Sunday, December 25, 2011


Casey and Lisa
{Standin' near} a tree...


First comes LOVE...

Then comes MARRIAGE...

Then comes a BABY in the baby carriage!
(in 6 months!)

Merry Christmas!!!
Photobucket & Casey

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Called to Teach

Last Sunday when I was asked to meet with a member of the Bishopric, I was super curious.  I was anticipating a calling of some sort but had no idea what to expect.  I am still the ward chorister and was not released from that.  I was nervous that we would be called to Trek.  I would love to be a trek ma with Casey as the pa but the timing of next summer just didn't seem right to either of us.  So as we waited, we hoped it wasn't for Trek.

To our relief, no Trek call was issued--at least not yet....

I was called to teach Relief Society.  I know this probably sounds kind of odd but I was so excited that I almost squealed.  I really do enjoy teaching!  And being able to teach about the things that matter the most to me, instead of trying to do everything to side step around the religion topic at school, will be amazing.  Well, I obviously accepted eagerly.  Hopefully it isn't too weird that I was excited for the calling!

Today I was sustained by my ward members and then set apart after church by the Bishop.  I will get to learn from and study the manual, George Albert Smith as I prepare to teach and discuss the lessons with the other sisters in my ward.  Before I started reading my manual, I knew that he was called as President of the church--no idea when but long before my time.  And I was guessing that he was related somehow to Joseph Smith.  I {obviously} have SO much to learn this coming year.  But I am still excited because I really do LOVE teaching! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 Reasons I LOVE my life!

So 11-11-11 is pretty big today.  Maybe my friends are all just nerds but "Happy 11 Day" has spammed my facebook page.  My students sure got a kick out of writing the date on their papers today.  I'm willing to guess that their are countless marriages being performed simply because people think it is lucky.  So I kept thinking about 11.  What does 11 mean to me.  Why is today so special.  Well, I will list 11 good reasons why 11 is a great reason to celebrate.

1.  I love spending 1 on 1 time with my sweetheart!
2.  I'm grateful my school is about an 11 minute drive--seriously.  (But only when I happen to hit mostly all green lights.)
3.  I love listening to 11 minutes (or more if I'm waiting at a red light) of conference twice a day.
4.  I was married in the 11th month two years ago!!
5.  I only have 1 plus 1 subjects to teach.  (Love only having two class subjects!)
6.  My fingers are well below size 11 when before they used to be pushing it.
7.  I can always look forward to my 11 minutes (plus or minus) of scripture time.
8.  Just under 11 years ago I met my eternal best friend.
9.  I look forward to my 1:1 phone chats with my mom.
10. I'm pretty sure my texting speed is at least 11 wpm... who knows maybe faster.
11. Every night I get to spend (hopefully more than) 11 minutes together with my love at dinner.

Happy 11-11-11 Day... after all this 11 experience will only come once in my life time so I might as well enjoy it!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reliving the Tears

Yesterday during morning announcements, something interesting happened.  My principal came on the intercom and talked to the kids about remembering 9/11 and paying a tribute to it.  She said that one of our students requested we say the pledge everyday because her father is a marine and overseas right now.  We all stood up and recited the pledge.  And then my principal came back on.  She was talking to the kids and then asked all the teachers to turn on our TVs and they were going to stream a 9/11 tribute for the kids to watch.

10 years ago, my students were probably between the ages of 1-4.  They have no idea what happened but have grown up hearing about it there whole lives.  They live in the affects but they don't remember 9/11.

The video starts.  It was off of youtube.  I have no idea which 10 year tribute video was shown though.  My students are all watching it fairly quietly and respectfully.  I'm wandering around the classroom and my eyes start getting teary eyed.  I walk back and get a Kleenex.  Some of the students noticed but no one said anything.  The video continues.  I started crying.  I took some more Kleenexes and left my room.  I stood in the hall and wiped away tears.  I could still hear it but at least I didn't have to watch the pictures.  My entire class noticed I left and they all sat silently, realizing how much the video touched me--but not really understanding why.  I wasn't even expecting this reaction.

Afterwards, I was going to do my best to say a short 1-2 sentences about it and then move on.  That didn't happen.  The kids wanted to know why I was so touched.  They were curious.  And they were silent.  Someone would raise their hand and ask a question about what happened on 9/11 or where I was or etc and everyone else listened.  Then another question.  This went on for a 1/2 hour.  I decided there are more important things to learn then just whats on the lesson plan and so I talked to them.

Here is the thing though, I have seen countless pictures in the past 10 years from 9/11, I have watched documentaries, I have read articles.  None of these moved me to tears.  So why yesterday?  Well, all of the sudden watching pictures on this chunky, old-school TV mounted near the roof of my classroom brought back a wave of memories.  I watched 9/11 happen live on the same TVs.  I saw the second tower get hit live on these TVs and watched it collapse live and heard the presidential conference on these TVs and everything that happened on 9/11 was on these old, chunky, need updating TVs.

10 years ago tomorrow, it was picture day.  I was standing in my parent's bathroom, curling my hair when the first tower was hit.  I was in 8th grade.  We still rotated to all of our classes, but it was simply rotating rooms and still watching the TV, all day.  Before we went for pictures, our teacher let us go to the bathroom to wash our faces with cold water to try to hide the red eyes and tear streaks.  Some pictures in that yearbook just look sad.

Watching the tribute yesterday brought me back to 8th grade, a day filled with everyone crying and no one knowing what was going to happen, probably because I am back to the same school.  I am seriously in the exact same place I was 10 years ago and watching the exact same pictures.  And so my students saw that I have feelings and watched me cry and even walk out of the room.

Where were you 10 years ago?  What were you doing?  Has anyone else's life path took them back to the exact same place you were when you watched 9/11 happen?
P.S.  I'm just curious.  To my international readers, what impact, if any, did 9/11/2001 have on you?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dragon Slayer

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.  Most people wouldn't recognize her as a princess because she did not wear big fluffy dresses everyday and she did not live in a castle.  But she was still a princess--royal by birth.

The princess loves cooking and interior design and preschool and sewing.  She also loves teaching.  So the princess decided to combine all of her talents and become a teacher--not a regular "princess" job but it is what she loved so she followed her dreams.

