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.