Saturday, December 28, 2013

One Word Goal 2014 {Consistent}

My track record of new year's resolutions is not high. I got to the point that I wouldn't even make goals because I just knew that I wouldn't follow through and that I would forget about them a week later anyway.

But something is different with having a one word goal. And something amazing happened. I remembered my goal. I thought about it constantly through the year. And most importantly I changed.

This past year (2013) I decided to "EMBRACE" life. I had to learn to embrace Heavenly Father's timing and let go of my own as well as embracing His will. I learned to embrace Devin when my patience was super thin or when I would much rather be doing something without his help. I learned to embrace Casey and make a point to work on making our marriage better every day.

As I was making preparations for Christmas, I started looking inward thinking about who I want to become and who the Lord needs me to be. I thought about areas I could improve in and how.

I realized that I don't want to make huge drastic changes. I just need to focus on the little things. I need to let the little things become me day in and day out. Greatness is never achieved by the wave of a magic wand or some random chance. Greatness happens because you train for it. You practice for it. You live for it. And that is just it. I want to become great! 

But I want it to last. I don't want to just have one day of succeeding but rather 365.

That's why I choose 2014 to be CONSISTENT.

According to google, consistent is defined as unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time. It is choosing to become constant, dependable, reliable, predictable. Yes. I want to be predictable in the little things so no matter where life takes us, I know that I can always depend on them.

Although I will be looking for new ways to be consistent, I already know a few.
1. I will be consistent with Heavenly Father. I need His guidance and love in my life constantly. I will be consistent in reading my scriptures and saying my prayers.
2. I will be consistent with myself. My body can't handle all of these yo-yo diets. I will live a consistent lifestyle. I will eat healthy and exercise. I will be patient with myself and strive for ongoing healthy choices rather than the latest quick fad diet. 
3. I will be consistent with Devin. He needs to know that I will always be there for him and he is way more important than some stupid game or perfectly clean house.
4. I will be consistent with Casey. He will have a busy up coming semester and he needs my support and love. I will help take care of the house so he doesn't have to. I will continue to look forward to our weekly date so we can recharge together.

Here is to 2014. Here is to becoming consistent. Here is to finding success!

Elder Scott promises that "Strong character results from consistent correct choices."
So 2014 will really be the year that I build a strong character! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sacrifice brings a Celestial Marriage

Four years ago today I married my best friend. Life was blissful and we were in love. <3

Or so we thought. But our love has only continued to grow, with a priceless increase today.

I have come to realize that this... not my marriage. It was my wedding. It was a very important day. It was done in the right place and by the right authority. But having a temple wedding is not enough. We have to work to have a celestial marriage.

Marriage is something you do day in and day out. It is staying up late with a sick kiddo. It is raking the leaves while it is beginning to snow. It is counting pennies three times in hopes they will stretch a little bit further. It is sacrificing your wants for the other person.

I have watched Casey sacrifice countless times for me. And I have done other things for him. But today I learned a huge lesson about sacrifice.

Money is ridiculously tight right now. Like uncomfortably so but our basic needs are being taken care of so we still feel so blessed. Blessed by our learning to live within a super strict budget and blessed abundantly by the generosity of others. Casey was in charge of planning our anniversary and he knew the budget. He would have to come up with something that had meaning and cost practically nothing.

I keep thinking about a quote by Pres. Monson that says:
During the challenging times, we grow closer together. Today was no exception.

For the past week, Casey left clues on our whiteboard about our upcoming anniversary he planned. One clue told me that I should wear something fancy. Some I didn't understand at the time but just thought he was sweet. Yesterday he wrote something about heading to Scotland and today it was about Tommy and Fiona. 

Um... who on are earth are Tommy and Fiona. Hello google. Apparently there is a play/ movie called Brigadoon (seriously... don't laugh... I have never heard of it before!) So next I started googling that to see if I could find if it was showing anywhere in the area. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is showing currently at a very nice theater not too far from our home.