This teacher princess spent many hours getting ready for school to start--even on non-contract teacher days.  She cleaned her classroom and wrote lesson plans and rearranged furniture and wrote lesson plans and made bulletin boards and wrote lesson plans and designed a cute display case.  Oh and did I mention that the princess wrote lesson plans?  Because she did. ;)

On Thursday the princess met about half of her students for the first time.  It was 7th grade day so instead of having to teach in her classroom, the princess followed the school schedule for the day and taught the kiddos how to open lockers, where the bathroom was, how to go to lunch, what to do if there is a fire drill, etc.  You know.  All the important stuff that a 7th grader really needs to know.

Yesterday was a non-contract day and technically the last day of summer for the princess.  But can you guess where the princess was?  Yup.  For almost 11 hours the princess was making photo copies, rewriting lesson plans and eventually printing them, and so many other things that the princess can't even remember what she did--all in attempts for trying to have her classroom ready on Monday: the first real day of school.

The princess started to feel overwhelmed.  She wanted to go home but couldn't because there was still things that have to be done before the kids show up bright and early in their brand new outfits Monday morning.  The princess told her knight in shining armor that she wasn't going to be coming home any time soon because she was so busy and stressed and on the verge of tears.  So the knight came to the dungeon to slay the dragons and free his princess.

The knight gave the princess a huge kiss and tight hug and that helped everything seem a little better.  He worked on organizing and making a seating chart template.  The knight slayed the dragons and the princess was freed.  The knight in shining armor took his princess out to eat and then to the movies.  And the princess decided that anything is possible as long as she has her knight by her side. <3

P.S.  Today is Saturday.  Teachers are NOT supposed to work on Saturdays.  But this princess still has to finish making seating charts, make procedure guidelines for desired student behavior charts, print some pictures and make a getting to know the princess box for her students, and go shopping--like required shopping so her students can start on labs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School {pause}. Me Time {play}.

Recently, I have found my whole life is SCHOOL.  Little did I know that I would be spending way more time now than I ever did when I was in college.  I thought I graduated so I could be done with homework.  Ha!  I don't think that philosophy applies to teachers.

I have been attending meetings at least 2-3 times a week this entire month.  I'm really looking forward to when those will minimize!  These meetings take up all sorts of time.  And, to be fair, I am learning and they are needed but still, I have plenty of other things to do.

And slowly, my several page to-do list is being crossed off.

  • Make bulletin boards -- check.
  • Arrange desks -- check.
  • Decorate display case -- almost check. (I just need to print out some labels!)
  • Learn how to log in to my computer, use gradebook, check my e-mail -- check, check, check.
  • Clean my room.  Throw away cupboards FILLED with stuff from the old teacher.  Make room for me.  -- check (although this will probably be a work in progress.)
  • Make Scope and Sequences -- check.
  • Work on lesson plans -- check, for at least the first couple of days.

  • Learn how to use my printer, copy all of my disclosures and worksheets, go shopping for needed supplies, lesson plan for longer than a couple of days, make seating charts, order things from the district, color code my aprons/ kitchen lab, finish my display case, continue dejunking my rooms, sign up for insurance, ETC. -- UNCHECK.  There is still SO much to do!  But the kiddos will come whether my list is complete or not though. So here is to making the best of the situation with my unchecked list. :)

On the up note.  I did win a free i-pod at one of my long teacher meetings.  That was pretty sweet!  It is currently in the process of being "refurbished" though so hopefully it will be usable.  Who knows.  It may never even turn on.  But it still felt cool winning.
P.S.  I (1) miss blogging.  It is a creative outlet/ stress reducer for me.  And (2) I miss eating healthy.  I'm seeing a trend--I get stressed from being so busy then I start having more sleeping problems and then I start eating more (not-so-healthy) options.  Luckily, I can choose to change both! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pioneer FHE Lesson {for Newlyweds}

Ok first of all... I know this seems really long.  I promise it isn't as bad as it appears.  It is just spaced weird (with some of the bullets being really far to the left--don't ask... I'm not in the mood to fight with bloggers formatting) and I copied the stories/ quotes instead of having links for most things.  If you don't have time to go through EVERY thing though, pick the characteristics you want to focus on.  Or divide it out and use this one lesson for mulitple weeks! :) 

The reason I made this family home evening is because with us living in Utah, celebrating Pioneer Day (July 24th) is pretty big.  I wanted to have an FHE lesson where we both could learn and grow.  All of the Pioneer FHE lessons I found were teaching little kids about pioneers.  Well, my hubby and I have grown up hearing those stories our whole lives.  I didn't really know how applicable that was at this time in our life.  Instead, I thought about why the pioneers traveled west.  Why.  To go to Zion.  Well, fortunately everyone is not called to leave their homes today and gather in one place.  But that means that Zion should be where ever we are.  That is the point of this FHE--to help establish Zion in our own homes {while we are just newlyweds}.

Opening Song: Hymn #30 Come, Come Ye Saints (especially verses 1 & 2)
Opening Prayer:
Scripture:  D&C 59: 2-3

