Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Priesthood & a Band-Aid

I have thought a lot about an object lesson I heard once for teachers. I can't remember where I heard it... maybe a class... maybe pinterest. So the idea is not my own but I wanted to share.
Several people had various ailments, illnesses and injuries. They went to their doctor in hopes of a treatment. After seeing the doctor, they had to wait in the lobby until everyone had spoken with the doctor.
The first person had a cut on their left arm. The doctor cleaned the wound and put a Band-Aid on. The second person complained about not being able to see. The doctor cleaned the left arm and put a Band-Aid on. The next person had extreme knee pain. The doctor cleaned the left arm and put a Band-Aid on. One person had headaches, one had an upset stomach, and so on. The treatment was always the same--clean the left arm and put a Band-Aid on.
While waiting in the waiting room, it became apparent that only the first person was happy. Everyone else said the doctor was a waste of their time and money. The second person wanted glasses. The next person wanted knee shots (ha,ha... no one ever wants these... trust me!). And so on. No one could figure out how a Band-Aid on the left arm did anything to help them so they decided to all ask the doctor.
Demanding to see the doctor again, the patients wanted an answer. "Why?!" they inquired. "How does a dumb Band-Aid help me when I never said anything about my left arm?"
The doctor slowly replied, "I was treating everyone equally... the same."
"But that's not fair," came the response. "We want a treatment for our own, individual problems."
"The first person needed a wound cleaned on the left arm and a Band-Aid. I'm treating my patients equally by providing the exact same treatment for all."
"But that's not fair," came the response again.
So obviously, this would never happen. A doctor would not treat all patients the same. The doctor would treat them fairly, providing a solution to each person's individual condition. The point is there is a huge difference between being fair and being equal.

When I was a teacher (a lifetime ago), I was being completely fair by allowing modifications on assignments and tests for students with learning disabilities. Was it the same? No. But was the easier assignment fair? Yes because I considered the student's personal abilities. As more children join our home, some long distance down the road, will I treat them equally? Not likely. But will I try to be fair? Yes. Fair to the circumstance, the situation and the child individually.

This post could stop here and be a good story. A great lesson to understand the difference between fair and equal. But I have to explain the reasons behind why I keep pondering this analogy and what it means to me today.

Thankfully, Heavenly Father does not treat us all equally. He considered us each personally as He gave us various talents and gifts. The world would be a mighty boring place if we were all the exact same with a Band-Aid on our left arm. But in His great wisdom and mercy, He gave me spiritual "knee shots" and someone else "glasses." 

Even more than spiritual knee shots and glasses though, Heavenly Father lovingly created me to be a woman. It is not by chance. There was no toss of the coin or a 50/50 chance. No! It was on purpose. I am on purpose. I am meant to be a woman. And my husband is meant to be a man (a very cute and smart one, I might add). We complete each other and help one another. And I am so, SOOO grateful that Heavenly Father did not send us both down to earth with Band-Aids on our left arms. Where would that get us?! Likely nowhere because we didn't need the Band-Aid.

Instead, He sent me down to earth with Motherhood. This is a divine gift, my friends. It is sacred and something I cherish deeply. It is honorable. It is nurturing. It fills my soul with the deepest warmth and the purest joy.

And in His great wisdom, he sent Casey down with the Priesthood. This is a divine gift too! And it is sacred and something I also deeply cherish. It guides Casey and he blesses my life with it. But our gifts are not the same because we are not the same. We use both our gifts to bless our family. We use them together. We use them to complete one another. But our gifts are not meant to be the same!

Are we absolutely equal as partners? 100% yes. Both in our eyes and in the Lord's!! But are we equal in our roles on this earth? In our purpose? In our mission? NO! I am a woman. He is a man. I am not meant to hold the Priesthood because Heavenly Father didn't send me down to earth with a useless Band-Aid. He sent me down with so much more. So much more! And in His great love, He is being completely fair!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Becoming a Diamond

My wedding ring is a constant reminder. It reminds me of Casey's eternal love. It reminds me of the temple covenants we entered into almost 4 years ago.

As I was studying my scriptures today, my wedding ring took on a whole new meaning. I saw the diamonds and I thought of the process they had to endure to become diamonds. Long before my wedding ring was designed, these precious diamonds used to be lumps of coal. Yes. Lumps of coal. Dirty. Sooty. Black. And of very little value comparatively.

