Thursday, November 13, 2014

I am Grateful for Seasons

Kids get asked a lot about their favorites. What is your favorite color? What is your favorite subject? Who is your favorite teacher? Pet? Game? Food? Book? And on and on. We are expected to pick one. All kids know you can only have one favorite.

Except sometimes you have more than one favorite. One day I was talking to my Grandpa John. The conversation was rambling around and we landed on the subject of the weather and the seasons. He stated that he liked all the seasons. He liked that it changed. I realized then that I do, too.

When I was a kid I would have said that my favorite is summer. Summertime for a kid is fantastic. First, I definitely appreciated that it was warm. I am not a fan of being cold. Even in the hottest weather I will not swim in cold water. At Beaver's Bend Park in Oklahoma there is a swimming area. The water is river fed and it is cold, cold, cold. I won't put more than my toes in that water. Just enough to cool off. Mostly I sit on the beach and soak up the warmth. All that heat makes one appreciate a nice breeze. The second thing I like about the summer is the longer days. More time outside. In my corner of Texas the afternoons can get blistering hot, but the mornings and the evenings are delightful. Vacations happen in the summer. Independence day. Memorial Day. My birthday.

While I may not like being cold, I don't mind the cold. Winter has it's appeal. The cooler temps are a blessed break from the scorching heat of summer. It's a little exhilarating to be outside with the blustery winds. It's also really, really wonderful to get back in away from the winds. Those winds can cut right through you. Christmas happens. New Year's happens. I may not be able to wax as poetic about winter as summer, but I do appreciate it. I also appreciate that in Texas it is short. However, I would miss it if it didn't happen at all.

Spring and autumn almost don't happen at all here, so I think they are even more appreciated. Autumn smells good. That is my favorite thing about this time of year. It just smells good. Cinnamony and woodsy and crisp. Sometimes we get to see the leaves change color, although usually they just kind of give up and fall. Thanksgiving, which just might be my favorite holiday, happens in autumn. While we should appreciate the blessings we receive from the Lord all year, Thanksgiving is a time to give a special emphasis on it. We celebrate with food and family. I love food and family and together they are fantastic.

There are lots of things to like about springtime, but what I like best is wildflowers. Springtime is blue bonnet time in Texas. What an amazing site to see fields blanketed with that special blue. No wonder people pull off the side of the highways to get pictures. They are magnificent and then the Indian paintbrushes grow in. From the tiniest little flower that I don't know the name of to the purple coneflower and mexican blanket and lantana and sunflowers and all the others, I love wildflowers. They are hopeful and beautiful and refreshing.

I love the seasons. I love that they change. I would not want to live in eternal summer or endless winter. I want them all. Each has it's own unique flavor and beauty. I am grateful for the seasons.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Learning Responsibility

My friends post the most interesting things on Facebook. There are a few topics that almost guarantee that I will click and read. Parenting and education are at the top of my list. This morning I read an op-ed piece from the Washington Post. Homework is my kids job.

I didn't find anything earth shattering.  I agreed with what the author had to say about teaching kids responsibility. What I found amazing was some of the comments. Disregarding the ones that were just downright rude, there was a significant number of people that thought this was awful parenting. I'm not sure if they misunderstood what she was saying or if the really and truly believed it was their duty to do homework for their kids. Probably a mix of both.

Growing up I understood that homework was mine, among other things. Actually I would have been appalled if my mother had tried to take over my work. She certainly was there if I truly needed help or if I had a question. Unless I sought out her assistance the most oversight I got from her was, "Do you have homework tonight?"

That was it. There might have been some reminders about managing my time, but otherwise I was on my own. If I failed to complete my work, I got to live with the consequences. If I brought home grades that were not reflective of my ability, there were negative results at home. I think I brought home some drastically bad marks in fourth grade. I was grounded. No TV. No friends. Nothing fun until report cards came out again and I showed improvement. It only took once.

Just as my parents were not accountable for my work, I am not the boss of my children's work. As a matter of fact there are several things my kids are expected to accomplish on their own. Chores. Even a two year old can help unload the dishwasher and fold a washcloth. Find your own shoes. Twelve and up can do their own laundry. Although my 8 and 10 year olds have decided they can handle that on their own. Get yourself dressed and, no, a blanket does not count as clothing. High school kids have to pay for their own field trips. Ask Gramma yourself if you want a popcicle. 