·         Questions to Discuss (with answers I thought of—if you don’t like any, use your own)
o   What is a pioneer?   (Define:  A pioneer is a person who opens a way or prepares others to follow.)
o   What sacrifices did the pioneers have to make?  (leave homes/ families, physical trials, travel to Zion, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we make that are similar? (leave our families and establish our own, move often, learn to get by with little money, establish Zion in our home, etc.) 
o   What sacrifices do we have to make that are entirely different?  (attend college, save money for a family, etc.)
·         President Monson said, “We honor those who endured incredible hardships. We praise their names and reflect on their sacrifices.
“What about our time? Are there pioneering experiences for us? Will future generations reflect with gratitude on our efforts, our examples? You young [people] can indeed be pioneers in courage, in faith, in charity, in determination.
“You can strengthen one another; you have the capacity to notice the unnoticed. When you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel, you can reach out and rescue others of your age” (“Pioneers All,” Ensign, May 1997, 93).
·         We can be pioneers for our (future) children and our children’s children’s children.  The Mormon Pioneers gave up everything to come to Zion.  So tonight, let’s figure out how we can make our home become Zion.
·         How to build a Zion with just two people (or more if you already have kids):
o   Read Moroni 7: 45—although this talks about charity, I’m pretty sure it is a good “Zion” list too.  In place of the word charity, have the wife read the scripture with her hubby’s name and then vice versa.  Are all of these things true?  The following short activities will help strengthen these areas of your life to help build Zion.
o   Suffereth Long
§  The Savior was the perfect example of someone who suffered.  Have each person find and share his/ her favorite scripture about a time when the Savior was suffering.
o   Kind
§  What things can your spouse do to be kind to you and show you his/her love?  Make a list of at least 5 simple things he/ she could do for you then share lists.  (For example: I love getting a text/ phone call from my hubby during the middle of the day.  When he does that, I know he is showing me his love.)
o   Envieth Not
§  Have each person use the camera and find three things that you love having.  Use this to focus on what you do have instead of being jealous/ wanting other things.  Share the pictures with your spouse.
o   Not Puffed Up
§  Read and discuss the following story from the Jan 2008 Ensign.
§  “Putting My Marriage before My Pride”
By Irene Eubanks
“Like any couple, my husband and I have had disagreements during our marriage. But one incident stands out in my mind. I no longer recall the reason for our disagreement, but we ended up not speaking at all, and I remember feeling that it was all my husband’s fault. I felt I had done absolutely nothing for which I needed to apologize.
“As the day went by, I waited for my husband to say he was sorry. Surely he could see how wrong he was. It must be obvious how much he had hurt my feelings. I felt I had to stand up for myself; it was the principle that mattered.
“As the day was drawing to a close, I started to realize that I was waiting in vain, so I went to the Lord in prayer. I prayed that my husband would realize what he had done and how it was hurting our marriage. I prayed that he would be inspired to apologize so we could end our disagreement.
“As I was praying, I felt a strong impression that I should go to my husband and apologize. I was a bit shocked by this impression and immediately pointed out in my prayer that I had done nothing wrong and therefore should not have to say I was sorry. A thought came strongly to my mind: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?”
“As I considered this question, I realized that I could hold onto my pride and not give in until he apologized, but how long would that take? Days? I was miserable while we weren’t speaking to each other. I understood that while this incident itself wouldn’t be the end of our marriage, if I were always unyielding, that might cause serious damage over the years. I decided it was more important to have a happy, loving marriage than to keep my pride intact over something that would later seem trivial.
“I went to my husband and apologized for upsetting him. He also apologized, and soon we were happy and united again in love.
“Since that time there have been occasions when I have needed to ask myself that question again: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” How grateful I am for the great lesson I learned the first time I faced that question. It has always helped me realign my perspective and put my husband and my marriage before my own pride.”
o   Seeketh Not her Own
§  Instead of focusing on you, focus on your spouse.  Think of something you could do to serve him/ her in the next week.  Ask him/ her for ideas.
o   Not Easily Provoked
§  Read the what/ if scenarios out loud and talk about how you would honestly respond.  Then decide what you could change to help you be a more Zion-like person.
§  Diner is almost ready.  It is in the oven and the timer is going to go off in 2 minutes.  You just finished setting the table and even got out the candlesticks and cloth napkins to make it a special evening.  You go invite your spouse to join you for dinner and they say they will be right there.  You go back to the kitchen and take diner out of the oven.  You then sit and wait at the table.  10 minutes pass and your spouse is not there.  Diner is getting cold.  What do you do?
§  You have the day off from work.  You are so excited because it has been a busy week and the most important thing to you is to catch up on your sleep.  You told your spouse this the night before and he/she agreed to be as quiet as possible in the morning and to turn the alarm clock off as soon as it went off so you could keep sleeping.  You have now heard the alarm clock go off 6 times and your spouse is still in bed.  Finally he/ she gets up and realizes what time it is and frantically gets ready and turns on all the lights trying to find everything.  What do you do?
o   Thinketh No Evil
§  Read the following quote by Robert E. Wells.
§  "Control your thoughts because they become the words you use.
Control your words because they become the actions you perform.
Control your actions because they become the character you reflect.
Control your character because your character becomes your destiny.
Control your destiny by becoming what your Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, want you to be."
§  When bad thoughts come into your mind, replace them with your favorite hymn or primary song.  Have each person pick their favorite “go to” song and then practice singing them together.
o   Rejoiceth not in Iniquity  (this means basically means you are happy when someone else does well)
§  Take turns telling your spouse something he/ she did well and that you were so excited for them doing so great.  Shine the spotlight on him/ her.
o   Rejoiceth in Truth
§  Take turns sharing your testimony with your spouse.  It doesn’t have to be your whole entire testimony that encompasses everything you know.  Simply testify of the truths.
o   Beareth All Things
§  Write in your family journal (or a personal one or write a letter to yourself if you don’t have either) about a trial you are currently going through and write about what you have learned.
o   Believeth All Things
§  Take turns reading each of the 13 Articles of Faith out loud.
o   Hopeth All Things
§  Write a letter to yourself in where you hope to be in 5 years (or 10).  Seal up both letters in the same envelope and read them in 5 (or 10) years.
o   Endureth All Things
§  The only way to endure is by doing the daily “simple” (prayer, scriptures, etc) things.  Evaluate how you and your spouse are doing both personally and together and make a commitment to improve.
·         Commitment: just like the pioneers were willing to give all they had to come to Zion, I hope we will be willing to do the same in our own home.  Have each person commit to working on establishing Zion between the two of you this week.

