Jerseys, Camp and Star Wars

This week started out pretty normally. We went to the library. We went to the beach, etc. But then midway through the week, we split up and Woo went to youth camp with Ruby and Herbie. And the rest of us stayed home.

The younger kids were pretty jealous; they really wanted to go too! But in the end, we *might* have had the better week. It was pretty relaxing; they got to pick their dinners, and I let them watch the original Star Wars (with a little bit of manual editing).

I really like this having the kids seek for personal revelation every night. The older four are definitely getting the hang of it, and are becoming independent in discovering and doing the most important thing for them right now.

Herbie finished his Duty to God without any prodding or anything from us or anyone. Every single one of the kids now spends some self-appointed time in the scriptures every day. Ruby and Herbie are doing more Family History on their own. Moses discovered a huge personal weakness that he's now working on, etc.

One morning Linus told us he needed to give a Book of Mormon to his new soccer friend at the park. He and Moses both wrote in it and were very excited to give it him. In return, the friend gave them each full soccer uniforms with their names on the jerseys!

Ruby was better than perfect the morning before youth camp because she'd received the revelation that she needed to be a good example at camp. She'd invited two friends who both said they were coming and she assumed it was for them. But she was derailed when both of those friends fell through (welcome to missionary work, Ruby!), and after getting hardly any sleep, never really recovered.

I don't know about anyone else, but our kids can be a little (or a lot!) surly when low on sleep...

Herbie had fun, but came home a zombie. I think he had big dreams of starting all the fires... Woo had to start the first charcoal Herbie failed to light, and I'm not sure how he did from there. He crawled into his tent to sleep at a reasonable time and even attempted a nap the next day, but was never successful.

We (Woo and I) were afraid that Herbie would be apoplectic when he saw Moses and Linus' jerseys, but there was no reaction at all. He must have been too exhausted.

Ruby and Herbie did have a lot of fun canoeing, running around, and other activities with the youth... They definitely want to go again next year.

Penelope finally got to go shopping with her birthday money. In the end, all she bought was a hair brush, some bubbles and a bucket of strawberry yogurt.

Penelope--my occasional yoga buddy.

Archie has been promised a bike by his dad if he can be dry at night for two weeks. He's terrified of the pee alarm and told us he could just do it himself. It's been one week and he's done it. But at the expense of some sleep (see surly above).

Woo was great to camp with the kids. He enjoys camping and doing stuff with the youth, and his trip was made more comfortable by taking half our mattress (it zips down the middle) to sleep in the van. Also, he was more than satisfied with the food.

That's about it, except our episode finally aired. It was a... thing... I guess. Hope your week was great!


House Hunters International Fans

I assume you all know that House Hunters International isn't real... and while we haven't seen the episode yet (so don't really know how everything plays out), we still need to come clean on two things.

1. Ligia never would've shown us an apartment with two holes in the wall. This is the apartment we'd already been living in for 6 months, and our own kids made those holes.

We had trouble finding contractors to even come and look at them, let alone fix them, and we felt terrible that they remained for filming. They have been fixed now. Mostly. Could do with another coat of paint... Hopefully they never make the episode...


2. Ligia is wonderful, but we did not use a real estate agent to find our apartment. In fact, it would've been nearly impossible for us to rent an apartment long term in Portugal without the invaluable help of a Senior Missionary couple--Elder and Sister Roque--working under the direction of their Mission President, Manoel Amorim. We are extremely grateful to them.

Oh, and... we know our reasoning for "choosing" the apartment we did, doesn't make a lot of sense. We kind of had to make up something on the fly and weren't very good at it. We're not complete idiots about budget and space required. Sorry about that.

That is all. Thank you.


July--The Best Month of the Year!

This week would have have been a quiet summer week if it hadn't been for Penelope and Woo's birthdays! Penelope is the best thing that ever happened to Woo's birthday. His birthday used to be the absolute worst day of his year, but with Penelope being so excited for her own birthday and so excited to be sharing it with him, it brightens his day.

There was only one throwback incident, where he was stung by a weever fish while bodysurfing with the kids. He decided to consult local knowledge, and the lifeguard put his foot in scalding hot water for as long as Woo could handle and the pain was gone.

Penelope was thrilled to get a few princess dresses and a hula hoop, all of which the entire family enjoyed. There was a hula hoop contest one evening. Herbie is hands down the best hula-hooper; Penelope is the best jump-roper; Woo was a close second in both.

There was a lot of pretend play with the princess costumes. Even Ruby fit in some, but I didn't get a picture.

Nellpea (to Archie): Lets go to the wedding! 
Archie (coming along): Okay, but I have a war at 10:35... 

Other than that, we mostly settled into our summer groove. Moses and Linus made a lot of folded paper creations and taught everyone else. A pretty neat one was the "hexa-flexa-gon" they learned from Khan Academy. Also these giant paper airplanes were fun.

Moses: I love summer, summer is great! But I hate the dreams!! 
Me: The dreams? 
Moses: Yeah, they’re horrible. I keep dreaming I’m in school and my teacher says, “one more day until summer.” And it never is, it’s always one more day! 

