Monday, March 28, 2011

Guardians of Virtue

"If we would have the companionship of the master and the spirit of the Holy Ghost, we must be honest with ourselves, honest with God and our fellow man...this results in true joy!"
~ President Howard W. Hunter
Every Spring on the weekend before General Conference the annual Young Women General Conference is broadcasted throughout the world. It was held this past Saturday and we enjoyed every minute of it. This is an event that I look forward to every year ever since my eldest daughter turned 12 in 2007. I didn't grow up in the LDS faith and sometimes I wish I did. The values that these young women are taught in the church have become so helpful in raising my three daughters. I believe that it all begins in the home. There are so many attributes that I wasn't taught as a young child. Joseph Smith wrote a document titled the 13 Articles of Faith. The 13th article of faith states, "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all mankind; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The General Young Women Presidency all spoke this evening on being honest, true, benevolent and virtuous, and to live by these principles. By being honest and true, we will always have the holy ghost guide us through troubled times and keep us on the right course. There are so many worldly distractions in our society today that we need this source of strength in our life. I didn't grow up with a firm foundation of Christ and so 18 years ago I decided to change that when I became a member of this church. I am raising my family different and am centering our life and home around Jesus Christ. We are not perfect by any means! We do strive hard to make wise choices. I have chosen to raise my daughters differently with moral values, and to be completely honest in all things!

Kindness was another topic. I know that by being kind to others, it makes us feel better.   Mary N. Cooke who is the first counselor in the presidency mentioned how, "Kindness begins with me". What  a strong statement that is. She also talked about how we should all be kind to everyone...even those who don't treat us well. She also talked about being helpful and considerate of others and seek to be a peacemaker. I look at my daughter's character and feel so blessed that I truly see and know that she is exemplifying all of these qualities. If any of you ever wonder why she is so jovial and smiling all the time, it's because she carries that light of Christ in her. She wakes up every morning and makes the choice to live a good christian life. The holy ghost guides her in choosing righteous goals and to refrain from anything that is not of good rapport. If someone in her life is having a "gray"day, she tries hard to change it into a bright day. She tries to include everyone in activities and is a great example on fellowshipping others.

Virtue and Chastity are my favorite and most important values not only in my daughter's life, but in mine as well. Elaine S. Dalton who is the General President in the young women states that each young woman is a "Guardian of Virtue". I chose to teach my girls at an early age to not wear anything immodest such as sleeveless or strapless clothing, to only wear shorts that are modest and not too short, wearing only one piece bathing suits instead of a two-piece- or even a tankini, and to use clean language. We've limited our usage in watching T.V. and I don't allow them to watch any "R" rated movies.  As a teenager my mom did the best that she could in raising me. I didn't hold these values dear, hence teaching and preparing my daughters to live and hold these values and to seriously appreciate them. These are standards that we firmly believe in, and my daughters are grateful to be raised in this manner. Sierra tells me when she dresses modest, it makes her feel clean and pure. She has been blessed with good friends, and knows that if she ever comes across "peer pressure" she won't need to give in. With all the immoral pollution that surrounds us, she has the holy ghost to help her be faithful, obedient and truthful. If she is surrounded by something that is not conducive to the spirit, she'll turn the other cheek. I know that by my example and the way that I model my behavior, she and my other daughters will learn to do the same. It's not easy raising teenagers today, but I am lucky to have an almost 16 year old following all the Young Women Values

Our kids are the "chosen generation". It is my hope that as parents we can teach our children true principles at a small age and endure to the end... and that is what I'm trying to do in this life with my children. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Chores

A clean house is a sign of a boring person.
~Author Unknown

A clean house is a sign of a boring person. ~Author Unknown


Sorry unknown author, but I'm going to have to disagree. I can guarantee you we are not boring!!!
Growing up in a small house that literally had three large rooms, my sister and I didn't have much to clean. Since there were only the two of us, my mom assigned me to dust the very few pieces of furniture we owned and my sister was in charge of vacuuming. Even though we were always yearning to cook and hardly ever did, we always took turns washing the dishes. We only had a half bath (toilet only with shelves up above) and the shower was outside. Our shower was cemented so it didn't require too much cleaning.

