Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easter Advent Calendar

Ok... so I know Easter is still just under one month away but I LOVE advent calendars!  (It is SO late this year!!  The moon and the Vernal Equinox worked out just right to make it the latest I have ever heard of.)  But this idea takes a little preparation so I thought I would share it now so you all can make your own Easter Countdown and have it ready to use this year.  This Easter Countdown is special because it keeps the focus on Christ and the real reason why we celebrate Easter.  I choose to have mine start 11 days before Easter so we open the last egg on Easter morning--instead of the "12 Days of Easter."

Things Needed
1 dozen normal sized plastic easter eggs
1 jumbo sized (empty) egg carton--this is for storage
1 cute Easter basket--something cute to put the eggs in during the countdown.  So this isn't required but personally, I don't want a egg carton sitting on my table as a decoration.  As we open each egg, we fill the plush chick basket so on Easter morning, it is completely filled.  
List of scriptures (posted below) cut into strips and then folded to go inside the egg.  You will have to decide if you want to have the scripture written out on each word strip (easy) or if you just want the reference so you have to open up your scriptures.
Each Item listed below the Scripture--keep in mind that the thing has to fit in the Easter Egg

On each egg, write the numbers 1-11 and "Easter" on the last egg. (I used a "Happy Easter" sticker instead.)

11 Days to Easter (This year it is April 13)
Matthew 26: 39
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless; not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Sacrament Cup

10 Days to Easter
Matthew 26: 14-15
"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?  And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver.  (This fulfilled the prophesy in Zachariah 11:12-14 that Jesus would be sold for thirty pieces of silver.)
3 Dimes

9 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 1-2
When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:  And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor."
Knotted Twine

8 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 24-26
"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but rather a tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this person; see ye to it.  Then answered ali the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.  Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified,"
Small piece of Bar Soap

7 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 28-30
"And they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head.  And a reed in his right hand: and they bowed before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, king of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head."
Small piece of Red Velvet

6 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 31-32
"And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.  And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear the cross."  And he was crucified... nailed to the cross.
Toothpick Cross (you have to make this using a thread and a toothpick) and Tiny Nail

5 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 35-36
"And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet; they parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.  And sitting down they watch him there."
One Die (i.e. if it was plural this would be called dice)

4 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 50, 51, 54
"Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and rocks rent; ...Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earth quake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly saying, Truly this was the son of God."
Small Bag of Rocks

3 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 58-60
"He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus, then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean lien cloth and he laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre and departed."
Strip of Muslim Cloth (or a white cotton fabric)

2 Days to Easter
Matthew 27: 60, 65-66
"He rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.  Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.  So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch."
A Stone

1 Day to Easter
Matthew 16: 1; 28: 2,5
"And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices that they might come and anoint him.  And behold, there was a great earthquake for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know ye seek Jesus, which was crucified."
Whole Spices (I have a piece of a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, and part of a bay leaf in a little mesh fabric bag)

Easter Morning
Matthew 28:6
"He is not here: for he is risen, and he said: Come see the place where the Lord lay."
Empty  (although the egg is empty, on the scripture paper, there is a tiny picture of the Resurrected Jesus.  You could include this, if you wanted!)
I'm so glad I believe in a Living Jesus Christ.  He really is resurrected and His tomb is empty.  Someday, I know we will all be able to become like Him and live forever.  Having an empty tomb to celebrate Easter truly is the best gift!

Happy Easter Advent Calendar Making! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Where the Rubber Meets the Road"

I have heard this phrase a lot.  Where the rubber meets the road.  I have thought about it a little but I have never actually tried to figure out what it meant.  I have even heard in said towards me often.  While I was working as an EFY Counselor (clap-clap-clap,clap,clap…etc… E-F-Y!!!), the session director and counselors over me would tell me all the time that I was where the rubber met the road.  And even now as a teacher, I work in the “rubber meeting the road” position.  I never actually really took the time to figure out what it meant other than cars’ have tires and the tires touch the road.  So this must mean that I am a tire.  Whatever.

Well, this phrase took on a whole new meaning today.  I was driving home from subbing.  It was early out day and I was so excited because I would get home early and be able to go jogging (still haven’t gone jogging as I am writing this—that is *for reals* next on my agenda!) and then work on other things because there would be extra time.  My extra time was spent sitting in a parking lot on the freeway.  But let’s rewind just a tiny bit.

The freeway is always under construction.  And now that winter is almost over and we are transitioning to the other season here—construction; it is a sure thing that even more construction is going to start popping up.

 I notice up ahead of me that the freeway has been merged into one lane (ugh!).  The speed limit is still 75 mph.  I see a police truck up where the freeway is merging into one lane and I get nervous wondering if I missed a lower speed limit sign.  I slow down to somewhere around 60 mph (fortunately—this probably saved my life and/or prevented an accident today!!) and then merge over.  Well, here is the problem, I am still concerned about the police truck with flashing lights and facing the wrong way.  And the merge to one lane was RIGHT on top of a hill.  This turned out to be a blind hill. 

