frosted flakes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is it possible to fix my broken strings?

Lately, I have had thoughts of trying to be a better instrument in God's hands. I had a FHE lesson with my kids about being an instrument in His hands and started pondering how well I am at letting myself be used to the best of my abilities.

I started taking inventory of all the times I could have been a better instrument and realized that I tend to be a tad bit selfish and whiney. I also see myself doing this as an example to my kids. It makes me sad. I started to realize that I have let me as an instrument go. I haven't been keeping myself in tune and practicing so that when Heavenly Father wants me to be used, I don't sound like a violin whose strings have been neglected, bow is loose and missing hairs and what strings I do have attached are out of tune.
(me right now)

I have good friends and family that seem to be the opposite. They are in tune, polished and play beautifully. When there is an opportunity to serve, help, or work to build up His kingdom, they are ready and able. They don't need to wait on getting their strings attached again, or tightening up their bow or even get their strings in tune. I admire you all that are such polished, beautiful instruments. I am inspired and pray that I can become that same way.

I know that we all have moments when our strings bust, pop out of tune or our bows need some tightening or loosening. I guess I realize that I have been this way for too long and am striving to get myself back in working order. Thanks to all of you that are patient with me and still love me regardless (especially my family!).
(what I am working hard to become)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sharing another thoughtful tribute to our dear Prophet

I have seen many beautiful tributes to President Hinckley since they have announced his passing. I have been touched and inspired. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share your own personal thoughts on such a wonderful man. I was watching the Glenn Beck program this evening and he shared a very heartfelt tribute about President Hinckley. I am going to post the text of what he shared. I am anxious to listen to the funeral services this Sat. Feb. 2nd at 11am. I am sure it will inspire many.

Thanks Pres. Hinckley for your many hours of service and love that you devoted to us and this gospel. Also, thank you for your devotion to the Lord.

Tribute to late LDS President Hinckley from Glenn Beck January 28, 2008 - 17:36 ET
(here is a link to his sight where you can also listen to the audio from the show )

Personal note, this is -- gosh, I hope this year gets easier for me personally. This has been quite honestly one of the most difficult years, and I know we're not even out of January yet, but this has been one of the most difficult months I have had in my life since, oh, gosh, it has to be back in my days of alcoholism or divorce.

It's been a very rough few months and you know what -- or few weeks. You know part of that and I'm not going to go into it again because I can't take it anymore but there's another side of that that we're just having -- our family is working very hard together on some things that are happening and I ask for your prayers on.

But last night it was about 1:30, none of us in our house had found a bed before 2:00 in the last few days and last night it was about 1:30, we all went upstairs finally, said good night to each other. My wife and I were in our closet and we were changing into our pajamas and we were chatting and there was a soft knock at the door and it was my eldest daughter Mary and she said, "Dad, I just checked my e-mail and President Hinckley has passed away."

If you don't know who President Hinckley is, you are not in the minority. Most people have never heard of this man. You may have seen him on Larry King Live one time. He was on a couple of times. He is the president of the LDS church and he is a 97-year-old man, one of the sweetest men I have ever seen. I never met, I never met him. Larry King actually talked to me and said one of the most amazing men he's ever met, Gordon B. Hinckley and I said, I imagine. And he said, you haven't met him? And I said, no, sir. And he said, you want to? I said, no, no, that's okay. He said, no, I'll line it up; I'll call Gordon up; you two should meet. I said, no, no, that's okay, I don't need to meet him. It's not like I was a fan of him. I was in awe of him. And that's what Larry King said to me. He said, all you Mormons are alike. You are all in awe of that man. And I said, he is an amazingly sweet and powerful man.

A few, I think it was three years or so ago his wife that he had been married to absolutely forever passed away and it was so sad when she passed away because he was lost without her. They were connected and they were one and they were a way a marriage should be and it was amazing to watch the two together.

And last night I had wondered for a while, I had really, truly wondered for a while what it was going to be like when this guy passes away because honestly he was like, he's just one of the sweetest guys I had ever seen. Well, last night I found out. Honestly I had thought in my head, because he had been sick for a while, I'm going to be devastated the day he dies.

My daughter knocked on the door last night. She said, Dad, President Hinckley just died. My first thought, my very first thought in my image of my mind was him and his sweet wife arm in arm, together again at last. It was a happy moment. It shocked me. I knew he was back with his wife. We all knelt down around our bed and I have never in my life felt, I have never in my life felt what I felt last night in prayer. I just wanted to thank God for putting yet another amazing individual down on Earth.

