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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day ~ Blessed is Their Memory

Dear Mr. Amazing Man -

I do not often allow myself to look squarely in the eyes of what it means to be married to this lifestyle we have chosen together. However, today is one of them.

I sit here at my desk, in my air conditioned home, listening to the morning song of birds as their lyrical melodies filter across the pool. Later, our children will wake up. I will have to choose what to feed them for breakfast - eggs, yogurt, or hot cereal? Bananas or grapes? Then we will prepare for our afternoon party with friends from church.

I am well aware so few mothers in the history of the world have been fortunate enough to enjoy this level of security and peace, and yet here I sit, one of them. 

The intellectual and physical freedoms I enjoy this very moment were purchased by the sacrifice of men, such as yourself, throughout the generations of this country. As it is every day when you are gone, I am ever mindful of your sacrifice and your willingness to do the right thing, even when it is hard. I am mindful of the patriot's blood coursing through our children's veins, the blood of men who fought in the earliest struggles for our beloved country's freedom and independence.  I am mindful and I am grateful, grateful there are individuals such as yourself who have stood ready throughout the course of this great nation's history to defend and protect these same freedoms.  I am ever mindful of the ultimate and eternal sacrifice of families such the Stacey and the Zembiec families. I am mindful and I am grateful for those who have laid down their lives in the exertion to secure these freedoms for others.

Today, I honor them.

Today, as I go about my activities in this beautiful land, I will do so in honor of men like Doug. I will laugh with my children because they cannot laugh with theirs, I will spend time with family and friends because they cannot spend time with theirs. I will plan and dream for the future because they cannot plan for theirs.  I will teach our children, "He that is a soldier in defense of such a cause, needs no title; his post is a post of honor, and although not an emperor, yet he shall wear a crown--of glory--and blessed will be his memory!"

And blessed is their memory.

Much love and belief in the amazing man you are -

M. 

US Marine Sgt. William Stacey
"Your exertions in the cause of freedom, guided by wisdom and animated by zeal and courage, have gained you the love and confidence of your grateful countrymen; as they look to you, who are experienced veterans, and trust that you will still be the guardians of America. As I have the honor to be an American, and one among the free millions, who are defended by your valor, I would pay the tribute of thanks, and express my gratitude...

US Marine Maj. Douglas Alexander Zimbiec, "The Lion of Fallujah"
 "Although your private concerns may call for your assistance at home, yet the voice of your country is still louder...Never was a cause more important or glorious than that which you are engaged in; not only your wives, your children, and distant posterity, but humanity at large, the world of mankind are interested in it; for if tyranny should prevail in this great country, we may expect liberty will expire throughout the world. Therefore, more human glory and happiness may depend on your exertions than ever yet depended upon any of the sons of men. He that is a soldier in defense of such a cause, needs no title; his post is a post of honor, and although not an emperor, yet he shall wear a crown--of glory--and blessed will be his memory!"

US Marine Sgt. William Stacey's body is returned to the U.S. Feb 2012


--A Freeman (as appeared in the New England Chronicle, Nov 1775).


(Stacey, 23, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb while on a walking patrol in Now Zad, a onetime Taliban stronghold in Helmand province.)

(US Marine Maj. Douglas Zembiec, the Lion of Fallujah, was killed in action May 11, 2007 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. )

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Heart the South

I love living here along the gulf coast, I really do, at least during citrus season. 



Feast your eyes on these lovely blood oranges from the co-op this week!!! While I don't particularly care for the name "blood orange" (why can't we call it a sangria orange instead? Same meaning, such  a lovelier name, isn't it?) At any rate,  this bunch are particularly tasty. Their typical raspberry flavor has actually spilled over into a cherry flavor. So amazing. And look at the color of their skin! Just gorgeous.



And here's the pile of Meyer lemons I got this week, too. Did you know Meyer lemons are a cross between a Mandarin orange and Eureka lemon? That's why their skins are thinner and the flesh a bit sweeter.