Closing Song: Primary Song # 213 “To Be a Pioneer”
Closing Prayer:
Activity: Watch “17 Miracles” if it is showing in a theater near you.  Or watch “Legacy” together at home.  This is available on the “Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVDs.”  (It is the 4 disc set put out by the church about fairly recently.)
Treat: The July 1975 (old school baby) Friend magazine has a List of Pioneer Recipes.  (Click that and pick one.)  Or make your favorite treat.  Surely Zion will consist of all our favorite foods. ;)  --I wanted to try some of the pioneer recipes but didn't have time.  So we went with the favorite and had Reese's ice cream with caramel.  Yum!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to attend my first Relief Society activity in my new ward.  I was excited to go (1) to learn and be spiritually uplifted and (2) to meet new friends and feel more comfortable with those around me.  I'm happy to report that both of my objectives were accomplished! :)

We talked about ideas for FHE, even as newlyweds.  I have written about this before and my strong conviction to have FHE because we are a FAMILY.  Find my testimony and why FHE is important to me in "The Blessings of and Ideas for FHE."  This post is also a great resource because I listed off countless ideas at the bottom!!  I hope some of them will work well with your family!  Another great FHE idea to check out is "Looking For The Good."  I loved doing it at the time.  I just went back and watched the video I made again and love it even more now that we have moved.  We have record of our previous apartment!  300% recommend EVERYONE have this FHE lesson sometime!

Anyway... I just realized that Family Home Evening may not look like it is super important in our lives.  I haven't posted about it in a while.  (We have had other things on our mind--like applying for jobs, loosing weight, moving, etc.)  And although we have continued to have it week after week, writing about what we have done to help inspire you hasn't been happening.  I'm going to get better at this.  I promise! :)

So my idea for today comes from the past General Conference by Elder Richard G. Scott.  His talk called "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage" is PERFECT for newlyweds!  Perfect.  (As well as perfect anyone with a spouse--and maybe even hoping to someday have a spouse.  It is just a great talk!)  I have a few ideas for the lesson--pick what works for you!

First off, let me just say that his conference address is very similar to the CES Broadcast he gave on September 10, 2010.  Casey and I had the opportunity to watch that address live in the Marriot Center.  We were sitting really close and loved it!

Lesson Ideas:
1. Read the Conference talk together.  Look for ways he was able to show his wife love and then try to follow his example.  (You can read the talk online by clicking HERE.)
2. Instead of reading, watch the Conference talk together.  (Click HERE for the video.)
3. My FAVORITE idea.  Assign one person to read/ study the conference talk before hand and assign the other the CES Broadcast talk.  Then present them together in FHE and compare and contrast how they are similar and different.  (The text for the CES broadcast is found HERE and the video is available HERE and then click on the movie stream.)  --As a note: the CES talk is much longer.  Assign this to whoever will have more time/ reads faster/ etc.

Activity Ideas:
Write a letter to your spouse.  Instead of reading them, seal both letters in an envelope and write on the outside of the envelope the date (or event) when you will open the letters and read them.  Example of when to read the letter--1 year from today, 5 years from today, on your next anniversary, when you come home from the hospital after the birth of your baby, night of graduation, etc.
P.S. We enjoyed this lesson.  It was a good reminder.  We were so busy that night though that we didn't have a chance for the activity.  We still need to write letters to our future selves.  I'm excited for this because it will be fun to read them eventually.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Glimpse of Eternity

Ok... So first of all, this picture is from 2 months ago--I'm behind on blogging... I know.  Casey and I went to BYU AstroFest.  It would be SO much fun for little kids but we still enjoyed it without little ones running around! :)

I love this though because as we sat in the BYU Planetarium, I caught a glimpse of what eternity will be like.  Beautiful and without end.  It is amazing to sit there and watch all that surrounds us in the universe and to know that this was all created for us.  It didn't just happen out of nowhere but instead with a plan and for a purpose!

Another place that really helps me glimpse into eternity is when we spend time in the temple.  (This picture was taken yesterday.)  With all the moving and boxes and cleaning and sorting and boxes--everywhere (sidenote: we really are working to unpack all the boxes.  We are making major progress but wow we have A LOT of stuff housed in several boxes.), it is nice to take a break and to go somewhere clean and orderly.  I want my home to resemble the temple--beautiful and peaceful.

But anyway, as we take the time out of our super busy lives to attend the temple, I am reminded of all the blessings that await in the next life.  It is glorious and I know it is real.  It sometimes seems hard to think that there is anything after this life or to get caught up in the craziness of the moment, but the temple is a gentle reminder that eternity does exist and it is just waiting for me.  I love little moments like this that remind me who I am and what we can become! :)
P.S. As a sidenote, I just mapped how long it takes to drive from our home to the Jordan River Temple.  It is under 20 minutes.  But here is perspective for you.  Yesterday while we were on the freeway, I sighed and then stated "Gee we sure live far away from the temple.  It takes a long time to get there!"  Keep in mind, before we moved, we lived maybe 4 minutes from the temple.  Maybe--only if you had to stop at the lights.  And so I miss our less than 4 minute weekly commute but am grateful to now have 4 temples under 30 minutes away! :D

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Saga of the Shoes

A little while ago, it dawned on me that Sister Missionary Mall would have comfortable shoes.  Hello!  I NEED comfortable shoes with good arch support while I am on my feet teaching all day.  We have tried inserts and nicer (still cheap) shoes and foot rubs and etc.  Nothing helped.  Ok so maybe it helped but I was still having terrible foot pain which also caused a lot of back pain.  (As a side note:  I'm willing to guess that my back pain will be way lower while I am standing around all day though this coming school year because I have lost so much weight.  There is not as much pressure and heaviness on my whole body and I love it!)

So a month or so ago, I walk into Sis Mish Mall and feel totally uncomfortable because I am (1) married, (2) not going on a mission, and (3) wanting the shoes for teaching not proselyting.  I didn't know if that was legal. Well, apparently it is and apparently they sell more shoes to non-premies than to the mish-bound type.  Oh.  Ok.  I fit in perfectly then.  I tried on a few but they were at least $125 a pair.  I'm sorry but that is WAY too much money.  I don't care what the shoe feels like.  Then I see a clearance table.  I ask about it.  You can buy any two shoes off the table for $100 (FOR BOTH!).  As soon as I learned about it, I started looking and trying to find my (European) size on the table.  No such luck.  I left the store empty handed but determined to go back and check the clearance table again.

I have kind of forgotten about/ been to busy to stalk Sis Mish Mall.  Fast forward to this morning.