In our house today, there are four children. My three daughters all take turns cleaning the bathroom, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes (we hardly ever use our dishwasher), taking out the trash and the recycling bins. None of them have a specific chore and they all pitch in. Some families may assign each kid the same duty over and over again. I don't. I want each of my children to learn how to clean everything! Our house is not that big and we don't have a lot of furniture to dust. I think our two pianos take up the whole living room! Even though Noah is 16 months old, he LOVES it when any of his sisters turn the vacuum on. He will immediately grab it and start maneuvering it around and start vacuuming the magic carpets on our hardwood floors. He is not afraid of the sound once it's turned on, and loves to hear the sound of suction.

I know that he learned this by the example his sisters portray while doing their chores. I believe that no kid is ever too young to start cleaning, or in Noah's case vacuuming. I know that by assigning them any chore will teach them responsibility, and as they get older they will eventually become a pro in any area of cleaning...especially when they are on their own. It is also one way they can earn some moola!

Our girls LOVE that part!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Poetic Jorgensen


My eldest daughter came home from school the other day and wanted to read something to me that required me to listen carefully and use my brain to picture what she was describing. After hearing her recite, "I have been waiting for your gentle keys" from her poem... I immediately knew what she was referring to.

GRAND

The way you sing is so melodious,
yet sometimes so heart breaking.
You call to me in my soft-spoken dreams, 
humming that haunting reverie.
As soon as I saw your beautiful face, 
my heart leaped for wonder and excitement.
That chilly morning, the first time I met you, 
brought my soul to life.
I have been waiting for your gentle keys
to unlock my troubled self.
Your voice is like my other half,
Serenading my head with lovely melodies.
You feel so warm on lifeless days during the winter,
and refreshingly cool during sweltering summers.
I love the way you cantillate, 
Whispering sonatas,
Jazzy pieces, 
and songs written by me.
Trumpeting blue scales 
and Christmas music
from high C to low.
Filling my head with reflections,
elation flowing from the ends of my fingertips
tormenting me with sorrow
permeating the room with melancholy themes.
Feelings of divine peace,
amazing wonder,
feverish excitement, 
an unimpaired serenity.
You are my inspiration. 
I can see why they call you Grand.

                                                                                                      ©Sierra Jorgensen

Sierra has become quite the poetic writer and her English honors teacher Mrs. Rowland quoted this piece saying, "This is simply lovely, like a Brahms melody...Superior use of language to evoke a wide array of images and sensations."  

I couldn't agree more. 

*Any guesses as to what she wrote about?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Three Midnights Gone



The Players
The cast of Highland Regional High school's musical "Into the Woods", held audiences captive for the past three nights. It was entertaining, engaging and very enjoyable.

My husband and I went on opening night. It was amazing to see my daughter display her talent in acting and singing. Sierra played Cinderella's step-mother and gave a beguiling performance. My husband took our two other daughters who are ages six and eleven on Friday night. Even though Lexie had already seen the show with her dad the night before...she wanted to go again. So on the last night of the show, we spent it together. That was our mother and daughter date.
Sierra as the Step-mother
The Royal Family
I was very impressed with how all the students exemplified their character. They were all magnificent! Cinderella, played by Megan Dettrey sang with an angelic voice.  I couldn't take my eyes off of the wicked witch who was played by Chelsea Fields. Her voice was (no offense to Bernadette Peters) far more superior and stronger. They both did such a great job and will both be missed, being that this is their last year at Highland Regional.
Cinderella
  Wicked witch with Rapunzel

We can't forget all these other amazing performances given by Algeron and Cierra who played the Baker and the wife:

Eddie who played the little lad Jack, and Joylynn who played his mother:
Carlos and Thomas who played Rapunzel and Cinderella's Prince:
I was so moved with the last song in the finale that was sung by the witch and the rest of the players titled, "Children Will Listen". I was listening carefully to the words and with raising four children...these lyrics really hit home:

"Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see and learn...children will look to you for which way to turn, to learn what to be. Careful before you say, "Listen to me." Children will listen."
This was Sierra's first musical and we both didn't know what to expect. I knew she would be spending countless hours at school and I was a little hesitant in her doing the musical. I remember behaving impatiently in such a way that I didn't want the negativity to rub off on her. I wasn't pleased with the long hours she was going to be enduring. Talking with her teacher who is also the director of the play, Mrs. Rowland, assured me that this was going to be great for her. She spoke highly of my daughter and through her words...I knew that Sierra needed to be a part of this. Yes...flattery does work!  I began to realize how important performing in this play was for her. She was so willing and committed to do all that was required of her. I was selfless and I am grateful that both her father and I supported her in this. She LOVES to act and sing and she looks forward to auditioning in next year's musical.
Thank you Mrs. Rowland for encouraging Sierra to be a part of this, and for being her mentor...and a friend.