All I can say is yum. Now I have to figure out what to do with all of this gorgeous citrus! I was thinking of a orange marmalade (can you imagine the color!?) and some more preserved lemons. Any other suggestions or ideas?

Saturday, March 03, 2012

New Curtains for the Bedroom


I made these curtains a few weeks ago for the sliding glass doors in my bedroom that lead out to the pool. I was going to make them for the bay windows as well, but then I had the thought that it might make the room feel too much like a funeral parlor.

At any rate, I was pinspired by this:




I couldn't be as "free form" as the instructions indicated one could be - I actually measured and used a handy dandy disappearing ink pen to mark the intervals between ruffles.  I also used bleached muslin I picked up for a song at a sale a while back instead of a bedsheet. Anyhoooo,  I think they turned out rather nicely, don't you?

Now if I could just keep the cat from rolling around in the bottom layer of ruffles all would be well. Oh, and if I could magically paint my room without actually picking up a paint brush, that would be awesome, too.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fort Walton Beach FL Stake RS Conference

Dear Relief Society Sisters -

Here is a copy of the hand out from the class today. Later, I will see about posting all of my notes, and perhaps a few more links to resources for open (free) learning courses.

I hope to hear from some of you soon - I would love to help you begin to set up learning plan of your own.

Smooches -

M.

_________________________________________________________________


The Glory of God is Intelligence

Ft. Walton Beach Stake Relief Society Conference
February 25, 2012


 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”  (D & C 130: 18-19)

"You belong to a church that teaches the importance of education. You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. . . . There can be no doubt, none whatever, that education pays. Do not short-circuit your lives. If you do so, you will pay for it over and over and over again." —Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Jan. 2001.

"Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. . . . Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves." —Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, Nov. 1992, emphasis added

Seven Secrets I Learned on the Way To A PhD

1.    It’s About Fire Building, not Just Bucket Filling
a.     “The glory of god is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.” (D&C 96: 36-37)

2.     Unlearning leads to Real Learning
a.     “Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.” - Arnold Edinborough

3.    Lifelong learning is Exactly That: Lifelong
a.     “I believe in the pursuit of education. What is education? Reduced to its most simplistic definition it is the training of the mind and the body. . . . It is something that need never stop—no matter how old we grow we can acquire knowledge and use it. We can gather wisdom and profit from it.”
Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), 170
b.     “Learning is not achieved by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams
c.      "The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying." ~ Isaac Asimov

4.    Get Online and Go Places for Free While in Your Bunny Slippers
a.     OpenCourseWare: http://www.ocwconsortium.org/
b.     Peer2PeerUniversity: http://p2pu.org/en/

5.    Hie Thee to the Library, Girl: Books are still your best friend
a.     “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.)
b.     “If you don’t read, you have no advantage over those who cannot read”
c.      If the library doesn’t have it, use the InterLibraryLoan system (ILL)
d.     Build a family library of classics. Read them with & to your children
                                               i.     http://www.tjed.org/resources/classics/
                                              ii.     http://www.kidsreads.com/lists/classic-lists.asp
                                            iii.     http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/1997/june97/list.html
                                            iv.     http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3672376/110-best-books-The-perfect-library.html

6.    It’s Not About Benjamins and Alphabet Soup (But it is, sort of)
a.     “The Lord and His Church have always encouraged education to increase our ability to serve Him and our Heavenly Father’s children. For each of us, whatever our talents, He has service for us to give. And to do it well always involves learning, not once or for a limited time, but continually.” (Henry B. Eyring, New Era, April 2009)
b.     “You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That would will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Jan 2001)           

7.    Explore, But Don’t Wander
a.     “Spiritual learning comes first, but is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it.” (Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, October 2002).
b.     “True learning must have a powerful spiritual component. That spiritual element, when it is effective, refines and uplifts the aims of our total education. . . . Remember, you are interested in education, not just for mortal life but for eternal life. When you see that reality clearly, you will put spiritual learning first and yet not slight the secular learning. In fact, you will work harder at your secular learning than you would without that spiritual vision.” Henry B. Eyring, New Era, April 2009)