My first thought was pure excitement. We haven't seen a play in a long time because it is way out of our budget. My second thought was hoping that Casey was given some tickets without my knowing so we wouldn't have to pay for it. But I decided to focus on the first thought and just look forward to the evening.

I instantly started texting Casey what I had figured out--my excitement bubbling through my fingers. And I also asked him to not buy me anything else because the tickets would be more than enough.

He knew his clue this morning would give it away and I would be googling as fast as I could type. But what I didn't know was his plan for the budget.

We each have a "piggy bank" in our budget. This is our free money that we can spend however we want. It just has to be recorded so the other person knows about it. The only money we have in our separate piggy banks right now is from our birthdays. Anything we had saved up prior was wiped clean to help pay for the furnace. Because money is so limited, it really makes our birthday money more special. It is our only piggy bank money.

Casey responded to my texts saying that he was paying for the tickets and wishing me a happy anniversary.

I knew as soon as I read it that he was going to use all of his precious birthday money to take me out on a date to celebrate my very favorite day of the year. I knew right then that I meant more to him than his piggy bank. I mean more than new clothes or toys or electronics.

And from his example, I lovingly learned about sacrifice. I re-learned about making marriage number one. I once again learned about growing closer together as we continue to scrimp and save.

Happy Anniversary My Love! 
I look forward to an eternity more! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wading through Isaiah

At Stake Conference a little while ago, my stake presidency challenged everyone in the stake to read the Book of Mormon again. I know there are blessings for those that obey the counsel. And I also just LOVE that there are strength in numbers. While Casey and I chose to both read it for our personal study, I'm not studying this book alone.

I recently started the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. I'm not going to lie, Isaiah and I are less than best friends. In fact, in my super highlighted, thoughts filling the margins and quotes stuffed almost everywhere, the Isaiah Chapters are almost completely white. Very few colored verses. No impressions in the margins. I just struggle to understand the symbolism and difficult language. (For all of you Isaiah lovers out there, don't judge!)

There is one quote though that I keep in 2 Nephi 11. I treasure this quote and ponder it constantly while I wade through Isaiah. If there is anyone out there like me that struggles with Isaiah, I hope this quote by Boyd K. Packer will encourage you too.

Pres. Packer's entire talk is about reading the Book of Mormon... an excellent read if you are struggling to find the motivation and time to read the Book of Mormon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Priesthood & a Band-Aid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Becoming a Diamond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Birthday in Heaven

Dear Grandpa,

It's your first birthday in heaven. Funny how a birthday is such an earthly holiday. We celebrate the day one leaves his or her heavenly home and mourn the day he or she returns. If we were to look at the eternal perspective I'm sure the celebrating and mourning might be reversed. But with our limited earth-life vision, it is hard to celebrate the day you returned to your Heavenly Father. It's hard to rejoice when we were left behind. 

But I think about that day a lot. It's the day Sister Monson died. It was the last day we shared a picnic together in the living room. Another funny thing is of all the happy memories I have of us, I cling to that last picnic. If I would have known that it would be the last, I would have taken a picture. But instead I replay it over and over in my mind. 

I miss you Grandpa. Maybe because tomorrow is meant to be a celebration of life. But you're not here to attend your party. Maybe because I spent so much time with you all growing up and especially these last few years. Maybe because I plan on it being a long time until I will see you again. But when my time comes, promise you will be there waiting for me. I look forward to that so much. Until then, I know we both have work to do. I have a son to raise and a life to fill with the gospel. You have spirit world stuff to work on. But if you happen to have some spare time, will you please find my other grandpa? He died when I was 7 and I don't remember him well. But maybe you can tell him stories of me and teach him the gospel? Then we can all be sealed together as one big happy family. 