But my diamonds endured. They went through intense pressure and heat for a very long period of time. And the end result is amazing. Sparkling. Beautiful. Forever.

To me, I think that is what Isaiah meant when he stated,
For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

And so day by day, I'm striving to become like my wedding ring. Pure. Lovely. Refined. Chosen.

Enduring life's challenges and trials. Holding fast to my testimony. Finding strength in my scriptures. Receiving comfort in my prayers. Knowing that all the struggles are for a purpose. And occasionally catching a glimpse of my life diamond in the process.

Life is not meant to be easy. We are meant to become diamonds.

Monday, September 23, 2013

15 Lessons from the 15 Month Old

Jesus taught that we should become as little children. (Matthew 18:2-3) His teaching is just beginning to make sense. I have learned so much from my charming 15 month old. Life lessons at their finest!

1. Say hello and wave to everyone you meet. It will bring a smile to both your faces and likely brighten their day. 

2. Applaud yourself. Celebrate even when you do the smallest things right. Clapping for yourself builds your confidence. 

3. Clap when anyone else does something right too. We all need a cheerleader in life. 

4. Let things go. So what if you made a mistake. You sit in time out for 90 seconds and come out smiling, ready to conquer your world and forget the problems. 

5. It's ok to ask others for help. Ask nicely. Say please and thank you. And more than likely they will be delighted to help in anyway they can. 

6. When you fall down, get back up. Falling is not failure. It just means you are learning. 

7. Support others when they have a bad day. Give them a cookie and a kiss. Because a cookie and a kiss really does make everything better. 

8. Try new things. Sometimes you might like them, it might even become your favorite. Sometimes you may not. But you never know until you try. 

9. Explore your world. There is so much out there. Pay attention and enjoy what you find. 

10. Find joy in the simple things. You don't need expensive toys to make you happy. 

11. Take a nap. Life's problems have a way of diminishing when you get enough rest. 

12. Worry less about your appearance. It doesn't really matter if your pants are too short or there's a spill on your shirt. Instead focus serving others. 

13. Make sure those you love know it. Tell them. Show them. Hug them. 

14. Patience goes a long way. Life is filled with waiting. You might as well enjoy it by  entertaining and playing with yourself. 

15. Don't judge others until you walk in their shoes. And even after walking in their shoes, still love and respect them unconditionally. 

If we could all just live by these simple guidelines and follow the counsel given by Christ... life would be so much more welcoming and supportive if we could truly learn to be like children. Thank you Devin for setting an example for me; an example worth copying.

Which is your favorite lesson taught by Devin?
Leave a comment--I would *love* to hear! :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

he's a little boy!

It hit me the other day that Devin is no longer a baby. At all. 
He had a major growth spurt recently.
And is now our little boy.
Enjoy our comings and goings with several pictures! :)
And I LOVE how he is smiling in a majority of the pictures.
He has the cutest smile!!

We have crazy weather these days. The afternoons are often filled with flash floods. And Devin insists that he has to go outside to check out the thunder. Sometimes I can convince him to sit on the porch with me. Other times... not so much. He was pushing his lawnmower and found the mud. He LOVES playing in the mud!

Devin drags that two-step ladder everywhere. With it, he can see and help. If it is put away, he will constantly sign help by the closet door to tell me he wants it. He had a brilliant idea to try to open the door with his step stool. Thankfully, he doesn't get how to twist door handles yet!

Helping me clean the kitchen. But if you will notice, all the hard work required a break time. He dropped his broom and started playing peek-a-boo (his hand is covering his eyes). After he played for a little bit, he went back to sweeping.

We were able to ride the Heber Creeper with all my family earlier this month. Devin enjoyed being able to look out the window and sit or stand on the seat next to Grandma instead of having to be buckled in his rear facing car seat.

Devin loves helping me cook. He is great at sampling whatever I'm making and banging the measuring cups on the counter. He is also great at smiling and making me laugh! :)

Another time helping me cook. He LOVED sampling this. It was the leftover filling (more like a frosting consistency) for some cinnamon rolls I made earlier. Which reminds me. I should post that recipe!

Awh. I just love seeing my sleeping boy. He is adorable!

Devin likes to push this car all over our driveway and sidewalk. Thankfully, somehow, I was able to teach him to stay out of the road. He rarely goes out to the road now. He begs me to take him outside to play.