Become a Lifelong Learner: You Can Take it With You!
(Or in Other Words, More Good News from the Gospel of Jesus Christ)

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”
~ B.B. King

1.     Develop a plan in consultation with the Father
a.     What makes your heart sing?
b.     What skills would bless your family, ward, or community the most?
c.      What resonates with your values and goals? (do you have values and goals? – another class for another day!)
d.     Don’t be afraid of the big learning projects that God might ask you to do. Be Nephi – if you don’t know where to begin, ask to be led to the ore so you can make the tools you need to build the boat.
e.     Write it down – keep a “To Learn” list
2.     Set aside a dedicated learning time.
a.     Most of us can find 15-30 minutes a day
3.     Identify community resources and groups
a.     Face to face vs. Online
b.     Formal education vs. Self-directed
c.      Groups, guilds, and clubs
d.     Find a mentor, guide, or coach: Most people who are true experts LOVE sharing their knowledge with others. L.O.V.E. it. Don’t be afraid to ask!
4.     Read about it, write about it, DO IT, share it.
5.     Rinse and repeat




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Pinspired Day


No earth shattering news here, just a project I worked on this morning. I made a bunch of puffy alphabet letters for Princess P.'s birthday in a few months.


I used fabric from a charm pack of Moda's "Ruby" collection, which I simply adore beyond words. This is one of those fabric collections I would like to take out a small loan and buy five gazillion yards of it all. (I also used other fabrics from my scrap bag to make the letters A, I, M, Q, W, and Z.)



To make the letters, I used "American Typewriter" in bold face, 475 pt font. And since I am too lazy too cheap so crafty so lazy, I didn't bother printing the letters out, cutting them, then tracing them onto the fabric. I simply used a bit of ingenuity to hold them in place on my computer monitor so I could trace them directly on the fabric using a disappearing ink pen.



The light of the monitor helped A LOT on the darker fabrics. Doing it this way saved SO much time.  As you can see from the letter K, I wasn't exact in the lines. I figured I was making puffy alphabet letters for a two year old. Precision was not critical to the execution of this project.


A word about disappearing ink pens: They don't work so well on red fabric. Well, they do, the ink just disappears within 10 minutes or so. It has something to do with the dye molecules or some thing like that. And the ink sticks around longer on lighter colored fabric but will disappear within 48-72 hours depending on the humidity level in your home (see the K above). You can either be patient and wait for it to disappear, or wet it with some plain water to help it along.

I love disappearing ink pens. Some day, I would like to shake the hand of the brilliant person who invented them. I wonder if it was a happy accident like sticky notes or saran wrap or the color mauve.

But I digress.

To assemble the letters, I essentially, I followed the instructions found at this great Pinterest pin:




Not sure if I will make the basket - I think Princess P. would prefer a purse. Now I just have to find a cute pattern. Any suggestions?

M.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinspired: A Valentine's Day Wreath


I made this the other day. Wrapping all that yarn was both therapeutic and mind-numbing, all at the same time. Perhaps it was therapeutic because it was mind-numbing, now that I think about it.

At any rate, The Professor is thrilled with how it turned out and after all, I made it for him. His is the only opinion that really matters.

Here is the picture from Pinterest that inspired this latest spate of craftiness:




Happy crafting, y'all! (I can officially say that now because I live in "Lower Alabama.")

Much love,

M.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

My 2012 Resolutions


  1. I resolve to laugh more, worry less.
  2. I resolve to love more, resent less. 
  3. I resolve to listen more, talk less.
  4. I resolve to trust more, control less.
  5. I resolve to pray more, stress less.
  6. I resolve to save more, consume less.
  7. I resolve to teach more, dictate less.
  8. I resolve to move more, sit less.
  9. I resolve to read more, surf less.   
  10. I resolve to be thankful more, grumble less.
What are your 2012 New Year's Resolutions?