It dawned on me; we are moving next week!  If I am going to get shoes from there, it is going to HAVE to be today.  I tell Casey about my urgent NEED to go buy shoes today.  He (fortunately) understood and agreed.  In our morning prayer, he prayed that I would find shoes that are comfortable and on clearance today when I went in to the store.  I prayed in my personal prayer.  We both kept praying--at least I did.

I had not even thought about buying full priced shoes.  I honestly don't know if I would have or not.  I was just trusting I would be able to find clearance.

Well, I walked into the store and EVERYONE was super helpful and friendly.  Until they learned that I was interested in the clearance shoes.  'Oh she is one of the el cheapo type and we don't get paid enough to give her valuable customer service.'  Whatever.  I was assertive and figured out what shoe size I wore--generally an easy task: between 9-10, preferably wide.  Well, these shoes are European sized with numbers ranging between the 30s- 40s.  I have no idea.  So I hunted someone down and asked.  And every time I had a question, I would keep hunting and asking.  It worked.

Then another tender mercy.  Some lady is over in the shoe part trying on the full priced shoes.  The associate sat there with her and answered her questions.  Well, I listened in and chimed in with my own questions.  The lady wanted good arch support.  Hey me too!  The associate was pointing out the best shoes for arch support and then looked at my feet and commented that the shoes I was trying on were actually the best ones--just a different color.  What?!  I'm sold.  I definitely want that pair of shoes (it is metallic black; a slightly odd color but whatever!  It is on clearance and fits my foot GREAT!)  The other lady was wanting to try on my metallic shoes.  I showed her some other ones I had found (which turned out to be about a size 5) and kept her away from the metallic shoes on my feet--I was not sharing because they were the only pair there.  Now I could either get it for $69.95 or get 2 for $100.  Well, I really want the two so I can rotate.  And I REALLY want the second pair to be brown so then I can wear both of them with everything.

I could not find any brown shoes on clearance except for the "Hush Puppy" brand.  And it is no where near as comfortable as the Metallic Danskos.  At first I thought I liked it but then decided I didn't want it.  I would never be happy with it on the comfort level scale when the metallic ones were incredible.  I asked if there were any more clearance shoes--specifically anymore brown.  'No.  Everything is on the table.'  I searched the table again and again.  I seriously read every shoe description/ name/ European size probably 3-4 times.  And then one shoe jumped out.  It was size 42 and Dansko AND brown.  Well, the metallic ones were size 41 so maybe the 42 would be close enough it would work.  I have no idea where this shoe came from.  I mean obviously it was on the table because no one touched any of the shoes but I swear it wasn't there earlier.  I had read all the boxes.  I have no idea how it just appeared/ I missed it before.  But there it was.

I try it on.  It is a little bit bigger.  And a different style.  No where near as cute as the other ones.  But it is still comfortable.  I ask the associate (still conveniently helping the other lady--and therefore me too!) what the arch support was of the brown shoe.  She said a tiny bit lower than the metallic ones but still extremely high.

I walk around and around the store.  Trying to decide if I like it enough to buy it.  Is it comfortable?  Is it too big?  Is it worth the money?  Can I deal with it not exactly being "cute?"  Well, I decided I did like it and that my pants will be covering the shoe anyway so the cute factor will be fine.  And the comfort level is amazing.  For once in my life, my ridiculously high arches actually have support.  This truly is a novel concept but one that I'm getting used to pretty quickly while I lap the store.

This is the ONLY time I will be wearing mismatched shoes...
I just wanted to show both off! :D
And, they still are as dreamy comfortable as I remembered while I was at the store--
don't you hate how shoes are great in the store but somehow they change on the car ride home?!
Not these ones--they are still fabulous! ;)
Yipee!  Our prayers were heard.  One black (ish) pair, one brown pair.  Both with HIGH arches, excellent support, and an orthopedic insert.  Both are comfortable.  Both are my size (or close enough).  Both were on the clearance table!!!! 

I walked out of that store with a large white bag, a huge smile and countless grateful prayers!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

To Touch the Future

Recently, I was pondering about what the future would be like.  I doubt there will be instant buildings and bubble travel and time machines (as shown in Meet the Robinson's) but who knows.  But I love this picture!  Look at Lewis (blonde hair kid in back).  He is terrified and has no idea what to expect.  How many times have I felt that way--um yeah a lot!  It is hard waiting and not knowing.  But isn't that when the greatest blessings come--after the trial of our faith.

In the movie, Lewis is in 7th grade.  He has no idea what will happen with his life.  His biggest concern--getting adopted.  He has no idea that he will become a famous inventor.  He can't see the future and somehow thinks it must not exist because he is almost 13 and therefore claims the chances of a teenager being adopted are small.  Thinking about the kids I will be teaching, I wonder how many of them are like Lewis.  They are trying so hard to make their project work or stressed about their home life and every time they try to fix the project, it keeps breaking and the home life doesn't seem to be improving.  They have no idea what will happen with their lives but because of the encouragement of one great teacher, they are willing to keep trying. I want to be that "science teacher" that believes in my students, that encourages them to do their best, that helps them keep trying.  I want my students to see their great potential to work towards reaching it.

Just think, one person can make a difference.  One teacher can influence a student.  One student can change the world.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meant to Teach

Today is the day.  The phone call would either come offering me a full time teaching job or I would get a phone call saying sorry hope you can get hired somewhere else.  I have been filled with nervousness and excitement and just wanting to know what would happen with my life!

Our morning prayer once again was praying for a job where I will be happy and that we might be able to make the right decision (in case I am offered both) or that we will know what to do next (in case I am offered neither).  After that, life kind of went on and I didn't really have time to think about it.  I had to put waiting for a call behind me because I am still subbing.  I can't just stop class to answer my phone.  So, the call would come and then I would have to wait until at least lunch to learn what the future would hold.  There wasn't much I could do so I just put it behind me and started trying to calm down my class.  Two weeks of school left and a sub equals loud, rowdy students who need constant shhhhing (which I don't do.  I just stand and wait for them to be quiet and their peers shhhh them.).

I'm in the middle of second period.  I feel my pocket vibrate once (it might be a text) and then twice (its a call).  I just ignore it.  Then after the "ringing" vibrates stop, I wait for a voice mail vibration.  I feel it.  AWWWWHHHH!!!  Our fate is now on my voice mail--I think.  There isn't anything I can do though so I don't even check to see who the call is from.

