Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trials and Blessings

The last couple of months have been kind of stressful for me; mostly because of money.

We thought we were doing great, and then we had a few car problems and lost most of our savings. Add to that some unexpected weeks off of work, and we were getting pretty concerned about how we were going to pay the bills at the end of the month.

It's never been hardier, or easier to pay tithing for me. It was harder because, just for an instant, I thought, "Maybe we can just loan our tithing from Heavenly Father and pay him back later." However, almost instantly I thought, "No, if we pay first, we will have enough money, because He has promised to bless us."

With that thought, we paid our tithing. 

That was Sunday. That night, I went visiting teaching (which is where we go visit a few sisters in the ward each month), and I shared another story with her, where my prayers were answered. We were talking, and I told her we were hurting for money right now. 

She then told me an incredible story from when she was younger. She had come home from her mission, and her father died. Her mother was trying to pay off all the doctor bills, and things weren't looking good for their family. Her mother showed her some money, and said, "See this. This is our tithing money. Do you think the Lord would mind if we borrowed it?"

Her daughter, who was a newly returned missionary said, "No, Mama. The Lord first, and then the blessings will come."

I was a little surprised because of how similar the wording was to what I had been thinking early that day.

The mother replied, "You're right, of course. I'm just stupid from worry."

Anyway, they paid their tithing and a few hours later, a friend showed up at the door and gave them a bunch of money. It was enough to get them back on their feet, and buy provision for their restaurant which has provided for them ever since. 

I really needed to hear that. I was stressed, but I had faith in tithing as well. 

Anyway, today my mother called with a job opportunity for us in the lean week. I feel like this was an answer to our prayers and a direct blessing of tithing. With this temporary job, we should be able to make up for the bit that we were going to be lacking.

I am so grateful for family and friends. We have so many blessings right now, and I feel like I should have no reason to complain, and sometimes I still do. The Lord will take care of us, as we do what is right. He cannot lie, and if he promises a blessing, it will be fulfilled. He answers prayers according to our faith.
Ain't no mountain high enough...

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Views on Marriage as a Mormon

Please understand that when I write this blog post. I am NOT trying to stir up controversy. In fact, I am attempting to do the very opposite. I am trying to increase understanding. Many people don’t understand why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has taken such a strong stand on marriage being between a man and a woman.

I am not an official spokesperson for the church, but I wanted to explain my views as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as best and as simply as I can.

Here goes:

1) The sealing power has been restored to the Earth today.

In ancient times, the Lord gave His authority to His servants to act in His name. This meant that when they sealed something on Earth, it was also sealed in Heaven. Acts that occurred on Earth no longer affected things in this life only, but throughout all eternity. I believe that this authority in on the Earth and has been restored in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This means that there are servants on the Earth today who have authority from God to act in His name.

2) Temple Sealing makes marriages that can last for time and all eternity.

            In the temple, if a worthy young man and young woman prepare themselves; they can be sealed by the authority of the Lord’s servants. This temple sealing is a bit different from the standard wedding. Instead of saying, “Until death do you part,” we are told that we are now married for “time and all eternity.” Of course, without real authority from God, these are just words. I testify, however, that I know that this authority does exist and can be found in the temples. I have been sealed to my husband and as long as we both continue faithful through this life, we will be married for time and all eternity. It is not a guaranteed ticket into heaven, but we have made covenants with our Father that will lead us there if we keep them.

3) Eternal progression allows families to continue after this life

            I testify that families can be forever. “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal,and eternal identity and purpose.”  In the next life, a sealed husband and wife will continue to have children. That is part of eternal progression. Children are an essential part of families and a key part of the Lord’s plan for happiness. Without children, things come to an end. Same-gender couples are incapable of having children. A man and woman, therefore, are essential for God’s children to progress.