There might be a few more things to add to this list, but I think you get the gist. 

How grateful I am for family that taught me to fend for myself. Actually, I think the real lesson was on choosing consequences and learning to live with the results of your decisions.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Do You Know Where You Came From?

I once read an op-ed piece about the great state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is one of those states in the middle that seems to not clearly belong to one of the cultural regions of the country. Is it midwest? South? Western? North? Ask any one person from Oklahoma (or outside for that matter) and you will get wildly different answers. I believe the answer depends on how your feel and maybe a little on where your people originated. My ancestors were largely displaced Cherokees and farmers from the deep south. There is also a generous number of Yankees and some up from Texas. Growing up I identified more with the Cherokee and then my southern roots. As I discover more about my ancestors, I am finding joy in some of these other aspects of my heritage. It is kind of fun to be a mix.

This is my grandmother, Amy Ellene Davis. This picture was taken when she was a senior in high school. I know a lot about my family because of her. She was a fantastic storyteller. She would tell stories about growing up in rural Oklahoma during the Great Depression. The drought was so bad they could stick broom handles all the way down into cracks in the ground. She was a bit of  a tomboy. She had a pet skunk named Jiggs. Her first daughter, Beverly, had a remarkable singing voice. I wish that I had recorded even half of the stories she would tell.

This is Jake Maggard. He married Ellene. I remember how all us grandkids adored him. My sister and I would play and play with him. He would try to get us to behave, but we never quite took him seriously.

This is their second daughter. She is my mother. From my grandmother, I know that Omicka Maggard got into a fair amount of trouble. I also know that she was a delight to my grandparents. Gramma Ellene in particular.

I learned a lot from family stories. Most importantly I learned a love of family and a desire to know them. I have an ancestor that was a essentially kicked out of Scotland for backing the wrong king. I have another ancestor that came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant. Some walked the Trail of Tears. Some migrated before they were forced to leave their lands in Georgia. Soldiers in just about every war that the United States has been involved. During the Civil War, family fought on both sides. Farmers. Lots and lots of farmers. I love my family. I love finding out about them. Not just their names, but their lives.

I am very, very grateful for my ancestors.

Sweet Restful Afternoon

There is something wonderful about work. It is satisfaction in a job well done. There is also something quite lovely about rest, especially on Sunday afternoons. Sunday afternoons seem an especially good time for a nap.

Gramma Ellene took a short nap every afternoon. She would get up early and work all morning. After lunch it was always time for a rest. I'm not sure it was ever more than a cat nap. When I was little I never understood why anyone would want to sleep in the daytime. There were too many things to do and explore. I have come to appreciate a little rest time. I don't take a daily nap like Gramma did. I wonder if maybe I should. Just a short little one. A long nap would be too indulgent. I would feel guilty. Except on Sundays. Long naps are guilt-free on Sundays. Sometimes a kid or two will even come lay down with me. Not often, but it is nice when they do.

Today I am grateful for naps.

See. Even Hannah knows that naps are good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Am Thankful For Bones

The last ten years of my beloved grandmother's life were not the best. She was in nearly constant pain due to fractures in her spine. These fractures were the result of osteoporosis. The quality of her life was impacted. Sometimes I wonder if we would have had a few more years with her if not for the cascade of health problems the first fall precipitated.

Bone health is something for which I've had some degree of anxiety. I have many of the risk factors. Small framed. White. Female. Family history. The thought of having fragile bones has bothered me. I really would prefer to stay active and pain free.

Yesterday I had my first ever bone density scan. As much as I've tried to manage what factors I can (I try to eat right, stay active, get my calcium) I was a little afraid of getting a definitive answer. There is that irrational part of me that whispers to me that if I ignore a problem it will go away. If I don't know how bad it is, it doesn't exist. Stupid. Yes, I know. Ninety-five percent. That is how much I believe it is better to know. However, that five percent of me that is not a sane or reliable voice is rather loud.

So. Now I know. My bones are normal!

Isn't that fantastic! My bones are normal. What was I so worried about anyway? Today I am thankful for bones. Wonderful, beautiful bones. Good for dancing, walking, running, jumping, hugging, spinning, working and a million other things. I love my bones.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Voted Today

Thankfulness Day 2.

