What I Designed Today: Simplify Inspirational Quote Meme

I miss designing inspirational memes.  Mostly because I love quotes and pretty pictures — but also because back when I was designing one a day for RunHaven, I got pretty good at churning them out quickly.  Now, I barely have time to ponder inspirational quotes which is why, perhaps, this one is so perfect for me!  {#ironic} More to come on this ‘simplify’ theme, as these quotes are collected from the Regional Stake Conference held this past weekend.  If you have any additional quotes in your notes that you’d like to add to my collection, please share them with me!  SIMPLIFYQUOTE1

A Father’s Day Tribute to the Father of My Children

don1He must feel this way often in our family!

don3Fishing with Jack in Columbia, Missouri a few weeks ago.

don2I love the posts all over Facebook today celebrating fathers, husbands, and even young men who are not-yet-dads.  There are exceptions to the fatherly role in all varieties, and for many reasons, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is fun to see so many loved and appreciated dads all over the world!  It kind of restores my faith in humanity.

I love my own father very much, and I called him today.  It is good to hear his voice and I am so thankful he is still on this Earth with us so that I may call him anytime, for any reason.  He’s that kind of dad (and with his sleeping schedule, he’d probably be awake at any time of day or night!).  But today I want to focus on the father of my children, otherwise known as the love of my life.

My man.  Where do I start?  We often joke that the reason we married (and stay married!) is because we’re each so weird that nobody else would have us.  It’s probably true, at least for my part.  My husband IS weird but he’s also so many good things that any woman would be lucky to have him.

My man loves me.  He loves me nice, grumpy, fat, skinny (and every size in between!).  He loves me blonde, brunette, hair falling out, good hair days, bad hair-don’ts.  He loves me 24/7 even when I force him to watch yet another BBC murder mystery.

My man lets me sleep.  I need lots of sleep just to function.  I need even more sleep to be kind.  My husband, however, has the ability to nap in short intervals anytime, anywhere.  It’s truly a gift, and one I wish I had.  He is also very kind on very little sleep.  It says quite a bit about his character!  I had a coworker once who complained about his wife still being in bed when he left for work in the early morning, nevermind they had small children and she was probably still tired from giving birth to them!  Don has never once begrudged me one minute of sleep.  Not one minute!  He is the kind of husband who got up with the newborn babies, without complaining, for nearly a decade — not just occasionally, but 99% of the time!  Because he can.  Because he cares.  Because he knew if I got up, the world would be up with me.  Also, because he loves babies.  I love that I can’t stop him from making goofy faces at babies in Sacrament meeting at church.

My man loves animals.  I recently witnessed him let a chihuahua (our least favorite type of dog) put his bum in his face and watch two hours of television with that puppy on his chest.  He often stops on highways and back-roads to help a turtle cross the road.  It has been said you can tell much about a man by the way they treat animals and, if that is true, this man’s heart is golden.

My man is patient.  He’s not only patient with the kids, he’s patient with me.  He’s the kind of guy you would be lucky to get on the other end of a suicide line!  His voice is calming and he defuses situations with ease.  He excelled at a computer call center job early on in our marriage because he has a way with helping people out in the toughest situations while keeping calm.  Nothing seems to phase him.  He’s temperance personified.

My man is kind.  He would never intentionally hurt anyone.  We have been married almost 25 years and I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone else, even when I’ve tried to goad him into it!  He has feelings and gets hurt and might even think something negative but he knows how to “bridle his tongue”.  Which brings me to…

My man reminds me of James.  Yes, the scriptural James, brother of John.  As far as apostles go, Peter is the Hollywood superstar – everyone loves Peter because he’s identifiable and has such charisma.  John is beloved.  But James?  We hardly ever talk about James. Let me tell you a little of what I’ve learned about James over the years — he is smart, kind, dedicated, worthy, righteous, valiant and quiet.  I know this about James because I have come to believe James’ personality was probably similar to that of my husband.  In fact, James’ short chapters in the New Testament talk about bridling your tongue and being valiant.  Yep.  That’s my man.