Your Loving Granddaughter,

{P.S. I'm sending this letter to heaven. You are all just privileged to read it along its delivery.}

P.P.S. This post goes along with "in an instant" and "Jesus Wept" that I wrote last May, a week after my grandfather died.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Countdown to General Conference

When I was growing up, there was something magical about a countdown chain. I remember my mom would help make them for our birthdays. The anticipation made the actual day that much more special.

Last night I was thinking about General Conference. It's almost September so General Conference is *almost* next month. I absolutely love General Conference and am excited that it is coming around again. In our home, GC is just about as big as a birthday. We celebrate it and have family traditions (our Conference Bribe--treats for notes, is one of my favorite. And I think we might start eating cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning....). But more than the food we associate with it, I love the spirit. I love listening to the Prophet and Apostles.  I love the counsel. There is so much power from listening to and following the counsel.

I absolutely just love the Primary Song called "Follow the Prophet." I remember singing it growing up. And while I don't remember the words to all nine verses, I do remember and think about the 9th and the chorus rather often.
Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets-- follow what they say. 
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don't go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way.
Heavenly Father really loves us so much to bless us with a prophet. This world is definitely not an easy place. But gratefully, we don't have to follow the world's way; we can follow a better way. And there truly are so many blessings that will always come from following the prophet.

Anyway... back to last night. I should have been in bed. But school started so Casey was up doing homework. Our little Baby Bunny was asleep in his crib (yes, CRIB-- not pack'n'play!! Whooo!!). And I didn't know what to do with myself. I kept thinking about General Conference and decided to randomly count how many talks there were during the April 2013 GC. If I counted everything (including the Young Women's meeting and each report given during the Saturday Afternoon session) there were 40. 

I thought it would be great to start a countdown for this coming October Conference by reading one talk a day. So I counted how many days there were between now (yesterday) and Oct. 5th. 41. Oh my gosh. It was perfect!! By starting yesterday, I could read one talk a day, finish on Friday October 4th (which is also a VERY special day around here for me... just sayin'...) and be ready to listen to the new messages which will be shared the next day.

General Conference really is just as special as my special day. I searched the stack of boxes in the basement, found the construction paper and cut some strips. On each strip, I wrote the numbers 1-40. Then on number 40, I wrote the "Welcome to Conference" (the title of the first talk). #39 has the title of the second talk and so on.

Whether you make your own paper chain or simply read study a talk each day, I hope you will join me as we celebrate General Conference coming again. I know studying will be uplifting and inspiring. I know it will bring blessings. I know it will be a great way to prepare to listen to the new talks. And this is also the last chance to study April 2013 and have it be the "current" conference issue. {And... if you are just reading this today, 8/27/2013, then you have to read the first 2 talks in order to be caught up. No biggie. The first talk by Pres. Monson is super short!}

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Greatest Power

Yesterday was a special day. A historic day. An inspiring day. We were blessed with the opportunity to watch a Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. And we were doubly blessed because we were actually able to watch and listen and feel the spirit. Mr. Devin slept through the first half and then sat quietly and ate granola bars and snacks for the rest. If you didn't have a chance to watch it last night, I hope you will take the time to do so. It was very touching and uplifting!

Most of the meeting was about missionary work--sharing the thing that I love the absolute most with those that we love the most. Pres. Packer spoke about how to teach. And I absolutely loved this quote!! I decided to make a printable to have in our home. Because sometimes I need a little reminder that being a stay-at-home mommy is the greatest thing I can ever do. Teaching Devin is more valuable than anything the world could give a working woman.

"I have come to know that everybody is a teacher. In the church we talk about being called to a position and being set apart to teach Sunday School or any other Priesthood auxiliaries. The Priesthood, I think, sometimes prides itself with having the power to doing the teaching. They don't come near the power that's given to a mother. The greatest teaching in the church is done by the mothers." --Pres. Boyd K. Packer (Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation. about 1.37:30- 1.38:30)

I just love this!!
The power of mothers... and the ability to teach!
A good reminder of my worth.

I thought this one sentence was a good stand alone quote too.