He also likes to sit in his car. But he doesn't understand that it is a "Flintstone car" and that he can drive walk himself around while he is sitting.

I have no idea how he falls asleep in such awkward places. He was sitting on the bean bag on minute playing with Friend. The next he fell over asleep cuddling with Friend. Such a cutie!

Devin always wants to feed himself. Always. I have found that thick oatmeal is a good "learning to use a spoon" food. Picture below is yogurt and it is terrible for feeding himself. We have to hose him, his clothes, the high chair, and the floor down afterwards.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Devin's Data: 15 Months

He would not stand still on the big boy scale.
He barely stayed put on this one.
Weight: 24.69 lbs (53%)

Height: 32.5 in (~80%)

Head Circumference: 18.5 in (45%)

Clothing Size: Up until a few weeks ago he was wearing mostly 12 month. He recently had a huge growth spurt and now all his pants are floods. Surprisingly though there are still some 6-9 that he fits and some 18+ month that are too small.

Diaper Size: During the day he wears 3s. At night it is 4s.

Personality: Devin is VERY friendly and likes to smile, say hello and wave to everyone! Seriously. Everyone! He is extremely smart and can figure out how to do something after me showing him how once and he has a great memory. He is happy, kind, gentle, affectionate and obedient. He is also very strong physically--our doctor tells me this at every appointment.

Milestones: He cleans up by himself (as long as I sing the clean up song). He follows instructions really well (like when I tell him to go put his shoes away he takes them to the closet or telling him to throw garbage away he walks over and lifts up the lid and throws it away). He can touch his head on command. He points to all the pictures in the book and "reads" to me (he makes a chatter sound as he touches the object). His tantrums were extreme before he started communicating--now life is much happier! He goes up and down stairs extremely fast the crawling way and he can go up and down the "big boy" way as long as he can touch the wall or hold my hand for balance. He is great at running and climbing.

Eating: He eats what we are eating. For the most part. But he has to do it himself!! It surprises me the things he likes. If he doesn't like something he will pick it up off his tray and put it on the table or drop it on the floor. Some things that he loves: rice, water chestnuts, "healthy" cereals (he lives on this stuff I swear), string cheese, pasta, applesauce.

Sleeping: We are trying hard to get him to bed by 9. He normally sleeps until 7 am. He takes one long nap in the afternoon.

Communication: This past month his communication has taken off. It reminds me of Helen Keller when he finally clicked that everything has a name. He uses sign language to tell me what he wants and it helps reduce tantrums so much! His first signing word was "please." His signing 
vocabulary is growing rapidly. He uses "please," "help," "thank you," "all done," "cereal," "applesauce," "cheese," "cracker," "cookie," "fruit snack," and "car" on a regular basis. 
His first speaking word was "ah-pab." It means airplane and he says it every time he either sees or hears one. He also says "momma," "help," "hello," "bye," "up," and "uh-oh."

Likes: He loves playing outside and pushing his lawnmower or car. He always wants to stand on our two-step stool and help me in the kitchen. He loves reading books and playing with a Lightning McQueen car that talks and goes by itself.  One of his favorite games to play by himself is peek-a-boo.

Dislikes: He hates having his nose touched or wiped. He doesn't like being told no. He hates sitting in timeout.

Nicknames: Buddy, when we are talking to each other we call him Baby Bunny but I rarely call him that anymore. He is so not a baby anymore--he is our little boy!

Most Memorable Moment(s): Moving into our house--he helped me both pack and unpack all the boxes! He has to help me clean everything--thank goodness for having a kid size vacuum and broom! He started giving kisses and will come to me during the middle of the day with his lips puckered.

Hardest Part: I hate putting him in timeout. I do it. But I hate doing it. It is also extremely hard when I still don't know what he wants. He signs "help" or "please" and I have no idea what he wants. He will keep signing it and then becomes upset when I fail to figure out and meet his needs.

Lisa's Favorite Part: I love his kisses. And his hugs. I love seeing his friendly smile. I love that we are able to do things together more and that he understands.

Casey's Favorite Part: I'm grateful Devin has started communicating with his words and signing.

Not the greatest quality... but SO cute!
We are a happy family!! :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Ultimatum

Remember recently how I was working on convincing myself to start eating healthy again? And how I came up with a game plan? Well... I now found the motivation.