We're surrounded by amazing people. We watch people all the time. We are influenced by different people, just people who stand for something, just people who say, you know what, I'm going to be a decent human being. And you watch them and they affect your life. Gordon B. Hinckley affected my life. I watched him. I learned from him. He said one time, and I hear it all the time in my head: If what you're doing doesn't have eternal consequences, why are you doing it. I think of that all the time. I think of the way he just told the truth even when it was tough.

For people who are of my faith today, today I guess people would think would be a sad day. For me it's a very, very happy day, a very happy day. If you are not of my faith, I ask you just to reflect on one thing today. Who is that one person in your life that stands for something. Who is that one person in your life that you look at and just say, wow, I want to be a little more like that person. Ponder them before you lose them. Maybe call them and thank them for the influence that they've had on your life. And if you don't have somebody like that in your life, look for somebody today. They seem to become more and more rare. They seem to pass on far too quickly even if they are 97 years old.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flashback Friday

This Flashback Friday is to honor my JonJon. This photo was taken 8 years ago. It was over 8 years ago that I was blessed to be able to have surgery for Jonathan while I was still pregnant at 6 months.

We had to go to Nashville for the surgery and were the 55th patient to have the surgery done. This photo is of a family that also was in Nashville at the same time having the same surgery. They were #54. They had USA today following their story and this phenomonal photo was taken during their surgery.

We had NO idea the impact this photo would have on the world when we met them. I remember her wheeling into my room after I had the surgery with her husband and we compared battle wounds and aches and pains. We bonded quickly!

They had an opportunity to come to AZ for a business trip and called us up and we went to dinner. It was funny watching both of us whip out our blankets to breast feed our special babies! We connected instantly with them.

Though we haven't kept contact for over 7 years, we still hold a special place in our hearts for this family. We definitely felt God's presence in our meeting them and knowing the battle they helped to champion for many families that are dealing with or will have to deal with the decision to have a baby with spina bifida and see the wonderful blessings these kids bring to our lives. The photo sparked a debate they NEVER saw coming. Read the story in the link and you should be able to see the story unfold.

I was a grouchy mom to Jonathan this morning because he was showing his stubborn side :) I do feel grateful and blessed to have him as my son. He has taught me NUMEROUS lessons, and ones that I still need to work on. Especially Patience!!! I love you, Jonathan! Love, Mom

Us with the Armas Family when they came to AZ for a visit. We took them out to dinner at the Landmark Restaurant in Mesa (Center and Main). They are an AWESOME family!

This is the photo of their son (in the photo above by Jonathan) taken in Nashville. Follow the link for their story. Here is another link about the family. It was written while their son was still real young (like in the photo with us).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The pink team was ROBBED!

Just a quick post to express my sadness about the pink team on the biggest loser getting eliminated in the most unfair way! I will miss me some Bette Sue! She reminds me of one of my dad's sisters (also named betty), so I felt a little attached. Now off to watch my taped American Idol (I need a life!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Looking forward to some good tv tonight..

If you peek at my guilty pleasures to the right, you will see that I LOVE reality shows. Tonight, I am excited to watch more of American Idol! It is HILARIOUS to watch and fun to see great talent sneak through. I think I will fold some laundry while it is on to avoid too much guilt (heehee)! I also am planning to switch channels to watch The biggest Loser on NBC. They have a great couple (mom and daughter) from Mesa competing. GO PINK team! Off to feed the kiddos dinner and get settled in on the couch!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Remembering A wonderful woman..

A year ago (specifically it was Jan 21st), James' Grandma Crandell passed away. It was quite a surprise to all of us since she was in good health. She was a beautiful woman who raised a great family. During the Christmas season last year, we were at the annual Crandell Christmas party with the aunts and uncles, cousins, etc..

We were blessed to be able to get a snapshot of everyone in attendance that night. Because the snapshot was so complete with almost everyone, I doctored it up in photoshop and gave a copy of it to my mother in law for Christmas that year. She loved it and had a very large copy (20x30) made for her mother (grandma Crandell) for Christmas.

None of us ever imagined that she would be leaving us a month later. It was a gift that was treasured, but it became an even greater treasure to have once she returned home to be with Heavenly Father. I am grateful for the promptings the Holy Ghost gives us that help us to cherish our loved ones during what can be sad times.