My man is a true gentleman.  He holds doors open for ladies and those that are less-than-ladylike because of who HE is, not because of who is walking through the door.  He is quick to help and, over the years, has never complained about any service he has rendered.  His example has taught his sons well as they have carried on the tradition of helping people move, paint, clean gutters, fix windows, replace appliances, fix cars, fix roofs, install garage doors, etc.  Our sons are better for his example.  He helps so much that sometimes things at home get put off way too long.  He is always helping someone in some way — often ways I’m not even aware of.

My man is steadfast.  He is my rock.  He is solid.  He is the one who always answers reassuringly when I ask, “Are we going to be okay?”

My man is strong.  He has lifted many washers and dryers on his lone back.

My man is not greedy.  He would never dream of having a brand new, shiny truck as long as there are family needs that take precedence.  He dreams of the truck, I assure you, but he’s patient enough and willing to wait until our kids are on missions and through college (or at least until his current 15 year old SUV breaks down for good!).

My man is confident in his own way.  He does not get jealous.  Believe me, I’ve tried!

My man is easygoing.  He takes things one day at a time and everything in stride.  I once asked where he’d like to be buried (I was not plotting his death!) and he said, “I don’t care, I’ll be dead!”  Yep.  That about sums him up.

My man is smart.  I spent the first 10 or 15 years of our marriage thinking I was smarter.  But, over the ensuing years, I have realized that he is WAY smarter than I am.  A few things I’ve learned from him a little too late:  there is wisdom in not responding to emails and phone calls right away; I don’t need to respond immediately.  I still struggle with this but often, things work out on their own and usually by those who harbored the initial problem in the first place.  People must be given a chance to solve their own problems whether that is at home, work or church.  The Lord helps those who help themselves!  I’ve also learned that simple is good.  One can fulfill an obligation without going overboard or complicating things.  For me, this concept was — and still is — revolutionary.  The marketing person in me wants to plan, advertise, aggrandize and make things bigger and better — which is often not appropriate.  Much like how the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost pierces the soul, simple action in fulfilling callings and obligations can be more effective than any other superfluous activity.  He does what matters most and he does it right.  There’s James showing up again.

My man is a hard worker.  He has worked full-time and then an overnight part-time job on the side as well as finishing his Master’s degree while working and raising small kids.  He is the type of man who would do any kind of work to support his family.  He would never say any work was beneath him if his family was in need.

My man loves nature.  He is a fisherman at heart.  I don’t get it, but whatever.  He loves it so much that he fly-fished for fish (not trout!) in Omaha occasionally over his lunch breaks in small streams near his workplace.  He loves to tie flies and has taught his boys.  No vacation is complete without a state park visit, fishing or hiking.  We have been to so many zoos and state parks, I’ve lost count!  He is the perfect father for our boys.

My man eats anything.  Even when I have called and asked him what he wants for dinner, he says the same thing, “Anything.”  He has never once complained about anything I’ve ever cooked.  He often praises my cooking and is the only willing leftover-eater in the house!  As if that weren’t good enough, he occasionally comes home after a long day and cooks for the family — especially if I’m still at the computer finishing up a job.  He knows how difficult it is to work from home and fit everything in.  The crazy thing is, this man cooks with love.  Everything he makes tastes fantastic and the kids have requested his cooking more than mine.  He has the patience to chop and dice finely (which I don’t – you get big chunks of onion from me because I’m always in a hurry!).  He knows just how much mustard and onion go together for the perfect hot dog topping.  He is grill master.  I say, with 100% certainty, if he ever left this Earth while I was still on it, I would never grill again (mostly because I don’t even know how to start the grill).  His steaks and chicken are legendary and he often is the one who grills for company.

My man is athletic.  Some people might laugh at this but they shouldn’t!  He often runs with me on Sunday mornings and he hates running!  He says he’s willing to go just because he wants to spend time with me doing something I love.   The thing that really ticks me off, though, is that he can run for two weeks and go farther and longer than I’ve been able to work up to in 9 years of running!  He’s got good genes.

My man helps around the house.  More often than I’d like to admit.  He fixes things, cleans and pitches in just about every way imaginable.