I was able to meet with the orthopedic surgeon yesterday. This opening in the schedule was a miracle. After being referred by my family doctor last week, I called to make an appointment. The receptionist was totally surprised that I would be able to come in just a few days later because someone must have canceled. And I feel very blessed! You see I'm turning 26 in less than a month. Currently I am on my parents insurance. But it will automatically kick me off at 12:01 on my birthday. I will be added to Casey's insurance. But... my parents have better coverage with smaller out of pocket expense. If any procedure/ surgery/ therapy had to happen, I wanted it to be done on their insurance!

So I explain my knee pain to the doctor. And I had x-rays taken. My knees look healthy-ish! (They could be way worse... so we will just be grateful they are as good as they are!) But both of my knee caps are slightly shifted to the outside and I apparently already have minor arthritis. Knees are supposed to look smooth like a cue ball but according to the doctor, mine would look like a shaggy carpet. Lovely right?! I'm 25 years old! 

When I was 16, I had a major work-related accident while working in a nursing home. And I damaged both knees. Therapy, braces, medicine, Priesthood Blessings, etc later, the pain went away and life was good again. The guess is though that it caused the arthritis to start.

I was totally preparing myself mentally to have knee surgery. So when the doctor suggested something as simple as getting shots instead, I was pretty excited! The shot is to help cushion the part of my knee cap that shifted and in theory raise it back to the correct place. Though I kind of freaked out when the shot was actually injected into each knee and it HURT!! I have no idea how to even describe the pain. The doctor tried asking me what it felt like. I didn't know what to relate it to so I sat there gripping the examining table while Devin watched from his grandma's arms with a look of concern and compassion. And I get to go back for two more shots in each knee. Yeah.

Here is the catch. There is no corrective treatment other than a total knee replacement. (At least that was the impression I got.) I have two options. Go back every six months (or more when the pain becomes intense again) and get shots for the rest of my life. Or loose weight to take the strain off my knees. Hmmm... Considering the ultimatum placed before me, it's not too hard of a choice. 

Healthy knees and healthy me... here I come!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Farmer's Market Scavenger Hunt

Date night has become a routine over here. But in a good way. Like I know that no matter how bad the week is or how little time I get to spend with my sweetheart because of his work and school, he is all mine on Friday evenings. And for a brief few hours each week, we have little other cares in the world. We get to hold hands and giggle and share dinner. It's like time stands still and I get to fall in love all over again. Week after week after week. Our goal to go on a planned ahead and paired off date was one of our best decisions! It is blessing our lives and marriage.

This past week was my turn to plan the date. I loved our bookstore scavenger hunt date. We had so much fun wandering around and finding the each book and then sharing them with each other. Just thinking about the sweet memories brings a smile to my face. So I decided to ask Casey on another scavenger hunt to the Farmer's Market. I would just look it up on google, print off an already made list and away we would go. Well. That plan worked well except the only pre-made hunts were worksheets for kids. I found one vague Farmer's Market Date Night idea that pretty much said that they went and wandered around and it was a great place to go for 1st and 2nd dates. So not what I was looking for. No thanks to the worksheets and I didn't want to just wander around. I think it was more engaging and memorable with a plan.

So I made my own Farmer's Market Scavenger Hunt Date Night. And we really enjoyed it! There was a major dust storm going on just before we got out of the car. Everything was covered in dust and it kept blowing in our eyes. But we pressed forward because we were Baby Bunny free and made the most of it.

Before we arrived, I looked at our budget and knew we had very little extra money (all money is currently going to our furnace fund! Which will be fixed tomorrow, btw... YEAH!!! ...more on that later though...). So we each had $2 to spend. I know that doesn't seem like a lot but in some ways it made the experience more memorable because we had to search and search to find the best deals.

Happy Farmer's Market Dating! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!
Sorry if the picture looks blurry in the post. Click on the picture to enlarge it then save/ copy it to print it in clear, readable format! :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Choosing to Follow the Word of Wisdom

The goal for my life is healthy. Balanced. And in control. There is way more to life than being on a diet though. And something amazing hit me. Casey loves me. I know real shocker. But it's true. We were best friends in high school. He fell in love with me after his mission. And we were married for eternity during the middle of a semester.  (Yes. Middle. Life was crazy! And we basically ran on adrenaline.) Our love grew as we experienced life and as we added a cute Baby Bunny to our family. And guess what?! ALL of those times my size was never correct by the society set "mold" and he still looooooves me! AND I LOVE MYSELF!!