"It is so important... especially in this day and age to be mindful of the things we do and say around our children."
~ Rose J. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Night Down, Two to go


Last night Sierra gave a stellar performance as Cinderella's step-mother in "Into the Woods".  She has two more nights to perform and she is thrilled. Stay tuned for pictures of the cast and a review of the production from yours truly. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day




Irish House Blessing 

We believe in loving deeply
Laughing often and loving always.
We believe we were brought together
To support and care for each other. 
We believe that everyone's feelings count,
and that the uniqueness of each of us
strengthens all of us.
We believe in the power of forgiving to heal,
and the power of love to carry us through.
We believe in one another, 
In this family,
In this house. 
Failte!
May the luck of the Irish be with you always.
XOXO

Reasons Why

Reasons why you shouldn't have a changing table next to your bed:


Reason # 1:
Noah's crib is in our room... along with his changing table. Because our house only has three bedrooms, we have had the pleasure of sharing our room with our son. Most couples wouldn't agree to that, but since Jon and I have always lived in small apartments, we've always had to share our room with each of our children and have accustomed to it quite well. We've become quite the pro's at sharing a room with our kids when they are first born, and we don't mind. The only thing we do mind is that he has learned to climb onto the changing table from our bed.

Not good.

Reason #2... 
He's pretty sneaky too! The minute I turn my back... Noah will then climb into the changing table, and will turn to me so I can see the sly look on his face
I decided to capture some photos of him sitting in his 'domain'. As you can see I've emptied out all the contents on the shelves (except our printer) off of the changing table. I had wicker baskets filled with diapers, wipes, blankets, and every baby item you can think of. I was getting tired of always putting everything back, and so I decided to leave them empty.

He tried to get out on his own, but to no avail. I'd hate to see him fall flat on his face, so like a good mom, I stopped taking pictures to help him get out. I think it's time to move said changing table to the other side of the room, or get rid of it altogether...

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who's Missing?



Jon has this whole week off of work! Yes...the whole week! We have no major plans of going anywhere until Spring Break in April. Jon had to take an extra week off of work, otherwise he'd lose it. He decided to call this a "vacation from home".

Yesterday, after writing my most recent blog post, everyone decided to hover over me, and so I resolved to take these goofy pics of us.


Notice anyone missing from these photos?
Where is Sierra? I think Noah is looking for her.
Sierra has been super busy with the drama production at her school called "Into the Woods" . For those of you who are not familiar with "Into the Woods", it is a play that intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Some of the main characters are taken from stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. Sierra plays the step-mother in Cinderella. She is really excited to be playing this role. She was originally one of the step-sisters, but due to missed rehearsals from the original step-mother, the director chose to cast Sierra as the new step-mother. This was done last Friday...and opening night is this Thursday! So basically, Sierra has five days to learn new lines. She will also sing a couple of solo's which she is thrilled about!!

Although she has missed family dinners, about six weeks of young women activities and classes from church, and just overall, goofy family stuff at home...we are so excited for her.
Once the production has come to an end...she will be in our next goofy, fun, family photo.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Joy of Handwriting


my nice stash of mail for this month

March is the month when  I have a lot of mail to send off. Not bills, birthday cards and St. Patrick's Day Cards. So if your a March baby and you know how I am when it comes to writing letters...look in your mailbox for a treat!

I Love to write.

Ask my family. Ask any of my friends that we have in common with. Every time I walk into a Michael's, Staples, Papyrus or any T. J. Maxx store, I run straight to the stationery section. It's my mother's fault. One of the greatest qualities my mother had was always finding the time to write to her friends and family that lived out of state. I remember how happy it made her feel when she would sit down and write. Her handwriting was so nice and neat (it still is.) I also remember the look on her face as she would mail them off. I can tell that sending off handwritten letters made her just as happy as her receiving them. She doesn't write as much as she used to due to her gout acting up, and that's okay. She has a good excuse.

What's your excuse? 

Some of us may not write because we think we have bad handwriting or we just can't find the time to do it. Maybe we don't want to spend money on postage or drive to the nearest post office. My days are busy too, but I CHOOSE to find the time to write back to that person who took their time in writing to me.  Sometimes I'll respond back that same day or later on that week. Point being...I reply.

One of my best attributes is handwriting letters.

