Tuesday, December 16, 2014


"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I have always adhered to this statement.  Thinking otherwise is just too darn depressing, but in reality it isn't necessarily so.  We meet adversity on a daily basis, but usually in small doses.  Sitting in a traffic jam may help teach us patience.  Having a reprimand from a boss helps keeps us humble and may well point out a weakness that needs to be strengthened.  These things help us grow.

We often hear that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."

I'm sorry, but that is just not true.  Not all adversity comes in small doses.  Sometimes is is massive and terrible and overwhelming.

If we could handle everything that happens, we would never ask for His help.
If we could handle everything that happens, we would never be stretched and wouldn't grow.
If we could handle everything that happens, our faith would never be tested.

We came here to be tested.  To learn.  To grow.  To develop faith.  To learn to give and serve and to learn to be humble and receive.

None of these lessons come easily, but we do "handle" them.  Sometimes we accept the challenges with grace and sometimes we react in anger and hurt.  Sometimes we stretch and meet the challenge head-on and sometimes we withdraw into ourselves and hide from the problem.

Some people get stronger and then reach out to others.
Some people get angry and bitter at the unfairness of the challenge.
Sometimes people decide that they are not willing to be challenged anymore and remove themselves from the situation.

None of us particularly enjoy adversity.  But the worst is watching other people that we love have to deal with adversity.

I have a friend who seems to have a never ending stream of unbelievable challenges in her life.  A few she has brought upon herself, but most have been the result of situations far beyond her control.  I don't think she feels strong, but I see a totally different woman now than I knew just a few years ago.

Right now I am watching Reed be challenged with injuries.  I don't know why he is dealing with this.  He had surgery on his right knee in January after it dislocated during wrestling practice..  It was painful and difficult.  It tested his patience, his obedience, and his attitude.  Apparently he didn't learn enough because last month he broke his right hand.  And then yesterday he dislocated his left knee.  Here he is facing another missed season.  And yet, he has chosen to have surgery.

Last night he was mad and frustrated.  There were some tears and raw emotions.  He was asking, "Why me?  Why me again?"  It is a horrible thing to watch as a parent.  Because it is all true and all too real.  As the hours ticked by he began to understand the challenge before him.  His humor began to haltingly return.  He was willing to accept a Priesthood Blessing on his behalf and expressed gratitude and love to his dad and his brother, Colby.  This morning was as whole different story.  A few hours of sleep had allowed him to fully accept the challenge.  All traces of anger were gone.  There was no mention of how unfair it is that he is once again missing an activity he enjoys.  When given a choice to let things go or to have surgery, he decided to accept the additional pain of surgery in hopes of more complete healing.  I have to admit that I am stunned by his positive attitude.

I worry why he needs these lessons.  What will he face in the future?  Who will he need to help?  What is the purpose of these specific challenges?  I may never know the answers to these questions.  But if he is willing to walk by faith, so am I.

In the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come what may and love it."

Photo from http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com/

Friday, December 12, 2014

National Hot Cocoa Day

I have it on good authority (that would be Facebook) that Saturday, December 13 is National Hot Cocoa Day.  I had some of the most amazing hot cocoa ever made at our Relief Society activity on Wednesday night.  Jenette Burr made it and was willing to share her recipe, which actually came from the blog www.mrshappyhomemaker.com.  It is to die for good.  My friend Nicole HATES chocolate (I know. . .she's crazy) and even SHE LIKED IT!!!!!

If you make this and love it, go give some love on the original post.  

Creamy Crockpot Hot Cocoa {Best Ever!}
  • 1.5 cups whipping cream
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips (milk chocolate OR semi-sweet depending on how sweet you like it. I have a heck of a sweet tooth, and I love the milk chocolate, but others prefer the semi-sweet)
  1. Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12 Days of Christmas- Dollar Store Version

Ever thought that you would like to do the 12 Days from someone, but it just seemed overwhelming?  This is going to be easy.  And it will only cost $12-$15!  You are going to need to make a trip to the dollar store, print some tags on your computer, wrap the gifts, and decide whether you will deliver the gifts one at a time or drop off a bag of gifts and let the recipient open them one at a time.

Shopping List- (if you can’t find these items, substitute something similar.)
Chap Stick/ Lip Balm Gloves
Notebook and Pen Dishwashing Gloves/ Dish Detergent
Crosswords/ Sudoku Book Candle
 Measuring Cups  Hand Soap
Candy Hand Lotion
Fuzzy Socks 4x6 or 5x7 Picture Frame Download here. 4x6 PRINTS
Any items can be used- be creative!