I am posting the photo to honor Grandma Crandell and the beautiful heritage that she created with Grandpa Crandell. Though we miss her terribly, we are grateful for all the reminders of her influence and presence in all the sweet faces of those in this photo and many more that couldn't make it for the photo.
Crandell Family Dec. 2006

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flashback Friday

Here is another old layout (Created also back in 2002) that is a flashback of when I was the same age as my lizzieboo! I look at it though and can see a lot of Jonathan. Anyway, fun times! Love it when all my worries and joys were so innocent and stress free. Sorry for the layout posts, a lot of my pictures are in layout form. They are a flashback in themselves!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy Birthday AVALON!

If you have ever met my little sister, you realize that birthdays to her are bigger than Christmas. She is 29 today. Here are some fun facts about her:
She is obsessed with the musical CATS and watches and dances to it everyday.
Every Friday night is pizza night.
She loves all of her nieces and nephews, especially when they follow her rules she posts on her bedroom door. (which consist of "STAY OUT OF AVALON'S ROOM!)
She loves to write poems and sing for any audience willing to listen.
She is the most disciplined person I have ever met (2 yrs ago, she decided to stop eating junk food, and having midnight snacks. Since then she has lost over 100lbs!).
She is truly an angel and I love her!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love you, Avalon.
Love, Eva (your favorite sister!)
Here are some photos of Avalon over the years...

A layout I created for her a few years ago when she graduated from Seminary

A fun glamour shot taken by my mom to include in a book for my Grandpa's 90th birthday

A photo of Avalon taken last year at her birthday (with her favorite leopard print!)

I adore this photo of Avalon taken when she was three!

This is another fun family favorite when Avalon was just one. Side note, I never could escape the Dorothy Hammill cut!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Teeth, teeth, and more teeth!

I just got back from taking my four older kids to the dentist for check ups and cleanings. The ironic thing is that my older boys are not avid teeth brushers. I fully expected them to have a mouth full of cavities. Emmalee is very responsible and is very diligent with her teeth brushing. Both my older boys had NO cavities while poor Emmalee had 2. Life just isn't fair! I was happy for the no cavities for those 2 boys, but Emmalee just didn't get it. I guess it's one of those teaching moments where moms get to preach "Life just isn't fair". Jonathan is a whole other story, YIKES! He will be getting all of his cavities fixed under anesthesia. At least they will all be done at the same time. I just hate having to pay $ to fix teeth that are baby teeth! I know, it's just as important, but the concept just kills me! Another realization..Jordan's wisdom teeth are trying to come in! He seems too young for this (13). I am really starting to feel I need to figure out a plan to pay for all this. Dental bills seem to add up fast.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Flashback Friday...

It seems that all of my friends that blog reserve Friday entries for Flashbacks. I thought I would give it a shot. I ran across this layout I created back in 2002 of one of our engagement photos. This photo was taken 15 years ago! Boy, have times changed! James and I look like we are babies! We practically were. I was barely 19 and James was 25. We got engaged 15 years ago on Christmas Eve in front of ALL of his family. It was at their Christmas Eve party with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc..Quite memorable! I am grateful I said yes, even though there are times I am sure he is thinking "What was I thinking@!?" But I wouldn't change a thing. James, thanks for putting up with me for this long! The title of this layout says it all, "Choose thy love, love thy choice" I am glad we chose each other! Love you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jacob! 11 is a great number...

It's the only year you are number one twice!

Eleven years ago, I was watching The Rosie O'Donnell show and it was the episode when she had Madonna on for the first time. I remember being excited to see them interact on her show since they were such good friends. I also remember that Madonna had her first baby just a few months earlier. I was counting my contractions during the episode and they began to increase. I didn't get to finish the show. Instead, James and I went to the hospital to have another baby boy to add to the family! By 6:55am the next day, Jacob Allen Flake made his arrival. He is still as sweet and angelic as he was when he arrived to join our family. We love you Jacob! Happy 11th birthday.

I am adding a fun slide show to the side of the blog because I am still to blog illiterate to post it in this post! So click on the video clip on the side to see fun photos of Jacob with one of his favorite songs by Green Day playing in the background.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is it bad to be happy when the kids return to school?

If it is, then I am guilty as charged! To counter my feelings of bliss and happiness that the kids have returned, I will post something about each of them that make me smile.

Jordan has recently become addicted to the show "Whose Line is it Anyway" and they rerun it on the Family channel. He has been recording them throughout the christmas break. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and laughing hysterically with him. It has been a great way to hang out with my "teenager" (Yikes, I feel old typing that!).