4) Those that don’t have the opportunity in this life will be given it in the next

            Often, I have heard or seen people say, “But what about heterosexual couples who can’t have children? Doesn’t that invalidate your argument about the point of marriage?” Not at all.
I testify that God is a just and loving God, and this life is neither the beginning nor the end.
            The Lord has said in Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.” I testify that any blessings that are denied in this life will be multiplied in the life to come if we remain faithful. If someone is unable to marry in this life through no fault of their own, I know the Lord will make it right. If a couple is unable to bear children and they are faithful and keep the commandments, they will have children in the world to come.
            That doesn’t make it easier to endure through this life and remain faithful, but it is a comfort. It is also possible to be chaste and pure.
            I testify that whatever sins or temptations an individual will face (and we all do), that if we strive to keep the commandments of our Heavenly Father, the Lord will be by our side to bear us up, and show us how to overcome our trials.

5) The Lord loves everyone

            The Lord doesn’t want anyone to be miserable. The purpose of this life is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of humankind (Moses 1:39). We also believe that we came to this earth to have joy (2 Nephi 2:25). When we encourage others to keep the Lord’s commandments, we shouldn’t be doing it because we want to make them feel guilty; we should be doing it because we love them and want them to have joy.
            When Christ came to the earth, He boldly declared the doctrine of God. He didn’t lie or change it to suit what was popular. However, when He met those who were sinners, or people who acted contrary to the gospel, He didn’t mock them or turn them away. He loved them. He encouraged them to change their ways and follow Him, but He also accepted their decisions.
            I want to emulate my Savior. I want to love everyone, regardless of their decisions, but I want to be brave in declaring the Lord’s words as well. When we truly love someone, we have the courage to tell them that they are making bad choices and to try and help them make better ones. True love is being honest, and when people know that you love them for who they already are, they are also more receptive to hearing your words.

6) The only way to achieve true happiness is through the Lord’s commandments

             I know that if we keep the commandments of Heavenly Father and follow His plan, that we will be given more blessings and joy than we could ever imagine. The Lord only has one path that leads to true and unending happiness. There are many pleasures and temporary thrills on this Earth. There are even ways to gain temporary happiness. However, all of these will eventually leave people feeling unfulfilled and hungry for more. When true happiness from our Heavenly Father is found, we will no longer hunger in our souls. We will be filled.  
            I testify that I have eaten of the bread of life, and have felt the fullness of joy that accompanies it.

7) Any sexual act outside of marriage (between a man and a woman) is a sin. 

            Feeling attraction toward someone else of the same gender is not a sin. No one should feel that they are a bad person because they are feeling those temptations. However, when we choose to act upon temptations, we sin. It is normal to feel sexual attraction for another person. However, if we can wait to act upon those feelings until we are in the proper place and time (marriage), then we are being obedient to the Lord’s commandments, and we will be strengthened and aided. Our marriage will be stronger for having waited.
            That isn’t to say that if a person were to be intimate before marriage or if they have sinned in other ways that there isn’t hope. Often in this life, we make mistakes. Everyone sins, every day. The point isn’t to lose hope in oneself; it is to find hope in the atonement of our Savior. Regardless of what we’ve done in this life, the Lord has suffered for all sins, and we can find comfort and peace in Him.


            In conclusion, this is what I believe to be truth. You are welcome to disagree with me, but please try to understand me as well. If I encourage others to believe as I do, it is only because it has brought so much joy and happiness to me, and I want the same for them. When people choose a different path, I may sorrow for them, because I know they are missing out on so much more, but I also respect their decisions and continue to love them. 

           This is my view and understanding of marriage. My beliefs on marriage are centered around God and His plan for His children. If God is removed from marriage, then there is no meaning to marriage. With God, marriage means everything, and is central to His plan of happiness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: Tarzan of the Apes

Here's one you can actually read for free :)

Tarzan of the Apes
Author:Edgar Rice Burroughs
Length: 432 pages
(My) Rating: PG

Link to Book
Honestly, I can't tell you how much I love this book. My father introduced Tarzan to me when I was pretty young, and he was introduced by his own father. This book series is kind of a family tradition.