I was talking with the adult teacher aide in that class.  (She is a lifesaver!)  She was asking me if I had heard anything yet.  I told her about the other job that said no and mentioned to her that I know I have a new voice mail.  Bless her heart.  She asked me if I needed to go to the bathroom and told me that she would watch the kiddos while I went.

I leave the room and call my voice mail.  I reminded myself to keep breathing.  Soon I hear the voice of the principal at the junior high.  She says she would like to talk to me when I can call her back (she knows I'm subbing right now and would have to leave a message) and that she has good news for me.  At least she thinks it is good news and she excited for me to call her back so she can talk to me.

Oh my gosh... keep breathing...

I go back into class--grinning!  I tell the TA what the message said.  It is such good news.  I'm SO excited!!! :D  But... I don't know for 100% certain at this point.

Fast forward.  (I didn't do anything else about it at that point.)  It is now lunch time.

Before I call back that principal to talk to her about the good news, I call the high school where I interviewed and explain to them that I have another job offer (I think) and was wondering if they were going to offer me a job or not.  I wanted to know if I had a choice in the matter or if I should just be grateful for the one and a run with it.  The high school basically told me if I have another offer to take it because they were not going to be offering me a job.  Ok.  Good to know!

I (finally) call back the principal who left a message.  I don't know what to say or think or what is a polite/ refined way to respond.  No one ever actually taught me how to accept a job without grinning and practically squealing into the phone.  She immediately asks me if I would like to work at her school.  "YES!  I would LOVE to!!" :D  (So, I think I gave up on the being dignified thing--I was just so excited, I didn't know how else to respond.)  She is now writing up the official hiring letter.  It will come in the next couple of days.  After that, I have to go into the district office and fill out lots of paperwork (uh... I'm a little nervous for this too!  I hope that Casey can get off work and go in with me because I don't know what benefits to pick/ what number to list on the tax form/ etc) and then...

I will OFFICIALLY be a full-time teacher!!!!! :D :D :D
I will be teaching FACS at the Junior High I went to... how crazy is that to go back to my same school?!
THANK YOU so much for all of your love, support and prayers through this many months of waiting, praying and wondering.  I REALLY appreciate it and I do know that prayers really are answered.  Sometimes, not how we want but they are answered.  I'm trusting that this junior high is where I am meant to be and Heavenly Father really does know what He is doing.

So... here are my totals...
School Tours--3
Teaching a Lesson--1
Applications--16 (I think??)
Resumes--who knows, A LOT!  (I passed a lot out at the teacher fair)
Job Offers--1 :)
P.S.  This means we can start planning our lives!  And looking at other apartments.  I now know that moving is happening sometime this summer for us.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Learned in 18 months

Yesterday, we celebrated our 18 month anniversary!  EIGHTEEN MONTHS!!! :D  If I were to have served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would have just completed my mission.  But lucky for me, instead of being transfered all over the place and having a different companion every month or two, I have been blessed to only transfer (aka move) once and keep the same companion the whole time.  :)

I can't imagine my life without Casey and I'm SO grateful I don't have to!!  I have learned a lot in the past 18 months though and thought I would share some of my insights.

  • The dishes don't do themselves.  When you live in a student apartment without a dishwasher, someone has to actually spend time washing the dishes.  It is way easier if you keep up with it instead of letting the dirty ones pile up.
  • Somethings are better left unspoken.  Tell a private journal if you have to vent.
  • You don't always have to be right and even when you are, is it really worth the fight to prove it?
  • We are meant to be equal, not the same!
  • He eats more than I do.  If I eat the same amount, I gain weight and he stays skinny.
  • Life is not so much about compromising but about finding a solution that both people are happy with.
  • Doing chores are so much more enjoyable when you are working together.
  • Shoot, doing anything is so much better when we are together.  
  • Make time for the little things because they really are the big things!
  • Figure out your spouses love language and then learn to speak it.
  • Trust your spouse with all of your secrets.  Talk about everything.
  • Say I'm sorry often.
  • Make time for the two of you on a daily basis.  The world is brutal.  I need daily time with my sweetheart to face it.
  • Let him open your door.
  • Never stop acting like a newlywed!!!  Kiss at stop lights.  Hold hands everywhere you go.  Say "I Love You" more times than you can count each day.
Results: one happy hubby and one "wuving" wife equals one marvelous marriage!
P.S. Stay tuned for pictures of how we celebrated 18 months.  We had the BEST day together!!! :D

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Heals the Blind

In Sunday School today we talked about John Chapter 9 (Jesus Heals the Blind Man) and Chapter 10 (The Good Shepherd).  This year, I have been studying the assigned Sunday School scripture assignments before we go to church.  It has been very insightful for me.  And I now LOVE the parable of Jesus healing the blind man.  There is so much I pulled from it on my own study.  But I feel like it got even better at church because I came prepared--I learned so much today.  Anyway, I wrote the following down in my journal after I finished reading it.  I thought I would share.  Keep in mind all of my references are referring to John Chapter 9--if you want to follow along! :)

First of all, I thought it was really interesting that Jesus did not just heal the blind man.  (vs 1-7)  Instead, Jesus spits in the dirt and makes a clay and then pastes that clay onto the eyes of the blind man.  He then tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  I was thinking about this.  Sometimes healing takes action on my part.  The blessing is not enough, but I have to actually do something.  The other thing I was thinking about with this is I wonder how many times Christ is making clay and putting it on my eyes only to have me doubt or complain.  Am I willing to walk to the pool and put forth the required effort to be healed or do I just want something instant.  I know I can learn a lot from this.  I (1) must have faith but (2) must be willing to do my part in the healing.  I need to look at the "clay covering my eyes" moments as a blessing rather than a curse.

I then like how the testimony of the blind man increases.  At first (vs 11) he recounts a history log of what happened.  It didn't mean very much to him other than simply explaining the facts.  I know in church I have been critical of others who share history logs or travel-o-monies during testimony meeting.  But hello?!  I was so wrong to judge.  That is a start.  You have to acknowledge what happened before you can build a testimony.  I know I am going to have more compassion and less judgement during future testimony meetings to those sharing it--no matter what it is.