Print the “number” tags and cut out.
Download here.  NUMBER TAGS

Print the “labeling” gift tags and cut out. (optional)
Download here  LABELING TAGS

Wrap each gift with the labeling tag INSIDE the wrapping.  (No hints!)  Then securely attach a number tag on the outside of the gift.  You choose the order.

If you are going to make a one-time delivery, put all the gifts into a cute bag with a not of what they are supposed to do.  Our family likes to sneak up to the door, drop off the gift, ring the doorbell, and RUN! But, let’s face it, unless you have children who can run, that might not work for you!

Original 12 Days of Christmas with Tags and Poems

This was originally posted on my Evening Birdsong Blog in 2011.  Something has happened to that blog and I can no longer access it.  Thus, the reposting!

(***I know this may seem late for this year, but if you can get to a WalMart and a Dollar Store- you will have no problem putting it together!)

I love doing the 12 Days of Christmas for special people who benefit from knowing someone is thinking of them everyday.  But, I wanted to do something different this year!  I didn't want to base it on the song and go the whole pineapple slices for 5 golden rings kind of thing.  I know there are a lot of suggestions across the web, but none of them were what I wanted.  That is not that unusual for me-  I apparently love to re-create the wheel!!!  

This 12 days gift set can be put together for $20 or less. . . or you can add more expensive items.  Most of the items are available at a dollar store.  The first two items are for the first and last days.

Here's how to do it:

1.  Pick your gifts.  You can pick any 12 of the following items.  These items already have hokey poems written to go with them, so if you pick other items you may need to adjust the poems.  
  • Pear scented hand lotion
  • Amaryllis or Paperwhites ($5 at WalMart)
  • A homemade banner or small decoration for the home ($1 at WalMart)
  • Small can of nuts
  • Crossword puzzle or wordfind book
  • Packet of cocoa
  • Candy (Orange Sticks or Chocolate Covered Cherries)
  • Butter Cookies- small can
  • Note pad (I covered $.68 notebooks with scrapbook paper)
  • Scarf
  • Candle or Battery-Run Candle with Timer
  • Bookmark
  • Emery Boards
  • Sugar-Free Candy
  • Hand lotion (if you can't find pear. . .)
  • Sewing Kit
  • Gift cards
2.  Print the hokey poems*.  I have them in a larger font because I usually do this activity with older people.  Cut them out (cut the "This is for a Bookmark" off, too!) and use a small piece of tape to attach them to the item.

3.  Wrap your presents.  Wrap the poem inside the gift.  I love the look of presents wrapped with brown kraft paper (shipping paper) and tied with hemp string or any kind of string, but you can use any kind of paper.

4.  Print the tags*.  You can print them on cardstock and just cut them out or you can print on paper, glue onto cardstock, and add some glitter to dress them up.  I love glitter, so that's what I did.  Plus. . . my new printer can't handle cardstock.  I advise you to punch a hole in the tags and tie them on.  Taping them didn't work nearly as well.

5.  Print the introductory poem*.  There is one for "brown paper packages tied up with string" and one for other wrapping paper.

6.  Start delivery on December 13 and enjoy the fun!  Our family does the 24th as a family and we don't run away when we ring the doorbell.  Instead, we sing a carol and give hugs to our recipient.

PLEASE. . . do not re-post these on your website.  I am happy to have people use them, but I would like to have them come here to download them.  Feel free to share a link!

*To print these items you will be re-directed to www.box.com.  You will have to create a log-in, but it is a safe company.  If you have any problems, please leave a comment.  I make mistakes sometimes!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parker's Graduation

Parker made it!  On May 30th he graduated from Lehi High School as part of the class of 2014.  We are very proud of him!

Path to President

In March I ordered some choir music for the church choir to sing  during the 2014-2015 school year.  Even though I don’t teach anymore, my life still seems better organized in school years than in calendar years.  When I ordered it, Ed looked at me and asked, “How do you know you will still be the choir director?”  I laughed it off, but I had had a similar thought. 

Towards the end of March we started trying to buy a new house down in the older part of Lehi.  The seller was not responsive to our offer at all, which was quite frustrating.  At the beginning of April we went on a cruise with the Rice family.  When we got home from our cruise, we put in another offer on the house (which was also ignored) but I had a weird feeling that I was going to get a new calling.  Not just any calling either- I felt like I was going to be called as the President of either the Relief Society or the Primary.  I didn’t say anything to Ed, because really, how do you?  That is not how things work in the Church, so I stayed quiet.

