Tuesday, January 29, 2013

World Views

I've been discovering some things about world views lately.

I view the world one way. It is influenced by how I was brought up, my personality, my current environment, and a myriad of other factors. Someone else sees the world in a totally different way, and it could even be the exact opposite of my world view. This is basic psychology.

What I didn't learn in college (or maybe I didn't correctly glean it), was, how do you reconcile these differences?

Is my "truth" right? Is their "truth" wrong?

One thing I know for sure is that there are eternal truths, and they will be true regardless of whether you actually believe them or perceive them to be true.

But what about the smaller things, like what product will add volume to my hair, or whether it's better to read your scriptures in the morning or at night, or if you bleed Democratic blue or Republican red?

The thing that I discovered is, you will probably never meet someone who sees the world exactly the way you do. The closest I've ever come to this is having a political conversation with one of my siblings, where a lot of times you feel like you are talking to a mirror. But what I am trying to say is, different people connect with your world view on different subjects. And you can learn from all of them.

One of the main reasons I've learned this fact is because I am married to Ben Dilsaver. His world view is, in many ways, so incredibly different than mine. I don't mean diametrically opposed, or bad in any way, but just different. I can't really talk to him about the ways I've discovered that help me not judge others, because it's not a problem for him in the same way it's a problem for me. That's one reason I write this blog. I write it for my children, where I hope it will someday help form their world view, and also for any others who may also have a world view similar to mine and could benefit from what I've learned.

Which brings me to the very last point I've gathered. Because there are so many different world views out there, you can't take what people say at face value (unless it's an eternal truth). What I mean is, instead of focusing on if someone is "wrong" or "right" or if they "have it figured out," I should instead be focusing on how I can fit that into my world view. How can what they've learned help me be better.

It's a lot more fun, more progress is made on my part, and there's so much less negative energy in my life.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Home Curriculum

I mentioned earlier that I feel very strongly about a mother's role as a gospel teacher to her children. It's something I've been praying for direction in for a while. My children are very young, but I do spend nearly every waking moment with them, so I know my influence is felt. Something I felt strongly about was daily, direct teaching, not just leading by example. I feel like in this world where there are so many paths and ways we can go, now is the time of explicitly telling the meaning behind your rules and rituals, as well as leading by example.

One thing I learned when I asked for direction was, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. I was worried I would need to spend time coming up with creative lesson plans and things to capture their attention, like stuff I did for my student teaching in college, and it would become overwhelming and I would give up. But again I was taught, don't reinvent the wheel.

So the Lord directed me to some resources that were already available, namely this nursery lesson manual, the Book of Mormon Stories, and the Children's Songbook. Music plays an important part in my life, is an important way in which I feel the spirit, and as I've mentioned before is an experience I want to teach my children.

I'm so grateful for a God who is individual. That will answer my questions in a different way than he will answer someone else's. Personalized, to our individual needs. I love this post where a woman shares of a similar experience she had to mine, but with a different outcome.

God is so loving and merciful. I'm grateful for his direction in my quest to become a deliberate parent.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I've been realizing lately how much beauty plays a part in my life. As many of you know, we currently live in a basement. I know it is taking a toll on my emotional health. It is dreary, there is little natural light, and on long winter days sometimes I feel like I'm cooped up in a cave with two crazy kids. But I'm learning a lesson that I hope to take with me for the rest of my life. And that is, what a difference beauty can make in your life.

I wouldn't say I'm "into" interior decorating, it's never been one of my strong points or even something that really interests me. But I've seen in this dark environment of mine, it is a necessity. Beauty can combat the darkness, the dreariness, and the sadness. I hope I can always remember this.

I'm slowly learning a few things, mostly just from studying pictures of spaces that attract me. Textures are good. Dimension. Color schemes. I try not to focus on the amount of light in the picture (something I can't currently replicate), or the cost of the merchandise (something I don't wish to replicate), but just try and work with what I already have or can get cheaply.

One thing I've found this winter that has really made a difference is natural beauty. I know textures stick out to me, and specifically the textures of nature draw my eye and make me feel happy. I recently bought some fresh flowers that were a couple days too old at a discount price, and I can't tell you how many times I've passed by them and admired their beauty. Just seeing them makes me light up inside. It makes me think, "this world is beautiful, and I've got a piece of it right here in my home."

I love the beauty of this earth, and I thank God for it. It shines happiness in dark places.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Around here

Cheyenne's been really into boxes these days. And she WON'T do anything without her sister!
Some more of Cheyenne's tricks. The lettuce one: this literally happened in 2 seconds while my back was turned. The spinach is stored in one of those plastic containers that has a plastic ring around it before you open it. You know, the kind that you can only open with a sharp knife.
The headbands: These headbands and necklaces are stored in the cabinet behind her, yes with the lock on it. Nothing is a match for Cheyenne! I'm sure she thinks she looks pretty, though!

