Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stake Conference = Success!

The last phrase from D&C 38:30 kept circling through my mind this week.

"...if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

I know it is often thought about with food storage and the Second Coming. But for me, it meant Stake Conference--at least last week it did. I was excited for Stake Conference. I personally enjoy it and feel like it is always an opportunity for a spiritual recharge.

But I knew it was going to take work if we were going to last the whole time. My darling two year old is extremely active, cheerful and energetic. He likes to move and go. And loud, rowdy play. He is so determined and talkative. Not that any of these are problems. But I could easily predict the expectation of quiet, reverent, sitting still for two hours was going to clash. However, I had to remind myself that HE IS TWO! While, we do hold him to high standards during church meetings, he is still just two and he is allowed to be a two year old.

I had a plan. I packed the diaper bag full of surprises. And I was not afraid to face Stake Conference with our darling Mr. Devin.
  • "Church" Mater & Sally
  • "Church" Mickey & Minnie
    • He ONLY gets to play with these during church. It is a big deal for him!
  • LDS Coloring pictures & Mommy's colored pens
  • a few church books & 4x6 picture books I had already made
  • Two new file folder "games" I made him during the past week
  • His blanket
  • And snacks
    • his favorite crackers
    • fruit snacks
    • sippy cup
    • AND gummy worms
    • AND mini Oreos
      • Both of these are again a huge deal for him and not something he gets very often.
1. Helping Noah match all the animals before the flood
2. Matching the correct penny color to pay tithing
3. Black and white to color matching of things to do on Sunday

1. Driving Sally and Mater around town. It has our home, the library, the play ground, etc.
2. When someone would reference a scripture, the idea was he would show Mickey or Minnie. (He does know all the BoM prophets on the page but there wasn't enough scripture referencing for this to really work.)
3. Similar idea but showing Mickey or Minnie the topic that the speaker was addressing.
And somehow we made it. I don't think we would have survived another 10 minutes even but we made it. He was in the meeting and for the most part fairly quiet the entire two hours. The file folder games were awesome and helpful. But he still got tired of them. Thank goodness for special treats--they worked like a charm when we were getting desperate towards the end. 


Way more important than file folders and sugar bribery was what Stake Conference meant to me. This past week has been a struggle. Unknown territory. Uncertain future. Unexplained situations. And not just with the pending lawsuit. Life is hard and definitely does not follow the plan we wrote for ourselves. But the answers came to my long, tear stained journal entries through many speakers. (Just for the record, I will blame the emotions on pregnancy. Life really is great--but pregnancy hormones sure have a way of making everything seem different.) And that is why we worked so hard to keep Devin in the meeting, is because we wanted to be in the meeting. We both wanted to feel the spirit and be guided through the challenging times we are facing.

If I would have heard no other part of the meeting, this tiny gem will always stay with me. I'm pretty sure it was meant just for me--though I bet others benefited! :)

Elder Marcus B. Nash of the First Quorum of the Seventy said,
"Heavenly Father doesn't cause the tough things to happen. But He offers comfort and healing when they do."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Flood the Earth

Yesterday I only heard the last few minutes of Elder David A. Bednar's BYU Education Week Devotional on the radio. I'm excited for the text to be online so I can read the whole thing. But what I did hear touched my heart. I'm sure I could look up a direct quote of this already because it was a little gem that everyone seems to have grasped onto and ran with. But I will just share what I remember.

It's time to sweep the earth as with a flood. Not just a flash flood with a one time occurrence. But a flood to last.

Elder Bednar was talking about using social media to flood the earth for good. And something touched me. I can help flood the earth. I can help "Hasten the Work." 


I used to think that Hasten the Work meant missionary work. Trust me, I am by no means saying it is not important. But unless I was either serving as a full time missionary or being a go-getter, amazing member missionary, I was not helping to Hasten the Work. I know this is probably terrible but I almost didn't like inviting the missionaries over for dinner because it would normally result in one feeling--guilt. Why don't you know your neighbors better? Why don't you have a huge long list of people we can go teach? Missionary work is absolutely amazing but it's not the time in my life for it.

Recently, there has been a huge push in Family History work. And I realized that it is part of Hastening the Work. My parents were Family Search Missionaries. My mom loves doing family history and now that my sister is home from her mission, she has found my mom's enthusiasm for family history. And it is wonderful. I know that families are sealed together and we need to link the generations. But again, it is not the time in my life. I have a very determined, active two year old who needs practically constant supervision. Don't get me wrong, he is so kind and obedient. But his personality is GO and some days, it takes all my energy just to keep up with him.

And I would always feel bad that I wasn't doing my part to help Hasten the Work. I have a testimony. I absolutely love the comfort the gospel brings to my life. I'm grateful for the guidance the Holy Ghost offers me. I'm especially grateful for the love of my Savior and His sacrifice of the Atonement. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints literally means everything to me. But I couldn't help Hasten the Work because Hasten the Work meant missionary service. And Hasten the Work also meant family history.