With that in mind, I'm trying to give a fair review of this book, but I may have a hard time not being biased. 

If you've only watched Tarzan movies or read funny comics where Tarzan generally speaks like this: 
"Me, Tarzan. You, Jane."
then this book will not be anything like you're expecting. Once Tarzan learns to speak, he is quite fluent, and intelligent.

Tarzan is about a baby whose parents perish in the jungle, and he is found and nurtured by a great ape. (This is actually a more humanoid version of apes, than even gorillas. He is raised among them, and incidentally develops an incredible musculature and superhuman senses. He uses his superior intellect to survive and becomes the leader of his tribe.

Contrary to the old movies, Tarzan is incredibly smart. He teaches himself to read English, though he is unable to speak it since he's never heard it before. As Tarzan reaches adulthood, a group of white people are marooned upon the shore near the same place where his parents were abandoned. He falls in love with a girl named Jane, and ends up saving every member of the party.

Really, you have to read both the first book and the second book to finish the plot, but we'll just review the first book for now.

Edgar Rice Burroughs is very good at writing action. The story flows along at a swift pace, and it was always very easy for me to see what was happening. I found Tarzan's journey from savagery to civilization to be fairly believable and enjoyable.

Tarzan himself is a bit savage at first (understandably so), but Burroughs likes to focus on the fact that inner gentility can overcome learned savagery. Tarzan does some pretty horrifying things occasionally, but in light of his upbringing, he acts pretty admirably. The animals are fairly realistic, and its fun to see Burroughs' views of Africa.

The book has an occasional racist-slur to it, which was fairly standard for the time period that it was written in, but I would argue that Burroughs actually was not racist himself. As much as cannibals are described in awful terms, he is also very sympathetic with the plights of the Africans and their mistreatment from their white employers. More often than not, the whites are portrayed as more savage then the supposed "savages." His greatest injustice is to the servant of Jane, who is described as a large black woman with a very southern accent. Sometimes it is difficult to understand her, and she is a bit pathetic.

In some newer versions of the book, they have modernized her language so that she doesn't sound so base.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about that, not because of the correction of racism, but of the changing of someone else's writing. However, this isn't really the time for that conversation.


I love every book in this series, though some of the later ones get a bit repetitive. Tarzan is portrayed as a truly noble figure, while Jane is portrayed as intelligent, brave, and fairly independent.

I highly recommend this book. It is a quick and interesting read, and full of excitement. There is something appealing about taking humanity to its maximum. It is fun to see what Burroughs ideas are of the basically perfect human form and the abilities that we would develop if we were forced to survive in the jungle.

If you really want, nearly the entire series is available on kindle for only $2.99. Check it out on Amazon: Click here

Parental Guide

There is some language in this book, but very mild. There is quite a bit of violence. Tarzan often kills and eats his food raw. There is talk of cannibalism and torture that goes along with that, but very little is described. 

As far as sexual content, nothing happens. Tarzan is naked in his youth, and for nearly the rest of the book he swings around in a loin cloth. No intimacy occurs. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mormon Monday: Callings

I love my current callings.

I am the senior primary chorister. Which essentially means that I teach music to kids from age 8-11. It is a really fun calling, though I usually run out of time before I finish the lesson.

This last week for Father's day, we had a review of the songs that we had learned so far this year. I taped safety pins to fish that the other chorister had made. Then I took our half of a pool stick, tied yarn to it, and then attached our key-magnet to it.

Then, we went fishing. Each of the fish had a number on the back that either correlated to a song, or it let them pick any song they wanted to sing.

The activity went really well. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and my fishing pole worked great.

The Spirit was really strong during some of the songs as the kids sung their very best in the hopes that they would be the next one picked to fish.

My other calling is that I am on the Relief Society activity committee. That means that I help plan activities for the women in our ward. The head of our committee is pretty awesome, and she is getting really good at delegating.