An outtake from this post. Those shoes still kill me. And they actually stay on! I guess it's payment for the fact that you actually have to buckle them and they are not velcro.
Cheyenne is a happy helper.
Nothing to boost your spirits in this dreary weather like fresh flowers.
Delaney wakes up happy, it is adorable. You can kind of see her two little teeth in this picture.

I can't leave Cheyenne's hair untamed these days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Meaningful Life: Home, the Cultivation of the Soul

In the early years of this country, public school was started. We rejoiced. The children felt blessed to go to school. The wooden desks in a row, a one room schoolhouse, and knowledge far beyond the plow shares and chicken coops back home.

But what about before the one room schoolhouse? What did America do then? 
Mothers. Many who could barely write their own name would read to their children out of the Bible, or Pilgrim's Progress. Mothers who taught household chores through apprenticeship, who taught piety through diligent one-on-one development, and love through the example of their own tender marital relationship.

Slowly, imperceptibly, we lost this as a society. Mothers didn't need to teach their life's work, because their children would grow up and do something else anyway. The mother was no longer the main instructor but was a facilitator to the education at school. And slowly she forgot. She forgot the benefits she gained from instructing her own children. The benefits her children gained from being instructed daily on eternal truths from their mother. Love, respect, kindness, friendship, integrity, hard work.

People ask what is wrong with our society. How come the kids don't leave school a better person? I know, let's fire the teachers who's kids get low test scores!

Well I know I want to do my part with my kids.

I want to instruct my children. Not just lead by example, but learn together. Read out of the best books what  good character looks like. Teach from my own experience, like any good teacher would do. Role play friendship scenarios. Push past the breaking point as part of a family, and not as a sports team.

I want to create souls that will stand the test of time. With the title of "mother," I feel that is what it requires me to do.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Perfect Day (D&C 50:24)

I don't want people to become confused.
Being a stay-at-home mom does not usually look like this.

It looks like this

Ben and I were having a discussion the other night and he was telling me how much fulfillment he gets out of his job. I didn't respond with a "wouldn't it be nice to have a job that challenged me, something where I left the house and got rewarded for it," although I probably would have spitefully said those things a year ago.

However I've been learning a few things lately, things about learning and hope and prayer and how they relate to my "job."

Yes, it's true that most of the things I do could be done my someone with no education at all. Stuff like washing dishes, cleaning clothes, making beds. So I realized that, well, this must not be what life is about. The importance of the task. Getting things done.

I was thinking the same thing when Cheyenne was "helping" me with the dishes, sticking dishes she had "cleaned" in my basket full of dishes that actually were clean and getting them all dirty. I would have gotten mad, if I was worried about the TASK. But I was taught that this life isn't about completing tasks, it's about learning.

So when I'm cleaning up the Cherrios ground into the carpet or washing off jam smeared on the couch, I need to remember that it's not about the TASK. This life isn't to be lived to "get things done." You need to learn and teach IN THE ACT of the task. If the task takes no "brain" anyway, why not use what has to be done to teach what one has to become?

Here's where hope comes in. My brother and I were discussing the other day about hope. You need to hope for something, a better job, a better house, a better life, or life is not worth living. There's nothing to look forward to.

Likewise in my life. It's not a sin to hope for a perfect day. A day where the house stays clean, the dishes are done, cookies are baked, joy is shared. That is perfection. And I believe we all hope for perfection because it is godly. "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. So praying for perfection is hoping for the best. "Heavenly Father, please help Delaney to sleep through the night tonight."

But what if she doesn't sleep through the night? Does that mean God isn't listening? He doesn't care? "It's not meant to be"? What it means to me is that life isn't perfect. If we got everything we wanted, you and I both know that we would learn nothing. If fact, that was Satan's plan from the beginning. Before this world was created, he wanted to require that all of us would live in God's presence again, through no merit of our own. But you and I, that's not what we wanted.

We wanted learning. We wanted growth. We wanted to become more like God, on our own merits. And that's why I'm going to keep praying, having hope for the perfect day. Because someday, when I return to live with my Heavenly Father again, it will be that perfect day. "That which is of God is light, and he that receiveth that light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." Doctrine and Covenants 50:24

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My favorite old toy

Speaking of old houses, one of my favorite old houses is this one.

(It looks like it's Delaney's favorite too. Only for different reasons)

I love old things, and I'm probably too nostalgic for my own good.
When I was searching for a good sturdy dollhouse for Cheyenne, I started looking on ebay for a good price. And lo and behold, I found the EXACT dollhouse we used to play with as kids!