I am grateful for the opportunity to vote. I am grateful that I have a say in the process, no matter how small that say may seem. Often I take for granted how amazing it is that I can participate. There have been times I have neglected to vote. I know. Bad, bad me. But I voted today. I try to make sure that I vote intelligently. You know, check up on the candidates and the issues. There was really only one issue this time around that I really cared about. I find that I get very tired of the candidates. But I tried. I tried to care and I voted. It means something.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Month of Gratitude

It is November. The time when we posted daily on Facebook those things for which we are thankful. I have joyfully looked forward to this time. Even before Facebook. This time of year is my favorite. I like the holidays starting with Halloween. I have come to love Thanksgiving most of all. It is a wonderful reminder of what is truly important and how very, very blessed I am. This year I want to not only name my gratitude, I want to explain it. My goal is to post everyday. I've already missed the first two days of November, but I will try not to think of that as falling behind. I will start fresh right now.

I am grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There was a point in my life that I did not take it seriously. Everyone else was having fun and I was alone. I made choices that were not the best. I admit that I had a good time, but I wasn't happy. And because I'm stupid it took me some time to realize that I wasn't happy. A friend started asking me questions about my beliefs and I had to look closely at myself. I had to evaluate what I really believed. I came back. I spent a lot of time on my knees. I came to realize that I had never actually been alone.

Every good thing that has happened to me has been because of the gospel of Christ. My husband and our children are two very large examples of the goodness. Some of my closest friendships began at church. I know that no matter where we go, if we can find a chapel we have instant community. There are opportunities to serve and be served. We learn from each other. We are strengthened and edified as we gather together.

I am grateful for the scriptures. There is so much to learn. Each time I read them there is something new. It amazes me how I can read the same passage and learn something each time. It amazes me how sometimes I'll be reading something I've read before and I notice something that I didn't see before. Isn't that fantastic! Something new every time.

When I was in high school I attended early morning seminary. The first year we studied the Old Testament. I don't really remember much from those lessons. What I do know is that I love and adore the Old Testament. Sometimes those people were just crazy. On the other hand there is much beauty and depth of gospel knowledge.

Now I have the opportunity to teach seminary. If you don't know, in our church seminary is for youth 14-18. We start at 6:00 am everyday during the school year. It can be challenging. It is not easy to get up that early. There are a lot of days that seem to accomplish nothing. On the other hand, there are a lot of days that are fantastic. These kids are reading their scriptures. These kids are hungry for the doctrine. They don't want it watered down. They are ready to tackle the hard things. They are simply amazing.

Well there it is. I suppose I snuck in a few extra gratefuls. But they overlap a bit. If you didn't catch it all, I am grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the gospel of Christ, my scriptures and seminary. Whew. That seems like a good enough start.

Until next time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Keeping It Real

A friend of mine posted on Facebook a little over a week ago about how we usually show our best on social media. We show our "Facebook perfect" lives with pictures of our awesome food, vacation, or favorite selfie. We rarely have a perfectly human and flawed day. As a result, as some of the replies noted, we can have an unrealistic expectation of what our lives should be. We have a tendency to compare our worst to everyone's best.
I've really been thinking about that post. People in general want to show their best. I don't think it is wrong to strive for perfection or at least to strive for better. The problems come when we beat ourselves up for not reaching unrealistic heights, or for not giving ourselves sufficient time/experience to reach those heights.
In the interest of keeping it real here is my house.

This was the one clean corner in my home. I was so proud of myself for getting this much done. I'm very good at organizing. Very good at putting it all together.

Here it is now. As you can see, I'm not as good at maintaining as I am at getting it organized. I've got things stored underneath. I don't really count that as clutter. I do wish I had a better place to put it or had some clever way to disguise/display it. The stuff on top drives me a little crazy. I was very clear with the inhabitants of the house that NOTHING was to be on top of the craft table. Honestly, I think I'm the one that did it.

This is my living room. It almost always looks like this. It's not entirely my fault, although I feel the blame/shame of not having a picture perfect living room. If I could convince the little people of the house to keep their little things out of my living room without loosing my mind, that would be lovely. I like sanity more than I like a perfect living room.