The nice thing about having these two callings, is that I am getting to know the kids and the women in our ward. Since we're still fairly new (we've only been  here for four months), it is a great way for me to make friends and get to know people.

We are in a wonderful ward, and I really feel at home here. They seem really supportive and friendly.

Last Saturday, Grig was trying to do one of his callings, which is to be in charge of making sure the church gets cleaned. Every ward switches off, and so he only has to do this calling every third month or so.

As with all things in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is strictly volunteer. He had asked a few people to come and help, but it was a difficult Saturday for many people, and we weren't sure who, if anyone, was going to come.

Friday night, we prayed that people would come and help us so that we wouldn't have to clean all day.

Saturday morning, we had a few people come, and we were grateful for their help. However, an hour and half after Grig had started, another large family showed up that we weren't expecting, and some kids who were practicing for a play came and joined us in cleaning as well. With the extra help, the cleaning was concluded in another half an hour.

I was about to leave when they came (I had a previous appointment), but it was good I hadn't yet, because the new family only spoke Spanish, so I was able to talk to them and explain what they were supposed to do before I had to leave.

We are so grateful to those who came to help, and to the Lord for inspiring more to come.

It is amazing how much help the Lord gives us when we sacrifice our time to do what He has asked us to do. I love being able to serve. It helps me to be like Christ every day of the week, instead of just on Sunday.

Friday, June 19, 2015

First Family Camping Trip

This week, we took Grig's vacation and went camping!

We couldn't really afford to go anywhere, but we've been buying a little something here and there over the last few months so we had all the equipment.

It took us until the day of to decide where we were going to go, but we finally decided on a little reservoir just 20 minutes north of us. It was our first family camping trip, and we were both pretty inexperienced at this. I had been camping before, but we'd never been in charge, so we tried to think of everything we'd need.

We brought both dogs. We debated whether or not to leave Dakota home. We didn't know if she'd be able to handle the stress of the trip, but we finally decided to bring her.

Very beautiful place
It took pretty much all day to get ready. Our original plan was to go from Monday - Thursday night. We were hoping that we wouldn't have to come back into town, except that I had a church activity on Wednesday night that I was partially in charge of.

We finally got to the campsite at about 8:00 pm. I was worried about not being near the restrooms, so we picked a little place not very far away. The mosquitoes were horrible, and if it hadn't been for the bug spray we brought, I don't think we would have made it even one day.

We had time to unpack, set up everything, and cook dinner, and then it was time for bed. We made hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. We'd bought a campfire grill, and we used it to fry the hamburgers. They tasted amazing! We followed it up with s'mores for dessert.

While Grig was away getting ready for bed, Kevin and I turned off all the flashlights and just listened to the darkness. As we did so, we heard what sounded like kids playing and carrying on. However, as I listened, I realized that it wasn't kids, it was coyotes. They were fairly far away, so it was just fun to hear them.

That night I didn't sleep well. I don't usually sleep well during the first night while camping. It was nice to have the dogs there. We knew that they'd alert us if anyone came near. (Well, actually, we knew Arkhon would alert us. Dakota is pretty deaf and mostly blind. She'll bark if Arkhon barks though.)

Tuesday, I was awake by 5:30, and it was already pretty warm. We made breakfast (it was really complicated...we had a bowl of cereal) and then I fished a little while Grig and Kevin went on a walk. I didn't catch anything, except some cute pictures.

By 9:30, we were in the water. At first, it was a little cold, but as soon as you plunged, it felt perfect.

We swam for a couple of hours, Kevin didn't really like it at first. He didn't like getting all the way wet, and after a while, he got cold. He was also tired. We made lunch. For lunch we tried to cook hotdogs with crescent roll dough on the outside. We decided we didn't like that combination as much. It would have been better with sausage in the middle. After lunch, we all took a nap in a very warm tent at about 2:00 p.m.

