Bottom of the Barrel Pictures This Week

(The red cabbage I threw in the fried rice gave the whole meal a weird Halloween effect.)

Last night I remembered something that had happened to us that we had told the kids about, and I had told my mom, but I didn’t write it, and I don’t think we told anyone else. 

Not quite a year and a half ago, before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Woo and I decided on a plan to move back. It was a Saturday night and we had finally decided on something that we thought could work. It wasn’t going to be easy, and there were parts we weren’t looking forward to, but we were going to do it.

And the very next morning, Sunday, the stake president showed up in our branch. We had never met him before, and we knew he was going to ask us how long we were staying (they always do), and the whole meeting, I was fully determined to tell him that we were leaving as soon as possible.

He stood up to speak at the end and I didn’t understand a lot of what he said, but I had the conscience thought “safety.” And I had a feeling that was roughly: This man, the stake president, he holds the keys of the stake. I can trust him. He means safety.

Then after the meeting he met personally with Woo and I. It was kind of an amazing interview. It wasn’t really anything he said (because some of the things he said didn’t work for us—he spoke English so I got it all), but it was the feeling.

We did not tell him we were leaving immediately. We told him we didn’t know, because the Spirit in the room completely changed our hearts. Woo and I never spoke about our plan to leave again. We knew we were staying… for the time being.

Since then, there’ve been other opportunities to leave, but they’ve all felt empty after that very powerful plea to stay we got from the stake president.

We’ve also looked at several houses and apartments here (Woo and I looked at three this week), but they’ve never been right.

So we persist in a transient state, which is often very trying.

We have one more week until Christmas break. This school year has been MUCH better then last year (answer to prayers). I am not counting down day by day, but we are looking forward to the break.

Except that I am not prepared. We have hardly any presents (we’re usually done long before now). Also, we get three weeks off of school. (There’s an extra week to try to stem the spread of Covid.)

We have no idea how we’re going to spend that three weeks. We briefly thought of flying home, but since the extra week is a Covid measure, there are new travel restrictions and a host of other hurdles… Anyway, we’re staying here. I’m sure it will all work out :).

Moses was excited one evening because he got revelation that instead of only thinking of Jesus’ birth this Christmas, he should prepare as if Christ’s second coming were this Christmas. He’s been doing his best.

Woo came up with an analogy talking to Herbie that has been very effective at stopping bickering.

He said we’re playing dodgeball, not tennis or ping pong. Whenever anyone makes a remark that is contentious or distracting or not literally 100% true, we’re not trying to hit it back in a never ending back and forth, but we’re trying to dodge it and let it die.

Several kids have started including it in their prayers (please help us to play dodge ball not tennis), and it’s common for someone to mention ping pong, tennis, or dodge ball when there is a game of ping ping going on, and for it to die.

The current Seminary challenge is an indexing challenge and the ward or branch that wins gets a pizza lunch after a baptism session at the temple.

Whoever issued it must not have been aware of the current indexing situation in the stake, or maybe they did, but wanted to incentivize others while buying fewer pizzas.

Ruby and Herbie have been doing just what they always have. Here’s a screen shot of the family group Herbie started and is running. Look at his cute, encouraging note on the right hand side. (Lots of exclamation points!!! :)

Sometimes I think the kids aren’t making or reaching goals in anything worthwhile, and then I realize… oh, actually they are.

We recommitted to consciously making goals for Children and Youth about a month and a half ago.

This got Herbie started on learning programming in a better way than he ever has before. He works on it almost every morning before school (as his first class starts at 9:15).

And Archie started a personal revelation journal, and Penelope sent interview questions to Grandma Sandy, and Moses is reading all of Elder Bednar’s talks. These are all good things that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t sat down and talked with them about it.

But otherwise, all the kids really are forming their own goals in all the areas. We just don’t write them down anywhere.

For example, Penelope and Archie are working on a book together—“How to be a Princess.”

Penelope is working on the story. Archie is doing the illustrations. They do a lot of giggling at times.

Linus now loves indexing, for example. He looks forward to it everyday and proudly announces his progress at the end of each session.

He had problems at the beginning, none of his batches would actually submit, but he’s figured that out now, and was super pleased to finally pass Nelpea in the numbers.

Ruby didn’t go to the temple with us this week because of a cold that gave her congestion. It wasn’t Covid, but she didn’t sleep well that night and it was one of the symptoms they ask you to stay out of the temple if you have. She’s over it now.

Woo’s been on a photo labeling kick, frequently calling kids over to help identify kids and people in photos from our past. I think they all enjoy it.

And that’s our week! Hope yours was great!