oh yeah I did and I don’t feel bad either.

My husband took the three oldest kids to the pool for four or five hours around 2 o’clock and let me have some quiet time with the two little guys.

Quiet time helps me remember:

“One of the most valuable of all journal-keeping experiences is recording the day-by-day confirmation that God is your personal Father who has concern about your well being. The recognition and acknowledgement of his hand in your life gives added assurance and faith (thatNewEraArticleAgain).”

So with all the trials in our life, the Lord bribes us with candy from time to time to get us to do the things we need to do (like pick up toys in the living room – yeah, totally bribed those kids with candy)….okay, maybe He doesn’t bribe us.

But I did realize that God must look at me, the way I look at little children.

There is something to that.

Carry On
the simple pleasures

Bless you mothers and fathers of multiple children – you’re doing something great, even if it feels difficult some days.

Things will work out, it’s not as bad as it seems

Five children is fives times the work and five times the joy

candy tastes good

What goes around, comes around

The end.

Concert For A Cure: Music Benefit For Cancer Research

Friday night, May 24th, Cabool Missouri was treated to a free concert (donations were accepted on behalf of Relay For Life).

Warming up just as the door open to allow the patrons to enter.
Warming up just as the door open to allow the patrons to enter.

My husband Danny plays the trumpet (among other instruments) and I sing in the community choir which is directed each year by Rebecca Peterson of The STARS FOUNDATION.

Danny's trumpet is tuned and ready to go!
Danny’s trumpet is tuned and ready to go!

It is a joy to be able to sing – and it’s been years since I sang in a large concert choir prior to moving to the Ozarks – I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my time and talents…..but having an infant going on toddler son to pass around during a concert evening is a tricky thing to manage.

My baby sister is in town for a visit, she helped me with baby while I sang the first half (Baby has a weird hair-do).
My baby sister is in town for a visit, she helped me with baby while I sang the first half (Baby has a weird hair-do).

The choir sang three songs near the end of the first half.

She ended up standing outside to keep him entertained.....
She ended up standing outside to keep him entertained…..

After Intermission the choir sang the last three songs: Amazing Grace, Salute To Heroes and Sweet Remembrance.

My mother took baby after intermission
My mother took baby after intermission

The slide show was still going, so the director played a piano piece (accompanied by the cello) called A Mother’s Heart.

Grandma is a season warrior of a mother and knows how to take care of babies.....
Grandma is a season warrior of a mother and knows how to take care of babies…..

My Aunt Tina and My Nana, both deceased from cancer, were the last two photos. I was looking up at the jumbo screen above the choir and cried like a baby when their names, dates, and photos passed. They were the last to show as the piano piece quietly came to an end.

During "Amazing Grace" my son began screaming. So, my mother took him over to the water fountain.
During “Amazing Grace” my son began screaming. So, my mother took him over to the water fountain just outside the room we were singing in.

The tears kept sliding down my cheeks as the audience stood and clapped.

she doused his head with cold water. He really liked that feeling of water dripping down his face. No more crying baby!
she doused his head with cold water. He really liked that feeling of water dripping down his face. No more crying baby! Which is good, because it was my turn to cry.

The orchestra is composed of new, intermediate and seasoned musicians. It’s incredible how Rebecca finds all this talent in the hills of Missouri and writes music simple enough for anyone to play, creating a beautiful concert.

It was a great concert.

Real American Heroes & The Patriot Guard

Sunday before we left Edmond, Oklahoma for rural Missouri, my Auntie C told the family that the Patriot Guard had asked her to meet her in the Walmart parking lot.


She wasn’t sure what was going to happen and neither did we, but we accompanied her to meet with the group just prior to our departure….DSC_1634

this is why I like to carry a camera every where I go.

You never know what you will see or capture.

The group of men and women gathered to remind my Aunt that she and her son, Rex, have not been forgotten. They promise to always remember and that is what the Patriot Guard does, remember.

DSC_1642On an overcast day, they came to give Auntie C some gifts to let her know they will not forget.

First, a gold star flag for hanging in the window.


then, a crocheted quilt that was made by many women across the United States (thanks for the heads up Randy), each square crocheted by a different woman and then crocheted together to make a quilt.

The quilt is inside the star bangled bag….I didn’t get a photo of it.

A star cut from a retired flag

These were all gifts put together by individuals who spend their free time in remembering the fallen heroes of American service, foreign and domestic.

DSC_1671As you can tell by the look on my Aunt Colleen’s face, it was a pleasure to meet with these fine people.

They came up to me and asked how I knew the young man, “he’s my cousin.”

I admire folks who take the time away from doing things for self to reach out to families who are hurting.

DSC_1674No doubt they enjoy riding together as friends and I’m sure they enjoy the people they meet, with stories to share.

DSC_1666But they could be meeting somewhere else and for some other reason. I think God looks down on this Patriot Guard and smiles at the service they bring.

Grandad smiled
Grandad smiled, no really, he’s smiling here – it’s in the eyes!

I smiled.


The sum of our life is the people we’ve served, the hearts touched and the things we chose to do with our time.

Maybe a Patriot Guard will be standing sentinel on the “other side” welcoming the fallen soldiers home.

DSC_1652I guess we’ll all find out when our turn on Earth has expired.

In heaven, it may finally be safe for me to ride on one of these things.
In heaven, it may finally be safe for me to ride on one of these things.

To learn more about the Patriot Guard Riders of Oklahoma visit:

http://www.pgrofok.us       or       http://www.patriotguard.org

Where In The World Is Life Gone Rural?

Good To See You!
Good To See You!

I feel like it’s been months since I picked up the laptop to blog, maybe it has only been a week, I’m not sure – Mom World is an alternate universe where time doesn’t exist – it’s good to be back.

I have been finishing some UFO (un-finished-objects) in my sewing pile, taking care of a teething baby, giving weekly voice lessons to some cute teenaged girls, and lately church “business” has kept me on my toes.

Last weekend (April 26 and 27) our new LDS Chapel held an Open House to the public….so as the early morning seminary teacher I decided to put together a trifold poster to let people visiting the new chapel know what LDS Seminary is.

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Seminary is a special program for youth to study the scriptures daily. This year we have been studying the New Testament. I was a bit intimidated by the Book Of Revelation before we started, but I am learning so much!

I hope the students can say the same.

So much fun
So much fun

We have early morning classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from

DSC_1623Wednesday’s class is held at 5pm and has additional students who travel into town for Wednesday night youth activities.

I love teaching seminary and I wish I had taken better advantage of this program as a youth, oh well….we pick up where we are and do better.

Seriously, No Greater Call!!
Seriously, No Greater Call!!

Today is Wednesday, therefore my day off. I missed ya this morning, but I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow!