Wednesday, October 30, 2013

deep thoughts and chicken feet

The other day I was driving home through our neighborhood.  Lots of our neighbors have chickens (along with cows and horses and other barnyard dwellers).  As I was driving, I happened to notice a particular chicken in our neighbor's yard.   This chicken had large bunches of feathers growing on it's feet, and they looked furry.  Truly,  this chicken could have been a hobbit (except for the fact that it was a chicken).  But anyhoo, this was my next thought, I wonder if the other chickens ever feel bad that they don't have furry feet? No really, I said that (in my brain).  And then I laughed, imagining the other chickens comparing themselves, "Matilda has the prettiest, featheriest feet.  Why can't I have feet like that?"  And then, once I was done laughing at my own monologue (cause I am my own party), I started to really think about how this little chicken scenario could be taken a step further.  Like to real life.  As a mom of three girls, and a women myself, I am painfully aware of how often we, as women (or teenagers), compare ourselves to others.   It's something I've tried to stop doing my whole life, but an area that always needs correction and improvement.  What if we could just live our lives (like the chickens) without worrying about how we're perceived in the eyes of others? Hmm...what if?  Things to think about.  And btw, I'm not saying that I'd like to be a chicken ( I mean we all know where tonight's enchiladas originated).  I'm just saying that I don't think God's individual plan for each of us included us beating ourselves up for who we're not.   If I could instill just one belief in each of my children, it would be for them to have an understanding of God's love for them as unique individuals.  I mean, what if we were all exactly the same? Boring.   I feel truly sad for Miley and all the other young women out there who buy into the belief of what the world thinks they should be.  I think God's plan for us is infinitely better.  Maybe I should invite her over for some fried chicken and we could discuss it.  Or maybe chicken cacciatore. Or maybe we'll just have steak.

Monday, October 28, 2013

short and sweet

Sadie's email was short today.  She said that we should look for some real, old fashioned, snail mail letters from her this week....even better. I am a big fan of the kind of mail you can actually hold in your hand.  The best news was that Sadie got to see her cousin Clark (who's also serving in Houston).

Loved this one. 

And this one....Sadie said  this meat is from Samoa and it's actually pretty good (funny coming from one the pickiest eaters in our family, until now at least). 

And my favorite.

One short excerpt that I loved, in response to me asking Sadie what might like for Christmas....

Maybe for Christmas... or sooner haha... could I get a new memory card or two? Also for Christmas stamps and stationary would be AWESOME! Also please don't forget to do the Christmas Jar, please give it to someone who needs it and pray and fast about who you should give it to! That would be the best present ever!! 

Loved that she's thinking about others before herself. One of those "motherhood payoffs".

Friday, October 25, 2013

october give away winner

Congratulations BRITTANY!!!! You are the winner of the Anthropologie dish towels!  A big thank you to all that entered.

What are your weekend plans?  Our church congregation will be doing some humanitarian work in conjunction with the national Make a Difference Day on October 26th.  Check your local news for opportunities to serve in your community! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

quote of the day

While Gentry and I were driving in the car today, she mentioned that one day, when she gets married, she wants her husband to be tall.  I asked "Why"?   And she responded, "Because then our kids will be tall!".  We drove for a few more minutes and then she commented, "I hope my (future) family will be just like our family.  I like our family."  And I decided I need to write that down to remember the next time I'm having one of those days. One of those "I'm failing as a mom" days.  You know the ones...when  you feel like your best isn't enough, and you're tired in every sense of the word, and no matter what approach you take with your kids, it doesn't seem to be right?  Maybe that's just me.  But hey, my ten year old likes her family.  So, it's been a good day.
Sadie and Gentry 08'

Monday, October 21, 2013

the reality of mission life

Good Monday morning to you!  My Monday posts (for the next seventeen months) will be a little update on Sadie (since this is the day she can email us).   Feel free to skip if you'd rather and stop by again on Tuesday.
      So, I knew eventually Sadie was going to have hard times on her mission.  Reality kind of dictates that. Once again,  I will just share an excerpt from her letter.

" Hello my beautiful family!! Thank you for all of the wonderful emails and stories from this week. Makes me miss home but I know you are all safe and watched over! Ok I'll be straight up honest, this week was extremely hard. I guess I really didn't explain in my last letter, but the area I'm in is really hard to find investigators. We can tract a whole 2 streets and no one will let us even talk to them. Do you know what though? That's ok! Last night my comps and I were talking about how the Lord measures success, and we know he measures it by our obedience, our dedication, and how often we feel the Spirit. It's ok that it's hard! Honestly! I think my expectations were that when I got out here we would be teaching everyday an baptising every month. But that's not the Lord's plan! I think this mission has only had a total of 3 baptisms so far, and I can't remember if I told you but there are 600 people in our ward, only half are active. 600 members, 6 missionaries total! It's a lot of work but we can do it with the Lord's hand. We are working really hard to get the members active with working with us, I really just want them all to help us out more often but they really don't want to half of the time haha. 

Ok end rant now on to the happy things! I try to look for the good things only in our days now, if we focus on the bad we get really sad! And sometimes you just have to cry and let the Lord comfort you. I am learning so much about the Atonement, and how much we need to use it's enabling power in our lives! Also mom and dad, I just want to apologize when I have been such a brat sometimes, I've realized how much you mean to me and how much you've done for me my whole life. There are kids out here who have NOTHING. And on top of that, their parents care little or not at all. I'm so grateful that I was raised in a home where I can feel safe and know that I can always count on you. I hope you can forgive me for being so selfish sometimes! I am really working on turning out when I feel like turning in, because I know this is not my mission, it's the Lords! (Moses 1:39) 

Ok for crazy stories, we almost got in a really bad car accident a couple days ago! It was pouring rain, and we were going down the street (kinda fast) and a car was about to turn left in front of us. Suddenly, like 60 feet before we passed them, they pulled out in the middle of the road, so the car in the other lane stopped, so we were heading full force towards this car in the middle of the road! Sister Tofa slammed on the brakes and, I kid you not, we skidded to a stop, with only 2 inches between us and the other car. BLESSINGS! (We say that all the time) We pulled over and thanked Heavenly Father for protecting us. I know he watches over us all the time. He is so good to us!"

If you know my personality, you know I am kind of prone to anxiety.  But, even after reading Sadie's letter, I still feel calm and peaceful about where she is and what she's doing.  I can only conclude that Sadie is not the only one getting a whole bunch of blessings.  And now, It's time to bake some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and stop by to visit the UPS man.  We are becoming bff's and he just knows when I walk through the door that it's time to print another address label for Houston. 
Happy Monday.

Friday, October 18, 2013

october third friday giveaway

Dishes. Inescapable. 
I have a dish towel fetish.  There's something about attacking this every day mundane task with these lovelies.  Anthropology dish towels.  Happy, cheerful, colorful.  The antithesis of a dirty dish.  So, dear readers, break out the dawn.  Make more bubbles than you need.  Put on some Frank Sinatra and dry away.

          {How to enter}
1. Become a follower of terra's earth (by liking terra's earth on facebook OR via google friends connect.)
2. Leave a comment on this post telling me how you follow.
3. Also leave a contact email (with comment) if it's not linked to your profile (so I can let you know if you win:)

One winner will be selected from the comments using and announced on October 25th.

{the giveaway closes on october 24th, 2013 at midnight}
{contest open to those residing in the intercontinental u.s.-no p.o. boxes please)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a race and the haz mat team

Last Saturday was our sprint triathlon.  Gregg and I have been training for the last nine weeks.  We were joined by our good friend Tonya.  A big thank you to her sweet husband Gary for being our photographer. Since all our start times were different, we kept him moving almost as fast as we were.
This was Gregg and Tonya's first sprint-tri.  They both loved it, and next year we hope to come back with an even bigger team (you know who you are!).  I loved training for this race.  Sprint-tri's are great for shaking up the exercise routine.  It's been the best distraction for Sadie being gone, and I seriously felt kind of depressed the next day knowing it was over. 
But, Sunday we were hit with a little more excitement.  Short version....Sunday night, while trying to cook on our propane stove, the house suddenly started to smell like rotten eggs, and my burners had no flame even with the pilot light on.  When our gas company couldn't make a quick response, we had to call in the good men of the Gilbert fire department.....who called in their  haz mat team.  Yep, good times.  In the end we discovered that through a swiming pool sensor malfunction (another story), our propane tank had been drained while supplying heat to our entire pool and what we were smelling was remaining fumes in the tank.  Can you say cha ching?!?  Anyway, that's my weekend recap.  Now on to this weekend.  TOMORROW is THIRD FRIDAY GIVEAWAY! Hope to see you back here. Peace. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

houston, we have a missionary

Remember the last time you said to yourself, "After x (fill in the blank) is over, things will slow down and I won't feel so crazy!" And then, suddenly x is over, and life just picks up in another direction at the same speed or faster?! Yep, that's me and that was our weekend.  Filled with a sprint triathlon, a visit from a haz. mat. crew and our local fire department (more on that tomorrow) , and best of email from Sadie. 
Forty plus years ago my father-in-law served his mission on the remote and incredibly beautiful island of Samoa.  Nine years ago, he took our family there for and amazing, once in a lifetime trip.  Sadie celebrated her 10th birthday getting to know some of the islanders.  We all fell in love with Samoa and it's people.

As Sadie was preparing her mission papers, she commented, "I would love to go to Samoa on my mission". But remember, her mom was praying for a stateside mission.  So...I will preface a few excerpts of Sadie's email by just telling you that I (once again) was laughing and crying as I read it.  Our Heavenly Father knows her so perfectly.

"Dearest sweet family of mine,

I'm here I'm here! Holy moly I have so much to tell you so please excuse my fast typing and mistakes. Ok so I LOVE IT HERE! So I am the minority here, haha yep! I'm like a real gangsta now. (haha Sierra, from your letter) Everyone calls me baby or hun or whatever, I'm like YO MY NAME IS SISTA! Haha anyways but Dad you are correct, mis companeras are from TONGA and SAMOA!!! Sister Tau is from Tonga and SIster Tofa is from Samoa. So cool right??? They have accepted me as their cuz, and they say I'm not a polangi, which means white girl. They say I'm a poly :) Tell Bumpa they are teaching me a dance and we are going to video it and send it home! KUTAAA! Ok so this week we have already seen so many miracles and crazy things. Don't worry mom I'm not afraid because angels are always protecting us, when we walk, there are only 3 of us, but I can feel a whole bunch of angels behind us."

"Also Dad, you would be so proud, a lot of people are Hispanic too and speak only Spanish, so I'm learning to speak it and it's AWESOME! Somos misioneras para la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias, Tenemos un mesaje para tu familia! Haha it's getting better. I prayed out loud in Spanish for our companionship prayer, and it was good! It's amazing how the Spirit can be felt in any language."

"... there is so much diversity here it's almost like being in a foreign country. We are teaching a lady names Christina from Liberia, Africia, and she even speaks her own dialect! "

"Ok I love my companions because they are letting me to keep using the computer, because they're are only two and they let me have it a little longer! They are seriously the greatest! They both have a New Zealand accent, because they've lived there too, so don't be surprised when I call at Christmas and sound like them! Haha seriously I'm already picking up on their accent and I sound Hispanic sometimes when we all speak in Spanish. Fabulosa!! "

And, well, you get the basic idea.  She loves her first area, and through some miracle that I can only attribute to blessings, I feel so peaceful about where she is.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

best. birthday. ever.

At 7:10 this morning my phone rang .  It was Sadie calling from the Salt Lake airport.   Today she flies from Utah to Houston to officially start her mission.  Before missionaries travel to where ever they will be serving, they get to call home one more time.  Happy mom.  And even better, happy daughter.  She is still crazy excited to go.  I couldn't ask for a better gift. And on top of all that happiness, my husband baked me a chocolate cake.  Like really, truly, went to the store, hooked up with Betty Crocker and some eggs, and fired up the oven.
Pass the milk please.

Monday, October 7, 2013

a man down

Really, we're quite familiar with the drill now.  Drew heads out the door, participates in some kind of physical activity (this time it was soccer),  and then call me to tell me he thinks he's broken something.  You name it..... foot, leg, collarbone, wrist, and let's not forget his most recent addition to the list.  Elbow.  Last week. we approach our final week of training for our sprint-tri, Drew is out, and I am sad.  He's taken it  much better than me. Sometimes I struggle to find things we can do with our kids that are meaningful beyond just dinner and a movie.  This race was going to be one of those things.  Gregg even signed up so we could be a team.  Now we are back to being a duo.  It's okay.   We're still excited.  And Drew, in his infinite humor, kept me laughing when he asked (as we were headed to get his arm x-rayed), "Do you want Dad to take me so they don't ask if I feel safe at home?"  I replied, "Now that you're a couple of feet taller and a lot bigger than me, I think we're okay." You can read about that little exchange here.
The professional bone breaker.