As was this one. :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

HONESTY --the best policy

We went under contract. The loan was being processed. I had turned in almost all of the papers for our grant and it was being reviewed with the missing papers. I thought everything was moving along smoothly with buying our home.

Yesterday our loan officer called me. The first thing he said was he had bad news. My first thought was interest rates had spiked super high and now we won't qualify for the loan because we have not locked in a rate yet. But I didn't jump to conclusions and just listened to his explanation. It turns out it had nothing to do with interest rates. It was the grant.

I still have to turn in two papers for our grant application to be complete. The first was Casey and I had to sign the copy of our taxes. Easy. We just didn't think to sign it because we submitted everything electronically and assumed the electronic signature would show on the printout. The second is a form called the buyer/ seller certification.

The buyer/ seller certification.

Generally, it would not be that hard to turn this in either. The seller signs the form which states we are applying for a grant. Truthfully, I don't even understand why the seller has to know this because it doesn't affect them at all but that is the city's rule. But our situation is different. There is no seller--our house is government owned. And everyone involved on the government's side of things refuses to sign it. My agent has talked to countless people trying to find anyone who will sign the form. And no one will sign it. They even emailed our agent part of their rules & regulations handbook which states they will sign absolutely no forms other than their own contract.

Everyone knows this. All loan companies know this and there are some of our loan forms that generally the seller will sign as well. But they don't even try to have them signed when the seller is the government. So... everyone knows this except the city we are moving to.

The city will not accept the form without a signature. Our loan officer has talked to the person in charge of the city grants over and over. The city claims that they have never had a problem before even with other people applying for the grant with a government owned house. The form has always came back with a signature. The loan officer pursued it and tried to understand how government owned houses had a signature in past cases. Finally he was told by the city that they don't check it. As long as there is some form of ink on the seller's line, they don't care.

Lovely. If any of us were willing to scribble something on the line, we would qualify for the grant. But our loan company and agent are both extremely honest--a characteristic trait that is absolutely needed in this home buying business! And we are not willing to commit mortgage fraud either. But because all the previous government owned houses grant applications came back with something scribbled on the line, they refuse to accept ours without it.

I don't know how things will work out right now. But I do know that we will be blessed for being honest. On Monday, we are going to pursue calling other city offices, including the major and city council, to hopefully find a way around the required seller signature. We should be able to write on the line "government owned" and have that waive the requirement. 

This entire house process is a constant pleading with the Lord. We are praying that hearts will be softened and that through miraculous means we will be awarded the grant. He has answered our prayers before, we know He will answer them again. We just don't know how at this point....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Jesus Wept"

I love just about everything with the rain.
I love the clean, refreshing smell it brings.
I love staring out the window and watching it fall.
I love the coolness it brings to a hot summer evening.
I love hearing the pitter patter on ground, especially when I'm falling asleep.
I love the green growth that follows in a dry desert.
I love feeling of it on my face and through my hair.
I love rain.

But sometimes the rain means something more than water drops falling from the sky.
They are Christ's tears.
He suffered for my pain... my afflictions...
He did it so He would be filled with mercy for me.
And know how to succor me in my infirmities. 
(Paraphrased from Alma 7:11-12)

A week ago Friday when my life changed in an instant, it was raining outside. 

I found our softest Kleenexes, wrote a love note on the box, and headed to the hospital. If anyone has ever shed more than a few tears at the hospital, you would know that their tissues are pretty much like using thin printer paper. They barely dry the tears and they scratch. I knew my Grandma would appreciate something a little more soothing as she experienced the shock of loosing her husband.

As I drove the short distance to the hospital, with my windshield wipers going, I kept thinking about John 11:35, "Jesus wept." He was crying that night with my family... with me. Although death is not the end, it does not make the separation any easier. And Christ knows that pain; He had compassion for Mary & Martha when their brother Lazarus died. He had compassion for me as my Grandpa died.