Then the blind man (vs 17) wants to believe.  After he acknowledged what happened, he wants to believe in something.  He doesn't exactly know what but he does know that something miraculous happened and realizes that it is indeed a miracle.  This really is the beginning of the testimony because he already established his foundation.  He has the desire.

The next step (vs 33) is he believes.  He has a testimony.  It is not rock solid but it is definitely a testimony.  And a good one.  One strong enough to hold him through.  I think parts of my testimony are in this stage.  And then I question it because it isn't the best, the strongest, the unshakable.  But it is still a testimony.  And I have to remember that!  Just because parts of my testimony are on this level, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  This is still a good place to be.

And finally (vs 38) the blind man knows.  He knows!  And he admits that and then acts on it.  I think that is the key to have a rock solid testimony--once you know, you have to then do.  In the future, I'm going to work hard on the doing.  For example, I know the scriptures are true but a lot of times I don't really give them the time they deserve.  Today I took the time to really ponder and try to connect what I read to my own life.  Scripture reading transformed today into scripture study.  And I am almost 100% positive this is the first time I wrote down my thoughts after finishing reading.  My testimony of scripture study is growing.  It is a work in process and one that I am going to keep working (and doing) at.

The last interesting thing I have been thinking about from reading this story is the way the blind man's parents respond.  (vs 21)  Am I afraid to share my testimony (any part of it) with others because I don't know how they will treat me?  I know I have hesitated in the past.  But I want to always be willing to bear record of the truth.  It is not appropriate for me to do so at school but I can still live my life that way!  (And I do!!!)  The light will always shine from my eyes.  I don't want to be like the parents--afraid and sending those with questions to someone else.  My goal is to be more like the blind man and less like the parents!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Livin' till 97

With people living longer these days, I have made a goal.  I want to live to be 97.  Actually I want to live to be 97 years 1 month 2 weeks and 3 days.  But... I only  want it as long as Casey is by my side.  So that means he has to live to be 97 years and 3 weeks.

Now... why on earth would I want to live to such a random old age?  Because when I am 97 years 1 month 2 weeks and 3 days old we will be celebrating our
75th Wedding Anniversary!  :D

A lot of people are hoping to reach their 50th anniversary (and don't worry, we plan to party then too!!) but why not shoot for something greater?!

Heres to living to a ripe old age with my BFF!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Counsel from the Living Prophet

The long wait for our Conference edition Ensign is over.  Yipee!  I love the picture on the outside!  I'm sure this picture was taken before Conference began on Sunday morning.  The weather was crazy. And it definitely snowed!  But it is SO beautiful and so clean!  And in the background, I can see one of my favorite buildings ever--the place where I was married to my best friend for all eternity! :)

I decided to read through the opening and closing address given by President Monson today as part of my scripture study.  I decided to pay attention what he asks or suggests people to do.  If I claim to believe in a living prophet, then I have to know what he is saying.  But more than that, I know wonderful blessings come from following the prophet and in order to receive those blessings, I have to know what he asked me to do.

  • Continue to be faithful in attending the temple
  • Make contributions to the General Missionary Fund of the Church--if you are able  (I thought this was really interesting... why would we be asked to start assisting in funding that as a whole.  I don't know for sure but I think it is so everyone will want to take a greater interest in it.  Personally, I tend to care more about the things where my money is being spent.  This is something we are going to have to budget and work on.)
  • To be filled with the Spirit and uplifted and inspired while listening to Conference (this means I have to do my part to invite the Spirit into my life!)
  • Long remember the messages spoken at General Conference
  • Read and study the Ensign (or Liahona) which contains the written words from conference
  • Be good citizens in all the nations
  • Reach out to others--including those of our faith and not
  • Be an example of honesty in all you do
  • Be an example of integrity in all that you do

Pres. Monson also promised the "blessings of heaven to be upon you."  My favorite thing he said was "We face many challenges in the world today, but I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us.  He loves each of us and will bless us as we seek Him through prayer and strive to keep His commandments."  I know it is true!  Heavenly Father does love me and He does know the concerns in my life.  I know my life is richly blessed when I seek Him through prayer and obey the all the commandments.

I'm excited to study the rest of talks and to compare them with my notes.  I love having a living prophet on the earth because I know he will help me and guide me back to Heavenly Father--granted I obey what he says.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Super Hero

With Mother's Day tomorrow and visiting both of our moms today... I've been thinking.  What is it that makes a mom so special?  Why is it that my mom is the second (after I tell Casey... or sometimes first if I can't get in touch with my sweetheart) person to know about any thing exciting or everything disappointing in my life?  How can a mother's love run so deep?

I thought back to an essay I wrote about my mom many, MANY years ago.  But it fits perfect with the season because my mom is my hero!  So in my best 12 year old writing, please enjoy the speech I gave at my 6th Grade Promotion.  (And yes, I'm leaving the writing the same... if it sounds like a young writer, just realize it is because I was!)
"I look up to many people but my mother, Carol, is the person that has influenced my life the most.  She has always been supportive in everything I do and she encourages me to do a better job at everything that affects me.
"My mom teaches me many things that will help me now and later in my life.  Today I am a better cook because of my mom.  It started with the simple little things to the fancy looking treats.  She taught me how to make a peanut butter sandwich, to macaroni and cheese, to baking cakes.  She educated me how to feed my self, how to walk, talk, and tie my shoes when I was a little girl.  My mother would spend the time it took to teach me these little, but very useful tasks.  My 'pleases' and 'thank yous' probably would not have been used as much without her.
"Another reason I choose my mom as a great influence to me is: she is extremely helpful.  Whenever I have a major school report due, she will help me find the supplies I need, even if it requires going to a store.  She might give me a few helpful suggestions and hints throughout the project.  My mom helps me with activities at church and with problems.  She also helps me if I am hurt.  She might put a band-aid on a cut or she might say some soothing words to calm the angry feeling.
"My last reason I look up to my mother is she loves me.  When I leave for school she will say, 'Have fun, try to learn something, and I Love You.'  When I go to camp she will sent me little love notes with candy, a little stuffed animal, or a little something so I will not get homesick.  My mom buys me new clothes or sandals or another item.  She tries to do whatever she can to make my life better.
"Although there are many other people that influence my life, I am grateful that my mom is a major part of it.  WIthout her I do not know where in the world I would be today.  She is always there for me and that has such a strong impact on me.  She cares and is always kind to me.  I love you, Mom!"
Ok... if only life were as simple now as it was clear back at the end of 6th grade.  Oh my has my life changed/ become way more complicated but through it all, I have still had the support of my super hero mom.  And I don't want to imagine my life any other way.  She will be there when we someday have a baby and help me learn how to be a mother too--and hopefully pass on her super hero cape. ;)  Thanks for your example and love and friendship!  I'm so blessed to have a wonderful mom!!  (And lucky me, I have 2 moms now--thats twice the amount of love and support!)