Immediately after I merged, approaching the top of the hill, bam!  The traffic in front of me is COMPLETELY stopped.  The car in front of me swerved out of the now only lane and back into lane with cones on it.  I realized there was no way, I could stop that fast and not hit the car in front of me in the merged lane so I swerve out too and slam on the breaks.  This is why it was fortunate that I was going slower because if I had been going faster (even though 75 really was the still posted freeway speed), I doubt I would have been able to swerve out.  I likely would have plowed into the car in front of me and who knows where I would be right now—not here righting this, that is for sure! 

I see a part of my tire on the road as I merge back over (my first skid mark!) and smoke.  My rubber really met the road in this instance.  (Oh, and I don’t feel bad for swerving out.  There were countless cars behind me that swerved, slammed and smoked too.  It was really a blessing that I didn’t hit someone and wasn’t hit because there was no warning for the slow down!)  After I calmed down and realized I was ok and my car (hopefully the tires are fine!) was ok, I then had plenty of time to think about the rubber meeting the road.  Normally a 3 minute stretch of driving took well over 1/2 hour to pass.  Time galore to think.

Rubber meeting the road is the crises of life.  When rubber meets the road it is because you had to stop urgently because something was wrong.  While I was an EFY counselor, there were plenty of rubber moments when the girls would come to be with problems—wavering testimony, chastity, immodesty, anorexia, just to name a few of the things I dealt with.  Now as a teacher, (and especially when I was student teaching!  Subbing the kids don’t generally confide in/ talk to me very much) I have several rubber moments too—bad grades, problems at home, health problems, divorce, etc!  But you want to know what… I wouldn't change my “rubber meets the road” job for anything.  I love it because I love being able to help and serve others.  I love seeing the change that can come into my students’ lives.  I learned a lot from the skid mark today... maybe this will even influence my educational philosophy (which I have to write an essay on later tonight)—we’ll see.  
Where the Rubber Meets the Road is the MOST important point, a pivotal moment, a time for truth and I hope to support others (and my students) through their real life
—not just break testingmoments.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things to Nourish

This was shared yesterday in stake conference by our stake president.  My ward and stake are in a unique situation in that we are all (mainly) students.  Normally Priesthood Leadership is called to someone living in the area.  In the student wards, though, the Bishop and Stake Presidency live anywhere in Utah County.  They both sacrifice so much to travel to serve us.  I feel blessed!

Anyway... back to the point, yesterday our stake president shared three things that need nourishing.  I liked his advice so much, that I thought I would share it to help everyone as we fight through mortality together.

1. Nourish your Physical Selves by having a FOOD STORAGE.  Food storage is the difference fear and peace, between suffering and relief.

2.  Nourish your Spiritual Selves by DAILY BOOK OF MORMON STUDY--both personally, as a couple and as a family.  This will make all the difference in your lives and the difference between a normal marriage and a great one.  Just like you need to be prepared physically, you must be prepared spiritually!

3.  Nourish you Marriage by EXPRESSIONS OF DAILY GRATITUDE.  You have to find things to be grateful for about your spouse and then you have to let them know.  Good gratitude is simply saying thanks.  Better gratitude  is thanking them for something they have done.  Best gratitude is thanking them for who they are.

These are all things we have heard before.  But I loved it!  He connected all of these to the story of Naaman in 2 Kings.  Naaman was not asked to do any one great thing but rather an accumulation of many small, repetitive things.  We are asked the same--it really is by the little (maybe even mundane) parts of life that a testimony is built and a marriage strengthened.  I know we still have areas to improve in too!
 P.S.  16 months ago today, I married my best friend for time and all eternity.  Life hasn't been perfect since that day but together we working towards perfection and it has definitely been worth it! :D

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Missing the Tabernacle

We had the opportunity to attend Stake Conference today.  It was a wonderful meeting and my spirit was well fed!  I imagine in the near future, I will be sharing a post or two about some of the things I learned!  But as for right now... stake conference made me miss the tabernacle.  :(

Last year our stake conference was held in the tabernacle.  We arrived early and took the time to go on a self guided tour of the building and read all of the captions below/ near all of the pictures from the tabernacle's history.  I learned a lot about the building from this--for example, one thing I remember is the bell that is now located on the Southwest corner of the Marriott Center (aka Victory Bell) was originally on top of the tabernacle roof.  It was moved after it kept causing the roof to collapse.

Anyway, we drove past it today just to see where it was at.  It was interesting.  If you remember, last December, their was a huge fire in the tabernacle.  I reflected a lot about it and wrote "Tabernacle Teaches Thinking."  