We use to have a second sofa. It was the laundry sofa. What you don't see in this pic is the baskets of unfolded laundry behind this sofa. The theory is that everyone over the age of 12 is completely responsible for their own laundry. For the younger set of Monzingos I will wash and dry, but they must fold and put away. Still working on that fold and put away part.

Some days I actually get my bed made. Most days I do not. Well I may be at about 50%. My kids never get their beds made. I just can't see myself making them do that when I can't get mine made everyday.

This is my messy house and I'm somewhat OK with it. I wish that it was better, but not enough to do anything about it. Even before I had kids I was not exactly a fantastic housekeeper. Honestly, the current level of clutter is a bit more than I want. I feel like I should be able to do better. But I can only work on one thing at a time. One corner at a time. One room at a time. I'll get there. Eventually. Maybe.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Here we are in beautiful Arkansas.

Sculpture at Crystal Bridges Art Museum.

We made it. My mother and apparently her little dogs were anxious for our arrival. It didn't actually take too log. We stopped in Adair to see Grandpa. He filled what empty spaces I had in the vehicle with Gramma's collection of baskets. I am now the proud owner of a LOT of baskets. When he asked me if I wanted them I really had no concept of the number. 

After packing the Suburban to the gills we traveled on to Arkansas. We were enthusiastically greeted by four little dogs and one Grandmother. We had a short respite and then went to the waterfall. I think it had a name. It didn't seem to much matter. The kids liked climbing on the rocks and wading in the stream. Joe didn't even mind when he slipped on a rock and cut his knee.

Today we spent at Crystal Bridges. It is an art museum and there are also hiking trails. It is a beautiful place. The purpose today was senior pictures. I think we'll have to go back another time and explore some. We didn't even make it into the inside portion of the museum. The kids quickly hot and tired and hungry. They just didn't last long at all. Daniel may actually have been the worst. He was not excited about pictures. He tolerated the production. He loves us. Hopefully, he will be as willing for the studio portion.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bacon Bar and Grill

This is our third full day visiting family in Oklahoma. The kids are having a grand time. First, Grandad has a swimming pool. The kids have wanted to swim every day as soon as they wake up. Almost the entire first day was spent outside, which explains are varying states of crispiness. I really thought I had done a better job applying sunscreen. The second day a little less time was spent in the pool, and most of that was during time that didn't have a lot of sun.

The next big excitement is cousins. The cousins are younger but that doesn't seem to matter much. Even Daniel and Hannah will play with the little ones. So, of course, the Oklahoma cousins think their Texas cousins are the coolest. I think Jacob is the only one not completely enamored with the little cousins. They are girls and when one is six it is common knowledge that girls have cooties.

I love family. I have loved sitting and listening to my sisters. I have loved sharing a sunrise with my dad. Today a plethora of cousins will be descending. I miss this a bit. All my Oklahoma kin are so close. They have proximity and see each other. We are not without extended family in Texas but we don't visit often. We are just spread out a little too far.

There is something special about growing up with your cousins and being able to spend time with your grandparents or aunts and uncles without your parents around. I loved being at my grandmother's house. Once my sister and my brother and I decided that we should go see her. She lived on the opposite side of town. We got on my bike. All of us. With Jada behind me and Miles in the basket that was attached to the handlebars I pedaled that bike across town to Gramma's. It seems terribly daring to me now. I have no idea how that bike (or the kids for that matter) made it without incident. At the time it seemed a perfectly logical way to travel.

We have one more day here. Tomorrow we'll go to Arkansas to see my mother. I am so grateful for this chance to be here. I love my family. I wish we could come more frequently. Maybe the next visit will be the Oklahoma kin taking a tour of Texas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Once when we were coming back to Texas after visiting family in Oklahoma, my husband remarked that the return trip always seemed shorter. Actually it was more than just a remark. He said something smart-aleky about the car liked Texas better. After 20-ish years of living in the Dallas area, I have figured out why it takes so long to get to Oklahoma. It has nothing to do with vehicular preference. Apart from the fact that we never leave at the planned time, the largest factor in our inability to escape the city is the 562 things we try to do on our way out of town.