We woke up at about 4:00 p.m., and then we went swimming again because we were baking. This time, at the end of it, kevin was starting to splash around, and we developed a fun game where he would drop rocks and we'd try to catch them under the water. He loved it.

Grig and I took turns playing with him and swimming. Arkhon wasn't too sure about the water at first. He'd never been in water deeper than his chest. However, after we started to swim away, he began to plunge in after us, and it wasn't too long before he was becoming a real water dog.

The real surprise was Dakota. She immediately waded into the water, but at one point, when Arkhon and I were swimming away from shore, I looked back to see that she was swimming out to meet us! That was a surprise. Dakota ended up having a great time. She only really went for one good swim a day, but she seemed really happy. We were glad we brought her along.
After swimming, we ran out of bug spray. We'd been sharing our with our poor dogs, and our bottle became empty pretty quick. So, I ran to a store in the nearby town, but when I went to purchase the bug spray, I realized that Grig had my card in his wallet. The lady at the store was super trusting, and allowed me to take the mosquito spray before I paid for it. She wrote my name down instead. I quickly drove back to camp, only to discover that Grig had left his wallet at him. I left the spray and Kevin with him, and drove home quickly. I grabbed the wallet and a bit more firewood, and then drove back quickly. I got to the store at 6:50. I didn't know when they closed, and I was worried I was going to be too late. To my relief, they were still open, and I paid for our purchase.

Once I made it back, we made dinner. We tried chicken, pineapple, and onion shish-kabobs. I cut the chicken into chunks, and put pineapple and onion slices in between. We then seasoned them with Mrs. Dash, wrapped the kabobs in tin foil, and threw them into the coals. Those turned out really well. I never thought the combination would be so delicious. After dinner, Grig and Kevin went on a walk while I made peach cobbler. When they returned, we ate our dessert, which also turned out really well, and as it became dark, we went to bed.
I slept a lot better and didn't wake up until 7:30 a.m.. We had bacon and eggs for breakfast (so good!) and then we went on a walk.

There were some real advantages to bringing dogs to a campout. Here are some things I learned about it:

1- Dogs are great guardians. You can leave your stuff with them, and no one's going to dare to touch it. Especially if your dog is great at barking at people who come nearby.
2- When you're swimming, you have someone to swim with if your husband is watching the baby.
3- They are fun to watch play in the water.
4- You can sleep knowing that large predators are more likely to stay way.
5- They love it.

1-When you leave them, they sometimes bark in protest.
2- They get tangled up when they are tied.
3- You have to spray them with mosquito spray too, or the mosquitoes start swarming your camp.
4- You have to bring food and supplies for them as well.
5- If they aren't good at listening, you have to keep them tied the whole time. (Arkhon got a lot better at this as time went on. At first, he had a hard time disengaging his nose, but by the end, if we whistled or called, he came running. Dakota never wandered, because she is too old.)

While on our walk, we saw some rabbits, and Kevin was really excited about those. We also saw raccoon tracks.

We were running low on mosquito spray and water, so we decided that we would head home Wednesday night instead of Thursday. We ended up leaving a day early, but I think it still went really well.

After our walk, we went swimming again, and when Grig and Kevin disappeared after swimming, I decided to fish for a while.

When they got back, Kevin joined me.

We tried a lot of different types of baits, and I finally went back to powerbait. I was just about to give up, when I felt a tugging on the line. I called for Kevin and Grig to come and join me, and we pulled in a little blue gill.
Kevin loved that fish, and here is the part that Grig wanted to call:

Kevin's First Lesson with Mortality

Kevin happily took the fish back to camp. I showed him how to carry it so he didn't drag it on the ground the whole way. When he finally got the gist of it, he carried it around proudly for awhile.

Then came the tragedy. I set up a spot to gut it, and Kevin watched with interest. He was okay with I stabbed it, but when I took its head off, he lost it. He began to sob the most heart-wrenching cries. I felt really bad, but I tried to explain to him that we were going to eat it. He cried and cried. Grig comforted him while I finished preparing it, and then I hugged him as well. 