However. We are counseled to put off the natural man because it is an enemy to God. (Mosiah 3:19) Heavenly Father expects me to take care of His gift called my body. And He gave me guidelines with His law of health! (Word of Wisdom) And I have come to know that when I follow the laws Heavenly Father gives me, I am richly blessed. More blessed than I could ever imagine. In all aspects of my life. I just know that I need to make a better effort to follow the yes's in the Word of Wisdom. My pep-talk with myself worked. I'm feeling motivated.

Last spring, a former roommate and friend from EFY introduced me to the "Feel Great In 8" program. There are several different versions out there. I decided to try it because it was not a diet. I don't want to be on a diet the rest of my life-- (1) because I hate being on a diet and (2) it teaches my children (speaking in future terms here... we only have Devin and I'm not pregnant...) that the only way to be healthy/ live life is if you are dieting and counting calories. And I definitely did not want to do a meal replacement/ drink shakes/ etc because I don't want my children to grow up with that being the norm. The Word of Wisdom talks nowhere about skipping meals and replacing them with shakes. Heavenly Father knows what He is doing! If I were meant to count calories and do diet supplements instead of eating, I know it would be mentioned somewhere in His scriptures. But it's not. Instead He teaches me how to be healthy. The FGI8 program that I did helped me understand how to be healthy and how to follow His law.

With FGI8, it focuses on the well-rounded person, not just what you eat. I would earn points each day for drinking water and reading my scriptures as well as eating healthy and exercising. I liked the program and was able to maintain the lifestyle after it ended until we moved. And then I basically gave it up because fast food and sugary treats were much easier. Or so I thought. Really that was just an excuse. I could have reached for a fruit instead of cookies. I could have chosen to eat healthy but moving I guess became my crutch. 

The one thing I didn't like about FGI8 (which some people might actually love) was that I had to compete on a team. I didn't like it because as my team would consistently earn low scores, I felt like it was ok for me to earn low scores and stop trying. I do want support and love and help. But ultimately, I need to know that I am responsible and accountable for me and my score affects me--not my team.

So... (long post... hope you all love reading!) this is my game plan. I am going to be healthy. I am going to follow the Word of Wisdom because I know I will be blessed by doing so. I am going to teach Devin to live a healthy, balanced life by being an example. I am not going to focus on losing weight but I do hope that I will slowly, safely and healthy start shrinking because I have some pounds to spare. And hopefully loosing weight will help reduce the stress and pain on my knees!!

For anyone that wants to join me, this is my lifestyle goal. It will be a work in progress. 
  • DAILY:
    • 5+ different fruits/ vegetables (I call these "freshies" and every produce can count as one serving. I can still eat a baked potato/ avocado/ etc.)
    • 5+ healthy foods (whole grains, lean meats, low-fat/fat-free dairy)
    • Use moderation/ make healthy selections with foods that are in the middle of the healthy/ unhealthy scale (for example salad dressing, syrup, white bread, etc)
    • 64 oz water
    • No food after 8 pm (except one freshie if hungry) {And note: ideally because we go to bed so early, this would probably be 7 pm for me...}
    • Exercise for 45+ min, 5 days of the week (even something as simple as walking counts or splitting it up into sections so you are not doing an hour straight)
    • Exercise for 30+ min on the 6th day
    • Rest on Sunday
    • Enjoy two unhealthy foods {yes, really. No food is off limits! It just has to be eaten with careful moderation. I think this is following the Word of Wisdom rather well because we are meant to be healthy but still enjoy life!}
    • Meeting with my scale
    • Reflect on how the past week went. Focus on a success (not the amount of weight lost) and find one area that I could improve for the coming week.
I have still not decided if I am going to share my weekly meeting with the scale and my reflection or not....? I have total mixed feelings on the matter.

And just for the record: I am NOT saying that counting calories is a sin or that this is the only way to follow the WoW. I just knows this works for me and I feel like it follows it. But each is entitled to their own interpretation!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Second Chances

Everyone deserves second chances.
And third chances.
And seventy times seven chances. (Matthew 18:22)

Including me.
And maybe especially me.
Especially me because it is my reflection I see in the mirror.
And I am my hardest critic.
And it is me who needs to give myself another chance.