Even though I've started a blog, have email, unlimited texting on my cell phone plan and Facebook...I still find the time to write handwritten letters. Not everyone is a 'writer'. I know it's much easier to type "Happy Birthday" on some one's Facebook page than send a card or call them on the phone. I know it's the thought that counts but still...isn't it nice to receive a pretty colored, decorated envelope other than bills and junk mail in your mailbox? Sometimes when I've had a rough week or an unpleasing day, I surprisingly will receive a nice letter in the mail.  Sometimes good mail comes in the most opportune time, and that has happened to me a lot!

For some of us it's easier to just send a quick message via email, text, or Facebook. The world today has  surrounded us with a vast amount of technology that handwriting has become a 'lost art'. I don't want it to become a lost art in our home. I have taught my girls (since they were about four) to send cards and encourage them to handwrite letters to loved ones every once in a while. It's now become habitual for them to send thank you cards every time they receive a gift, and reply to a letter once someone has written to them. I believe its common courtesy to do that and also good manners. I hope that this is one habit they will never break and that they will carry it on to their future posterity as well.

I stumbled upon this book on a friend's blog a while back and ordered it right away. This book reassured me how much more meaningful it is to handwrite a letter and how it can truly help someone who is struggling to get in the habit of writing. So if you feel you are having trouble on how to even begin to write letters...this is the book for you!

I write a lot of personal letters too. 

Sometimes a little too personal that I feel I may have written things expressed out of anger and stress. I know a lot of us have done that. I haven't written any offensive letters lately nor do I want to-that's what journals are for and I'll write about that later. I decided to order this book called "The Art of the Personal Letter", by Margaret Shepherd. I should be receiving it in a few days. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it'll be a great self help book for writers. 

I feel so much better when I handwrite letters. It has become a form of therapy for me.  If I didn't enjoy writing I wouldn't have started this blog or spent money on buying this card box at Costco. It holds various cards for every occasion. When I run out of cards, I'll either make, or buy more cards and add to it.

 I thank my mom for exhibiting her example to me at such a young age. That was one good thing that I learned from my childhood...writing letters.

"In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people's lives."
~Anatole Broyard

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tissue Roses



A couple of weeks ago for the Faith In God activity, Sister Trace taught all the activity girls from church how to make flowers out of Kleenex and tissue wrap. I thought they were so pretty and they almost look like real flowers.


Here's how to make them...
You basically need at least four pieces of Kleenex, tissue wrap, and pipe cleaners. You can mix in four pieces of different colored tissue paper to add color. You lay them all out in different ways and put your index finger in the center of the paper, and wrap the pipe cleaner around the stub of where your finger was inside the tissue paper. (Sorry, I have no tutorial for this so just do the best that you can.)

In each tissue there are two layers, pull apart the layers and then fluff them out to make them look like a real flower. Lexie sure had fun making these.
What a cute craft idea! I would accept these flowers any day...and the best part is...they'll last a lifetime!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Runny Noses and a Rainy Day


"It is a lot harder to keep people well than it is to just get them over a sickness." 
~DeForest Clinton Jarvis
Yesterday Noah was not an agreeable child. He had a fever and major sniffles. His discomfort continued all night long up until the predawn hours. I felt so bad for my little guy. This was the first time in 16 months where he had back to back fevers, and lots of snot coming out his nose. His nose was so plugged up, I had to use this again to suction out all the snot. My husband gave him a blessing and he finally slept just before he left for early morning seminary. I don't like taking pictures of him looking all glum and miserable...but I did.

Today we woke up to 100% precipitation. Chelsea also woke up with a sore throat and runny nose. We gave her some medicine and she felt better afterwards. This rainy weather doesn't help us get any better. We cancelled piano lessons and stayed indoors. Chelsea began to feel better and so she wanted to sit on my bed and read a book to Noah.
I think reading gave them a spiritual boost!!

A few hours later...Noah began to feel energetic. He still had a little bit of snot, but the fever subsided. I count my blessings that my children hardly ever get sick. I'm grateful to have the patience to care for them when they don't feel well, and to have two self sufficient daughters to come to my rescue. 

 My heroes Sierra and Alexandra!

 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

About a Boy



"Babies are such a nice way to start people."~Don Herrold 
Noah Michael Jorgensen-
November 9, 2009


Dear Noah,

16 months ago today, you came into our life and joined our family...you were a bonus to your three sisters.
three months
You've brought lots of love and harmony into our home. We've had our ups and downs (more ups though.) Due to not being a 'pro' at nursing, and because I refused to give you a bottle, I remember having to cup feed you for the first three weeks of your life. It was time-consuming and exhausting, but well worth it. Luckily, your dad was patient enough to help me through the late night one hour cup feedings. Now that you've become a pro at nursing, you like to be nursed in the morning, and before you go to bed. I'm sure you'll be weaned by the time you turn two just like your sisters were. Just know you're not the only one who nursed at this age.