Grig was laughing a little bit, but mostly because he was raised on a farm and has had similar experiences with sheep and cattle. We grilled the fish up in butter, milk,and some garlic salt and it was delicious. When we were done, there wasn't much to eat though, so we also cooked hamburgers and hotdogs. It's a good thing we weren't planning on living off the land, because we would have starved. 

After eating his hotdogs, Kevin was happy again and he recovered nicely. The dogs enjoyed eating the fish guts, so everyone was happy. 

Honestly, I don't like killing fish very much either, but I do enjoy catching and eating them. Sometimes I wimp out and make Grig kill them instead, but that's not fair to him either. 

If I ever want a farm, I have to "woman-up."

After lunch, we packed pretty much everything, and then we went swimming again. 
Campfire food is the best!
Things were going great. Kevin was finally playing in the water by himself, and the dogs were sleeping on the beach, when suddenly a sheriff came walking down the trail. He scared both me and Arkhon, and Arkhon barked at him pretty well. He was just making sure we were all behaving. He was a nice guy. He asked if we were camping, and we told him we were, but that we were leaving pretty soon. 

Then, he pointed at Grig's  head out in the middle of the lake and asked if he was drowning. I told him that was my husband and he was just swimming. 

He said bye and left. 

We finished swimming and went home to shower quickly before my meeting. 

Thus ended our first family camping trip. 

I think it was a great success, and everyone had a great time.
Here's an American Avocet that we saw.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review Wednesday: Mirror Sight

Mirror Sight
Author: Kristen Britain
Length: 770 pages
(My) Rating: PG13

Click here to purchase book
I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I was going to review the first book of this series first, but after thinking about it, I decided to review the most recent book first. 

This is book number 5 of the Green Rider series. Usually, I have not been disappointed by Kristen Britain. Her books tend to be fast paced with well-rounded character and interesting plot twists. It is usually very hard to see what's coming next, and that's something I've always really appreciated about the author...until now.

(As a side note, I would recommend reading the first four books first. Otherwise, you will likely be very confused.)

The premise is unexpected. Karigan finds herself propelled into the future to a world with no magic and where her history and time period has been deliberately forgotten. An immortal emperor sits upon the throne, and though Karigan is sure she knows who it is, she is in for a surprise. She must find a way to return home and share her discoveries with her time, before everything is lost and the future that she is living, become real.

Okay, now don't get me wrong. For the most part, this book is interesting and events usually occur very quickly. There were a few slow points where I wished that something exciting would happen, but character development is good too. I did come to care for the people that she encountered, and it was fascinating to see what could occur in Karigan's future.

My beef isn't necessarily with the events in the book, as much as it is with the book itself. 

*Spoiler alert for the next part, but I can't mince on words with this.* 

This book was a colossal waste of time. It was essential the "it was all a dream" plot-line, with a few changes. I'm not saying nothing significant happened. There were a few things that she was able to bring back that will help her time avoid the future that she experienced, but over all, she pretty much forgot everything that happened in the 700+ pages of book, also, because it occurred in the future, she couldn't bring anything back with her, including the memories or the experiences. So, essentially, it never actually happened. 



This whole story could have easily been skipped with just having Karigan encounter someone in the starry space who gives her a riddle about the dragon fly weapon and Amberhill. Then, she could have appeared on the table, just like in the book and had the mirror fragments still impact her eye.

Was Cade really crucial? I don't think so. It was just another way of Karigan never finding someone she could be with. I didn't really appreciate the intimacy scene anyway. I wanted Karigan to wait for the right one (though since the events in the future never really happened, that makes the scene even more unnecessary). 

This isn't negated by the fact that she remembers them all at the end, due to Yates interference. In fact, that makes it worse, because now she can pine for someone who never will exist. 


Okay, I'm done.

*Spoilers finished*

There were some points that I really did like in the story, and like I said the book kept me interested and reading. It was fun to see Karigan stir things up and send out ripples of chaos. 