After seeing it today, the tabernacle now represents hope and the Atonement.  Even the biggest of problems can be fixed in life.  It takes time and hard work, but everything can be restored.  There are many scaffoldings (look at the pictures below) holding the building up.  And those could represent the people around us--like my darling husband, our Bishop, all our family and friends, but most importantly the Savior--when we are going through a hard time.  There is hope!  The building is still standing!  For awhile, all the roads around it were completely closed because the building was thought to collapse.  But it is still there and it can be restored.  No matter what happens in life, you will always still exist and can always learn to forgive/ be forgiven.

Enjoy...  The Provo Tabernacle on March 20, 2011
This is the East (and a little South) side of the building
The pile of rubble located directly North of the tabernacle
The Southwest corner... see those scaffoldings? 
South side...
Part of the road is still fenced off.
The fence goes all around the entire  tabernacle and field to the north.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh How We Need Each Other

So I was torn between the title for this post... "The Value of a Compliment" or "Oh How We Need Each Other."  I decided with the second choice because this post goes far deeper than just the compliments.

My ward had a Relief Society Birthday Celebration dinner tonight.  The theme was "Oh How We Need Each Other."  The guest speaker focused on this a lot.  But we will come back to that in a minute.

As we were waiting in line to make DELICIOUS taco salads, three different girls came up to me and complimented me on looking fabulous.  I so needed to hear that--way more than these dear friends could have ever known.  Yesterday night, as we were getting ready for bed, I was feeling pretty sad about the loosing weight thing.  I just kind of felt like I wasn't making progress anymore.  (It was just one of those moments.)  Normally things always look brighter in the morning except I just felt kind of icky when I woke up today.  Several people have been passing around a cold and I hope I am not coming down with it/ or if I am that I can fight it off fast.  I didn't exercise this morning because I didn't feel I could handle that and still sub today.  It was basically one or the other for my energy level.

Fortunately the kids were wonderful today and I didn't have to solve too many problems and/or move a great deal.  But, I still felt like the beginning of a cold icky and sad about my "getting fit" goal.  Relief Society tonight was amazing and oh how we really do need each other.  The compliments from these three separate and unrelated sisters brightened my day and help me move beyond the feelings from last night.  While the speaker was talking about how we need to turn to each other for service and support and etc, I felt like I was a walking example of it.  My darling sweetheart continues to tell me how cute I look and how impressed he is with the weight I'm loosing.  (Don't get me wrong, I definitely need to hear these words from him!)  But hearing it from 3 random people tonight meant so much to me.  I feel like I am actually making progress--people around me are noticing!

Now it is time to pay it forward!  The thing I needed tonight was simple--but still a need.  So now it is time to help lighten others burdens and strengthen them!  Charity really does never fail! :)


Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So a little background information…  I come up with all sorts of things to keep myself busy while I am subbing.  Yesterday I wrote a short story/ poem/ sort of a thing.  (For any of the English people reading this… after you read what I wrote, will you please tell me what it is called—if anything?  For everyone else, I would love to hear your comments! :D )

by: Lisa

I sit in class and stare off, pretending to be on task.  I’m dreaming of him.  We laugh about everything and talk about nothing.  I want to marry someone just like him.  Everyone tells me I’m crazy; you never marry someone you went to high school with—let alone junior high.  But I’m determined to beat the odds.  The only problem, what if he doesn’t see me as his dream girl?

I lay awake at night, gazing at a picture taken at the school dance.  I’m dreaming of him.  We are best friends and I think I love him—though I wouldn’t admit that to anyone… not even my journal.  Everyone believes that this will be short lived.  But I’m determined to marry my best friend.  The only problem, what if I’m not his best friend?

I rush through my homework and then wait, bolting towards the phone every time it rings.  I’m dreaming of him.  He promised to call me today.  We talk on the phone most days for hours on end.  Everyone thinks we’ll never be more than just friends.  But I’m determined to make it work when we are older.  The only problem, what if he’s not willing to make it work?

I run to the mailbox—everyday, just in case, but especially on Saturdays.  I’m dreaming of him.  Our daily, ridiculously long phone calls and occasional outings have been cut; he’s 2,000 miles away.  One letter a week… sometimes it’s really just one paragraph.  Everyone claims I’ll never wait, that it will never work out.  I’m not waiting though; I’m just supporting him.  But I’m determined he is the best because I keep dating others and no one even compares—they don’t even come close.  The only problem, what if I’m not the best?

Fast Forward.
We beat the odds; I am his dream girl and his best friendHe’s willing to make it workI am the best—at least he thinks so.

So what happened?  I stopped dreaming.  Life got busyCollege and homework and jobs and budgets and chores and responsibilities and… life happened.  And in the process we forgot… er, um… I forgotI forgot how excited I was to see his smile, hear his voice, touch his hand, dream of him.

But for today, I’m dreaming of him.  I’ll run home to his warm hug.  I’ll wash the dishes just a little faster so we can have an extra minute or two together.  I’ll look past those little things he does that drive me nuts—and somehow never saw before.  I’ll make his favorite treat just to remind him of my love.  Everyone says it can’t work, that most marriages end in divorce.  But I’m determined—we are married for eternity.  The only problem
what if eternity is not long enough?