This most recent trip is an example. I thought we would leave about 1:00. We had a few things to do. On paper they sounded simple enough. So, here is the list.

1. Go to high school get Daniel.
2. Drop off dry cleaning. 
3. Take Hannah's friend home.
4. Get Miles.
5. Pick up prescription for Miles. 
6. Drive north.

Seems a simple enough plan. Except that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING takes much, much longer than anticipated. Just getting out of the door takes longer. All the very simple, seemingly small things we intend to do take about 30 minutes. Each. Which means it takes us about 6 hours to get to the Red River. It's surreal. I look at the list now and still can't believe it took us so long. But it is like that every time we try to go anywhere. There is always just a few small things that slow us down. 

Maybe I need a new super power. The awesome and amazing ability to get out of Texas in a reasonable amount of time.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On This Day

Today we buried my brother-in-law. Two and a half weeks ago his oldest daughter found him when she woke to get ready for work. He had suffered a stroke. The doctor used the word "catastrophic" to describe what happened to him. We, the family, collectively held our breath. First, there was the uncertainty of how extensive the damage was. He could not speak or care for himself. He did have a few lucid moments when he seemed to know what was going on and could respond to questions. As it became clear that Michael was not going to recover, we waited for the inevitable. His daughters, my mother and father-in-law, Kermit and other family kept vigil. Two weeks after his stroke, he died. And today he was laid to rest next to his wife and son.

This is the third family funeral that I have attended in two years time. Last September Michael's wife, Janet, lost her battle with breast cancer. The year before that my own dear grandmother passed on into eternity.

Passed on. Passed away. Such interesting expressions. Our loved ones are not lost to us. They've just taken the next step. Maybe this knowledge is the reason why I half expected to see my brother-in-law sitting up and smiling at us when we came in for the funeral. It is the same for me when I call Grandpa John. Sometimes I really think that Gramma will answer.

How very grateful I am for the Gospel. How very grateful I am for the wonderful Plan of Happiness. I know that we can be reunited with our loved ones. Families were meant to be eternal. How I love my family. I will miss those that have moved on. But what a joyful reunion.

Til we meet again.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Girls Camp 2014

We (Hannah and I) are home from another fabulous year at camp. I have been going as an adult leader since Hannah's first year. I love, love, love camp. Camp has been at Beaver's Bend State Park in Oklahoma for a lot of years now. It is a beautiful place. Every year I think that I should get the entire family there. It would be a perfect place for a little vacation.

My responsibilities changed this year. I was a leader over the 4th year campers. Fourth year is a little bit special. This is Indian Princess year. The girls participate in what is called Legend Night. They spend several months before camp learning an Indian sign language to The Lord's Prayer. They are also given a bit of muslin to make a dress. There are a few specifications on constructing the dress, as far as shape and length go. However, the decorating is up to their imaginations. It is amazing what they come up with. Lots of fringe and beading, but not always. One of the more creative dresses I saw was without fringe or beading. The young lady used Sharpies to draw some rather elaborate scrolls and flowers. It was lovely. Hannah choose to use ties on the side, fringe and beading on the sleeves, and then a bit of decorative ribbons. She got a lot of compliments on her dress.

The program starts with a story. This story was written by a sister that had been in our stake about 19 years ago. It was based on a family story. It tells of a pioneer couple that spent a winter with a tribe of Indians. They shared the gospel during this time. The Young Women values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity and virtue) were included in the program after they became part of Personal Progress. The parents write a paragraph about which value their daughter exemplifies. Each girl is spotlighted as the paragraph about her is read. Then they perform the Lord's Prayer.

I'm not sure that I can adequately describe how beautiful it is to watch these girls. This year there were 25 girls performing the Lord's Prayer in unison. The entire program is very moving. It is a lot of work. The first part of camp is all practice. Not much free time until after the presentation. Then they get to spend a day on the lake. Unless Oklahoma weather doesn't cooperate. Like this year. We ended up taking them to a movie.

It is a week we stay up too late. There are bugs. There is heat and crazy Oklahoma weather. The girls giggle and laugh and have a good time together. The adults remember that they were once girls and they giggle and laugh and have a good time. Canoes, hiking, horseback riding, archery are all included. But more than that there a particularly good spirit about this camp. The leaders try to create an environment where the girls can feel closer to God. It helps immensely that we are in a beautiful wooded area. Beyond that the leaders all bring a strong testimony of the Gospel. A reverence for His creations. A pure and sincere love of these young women. We want them to have fun, but we also want them to be in places where they can feel the Spirit. Places they can learn how the Holy Ghost speaks to them.