There's so many things I love about this house, not to mention its sentimental value.
It looks like an illustration out of a storybook. Someone's imagination come to life. 
I love that it's a Tudor style house.
It has a working door bell! A cute little roll-up garage, and I even love that in the back the door is rounded for the dog.

I love this little girl peeking through the glass doors. And the rose bushes! You can totally imagine this house on some beautiful country estate in real life.

The little people bring back so many memories. And I love the cute little teddy bear in this crib.

The inside of the house has the most beautiful colorful illustrations.
I love the drawing of the train and the toyshelf in the toy room. And that rug!
The living room with it's cute fireplace and quaint 1970's television.

The bedroom with heart theme, like dressers and closets and table are too cute.
I love the old school kitchen, even the hardware on the cabinets. And the circluar fireplace in the kitchen is adorable!

Okay so I might like Cheyenne's toy more than she does, but if gets me excited to play with her than I guess it's doing its job.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christ's Way

Christ's way of dealing with people is through love and kindness. Naysayers would suggest that His way doesn't always work in the "real world." Sometimes the only way to get through to somebody is to "talk straight." People are motivated by "tough love." But you can rationalize this way of thinking until you only use the "kindness technique" with old ladies and complete strangers. I thought I was a "realist," and that I was facing the facts.

But I came to see it's not "realist" at all. I thought that reacting with charity and kindness meant you ignore the bad stuff and focus on the positive. But the Lord taught me that I had misunderstood. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Having charity is not ignoring the facts, it is facing them.

He taught me that it's not true that one of his daughters is fat.

That it's not true that your narcissistic friend is full of herself.

That it's not true that he can't carry a tune.

It is true that she is a daughter of God, created in his image inside and out.

It is true that your friend has inside of them a kind, loving spirit.

And it is true that he has within him a wonderful voice, patterned after the perfection of the Father.

And you know what? The truth is actually more motivating than the lies of a realist. "And ye shall know the truth. And the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I was a little fatter, don't you think? So glad my mom kept my old dress.

I did the same thing with Cheyenne, although I didn't have the dress at the time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today is a great day

One year ago, on January 1st, we set a goal of how much we wanted to save.

Today, on January 11th we reached that goal.
There's nothing quite as sweet as setting out to do something and having the self discipline to do it!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Cheyenne and Delaney's Aunt Michelle (Ben's brother Sam's wife) bought the girls the cutest matching boots!

Now you wish you had two girls too, don't you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lifestyle Changes

Right now my life is fatty. I wouldn't say excessively fatty, but there is definitely room for improvement. And that's what a New Year is for, right? A new beginning. Right now I am letting a few things slip away. A dollar here, a minute there. Time is lost, money is lost, teaching moments are lost. I am determined to not let life “just happen” to me.

These are "resolutions" I guess, but I am not interested in them just sitting on paper. I am planning on making these lifestyle changes.

Taken on a hike in beautiful Idaho several years ago.
I want to shave 15 lbs. off my "normal" weight. Most people wouldn't know it, but I've actually already shaved 7 lbs. off my normal weight since I've had Delaney. It is invigorating! Although no one can "tell," it's my little secret to confidence and better self esteem. Since I am still in my child bearing years, there's no guarantee that I'll weigh less on Dec. 31st than I did on Jan 1st, but I am hoping that by the middle of this year I will have hit my goal.

I want to effectively use our budget. We've had a good, working budget for the past couple of years and I love it. But I want to see if I can be more diligent this year, penny for penny, exactly in their assigned spots. I want to imagine my saved pennies buying me something grand, like a new camera or something.

I want to become a diligent mother-teacher, each day having sit-down instruction with Cheyenne. I'm not talking ABC's although that stuff is great. I'm talking letting the gospel change her life. I've been blessed to have the gospel change my life, and I want her to feel that. And I'm beginning to realize that, at this age, children love to be directly talked to. Her eyes light up any time we read a book together or I just sit and hold her and talk to her. Now is the perfect time to start sharing things from my heart with her.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Romance

I remember when I was younger thinking that romance was something that only happened in movies. That what was displayed on the screen was not real life, and therefore not attainable. That you had to look like a movie star in order to have these beautiful experiences.

Well, it's not true.

I am the mother of girls, and I see that as a great responsibility. I don't want to leave their education to novels and television screens. I want them to learn from what is before their own eyes.

I have a romance, and it is the stuff of fairy tales. I feel for Ben what any sappy girl in a romantic comedy feels for any ridiculous boy in a romantic comedy, only ours is real. It is true.

I love Ben's hair when it's short and trimmed, I think it makes him look young, like a soldier in a WWII movie.

I love it when it's long and it has a little bit of a wave to it, and I can run my fingers through it. I love it when it's wet and it starts to curl.

I love his soft eyes and his unkempt eyebrows, it says "man" to me. And his eyes speak of the kind person that he really is.