Friday, October 4, 2013

in her own words

We finally got that all important, highly anticipated, wishing for it sooner,  email from Sadie.  And I breathed a long sigh of relief (and I'll be honest) and cried a few more tears. But these were mostly happy tears, as it was confirmed to me (once again) that Sadie is  happy, healthy, and having experiences that she could have in no other way.  A few excerpts from her email...

"Family and friends! Oh my goodness I made it to the MTC!! It's already been a week, can you believe it? I'm like whoaa I just got here didn't I? The MTC is so amazing and there is so much to learn and take in and it's really amazing. So I'll try to walk you through the week as best as I can remember, (don't worry mom I wrote in all down in my journal so I remember). OK so my companion's name is Sister Andreason, she is from Ohio and she is very knowledgable about the gospel! Haha... and she's pretty spunky like me so we get along well in that sense. So when I got to the MTC, my host was so sweet and walked me through everything, (and I got my name tag!!) and I got on a bus to ride down to MTC West. (Raintree are our classrooms, what room were you in again mom and dad?) So we live at Wyview and have to trek across in the morning to our classes, but it's ok because I'm getting used to the cold now. Plus us Houston sisters keep saying we better enjoy it since it will never be cold like that in Houston. So I absolutely love my district, they are amazing and have become my second family. All the sisters are going to Houston Texas and the Elders are going to Farmington, New Mexico. We get taught in a tiny make-shift classroom, but it's ok because I love my teachers to and the Spirit we feel while they teach us." 
(and...remember Madison...Missionaries going to different places don't usually see each other in the MTC because it's so large and broken into different sections, but....)

"Ok so remember how Sister Kimzey was not able to come into the MTC with me? Well let me tell you how much the Lord loves us. We went up to a Devotional on the Main MTC campus on Saturday I think, and when we got in we got to sit towards the front of the room. A host came up and said Sisters would you like to sit front row? We we're like heck ya! So we went and sat right in front of the speaker. So cool! It was President Daines of the Provo Temple, and he was an amazing speaker. But as I sat down out of the corner of my eye guess who I saw... that's right, SIster Kimzey, who sat on the end row of me. I was soooo happy to see her, and when the Devotional ended, we ran up and hugged each other so tight, it was pretty emotional because I thought I wouldn't see her until after our missions. Then guess what! FOUR other missionaries from my BYU ward came up and talked to us because they saw us!! Such a blessing to reunite with them, I had to leave pretty quick because my companion wanted to go, but it was such a tender mercy to see them (Mom ask for pics from Madisen's mom, Madisen took pics of us!)"

And she sent a few pics... 
Missing this kid, and her laugh, and her smile, and her humor, and her big hugs. But, I guess I need to share her with the people of Houston.  And I'm starting to be  okay with that.  

What are your weekend plans? Fall festival? Corn maze? A visit to the pumpkin patch?  
We will be enjoying eighty degree weather (why we live in AZ) and watching the lds general conference.  Good stuff. Happy Friday to you and yours.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

w a i t i n g ...........

After Gregg and I dropped Sadie off at the MTC last Wednesday, we drove to Bryce Canyon national park to spend the night.  I won't give you all the dramatic details, but I will say it was a rough night for me with not a lot of sleep.  We had planned to hike the canyon the next day, but when we got up, Gregg took one look at me and said, "Are you sure you still want to hike?"  Me, "Yes, pleeeease!" I really couldn't think of a better visual distraction at that time then the canyon waiting 100 feet from our cabin.  It was so great to make my physical body work, and for just a couple of hours I felt like maybe I really could do this whole "missionary  mom" thing.  If you ever get a chance to visit Bryce, GO.   It's incredibly beautiful and I think the hike is "family friendly" for kids as young seven or eight (depending on your kid!).  I grabbed a few shots with Gregg's 35 mm. Can you believe I forgot my Cannon for such an epic time in our life?  You'll still get the general idea. I think only the Grand Canyon can rival Bryce.

It was one week ago today that we dropped Sadie off.  Missionaries have a day each week that's called P-day (preparation day).  It's basically the day that they do laundry, email family and friends, and even get to dress more casually and do things like basketball or volleyball.  We are hoping that Sadie's P-day is today and that will be getting our first email from her sometime this afternoon.  I've managed the anxiety thing pretty well, until today. Now every time my phone chimes with a notification, my heart flips.  I've already had several emails today, but not one from Sadie.  Sooo...I will keep trying to wait. And in the meantime, I'm off for a bike ride, our sprint-tri is in twelve days.