I tried to help bring comfort to others with softer Kleenexes. But ultimately, the best comfort is found in the Savior. It is found through His Atonement. It is found crying on His shoulder as He gives rest. It is found through His compassion as He weeps along with us.

The rain that Friday night meant much more to me than just rain.
It meant empathy.
It meant mercy.
It meant comfort.
It meant succoring. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Symbols of Easter FHE Lesson

Preparation: Cut out and color the pictures for The First Easter Bunny Story
Make hard boiled eggs then write the words Faith, Hope, Charity, Kindness, Forgiveness, Reverence, and Love with a white crayon

Opening Song: 199 He Is Risen!

Opening Prayer:

Scripture: Mosiah 16:7-9

Lesson:  Read “The First Easter Bunny” Story
   * Show the different pictures as you read the story
   * Note: this story is totally fictional! But gives some good food for thought!

Closing Prayer:

Treat: Make Resurrection Rolls (note: there are several variations of Resurrection Rolls out there. I liked this one that the roll represented the cloth and the oven was the tomb)

(while the Rolls are baking...)
Activity: Color your own Edgar Easter eggs
     Make sure you hard boil the eggs in advance and write the words on with a white crayon for a surprise as you are dying the eggs.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine Memory --my favorite one

It was my senior year of high school. Valentines was rapidly approaching. And I was not looking forward to it! All of the girls with boyfriends would be carrying around stuff. You know. Chocolate, flowers, balloons, teddy bears, etc. All pink and red.

And while I had tons of friends and went on several dates, I was not dating anyone. I was preparing myself for valentines to be lonely. I knew my parents would give me some lovey gift and candy. I was tempted to hide some of their valentines in my back pack before school and then take them out once I got to school.

That way I could carry stuff around with me too.

It was tempting. But I resisted.

And I'm grateful I didn't! (Besides... Who would I claim they were from?! A secret admirer?)

I remember arriving at school and heading to my locker, just like it was an ordinary day. I got my books and took off my coat. And tried super hard to focus on anything other than my empty hands.

I went to meet my friends in our hallway spot before school started. And to my complete surprise, I was given a box of chocolates. Heart shaped and all. My heart melted. I felt so special and important. I could have easily put it away in my back pack. Oh no! I treasured that chocolate box and carried it with me the whole day and kept it on my desk during class. (Keep in mind that I was in high school... Of course I kept it out because I was no longer one of the empty handed girls.)

And the best part is it was from a boy! And it was totally his doing--I still remember staring in disbelief and total shock. It didn't mean I had a boyfriend. It didn't mean that this boy and I were going steady. It just meant he cared about me. He wanted me to feel valued.

I knew right then that someday I wanted to marry someone just like this boy. Someone who cares about me and shows it. Not because it was expected or because he should but because he just wanted me to he happy.

What I did not know then was that about three and a half years later this boy would become my eternal valentine. My forever best friend!

And still to this day, that heart shaped, small box of chocolates made that Valentines Day my very favorite!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Measuring Success

 I love making a to-do list in the morning and then checking things off as I finish them. I feel like I accomplished something. I feel success for the day.

But how do you truly measure success as a mother?

Devin is still alive--never mind the fact that he has breakfast still smeared in his hair at dinner time and I just barely got him out of his pjs right before Daddy came home. Some days this counts as success.

Or we did absolutely nothing today. The house is a disaster. But I watched Devin learn how to walk and celebrate his accomplishment. I built him block towers and watched him knock them over. I let him get out every single toy and book with in his reach and didn't bother cleaning up as we went because he was having fun. This definitely has to be a successful day.

And then there are some days where I literally have a million things to do. My check list is miles long. So I sat Devin beside me and got to work on cleaning and laundry and dinner and projects and dishes and etc. I am exhausted by the end of the day. I checked of my to-do list. So that means I was successful, right?!

But are these examples truly measuring success? How do I know if I am successful as a mommy? How do I know if my efforts are good enough?