Jacob has a tough boy exterior, but is such a tender teddy bear inside! I love that he always wants to give me big tight squeezes as soon as he comes home from school, play, etc.. I loved watching him play with his little lizzieboo over the break. He would take her outside and help her on her new Dora "dirtbike" (she is clearly influenced by Jacob's taste in toys!) that she got for Christmas.

Emmalee is growing up to be such a beautiful and smart girl! I am amazed at the knowledge her sweet little head retains. Bad mommy alert.....When she was getting ready to head back to school today, she took out a packet from her backpack and left it on the counter. It was a packet with a letter informing me (the parent) that my child was picked to attend the Spelling Bee this Thursday. The packet was given to them to practice over the break! It's a good thing Emmalee is so easy going, it didn't even phase her that she never cracked it open once!

Jonathan is the most IMAGINITIVE boy I know! Over the break, it was hilarious to hear him tell other kids stories about anything he could think up. Even while wearing the jammies in the photo, he would tell me that he thinks he can feel webs shooting from his hands. What makes this so funny is the seriousness in his face when he tells his tall tales. I need to document these funny stories and publish them. They would entertain many!

Note to kids: I promise I do love you, don't be sad that I am happy you returned to school. I will miss the extra sleep you all let me have by playing with Lizzieboo when she woke up early. I will miss the fun Christmas movies we watched over and over. I will miss the Christmas music we sang to in the car while driving all over town. I will especially miss your fun giggles and smiles! I love you all! mom

Good thing I wrote this, I was really feeling guilty that I have had a plastered smile all day (wink wink)!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Can too much sleep be bad?

Wow, I haven't had that much sleep since July! (when I started my paper route). That was a very refreshing and lazy vacation. The weather was absolutely beautiful and on the chilly side.

The kids were anxious to all take baths as soon as we arrived (could it be because the bath was a jacuzzi!?) and the suite had 3 tv's. Of course the kids tv was connected to the playstation the whole weekend (which surprisingly they didn't fight over). We played rummikub mostly with one fun game of Settlers (which I won!).

The kids had a run in with a javelina (though it was from a safe distance) and continued to pretend there were more for the rest of the weekend. Dialogue was like this: "Mom, I think there is a javelina over there, no over there, wait, over there, heehee! Funny kids.

Another highlight was on Friday night when Grandpa and Grandma Flake came to play games and give Jacob and Lizzieboo their birthday presents. They also brought Martinelli's with them for the celebration. They played a few games of Rummikub and had fun visiting with the kids.

We want to thank them again for their generous gift for the weekend. We appreciated it more than we can express in words! The sleep alone was worth the trip. I am adding photos of our little adventure. I wish I could bank the sleep we got and use it when needed. At least I am energized for the following day....

Jordan loving his favorite Lizzieboo

James trying to retain his youth

Lizzieboo playing with her new "friends"

Grandpa and Grandma Flake come to visit

Lizzieboo and Dad rest from too much fun!

Emmalee and Lizzieboo enjoying the pretty fallen leaves

Jacob showing off his scooter jumping skills

Emmalee and Jacob posing for their photo obsessed mom

Jonathan shows his spiderman web arms!
A superhero for sure!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Heading out..

We are taking a little mini-vacation for the next 2 days. James parents were generous and gave all of their kids a couple nights at a resort in either Cave Creek or Sedona. We chose Cave Creek so we didn't have to travel too far. We are looking forward to a couple nights of sleeping through the night and soaking up every last second of Christmas break with the kids (they go back on Mon.).

It will be especially fun since we will be celebrating our Lizzieboo's 3rd b-day while we are there. She turns 3 on Jan 6th (Sun.). What a fun 3 years it has been with our favorite little lizzieboo! To think, we figured we were done after 4. It's a good thing James convinced me there was one more little girl anxious to be with our family.

I thought it would be fun to post some fun photos of our sweet little (and sassy) lizzieboo! Happy Birthday, Lizzieboo!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I said I would never start a blog...

I guess I should never say never! I have really enjoyed catching up with friends and family while viewing and reading their fun blogs. I figured I would be a sheep and follow..baa baa.

I should be in bed right now resting for my favorite job (a paper route I wake up at 1am every morning for), but no...I am sitting here wasting time playing on the computer.

I will post some funner posts later when I really do have time to compose a fun post with a little more substance.

I will do my best not to be a flakey blogger! Even though I am one by default (heehee).