My man is funny.  Seriously, funny.  Our children have great senses of humor and I think they get this from their dad.  He makes me laugh often!

My man loves books.  Recently we had a book “race” where he read the paper book and I listened to the audiobook while I exercised and we finished at the same time.  It was funny how often we would end the day just at the same “scene” and it was fun to discuss it a little at night.

My man is righteous.  I don’t mean self-righteous.  He’s not that at all.  He is righteous in that he loves God with all of his heart and is a valiant priesthood holder in our home.  He blesses our children before school years begin, before scout camp, before anything and anytime we ask for a father’s blessing.  He’s not perfect, but he’s trying and he’s perfect for me.

Happy Father’s Day, Don.  You’re still my best friend and the first person I call for anything.  I’m sorry you had to leave at 7 a.m. for California on this Father’s Day — know you are loved and missed at home.  I love you.  We love you.  You are the best father to our children I could have ever hoped for.

Love,

Lizabeth

First Day of School 2013-2014

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The boys started school this week.  It’s Cole’s senior year.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Christmas Decorating for the Nativity

The world’s best designer was out of commission this year so I was asked to help decorate the refreshment room for our church’s community nativity display. I am by no means a professional but I am pleased with the results. You’d have to know what I had to start with to accurately judge, but since my goal was to PURCHASE next to nothing for this project (I like to throw money at problems when I don’t have time to deal with them!), I can honestly say I achieved my goal. The only two things I purchased: the whole bolt of chocolate brown burlap — and the two 96″ tablecloths used nearly all of that –and secondly, the teeny tiny nativity shown in the glass. It’s still too big but I was amazed at the lack of miniature creches available at Hobby Lobby in my small hometown. Rest assured I’ll be on the hunt for tiny nativities online! All in all, though, few purchases and yet a decent success. My favorite thing: the burlap camels from TJMaxx. They are adorable with or without the gold bells I put around their necks. I hope we get lots of visitors to the nativity display at the church this weekend and that all who come eat cookies and think of the true meaning of Christmas!

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One Idea for Keeping a Journal

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I am not the very best journal keeper, but I do try to document our lives every year or two…or five. I ran across this idea from Gretchen Rubin’s article in the February 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping and thought I’d share it, although when you multiply one sentence times four children and a husband (not to mention 3 pets!), it gets overwhelming and I don’t think one sentence could sum up any one of our crazy days. On the other hand, it might be good to choose one superlative memory from each day. Surely during a year of this solid endeavor, every child would be covered.

Another tip: I like to write down “Top Ten Things” for each of my kids. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of ten different things but I love looking back at the minutiae of their lives: stuffed animals, funny sayings, food preferences or dislikes. It’s the stuff that makes up great memories. I think I may try to cut that down to one thing each day, choosing just the very best memory and see how that goes for awhile! Happy writing!

Benjamin Franklin & Alma 37:6 — Small & Simple Everyday Things!

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Two facets of the same subject: First, I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin. “Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” Secondly, it made me think of one of my all-time favorite scriptures. Alma 37:6 “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” When we study that concept in seminary, I always try to warn my students that the reverse is also true: small and simple things can lead you down the path of spiritual destruction as well — those flaxen cords! But, mostly, I love this scripture for its acknowledgment in the great power of simple choices made repeatedly over time. Strength truly is consistency over time — whether it’s food, exercise, spirituality, or another choice. I love when quotes from unrelated parts of the world combine to affirm a universal truth!

Brilliant Lego Play for Boys

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I ran across this the other day on Zulily and thought it was brilliant. We’ve successfully used a large wading pool to contain Legos in a playroom but this would be even quieter. It’s temporary on Zulily and I don’t know how to find them elsewhere but the official name is Lay-N-Go.

Rocks and Raising Boys

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Anybody else’s kids come home with this many pebbles in their shoes? It doesn’t matter what KIND of shoes Ben wears, either. He’s managed this with his tennis shoes as well. On another note, I had a wonderful phone conversation with a very good friend from Houston and she told me that her 9 year old girl refuses to get rid of a stick that my boys carved for her (we moved 7 months ago now). I think that’s pretty cute. Rocks. Sticks. {Sigh} Boys.