The kids had lots of fun at the beach, made more fun for me (I'm on constant lifeguard duty) by limiting our time there to 1 hour a day, frank discussions about water safety (after Linus was swept away one morning, but saved by a nearby Woo), and all the kids carrying their own water toys themselves.

Penelope: I'm going to do what old people do when they’re hot!
And by old people she means anyone over the age of 8 who wears a wetsuit to the beach on a hot day.

Look closely at Woo behind Archie. This sit-down surfing was a big hit with the kids who laughed and laughed and then laughed some more when they all tried it themselves.

There's also been some time at the park, where Archie has begun to feel comfortable playing soccer with his brothers, and even occasionally making or saving a goal.

Anyway, that's our week. Hope yours was great!

Talk Below:

Several years ago, whenever I was in an argument and would seek proof that I was right from the scriptures, I would read Romans 3:10-12.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 
After a couple times of this I came to realize that it did not matter if I was right in this particular argument. I was a sinner somewhere else, and it was my job to forgive.

One scripture that has helped me to be patient with others and myself is in Leviticus 5:4-6.
When he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin. 
All of us sin in ways we don’t even know. And when we do figure it out, as soon as we repent the Lord will forgive us.

We need to remember this is true of ourselves and also of others. The Lord will make our sins known to us when we are humble and seeking after Him.

A few years ago, I made two big changes. I started to spend much more time in the scriptures and to spend much more time doing family history. About a year after that, we spent 8 fast Sunday’s fasting for each member of our family in turn.

When it was my turn, it was made known to me that I had two serious weaknesses. The scriptures call them “vanity of heart” and “seeking to excel.”

I was very embarrassed when I finally understood and I could see that these had been a problem my entire life. It was painful.

Once I discovered my sin and repented, I was given extra strength to overcome it. We read this scripture a lot, but that’s because it is so good.
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 
God made my weaknesses known to me because He loves me. He wanted me to repent so that I could be made whole through the atonement of His Son.

If we truly are seeking Christ we need to expect that we are going to be humbled, and that is wonderful because “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.”

We are completely and totally reliant on Him and His forgiveness, which is so freely given when we repent.

I know these things to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Muitos anos atrás, sempre quando eu estava em uma discussão e buscava provas de que eu estava certo nas escrituras, eu lia Romanos 3:10-12.
10 Como está escrito: Não há justo, nem sequer um;
11 Não há ninguém que entenda; não há ninguém que busque a Deus.
12 Todos se extraviaram, e juntamente se fizeram inúteis. Não há quem faça o bem, não há nem um só. 
Depois de algumas vezes, percebi que não importava se eu estava certo nessa discussão em particular porque eu sou uma pecador em outras coisas, e meu trabalho é perdoar.

Uma escritura que me ajudou a ter paciência com os outros e comigo é em Levítico 5:4-6.
E o souber depois, culpada será numa dessas coisas. Acontecerá, pois, que, sendo ela culpada numa dessas coisas, confessará aquilo em que pecou. E a sua oferta pela culpa trará ao Senhor pelo seu pecado que pecou: assim o sacerdote por ela fará expiação do seu pecado. 
Todos nós pecamos de formas que nem conhecemos. E quando descobrirmos e nos arrependermos, o Senhor vai nos perdoar.

Precisamos lembrar que isso é verdade sobre nós mesmos e também sobre os outros. O Senhor vai nos dar conhecidos quando formos humildes e buscarmos por Ele.

Há alguns anos, fiz duas grandes mudanças. Comecei a passar muito mais tempo nas escrituras e muito mais tempo fazendo a história da família. Cerca de um ano depois disso, nossa família usamos oito domingos de jejum para jejuar por cada membro de nossa família em vez.

Quando chegou a minha vez, descobri que tinha duas fraquezas sérias. As escrituras os chamam de “vaidade de coração” e “procura sobressair-se”.

Fiquei muito envergonhada quando finalmente entendi e pude ver que eu tinha estas problemas durante toda a minha vida. Foi doloroso.

Quando descobri o meu pecado e me arrependi, recebi força para superá-lo. Nós lemos muitos essa escritura em Éter 12, mas isso é porque é tão bom.
E se os homens vierem a mim, mostrar-lhes-ei sua fraqueza. E dou a fraqueza aos homens a fim de que sejam humildes; e minha graça basta a todos os que se humilham perante mim; porque caso se humilhem perante mim e tenham fé em mim, então farei com que as coisas fracas se tornem fortes para eles. 
Deus mostrou-me minhas fraquezas porque ele me ama. Ele queria que eu me arrependesse para que eu pudesse ser curado através da expiação de Seu Filho.

Se realmente buscamos o Cristo, precisamos esperar que seremos humilhados, e isso é bom porque “nenhuma carne pode habitar na presença de Deus a menos que seja por meio dos méritos e misericórdia e graça do Santo Messias”.

Somos todos completamente e totalmente dependentes Dele e do Seu perdão, que é dado tão livremente quando nos arrependemos.

Eu sei que estas coisas são verdadeiras. Em nome de Jesus Cristo, amém.