Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Home

'At the Back Door' by Robert Duncan

The Home
"Our very nature demands home. It is the first essential element of our social being. This cannot be complete without home relations. There would be no proper equilibrium of life and character without the home influence. The heart bereaved and disappointed, naturally turns for refuge to home life. No spot is so attractive to the wary one: it is the heart's moral oasis. There is a mother's watchful love and a father's sustaining influence. There is a husband's protection and a wife's tender sympathy. There is a circle of loving brothers and sisters happy in each other's love. Oh what is life without these!"
- from The Royal Path of Life (1879)

'Family Night' By Robert Duncan

'The Summer Foal' By Robert Duncan

Monday, October 24, 2011


I spent Saturday evening snapping photos of my adorable nephews and niece.  Several of them have the most beautiful shades of red hair.
I am still amazed that not one of my six children were endowed with red or auburn hair.
Especially considering the fact that my father has red hair, my maternal grandfather had red hair, two of my brothers had red hair growing up (that darkened to auburn later), I have numerous red-haired cousins as well as an aunt and my husband's grandmother's hair was auburn. 
I felt sure that the genes were strong enough to come through my line.  I was wrong.

So I get to enjoy the various shades of Red/Rouge/Rojo/Rosso/Ruby/Garnet/Scarlet (you get the idea) in my extended family.

They also look exceptionally lovely this time of year!

And, speaking of redheads, I recently heard about Redhead Express; a traveling, singing family.  
Check out their website Here!

Content copyright © 2011 by Jessa at Graceful Landing. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Rich, Well-Lived Life

"...don't close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day's ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life."
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

                                     Content copyright © 2011 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remember Five Things

Quotes by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
(additional comments by Sarah Jane Weaver)

1. First, forget not to be patient with yourself. "I want to tell you something and I hope you will take it the right way. God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect," he said. "Let me add: God is fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not." 

He said people often spend time and energy comparing themselves to others — usually comparing their weaknesses to others' strengths.
"This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts, because they seem to be less than what someone else does. …
"Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself."

2.  Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. "An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth."
There are so many good things to do, he continued, noting that a person cannot do them all.
"Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater, in an eternal perspective. Sometimes, that may even mean nurturing small but beautiful forget-me-not flowers instead of a large garden of exotic blooms." 

3. Third, forget not to be happy now.
Recalling the children's story “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” He said people were looking for a golden ticket in a candy bar. Unfortunately, the candy bar itself became an utter disappointment if it did not contain a gold ticket, he explained. 
"So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket — the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home; or perhaps, freedom from stress and worry. There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings."
The problem, he added, comes when a person puts their happiness on hold as they wait for some future event — or gold ticket — to appear.
"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in the pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments." 

4.  Fourth, forget not the 'why' of the gospel.
"...the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come."
He said the gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way.
"While understanding the ‘what' and the ‘how’ of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the ‘why.’ When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet." 

5.Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.
He said as a child, when he looked at little forget-me-nots, he sometimes felt like that flower — small and insignificant. "I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father." 
"You are not forgotten, sister, wherever you are and whatever the circumstances.
"No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love. …
"The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homeschooling: Choices

We've been involved in home education since 1997.  
That's a really large chunk of my motherhood.

However, it never ceases to amaze me how amateur I feel about it all.  
I see mothers who are sure and focused and that's that. 
I, on the other hand, tend to vacillate.

My ultimate goal as a mother has always been to help my children reach their potential, to find their missions in life and to be happy while also making the world a better place. 
I strive to teach them compassion for others and to help them train their consciences to be ever aware of right and wrong.    (Because in this modern day and age, the line between right and wrong has become ever so gray!)

When making big decisions, it is always done through careful study and prayer.  Always.
So- why do I hesitate, doubt myself and anguish when, on one rainy day, a child says they wish they were in public school?   
As if the kids attending there only have loads of fun.
As if it's a perfect paradise of smiling teachers, spelling games and recess.
As if junior high kids don't have hormones flying about haphazardly causing girls to cry in their rooms at night and boys to come home feeling like losers.  

There is NO perfect solution to the education of my children. 
Every choice has pros and cons.
They weigh heavily on me at times.

But I know this:  Life is short and I want to spend every moment that I can making fun memories with my children.  
I want them to look back and know that our family life was organic, that it was real and meaningful.  
I want them to know how to find answers- through study and through prayer.  
If they have learned how to work, how to serve, how to set goals and meet them, how to love and how to learn- I will be content.

So on those rainy days, when a child is yearning for something different, I will help them catch that vision.  And I will remind myself in the process!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Where I Live

There is so much beauty

In the fertile farms and in the desert

In the lakes and blue summer sky

In a small town Independence Day

An old-fashioned Chicken Run 

and reverencing the FLAG

In cousins on the trampoline

And fine young men.

I'm so thankful for the blessings that surround me!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slowing Down

I love Autumn.  I love the cooler days, the occasional rain and mist, and the desire to gather closer to home.
I love making soup and one of my favorite 'soup quotes' is this:
As the days grow short, some faces grow long.  But not mine.  Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy.  It's time to start making soup again.  ~Leslie Newman

This time, last year, I was exploring Ireland....and indulging in amazing fresh seafood chowders.
For those who need a good, simple potato soup recipe, visit my post Here. 

 Autumn is also a great time to reflect on all the amazing fun summer brought us.  I was going through my camera and found some great moments to treasure:

The girls horse-back riding... 

Boating at the lake under the blue Idaho sky...

The fun of being near family again....

The Man of the House shaving his brother's head,

All the grown and semi-grown 'kids' of the family revisiting the Lego stash,

Birthday party for Mom with lots of laughter and noise,

Shooting guns- new and antique- out in the desert with the family on a summer evening,

and simply spending time together.

Each summer moment captured is precious!
Amid the craziness of moving and being uprooted once again, I have found that we still managed to have a fun-filled season.

Now I just have to get my oldest daughter and son-in-law close by to savor those memories. 
As Fall begins, reflect on your summer and count your many blessings!


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