But I guess before I can give myself another chance, I have to want it. To want it so bad that I am willingly to put forth the required effort, the sweat, the tears, the sacrifice to get it. And trust me, I want it if it were given to me freely. But right now, I'm not sure if I'm willing to work for it.

It seems my life is a constant dieting/ healthy eating/ call-it-whatever-you-want food battle. Constant. The temptation to indulge in sweets never becomes easier--even when I'm eating extremely healthy. And sometimes I find the joy of indulging outweighs the joy of sticking to my weight loss goal.

But I'm working on finding the motivation again. The determination. The will power.

I haven't psyched myself up yet enough to jump back in, headfirst, to the eat healthy only lifestyle. But I'm working on it. Attending the free morning exercise class in my stake center was helping me find the motivation. But attending the class has presented another obstacle. My right knee is hurting again. A lot! And my left knee is hurting some. I had to stop attending the class in hopes of healing. But I do miss it immensely and can hardly wait to go back. (And in case you are a new follower around here... click HERE for the basic 411 about my knee situation.) 

And I'm hoping and praying and fasting and praying and taking medicine and praying and wearing my knee brace and PRAYING that my knees will heal. Ugh. They were both doing so much better. But now it seems to have nose-dived and the pain is more than I can handle on a regular basis--especially for not exercising at all for a week. I have an appointment to see my doctor again next week. He will likely refer me to a specialist. Knee surgery (possibly knees--both) seems like it might become a reality in the next month before my birthday.... The next month before I turn 26 and go off my parents insurance again (I went off when I was first married. Then was added back on. But now will be taken off for good.) Though I'm not going to stress out about the idea of surgery until I talk to my doctor.

For now though...
I'm just working on finding the motivation to take my ump-teenth chance.

This time around it will be different. Instead of just focusing on pounds lost and allowing that to become an obsession with my scale, I'm focusing on what I gain.

I'm thinking about reporting each week my progress. But again trying to determine if that will lead to an obsession or not. I do know that I will not be counting calories because mentally, I can not handle that! That is a complete, absolute, fanatical obsession of counting and recounting and stressing that I had too many!! I will be following a basic "Feel Great in 8" and the Word of Wisdom diet plan/ lifestyle. If I do report, I'm considering something along the lines of (1) pounds lost, (2) number of consecutive sit-ups and/or sit-ups in a minute, (3) push-ups --either consecutive or in a minute, (4) how the hardest part for me of FGI8 went the past week {for me the hardest part is only eating two treats per week} and (5) something positive I gained that week.

Self. Get ready. I need to just grab this new chance and run with it. (Not literally. Running is definitely not an option right now!)
And self. Be warned. Waiting until after the holidays (birthdays, Halloween, anniversary, Thanksgiving, December, Christmas) and the start of the new year is NOT an option.
Self. You. Can. Do. This. You can do hard things. You can reduce all the yummy seasonal treats. But you can still enjoy a few. You can reach your pre-preggers weight and ultimately your goal weight. I can do this. I can do this. I CAN do this!

Do I dare ask if anyone wants to join me?? To grab your new chance and to fight head on with me during the upcoming pack-on-the-pounds holiday season. I can explain the Feel Great In 8 lifestyle if anyone is curious and wants to try it....

Note to self: by asking for others to join and support me, I have to be committed. I have to be willing to fight for me. I have to find my will power. Don't ask for others if you can't do it yourself.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

FYI: Raising Our Son

Dear Devin,

There is quite the controversy in blog land these past couple of days. I don't need to recap it or even link to it because that's not the point. The point is, I love you. And every mother loves their child just as much as I love you. I love when you come up to me, in the middle of the day as you are playing, with your lips puckered all ready for a kiss. I love how you give me a hug when I tell you "I love you."

But you won't always be 15 months old. Soon you will learn how to read and know how to actually use my iTouch--more than your current use of only pushing the home button over and over. I put it in lock mode before I give it to you so you can only use the one app that I opened but soon you will learn how to escape lock mode. Then you will be able to check my facebook page, my email, my etc and see all the apps I installed without me knowing. And you might even post things on my facebook to be funny. 