But yesterday as I was driving home in our car, the windshield wipers going and Devin begging for chicken nuggets and fries, Elder Bednar's words touched my heart. I can help Hasten the Work by participating in the social media flood. More than that though, the spirit told me exactly what I needed to hear.

I am Hastening the Work everyday of my life by sharing being an example to the most loving and independent two year old I know. I'm Hastening the Work within my own home. And for now, that is enough and it is what I'm meant to be doing. I'm meant to be a mother to help perfect the saints... to help perfect the little saints... to help Hasten the Work... to help Flood the Earth!!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Summons Came

Both our insurance and lawyer had explained what a court summons would be and how someone would come "serve" it to us at our home. It would likely be a police officer. It could possibly be a private place and just an ordinary person.

Tuesday, Aug 12, I had just barely woken from my nap and the doorbell rang. I didn't think much of it and looked through the peep hole. I didn't recognize the man standing there and was ready to tell him we are not interested in whatever he has to sell. He had stepped back off our porch and for some reason I was grateful. I didn't feel intimidated being home alone with a sleeping toddler. I just already knew I was not interested in whatever he was here for.

I open the door.

"Is Casey here?" 
"No. He is at work. I'm his wife. May I help you?"
"But he does live here?"
"Yes."
"I'm here to deliver his court summons."
"Oh. Thanks for bringing it." (Really?! I had no idea what to say? I wasn't sure thanking him was the right phrase but I knew being polite was. And it wasn't like this is the guy suing us--he was hired privately.)

I give him my name and he records on the paper that I received the document at 1703 (5:03pm). 

We have been waiting for this document since the middle of May. And now we have a time limit of 20 days to get a response. But of course both the insurance and lawyer offices are closed. Three minutes too late.

So day one of our 20 passes without being able to do anything other than read the 7 page, stapled 3 times, double spaced court summons. I put on my "technical reading classes" and made my way through it as if I was reading some professional food science articles. I found the name of the judge dealing with the case. I see the total medical expenses. I read that in addition to the total medical expense, we are being sued for several other things including pain and suffering, lawyer fees, and about 6 other things.

I set the paper aside and force myself to continue on with life. There is nothing else I can do but wait for business hours the next day to begin making phone calls.

Notarizing

Another letter came in the mail from our insurance. It had to be notarized stating that we only had one car insurance at the time of the accident. I'm still slightly confused with this idea. I don't know many people that have multiple coverage for the family car. But whatever. I am used to having to jump through hoops. After all, I am a college graduate. And a college graduate because of multiple scholarships. That is all about hoop jumping. Surely this hoop can be jumped through too!

I take it to our credit union on Aug 12. I sit in the waiting room. I'm ready to send this back in the mail and face the next obstacle during this unknown time in our lives. And then I talk with the notary person.

She could not help me. Legally, I am not being sued and my name is not on the paper. It's Casey's and he has to sign the paper in front of the notary person in order for them to then notarize it. Do you have any idea how hard this is going to be? He works like 9 hour days and commutes by public transportation. He doesn't get home until all credit unions are closed.

Thankfully, she had an idea and called another branch that stays open later. That branch confirmed that they would be open until 7 pm with at least one notary person there. And bless Casey's dear timing, he was able to get home by about 6:40, pick up Devin and leave immediately. I was going to my ward's RS enrichment night and Casey had volunteered to babysit the nursery. I packed him a dinner. He grabbed the papers and made it before that credit union branch closed.

I sent our now lovely notarized document in the mail and waited.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Initial Shock

Nineteen months ago, Casey was in a car accident on the freeway while coming home from work. Unfortunately, he was at fault and it totaled our car. And we have yet to replace that car. We have since been blessed with the wonderful opportunity of learning to love each other more than we love our one car and how to take turns sharing.

Nearly two years later, you think the accident would be a thing of the past. But it's not because one of the people in the truck he ran into (which had practically no damage) continues to submit medical bills. Our insurance tried settling with the guy but to no luck. Instead that guy got a lawyer and has threatened a lawsuit for many months now. There was nothing we could do other than continue living so it we just set it aside. But it was always there in the very back corner of our mind.

And now all of the sudden, it has slammed us in the face. Our insurance mailed us a letter, on August 6, telling us who our attorney would be from them. I was surprised and shocked because we had not heard anything for awhile now. And all of the sudden I was scared. The what if's filled my mind faster than I could think of them. The law office was closed at the time we read the letter but I wanted answers immediately.

And life had to continue on even through the nerve wracking, worst case scenarios I had created in my mind. I had a sweet little boy to take care of and responsibilities for my calling. I had to keep moving forward and let go of the unknown. Once I was able to call, our lawyer most of my fears seem to be at easy. It is highly unlikely (like completely ridiculous) that we will loose our house or our only car. Thankfully the lawyer provided to us seems calm and very confident. He knows the lawyer of the other guy and his lawyer is known for taking car accident cases to court.