I found a list in Preach My Gospel (page 10-11) that defines success for a missionary. With a few tweaks, I finally have my list to know if I am a successful mother!

I am a successful as a mom when I...
  • feel the spirit testify to my children through me
  • love my children and desire their salvation
  • obey with exactness
  • live so that I can receive and know how to follow the Spirit; the Spirit will show me where to go, what to do, and what to say
  • develop Christlike attributes
  • work effectively everyday, do my very best to bring my son to Christ, and earnestly seek to learn & improve
  • help build the Church wherever I am
  • warn Devin about the consequences of sin and invite him to make commitments
  • teach & serve other mothers
  • go about doing good

Success is not something that can be measured or checked off. In short, success is being obedient, living righteously, and doing my best. It is a inner commitment. It is who I am--not my unfinished to-do list or getting out of our pajamas. 

And... my absolute favorite quote from PMG about success.
"Avoid comparing yourself  to other moms
and measuring the outward results of 
your efforts against theirs."

(And with that being said... here is to starting on my LONG to-do list today!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's FHE Lesson

So this lesson looks like it has a lot of preparation. I promise, it really is not that bad! I just used things that other people have already created instead of designing everything myself. So this just takes you to the links you need to find everything I used.

Preparation: Assemble the home, (click on that link and then click on cubby house template), cut out all of the hearts and attach paperclips, (I liked some of the ideas on Little LDS Ideas for this FHE. She already made hearts with different "love" scenarios and I just used hers. Scroll to the bottom of the blog post and print off "page 1" and "page 2") make a magnetic fishing pole (I hot glued a magnet to a piece of yarn and then tied the yarn to a pencil, cut apart the puzzle home (I wrote our last name on the roof and then cut apart the house so it became a puzzle), have ingredients for oreos at home

Opening Song: 294 Love at Home

Opening Prayer:

Scripture: John 13:34-35


  • Read the first paragraph of “Temple” in the Bible Dictionary.
    • Emphasize the last sentence—“Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”
    • What are some ideas for how we can make our home compare to the temple?
  • Read “My Home.”
    • We are going to practice filling our home with love tonight. (Show the home.)
    • Since we only want love to be in our home, we are going to read each heart and if it is something that will help our home be more like the temple, we are going to put it in our home. (Remove the roof and place one in.) If however, it is not something that will help our home be more Christlike, we are going to leave it outside the home and make a pile. (Show place for the pile)
    • (Then turn over all of the hearts so the words are down. Use the fishing pole with a magnet on the end to go fishing for a heart—each heart needs a paper clip attached to it. Take turns fishing for one heart at a time.)
  • Puzzle House
    • As we put the puzzle house together, we are going to discuss each characteristic and how it will help us make our home be more like the Temple.
Closing Song: 308 Love One Another

Closing Prayer:

Activity: Make Valentines. Either make valentines for each other or have them write out all of the valentines for their classmates. --And/Or--  Make an envelope/ box/ container for all of their valentines

Treat: Homemade Oreos
--Add red food coloring and cherry or almond extract to the frosting to make Cherry Chocolate Oreos--

Friday, February 8, 2013

...a guide to motherhood...

So I'm a teensy bit jealous of 19 year old LDS young women who are preparing to leave on missions. Ok. Truthfully, I'm super duper jealous. I absolutely hated 19-- seriously the most trying and difficult year of my life. And I wish so badly that I could have gone on a mission instead of facing my living nightmare. But since I can't live life wishing of what could have been, I have made a plan to go forward.

The plan is called Mission Mommyhood. (Sidenote: if you have not read my call to "Mission Mommyhood" make sure you click the previous link. That is seriously one of my favorite posts!) And Devin is my dear little investigator. I have a responsibility to teach him. To prepare him. To help him become a worthy full time missionary in 17 years and 4 months.