P.S.  This post was even written from my mom's computer... hee,hee,hee! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Blessings of & Ideas for FHE

Sometimes it is hard for us as newlyweds to have regular FHE.  At first, I kind of thought it was strange because what was I supposed to teach my husband that he didn’t already know.  And even in the reverse, what can he teach me about that I haven’t heard my whole life? 

Well despite not knowing why, we have continued to persist at having FHE.  After all, it is called FAMILY Home Evening.  And WE are a family!  We became a family almost 18 months ago when we were sealed for time and all eternity.  Having kids increases the volume of a family but even without them, we are still a family!  FHE is a place to find spiritual nourishment, support and a time to have fun together—things we need with or without the kiddos.  In 1978, the First Presidency promised, “As you faithfully plan and hold quality family home evenings, you will gain the strength to withstand the temptations of the world and will receive many blessings which will help qualify you to enjoy your families through eternity in the Celestial Kingdom.”  We wanted to be able to enjoy these blessings as well and so we make an effort to have weekly FHE—even as newlyweds!

With our super busy schedules as college students and working, there are times when FHE is short and sweet so we can get back to studying or lesson planning.  But we still have it!  And other times, the discussion continues to grow until well over an hour or two later we look at the clock.  By holding regular FHE, I know we invite the Spirit into our lives and specifically into our marriage.  And it definitely helps to strengthen our love and friendship.

We do our best to make it official; we want to build righteous traditions now so as we add kids to the mix, it will be easier to continue our same habits.  We start with an opening song and an opening prayer.  Then a thought/ scripture (shared by the person not giving the lesson—if we can, we like to plan our lesson in advance and then tell the other person the topic so it connects) and then the lesson.  Sometimes these are short, sometimes there are visual aids, sometimes they are elaborate.  It doesn’t really matter so much as to what it is as to that it is.  We close with a prayer, enjoy a treat and participate in some sort of an activity.  It works for us!

And you want to know what I have come to understand?  I actually look forward to FHE.  I love hearing my darling sweetheart testify of truths.  There is so much he can teach me.  And so many things that I can teach him.  It truly becomes a choice time together.

So… now the question is what some ideas are for lessons as Newlyweds.  I do admit, it is kind of challenging to come up with ideas.  Listed below are some things that have worked well for us or things we plan on trying in the future.  (Although I am trying to write this as a “Newlywed FHE Ideas” list—I’m fairly certain it would apply to most stages in life.)

* Use the current Ensign.  Pick any article and discuss it together.  Summarize or read it together.  Try to find additional references to support that article.  Then for the activity, do something to apply it.  This is a great go to for last minute/ not a lot of time to prepare lesson ideas.  And the great part is there is always a new magazine every month.
* Basically the same idea but use the current Conference Ensign.  Each week discuss/ read/ present a different talk.  This would keep you busy for a long time!  Try to come up with an activity to support the topic you just learned.
* Learn how to study the scriptures together.  As great as a scriptorian as you/ your spouse is, I’m sure there is still room for improvement.  Share ideas of how you study (not just read) the scriptures.  Use Preach My Gospel for additional ideas.
* I didn’t serve a mission and Casey misses his.  It has been fun for us to have “discussions” where Casey is the “missionary” and I am the investigator.  We end up both learning a lot and this will help us with our future goal to become senior missionaries.  It is never too early to start preparing. :)
* Act out, draw, or sculpt various scripture stories.  Turn it into a guessing game.
* Make an emergency plan together.  Figure out what you would do if there was a fire/ earthquake/ flood/ tornado/ etc.  Get old backpacks and start building 72 hour kits with old clothes.  For the activity, go shopping together to buy some food (granola bars, peanut butter, tuna fish pouches, crackers, fruit snacks, water bottles, etc) to put in the 72 hour kits.
* Read your Patriarchal Blessings together.  Make an extra copy and mark it together.  This is great because it helps you see your spouse for their potential and forget the small things that are annoying you right now.
* Go to (walk?) the temple grounds and walk around and see how beautiful it is.  Figure out ways that you could make your home become more like the temple.
*The Savior loved by serving.  Spend the night showing your love for your spouse by serving them.  Do each other’s chores (or do them together).  Maybe make a chore chart together of who is going to do the dishes/ laundry/ etc. 
* Write letters to your parents/ grandparents.  Yes, we live in the day of cell phones and e-mail when contact is so easy.  But there is something special about getting a handwritten letter.  Thank them for their sacrifice they made for you.  Another idea instead of each writing a letter to their own parents how about you switch and each write the letter to your in-laws.
* Start a Family Journal.  (Casey calls it our “Family Bible.”)  Write in it together about the joys and struggles you are facing and how your family has been blessed.
* Make a movie of your lives.  Show where you live, what a typical meal is like, talk to your future posterity about what your life is like as a newlywed.
* Gather random items and discuss how they testify of Christ.  The more random the better.  This is really fun because everything does testify of Christ—some things just take more creativity than others.
* Discuss the importance of hymns.  Play name that tune where you each pick a different song and hum so many notes of the different hymns.
* Learn about the upcoming holiday.  Discuss the history and why it is important.  Make decorations to help your home be festive.  Plan what traditions you want to start to celebrate it.