I know that I can't go to camp forever, but I just might try.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cultivating Gratitude

The past few years have been hard. The grand majority of the difficulties for our little family are directly related to finances (or lack of finances). Loss of business. Look for job. Loose job. Look for another job. Job doesn't pay enough. Car repossessed. Another car wrecked. Utilities always paid late. On and on and on. I'm not going to lie. I have whined. I have complained bitterly. It's not been fun.

There is a sunny side. There are more blessings that come in trials than at any other times. Today is a perfect example.

We have one vehicle for our large and busy family. Kermit needs it to get to work. This morning I had an early morning meeting for seminary teachers. Kermit would drop me on his way to work. My friend Carrie Folsom, who also had to be at the meeting, generously agreed to bring me home. Our home is very much out of her way. How very grateful I am for good people like Carrie Folsom. At the conclusion of our meeting my phone rings. It is the kids. The kids who have overslept and missed the bus. Not only do I not have a car, I am at least a half hour away from home. A couple of quick phone calls and I found rides for all of the kids. Lana Whitely and Lisa Leach (who I woke up. Sorry, Lisa!) agreed to help. They all made it.

The first blessing in not having a car, I got to spend a little extra time with a friend. We both have busy lives and we don't spend a lot of time together. I genuinely enjoy talking to her. Carrie is remarkable in many ways. She is gentle and compassionate and I appreciate her insights.

The second blessing of not having a car, our family had the opportunity to be served by our neighbors. I did not have the ability to cure this minor crisis. Our had the opportunity to be served by others. My children see that they are part of a community. Hopefully, they learn some compassion and gain a desire to serve others to the best of their ability.

Compassion and a desire to serve are two things that have been increased in myself. I did not lack compassion before, but my ability to empathize has broadened and deepened.  I understand at a different level. I've always had the inclination to help those around me, but now I have a greater understanding of how to go about it. I cannot quite declare as Paul did when he said he was "exceedingly joyful in our tribulation." But I think I am getting there. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's Great to Be 8. Part 2. (The Important Stuff)

My youngest daughter is 8. What is so important about 8? She could get baptized. Yesterday was the party. Today was the baptism. It was wonderful.

Her oldest brother performed the baptism. Grandma and Grandpa Monzingo gave talks. Kermit confirmed her. It was perfect. Well, almost. I think more family, more extended family would have made it perfect. But it was wonderful anyway. There were a significant number of ward members in attendance.

"Why are all these people here?" she asked.

"Because they love you." I said.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Great to Be 8!

One of the best ideas I ever had was applying chalkboard paint to the cabinet doors. I've used the treated sections to post the menu for our nightly meals. (I seriously get tired of hearing "What's for dinner?" multiple times every day.) Sometimes it is the message center. It has been mostly been used for the kids to play. Today it was the artist canvas for Elizabeth to create a message for her sister.

My youngest daugter is 8. Her birthday was last Tuesday. Today was her party. A birthday party I think was her idea of ultimate happiness. Two friends came over. That was a bit disappointing for her. According to Sarah, three friends needed to be here to be considered a party. It was fun for her anyway. Kermit grilled burgers and hot dogs. We decorated cupcakes. Sang some karaoke. Surprisingly, Joseph was the one most into the karaoke. Most of Sarah's collection is pop songs. It was somewhat amusing to listen to Joseph putting a heavy metal spin on those songs.

The best part of the day may have been the trip to the pet store with her daddy. She has been asking for a gerbil incessantly for nearly a year.  Two pet stores later, she settled on two hamsters. The gerbil bit. The dwarf robo hamsters bit. She got two very cute hamsters. They have been named Oreo and Cinnamon. We don't know if they are boy or girl hamsters. I suppose if we have baby hamsters we will know.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day my little Sarah will be baptized. Her brother, Daniel, will be the one to baptize her. When we asked who she wanted to do the honors she looked sideways at Daniel and said, "He needs the practice."