A Small Thanksgiving

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So while I was sick (and clearly not in my right mind), I volunteered to cook turkey and make gravy for the Kindergarten classes. It was worth it to see all those pilgrims and Indians enjoying their meal.

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The kitchen looks so nice when it’s clean. I quickly sewed a couple of muslin slipcovers to go over our blue chairs since only two of the new kitchen chairs that I ordered had arrived by Thanksgiving! Gotta make do, right…they have unfinished hems but I have a fantastic idea for hemming them. Info and pics to come. Also, I need to share the tape method Cole helped me with to make the custom pattern for them – it helped so much when it came to sewing them from scratch. And if the resident sewing newbie (me) can do it, anybody can!

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Our island could fit 6 to 8 places comfortably but since we already had one bench and one stool from another home we lived in, I gave up my idea for new seating completely and just ordered another small stool to flank the bench. I think it looks pretty good for using what we’ve got!

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I never thought I’d say this but I love that stupid freezer on the bottom that I resisted for so long. Now if I could just remember to not kick and shove it to close the thing!

While we were grateful for a small Thanksgiving gathering this year with new friends, we did miss being with family. We are kind of travel-ed out so I think for the holidays this year we will be staying put. Never fear, though, we ate like kings. Today (the day AFTER Thanksgiving), we all had pie for breakfast. What more could signify a successful holiday? We are thankful for many things: the gospel of Jesus Christ, jobs, home, family and friends…and technology.

Write It On Your Heart

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Another favorite quote sign that I have hanging in my home (a Goodwill find!): “Write it on your heart that the ones you love are life’s most precious gifts.”

Motivational or Inspiring Quotes

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Anyone who knows me knows that I ADORE great quotes. I picked up this sign in Omaha when I bought the other sign posted about here that seems to have sparked a nerve on Pinterest and has been repinned by so many. Since that one was so popular, I thought I’d share this one as well.

Oklahoma, O-K!

We love Oklahoma. We were all riding in the car and Ben piped up with the 2nd verse about his honeylamb so I figured I needed to get it on tape. We all stared at him in amazement since none of us knew all of those words! Apparently, this is what they teach in Kindergarten in Oklahoma and that’s OK by us!

Addicted to Pinterest

It’s almost better than reading books and much more instantly gratifying:  Pinterest.  I love this site.  It’s the new method of flipping through magazines for ideas and putting them all in one place:  quotes, decor, motivation, design ideas, garden ideas, etc.  Now if I could only get OFF pinterest and start working on my own abode…I’m still planning, okay?! This is everything I love all mixed in one.

Summer fun in Bartlesville

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The boys are taking a Shotokan Karate / Mixed Martial Arts class here in Bartlesville. Cole went tonight and made the other teenagers (and instructor) gasp when he did his self defense techniques. I am so proud of him. Nobody wanted to volunteer to “attack” him after his very first demo. It’s a great dojo and it will take quite a bit of adjustment for him to learn their style, etc., but if anyone can do it, I know it’s Cole. I’m hoping it’s like learning a foreign language and the old will come naturally to him – I don’t ever want him to forget the instruction he’s received in Gretna and Taekwondo. Mr. Staack and his crew were the best teachers I have ever met and we miss them terribly! Cole has been so lucky to study under that organization.

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This last pic is Benjamin sampling the cake balls that Cole made today. Thanks to Aunt Lili for the great Christmas present last year. They are so fun to eat – the kids just love ’em!

We’ve Made An Offer

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We’ve made an offer and it has been accepted – I think all docs have been signed until closing which isn’t until June 30th. I’m going to head to Omaha for a month after the kiddos are out of school while Don works his heart out here in Bartlesville. These next six weeks cannot pass quickly enough! I am so in love with this home — I’ve finally found everything I’ve ever asked for in a home: white trim, ranch, 4 bedrooms, farm sink, gas range, patio, good sized yard, fence, sprinkler system, all brick construction. Sigh. It will help justify the price tag. We hope this is our forever home. We really, really love this town.