In May Ed made a third offer on the house- without telling me about it until afterwards.  I was pretty mad about it and still had the odd feeling, but if you are moving you are going to get a new calling, so I wasn’t concerned.  The house issue was eclipsed by my explosion about Ed buying a car off Ebay for Reed that we had also not talked about.  It was a rough week.  The offer was finally accepted and we started getting really excited about the changes that we were going to make to the house.  There were a lot of issues, but we felt like we could deal with them- despite the fact that the seller wasn’t being entirely honest with us.

One night towards the end of May we went over to walk around the yard of the other house.  While we were there we met one of the neighbors who gave us a lot of new things to worry about.  All of a sudden we realized that there were additional issues with property lines and access that might land us square in the middle of a family battle- since this property is the first one that will leave a huge block of family property.  As we were leaving, one of my former colleagues saw us in the driveway and stopped to talk.  She had another lady with her who, in the course of casual conversation, said that she had just been released as Relief Society president and was now the Primary pianist. I got a gut twist at that moment that maybe my calling wasn’t in the new ward.  Still. . . when your husband is totally committed to the idea of moving and you have agreed to do whatever he wants, how do you bring up that issue?

On Wednesday night of the last week of May, Scott Carlson stopped us out in the street to ask if he had permission to call Reed to the Stake Youth Committee.  We said yes- thinking it would be a short calling.  When Reed was issued the call a few minutes later, Brother Carlson specified that it was a two year calling.  We didn’t say anything.

On Friday night May 30th Parker graduated from high school.  We had a party and the Egglestons were invited.  In true Cathrine fashion, it slipped out that we were moving.  I saw a stricken look on the Bishop’s face and thought it was weird that just a few minutes later I received a text from the Ward Clerk asking if the Bishop could meet with us on Sunday at four. Since the Bishop was still at our hosue, I knew it was an odd “coincidence.”  I was pretty sure I knew what was coming.

Sunday, June 1st Bishop Eggleston showed up and looked quite nervous.  He said, “I’m not sure what to do.  This has never happened before.  I am supposed to call you to be the Relief Society President, but I know you are buying another house.”  I told him that I wasn’t sure what had taken him so long, but that he should hold off on making an official call until we could talk about it.  That was not an easy couple of days.  I knew what I was supposed to do, but Ed had his heart set on that house and Reed had his heart set on the new puppy I had promised him.  Ed was pretty frustrated because he felt like the call came out of the blue and was maybe an attempt to just keep us in the ward.  I felt bad because I had not shared any of my promptings, so although I was not surprised at all, he was caught off guard.  After Reed slammed around for a few days, I realized what the problem was and Miss Eleanor Roosevelt came into our lives.  Ed gave me permission to accept the calling saying, “How can I play “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go for prelude music and then not be willing to do it?”

We walked away from the house citing many of the concerns that we had that the seller had not been forthright about.  All of a sudden he was in a big hurry to fix things, but some of the items were much too big for a quick fix.

So. . .  five weeks after the original call, I am now the Relief Society President of the Cedar Hollow 7th Ward.  I have great counselors in Jayme Anderson and Torey Forbush and two great secretaries in Heidi Markland and Marilyn Robinson to keep things moving in the right direction.  It has been a difficult month, but I feel that I have grown a lot closer to Heavenly Father and I am already starting to truly love each and every sister in the ward.   It is such a relief that it is no longer a secret- that was tough.  Now we can get to work.    

Friday, March 28, 2014

Job Posting

When I see this job announcement, I'll apply.  Really.

Job Description
               We are looking for a creative person who has skills in music, photography, and graphic design.  This person will report to nobody, but is expected to produce anything needed.  Schedule will be flexible and travel to exotic locations is necessary.

·        Make our business climate thrive by encouraging creativity and non- traditional approaches.
·        Facilitate and encapsulate short and long-range goals.
·        Meet with clients at luncheon meetings.
·         Encourage and support the use of the Adobe Creative Cloud products in the office.
·        Keep the company image fresh.
·        Establish new programs and training to keep workforce focused and forward directed.
·        Travel to conventions to hone skills.
·        Produce occasional work-related documents.
  • Four year degree in any field of arts education.  (Masters preferred.)
  • Ability to use all forms of technology.
  • Problem-solving skills and excellent teaching skills.
  • Ability to work independently.

Salary Range

$75, 000.00-$100,000.00 per year with benefits package that includes medical, dental, disability and life insurance, 401K match, a new car every two years, top line Canon photographic equipment, and excellent computer and other technologies.