Devin, the only way I am only going to teach you what is appropriate and what our standards are is if I live them myself. I have to keep my facebook news feed and other social media filled with people I love and trust who only share things that are appropriate. I have to know who I'm following because it is my responsibility, not theirs, to keep my feed filled with things that are virtuous and of good report. (Article of Faith 13)

I know as you grow older that you will follow my example much better than my words. So I hope I set an example that would be worth copying. And I know you will have questions as you grow from toddler to teenager (in the blink of an eye) but I hope our relationship will be firm enough that you will come to me. That we can talk. And laugh. And cry. And think together. Yes, Devin, I want you to think! I want you to learn what is right and then make your own choices. I want you to learn to be responsible for you. I want you to learn to use your social media for good.

The compliment we hear from strangers almost constantly right now is, "look at those eyes" and "he is going to be such a heartbreaker when he grows up." Funny how the compliment is a two edge sword and almost more of an insult. Devin, please learn how to use your beautiful eyes for good. Learn to let the Light of Christ shine from them. Learn to then be an example to others. Learn that others have feelings and learn to help them through their trials.  Learn to post things that would be worth reading and following. And please, especially please learn that your momma will always need your hugs, kisses and I love yous. 

Devin, I know we have a huge responsibility as your parents to raise you to be a man of integrity and faith and compassion and virtue. I hope I can become like one of the mothers of the Stripling Warriors and that you will know that God will deliver you. (Alma 56:47-48) And that you will be able to say to others that your mother taught you. (Alma 57:21) But more than just teaching, I hope you will be able to follow who I am--that I can continue to work day by day on being a woman of integrity and faith and compassion and virtue.

Life is not an easy road. Keep your focus on the times when you will be dressed in white. See yourself wearing white for your baptism and white when you go through the temple. Just know that the blessings from the temple are worth every sacrifice. Devin, I know we will be facing an uphill climb and battle. But I know that together, with the Savior (and Daddy), we will succeed!

With my eternal love,
Lisa (aka that's Mommy to you Mr. Devin)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodbye Dust Bunnies & Cobwebs

Have you ever walked in a house and your first thought is "It's just so clean in here?" Well that house has definitely not been mine in the past. It was always a nice idea but seemed like so much work. I'm not a fan of cleaning. I did not grow up in one of those "just so clean" houses. This cleaning thing is not something that comes natural to me. But I can learn. I can learn to make my house be one of those "just so clean" houses.

According to the Bible Dictionary, "only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." When I think about the physical building of a temple, it is clean, organized and clutter-free. The physical condition of the temple seems to invite the spirit easily. The goal of our home is to have the spirit reside here constantly and a place where we feel comfortable and loved.

So I knew I had to change my current cleaning habits (or lack thereof). I googled to find a cleaning calendar. I am a great list-maker and completer. A list gives me something to stay focused on and also allows me to see what I accomplished at the end. I knew a chart would provide me with a list to follow. After googling, allow me just to say... there are hundreds of them out there. I looked at several dozen but couldn't find one that I wanted to print. I would like parts about one and something else about another. I finally decided to create my own. And it has helped! A lot!! I keep up with it everyday. I have honestly made our bed (or Casey has if he woke up last on the weekend) every single day we have lived in our new home. And there is something amazing about climbing into a made bed at the end of the day. And something equally amazing about living in a clean, organized, peaceful home.

So... Tuesdays are definitely my hardest days simply because it is the swing day. And part of me wishes I could just ignore them because I don't have to deal with those things regularly. But I want to keep our house clean in hopes of it never ending up like the dirty disaster we bought. Also... I take the garbage out as needed when it becomes full. On Tuesdays, I take the garbage cans out to the street so they can be dumped the next day.

I try to get everything done before lunch then I can use afternoon nap time for me-time. But somedays, I end up cleaning/ folding clothes/ etc once I put Devin down. But I definitely have everything done before I start making dinner! After dinner, I have a hard time finding the motivation to complete my evening chores--I don't want to add to that list!! I actually try to minimize it by keeping up with the dishes while I am making them, washing the counters when I'm done using them, sorting the mail as I bring it in the house (Casey never even sees the junk mail now because I already threw it away), and picking up toys before we sit down for our family dinner. There is not much I can do about sweeping early because Devin will still be eating dinner (and feeding himself).

Time to go start my daily routine... I still don't love cleaning. But I LOVE the end result and that keeps me motivated!