I keep thinking of a quote by Sis. Julie B. Beck. "Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre-missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation." 

I have no idea what goes on in the MTC. I never served a mission. How am I supposed to make my home a pre-MTC if I don't know what they teach there? (See... another reason to be jealous of the 19 year old girls. When they come home from their missions and someday become mothers, think of the influence they will have on their own families!)

But really, it can't be that complicated. The MTC is a place to prepare people to teach the gospel. Well, I have a testimony. Surely I can build on that to help prepare my little investigator. And then I realized that missionaries have a secret weapon. It is call Preach My Gospel. (Ok... I guess it is really not so secret. But it is to me because I haven't studied it.)

*Light bulb turns on* That is my game plan. I can learn about what goes on in the MTC by studying the manual they use there. Brilliant.

As I am studying this, I will replace the word "missionary" with "mommy" and "mission" with "motherhood." If you look at the actual cover of Preach My Gospel, the caption above says "a guide to missionary service." But really, that caption should read, "a guide to mommyhood motherhood."

I made a study journal. I have never quite figured out how to keep a study journal before. So the journal in and of itself will be a learning experience. I am going to use a binder so I can move pages as needed. And the only way for this to be functional is to keep it organized. I printed a blank table of contents page that I can fill in as I go. I am going to make a dividing page for each chapter and then start over at numbering pages for each chapter (for example-- Chapter 1, Page 1 or 1-1, Chapter 1, Page 2 or 1-2)

This is the cover for my study journal.
Not perfect because it is hand drawn.
But most (if not all) of my journal will be hand written
so it will fit in perfectly.
And... the quote at the bottom is the one above by Sis. Beck.

I'm excited to prepare myself so I can later prepare Baby Bunny. And I hope you will join me in studying Preach My Gospel from a mother's perspective. Then my district meetings blogging will make more sense. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Could You Do This To Me?

Ever since our trip to Primary Children's Medical Center about a week ago, Devin constantly protests nap time and especially bedtime. My good little sleeper learned that if he screams long enough we will eventually pick him up and then he will get to go on a car ride and then play with all sorts of fun "toys" and nurses. (Granted, he really was in serious pain when we took him so I don't regret that at all!) But... he now uses that same screaming cry to try to trick us to come rescue him from his crib.

As he was protesting his nap time today, this story shared by Elder Todd D. Christofferson from April 2011 General Conference came to mind. (Watch the video now so you will understand the rest of my post!)
As Devin laid screaming in his crib it was like I heard him say:
"How could you do this to me? I want to be up with you. I want to learn and play. And now you are forcing me to go to sleep, you have cut me down. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the mother here."
And I replied:
"Look, little baby, I am the mother here, and I know what I want you to be. I don't want you to be grumpy or crying. I want you to be a happy baby, and someday, little baby, when you once again go to sleep peacefully and stay asleep through the whole night, you are going to say, "Thank you, Mother, for loving me enough to cut me down."

It's absolutely terrible having to listen to him wail like he is in pain every time he lays in his crib. But I know he is fine. And I know someday he will thank me for "cutting him down" and so I leave him there to cry it out (or in his case... scream it out). Someday we will all be grateful when he sleeps easily and soundly again.

But this video goes deeper.

My car died almost a year ago and my husband totaled his car a few months ago. We have made four trips to the emergency room in less than seven months. We have all of these huge financial obstacles to face.

It is like I turn heavenward and say:
"How could you do this to us? We pay our tithing and keep the commandments. Why couldn't you have just told us that nothing was seriously wrong and we could have waited to see a regular doctor in the morning instead of the making trips to the expensive emergency room? Why couldn't you have prevented the accidents and made my car last just a little bit longer. How could you do this to us?"
And I heard the response:
"I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do and who I want you to become."

As we are still in the middle of our huge financial struggle, it is hard to say, "Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me." But someday... I'm sure we will. Someday we will look back on this journey and realize that it was helping to prepare us for who we need to be.