All in all, I hope that the sixth book is better, or I may just leave in disgust. 


Parental Guide

I'm giving this book a PG-13, though it was bordering on R. There was an intimacy scene, and though it doesn't describe the actual act, it doesn't really skimp on the foreplay. 

As far as violence goes, there is mention of rape and torture that occurred in the past to a minor (not underage, just not a main character) character, and in some scenes torture is described a bit. People die, though the descriptions are not really gratuitous. 

There is some language, but it is on the mild end of the scale. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mormon Monday: Asparagus and Faith

A month or so ago, we planted our garden.

When I was a kid in primary (church classes for children), we sang a song about faith. We talked about how "faith is like a little seed, if planted it will grow. (Faith)" At the time, I though, "Duh, you plant seeds and they grow. Where is the faith in that?"

Faith is so simple when you're a child.

We decided to plant asparagus. I think I mentioned this in a different blog post. (Yes, I did. Here is the link: http://atomicottercinema.blogspot.com/2015/04/gardening.html) I have been praying really hard that those asparagus would come up, and for a while, it looked like we were going to have to try again next year.

Arkhon got into the asparagus, and we kept finding the roots above the soil, half-eaten. We fenced off the asparagus, but we were afraid it was too late. A few weeks passed and there was no sign of life from our asparagus patch.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Grig came in the house and said, "We have some asparagus!" Surprised, I followed him out, and he showed me where a nearly full-grown plant seemed to have appeared overnight.

Only a few days later, we found another plant that had survived. I was super grateful. I didn't think we were going to have any asparagus, and now we had two. Then, a couple of days later, we found a third plant that had lived.

All three asparagus plants are doing well.

This actually is not our asparagus plant, but it looks pretty similar to it. I found the picture here.  It's too dark to take a picture of ours. I'll post it later.
This is a great analogy for faith. We had faith that the 20 asparagus plants that we planted would grow. We toiled and worked hard to help them, but adversity (Arkhon) appeared and tried to destroy our faith. It caused doubts and made us wonder if any good would come of our efforts.  Even so, we replanted and watered and prayed.

Weeks after we had nearly given up hope, the plants appeared, far larger that we had expected.

Just recently, we had some adversity appear in our lives.

Our car has been having problems again. The alternator broke and we had to get that replaced, delving deeply into our pockets. Then, just last Thursday, we thought we were in really trouble. As I was parked at a store, I returned to find liquid underneath the car. It didn't seem like very much, but it concerned me. As I started the car, the low coolant light came on.

That wasn't a good thing. We quickly bought some antifreeze and poured it into the car. Everything seemed fine, and nothing seemed to be leaking, so we drove away and headed home.

Half-way home, the light came back on.

When I checked the radiator at home, it seemed to be far emptier. I poured some water in, and in moments I heard the sound of water falling to the pavement beneath the car.

It appeared that our radiator had a serious leak. Adversity had appeared and it seemed to be eating all of our finances.

It was really scary that night, we didn't know what we were going to do. We couldn't really afford more car repairs, and we couldn't afford to buy a new car. We prayed pretty hard.

The next day, Grig took the car in, and to our astonishment, everything checked out fine. They didn't even charge us for bringing the car in. They told us that our sensor was probably not working right, but there was plenty of liquid in the radiator and there didn't appear to be any leaks.

He also informed us that sometimes clogs will occur in the radiator during winter, and when they break free, sometimes liquid can spill out. He told us that was probably what we heard. Either way, everything seems to be working fine now.

It is a miracle, and we are very grateful. Just when all hope seemed lost, the Lord blessed us with blossoms and living miracles.

I am very grateful for faith and trials. Without the trials, how would we come to depend on our Savior?

The rest of our garden is doing well too, and we can't complain. We are a little low on money, but we have sufficient for our needs. The Lord is taking care of us, just like he took care of our tiny asparagus patch.