I love it when he has a little bit of scruff and his face is rough. I love reaching over at night and feeling that, and knowing that I have a man, a protector, by my side.

I love his freckly skin and his fair complexion, the reddish tint to his hair. I think of him as my mountain man, a burly back-woodsy Howard Keel in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

I love his broad shoulders and that he's "beefy" as I affectionately call him.

I love it when he's all dirty and tired. Hat hair and with callused hands from manual labor. There is nothing more attractive than a hard worker.

I know that real romance never dies.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sister Heather

Heather. Beautiful Heather.

I always wanted to be her when I grew up. Who wouldn't? She was smart and pretty and spiritual and had lots of boyfriends. 

Although I didn't turn out like Heather (I wasn't one to have lots of admirers, for one), I still want to be like her when I grow up. This is one of the best parts of being in a big family. You have all of these role models to choose from. People to pattern your life after. It's a blessing to be at the tail end.

One attribute of Heather's that I would like to have is that she is strong. She's a strong mother to her kids. I remember one time we stayed at her house and were there as they put their kids to bed. Her kids were very little, yet they read the scriptures as a family even when her kids could barely sound out the words. It stuck with me. She tries. She's always trying to lead them in the right direction. Teach them to be strong like she is. She has a strong testimony. She BELIEVES in the Gospel because she has lived it, she uses it in the tough times as well as the happy. She is strong even physically and values the importance of the human body. She is strong in the management of her home, creating good habits and sticking with them. I love that one especially at this stage of my life. Something I want to emulate. And lastly she is a strong leader, her children's kind and thoughtful nature can only be attributed to their mother's own example.

Couldn't ask for a better sister.

Happy Birthday Heather!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I saw this stocking on Etsy and could not get over how adorable it was. But then I saw the price tag and my jaw dropped. $70. What?!

I knew I probably couldn't make one with the craftsmanship of that seamstress (she did hand-dye the cotton, after all, and was sewing them for strangers. That kind of stuff comes at a premium), but I was determined to replicate them.

I think I did a pretty good job. I didn't have a pattern and just made a few confusing phone calls to my mom. Stockings aren't the hardest thing to make so I'm not a genius, plus I did the hemming all wrong, but all in all I'm pretty proud of myself.

I was going to stamp them but Ben convinced me to fork over the cash and get them embroidered. It really does amp them up a notch.

And the total cost of my little project? About $20. For four of them! And they're embroidered! How's that for savvy shopping.

Speaking of how cool I am, I also sewed this hooded towel for my babe.

So now my girls are twinners (Remember when I made Cheyenne's?).

Thanks to the fact that Pinterest was invented between the time I had Cheyenne and Delaney, I was able to follow this tutorial instead of calling Sarah (you sew what where?). Seriously, sewing phone calls are SO confusing.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Old House Love

It's no secret that I love old houses (like our house, or try here and here), so it's fun for me to walk around our neighborhood. I took these photos back in the day when we went on walks every morning (and not when there was a foot of snow outside and it was 5 degrees, like it is currently).

One of the things I love about old houses is the details. Fun colors or adornments, stained glass, or painted brick. Each house is so unique and reflects the style of the person who built it.

One of the things I love is a good side porch.
Why don't we engrave the date a house was built on it anymore? Gives it so much character. Really marks it as part of an era.
I love this porch (on the right). Rounded windows, the house number painted on glass above the door, and a quaint lamp post.

I love these windows and the color of the brick. A beautiful classic combination.

I love tree-lined driveways, or in this case, a tree-lined street. Big, beautiful mature trees (more of these trees here).

That crawling ivy gives this a timeless look.

That front door. Etched windows. Columns. Roof adornments.

I love this. Every time I see this house I think "The Great Gatsby." Such a roaring 20's look.

This one is just too cute. Lace curtains are just the right touch. And if I remember correctly there are even functional shutters on the inside, a very old school detail.

I love the brick. Unique windows. 1930's door. A-frame columns. 2nd story porch.

The cutest little treehouse is connected to this house (above). It looks perfectly intact. My only wish is that it is being used. That's how I prefer my history, being enjoyed rather than stored.

The character! And brickwork. Oh how I love brickwork.

Where's my bird bath?!

My neighbor's house. One of my favorites. Ben and I love these tall turn-of-the-century homes. They are usually even prettier on the inside. And I'm sure this one is well taken care of because the owners are this cute old couple who have been married for 70 years (yes I said 70!).

I love this one. I love the style of the porch (I don't know what that's called). The color of the brick. The rounded glass in the front door, and a staircase visible through it. And this sunrise window (upper left). Beautiful stained glass. This one is on a quiet street, tucked away. It's fun to imagine what life looked like when this house was built.