You have become such a fun spirited boy. You love the outdoors and playing with dirt. You love books and playing with Thomas the train. You can be a big flirt with the ladies. You love listening to your sisters play music on the piano. You love pressing the keys on said piano. You no longer eat veggie puffs or any kind of Gerber graduate food (not that I ever bought those.) You have a hearty appetite. You love gold fish, mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, and Kix cereal with lots of milk...whole milk.

16 months

You have a twinkle in your eye, and a smile that makes every one's day better...especially mine. You have lots of friends who live far away who instantly LOVE you just by looking at your photos. Your 'wella' and Aunt Lynn from Texas constantly send me text messages just to ask how you're doing. You are spoiled by your grandma and grandpa from Utah. Your sisters love you to death and they will do anything for you.

You are your father's joy.
He may work long hours, but at the end of the day...he'll put in his equal time to spend with you. You are so lucky to have these wonderful people in your life.
It's hard to believe you are growing up this quick. In two months, you will be the newest member in the nursery at church. I know you'll enjoy being surrounded by other 'little people,' and that you will share your love and friendship. How joyful it will be to have singing time, snack time, and to learn about our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ...all in one day!

As you get older, you'll see that I'm not a perfect mother... only a mom who is doing her very best to raise you in the way that I wasn't. I love you dearly and always pray that you'll have joy all the days of your life.
Summer 2010

Loving you forever,

Mom

"Don't wait to make your son a great man, make him a great boy."
~Author unknown 

                                                            

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Husband's Talent

I was looking through my box of old negatives and photo cd's that I have had for years. Since we bought our Mac I have been converting the negatives into cd's, and uploading them into our computer. I'm doing a little at a time since it can get costly.

As you can see, I was a very organized person (still am) when it came to putting said negatives into envelopes and writing down the dates when they transpired, and throughout the years I have taken care of my precious memories.

It has been a fun, but time-consuming project. I just happened to stumble upon the CD of when we used to live in North Carolina. My husband has an innate talent of taking beautiful pictures of anything with nature...especially flowers.

One of my favorite flowers that I don't see a lot of here in New Jersey are white magnolias. While living in North Carolina, we found this beautiful Magnolia tree at a nearby park.


This picture of a full bloomed magnolia is my favorite.

A magnolia in the midst of blooming... 
On the drive down to visit my sister in Florida one year...we went to the Atlanta temple and noticed these outside.


Dogwood
Notice the bee sitting on the flower.

These are the flowers my hubby got me this past Valentine's Day (which are now dead.) Once they were in full bloom, he captured a photo of them.
JUST BEAUTIFUL!!

I love these pictures and I'm so glad I stumbled upon them...just in time for Spring.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Appreciating what's in the home.



There are so many things in this life that makes us happy. Not necessarily the things of the world, but the things that are right underneath our nose...inside our very own homes.

Things that made me happy today were...Waking up to read my scriptures, and then reading the notifications on my Facebook that were so endearing. Getting a phone call from my sister to let me know how much she appreciates me and how much she loves her nieces and nephew. Getting a text message from a sister in my church to say she was sorry because I didn't get my 'weekly hug' from her due to her not feeling well. Walking into your almost 16 year old daughter's bedroom to see that her bed is made and her desk isn't piled with papers and 'stuff' (mind you she wakes up at 4:45 every morning.) Seeing signs of Spring and the sun shining outside.

 Being surrounded by family pictures and bright colors which light up my living room.

 Looking in the food pantry to find this yummy mix from Serendipity 3 that I bought last Christmas while in New York City.


Things such as books...lots and lots of books.



and the books that I'm currently reading.


Having your youngest daughter come home from school, and showing you the picture she drew for her daddy to let him know how much she appreciates him working a ten hour shift.



Having a piano (or two) in your home.

Having your oldest daughter come home from school instead of turning on the TV (or any other electronic device) to play on said piano.
Putting on this duvet cover set that I bought at IKEA the other day.
I'm sure there are other things that we can find in our home that makes us happy...we just need to look closely for them. They can be the little things that we miss. The happiest thing that made me happy today was that while my son was napping, I was able to write and post this on my blog. The happy ending was being there for him when he awoke from his nap.


You can see that he is still waking up!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.~Robert Brault
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