But we still had to wait. We needed an actual court summons in order for anything to move forward. Apparently, we should have received this court summons last May but the guy suing us kept putting it off for whatever reason. Until we are served this document, there was no moving forward but rather sitting allowing the shock to eventually wear off and the reality sink in.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

29 Weeks


I thought it might be time for another baby update. I am 29 weeks and 2 days. Yesterday I had the lovely opportunity to take the glucose test. The fruit punch flavor didn't bother me—it was just like drinking a melted otter pop. But all the sugar upset my stomach. It was just like being back in first trimester and sick anytime I ate any sugar. I will find out the results tomorrow and I’m praying that I’m cleared because I really don’t want to have to take the three hour test with a stronger sugar drink!

I have really been enjoying the past few days where the temperature has been significantly cooler! Devin and I eat otter pops on a regular basis! My fingers have swollen and I can no longer wear my wedding ring. Technically, I can get it on in the morning but then throughout the day my finger will begin to ache and even throb.

Right now, I am in the process of making a car seat cover. Allow me just to say, it is going to be darling! Pink and girly and frilly! It is a slow process though because my sewing machine is in the basement and Devin is not allowed down there. So I can only really work on it during nap time but most of the time I take a nap while he does.

We have been very blessed to inherit hand me downs from family and friends! I haven’t felt up to sorting everything yet but I’m excited that Baby Girl will get to look like a girl instead of just the gender neutral things from Devin.

My favorite food at the moment is a new recipe to our family. But I’m seriously obsessed with it and have made it several times since obtaining the recipe fairly recently. It is a butter dumpling with potatoes. So simple but oh my gosh, I am in love! I really enjoy sugar free chocolate milk or sugar free banana milk.

We have an ultrasound scheduled at the end of this month simply because of the position Baby Girl was in at the 20 week appointment. The tech could see her vital organs but because she was curled up in a tight ball with her legs crossed and refused to move, they couldn't get the close-ups they wanted. I’m so grateful for Casey’s new job and having better insurance! We have already reached our deductible (hallelujah for low deductibles!) so the insurance will cover 80% of it. (Because our deductible was so high with his old job, basically all the ultrasounds—I had several due to complications at the beginning—were out of pocket expense because we had yet to reach the deductible.)

Devin gives Baby Sister hugs and kisses. And he tries to wrap my tummy in a blanket to make sure Baby Sister stays warm. Little does he know that Baby Sister and I are already sweating…. He loves playing with his doll, Baby Sally, and feeds and takes care of her! He is so sweet and caring and I really appreciate his gentleness and love. He will be such a good big brother! We are taking him to a sibling class offered at the hospital later this month—I’m sure he will love it!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Redefining Love

For some reason this has been on my mind for awhile. Probably because I still have so much more to learn. But I have decided that I really don't know what love is--the love that Casey and I share. 

I thought I knew.

Love was staying up late, a first kiss, holding hands, becoming engaged.
Love was wearing my wedding dress, kneeling in the temple, being sealed for time and eternity.
Love was having someone to come home to after class, a study buddy.
Love was going on dates, sitting together, holding hands, kissing my best friend.
Love was celebrating accomplishments, finding a new job, moving together.
Love was two little blue lines on the pregnancy test, bringing our baby home from the hospital.
Love was buying our first home.

But I was wrong. Love is those things. But it is not only those things. It is so much deeper.

Love is learning to fight together for a purpose instead of against each other.
Love is taking a timeout when frustrations arise then coming back together again.
Love is pleading with Heavenly Father for our needs to be taken care of.
Love is counting pennies ump-teen times hoping they stretch just a little further.
Love is clinging to each other when everything else tries to rip us apart.
Love is facing this unpredictable life together.
Love is deeper today than it was yesterday and deeper tomorrow than today.
Love is change.
Love is constant.
Love is eternal.

Love is something I still can't define. Love is something I hope to understand in 5 more years... maybe 50 or 60.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Making Memories Today

There are times when I start thinking about the future and I just get overwhelmed.

How can I love a school-aged son and let my sidekick go to class without me?
How can I love a teenage son and let my little buddy go out with friends without me?
How can I love a missionary son and let my playmate go into the world without me?
How can I love a married son and let my sweet Baby Bunny go to his own home without me?

Thinking of the future... of growing up... of letting go... just brings me to tears.

So I have to take a step back. And focus instead on today.

Today I'm going to give Devin extra kisses even when I'm frustrated.
Today I'm going to spend more time playing Legos even when I have other things to do.
BTW: This is a "Tow Truck" Devin built all by himself.
I was impressed with his imagination!!
Today I'm going to run around the house chasing each other even when I'm hot.
Today I'm going to celebrate the little things even when they are easier to overlook.

Today I'm going to listen to Devin's heartfelt prayers (which list everything he is grateful for) even when I'm tired. (No promises not to laugh during his prayers though. Casey and I both secretly look at each other and giggle.)
Today I'm going to make time for him even when there are errands to run.

Today I'm going to choose to be grateful even when the messes pile up.
Today I'm going to remember to love my sweet 2 years, 1 month and 1 day old even when something seems more important. Because really, nothing is more important than the memories we make today!

Today...