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!}

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Than Enough

I wish our house was bigger. I wish we had a third bedroom right now and a place for the computer. I wish we had a garage. I wish the basement was finished. I wish the walls were painted with beautiful colors. I wish our ceiling fan didn't rattle/ click. I wish the dishwasher worked. I wish the backyard was grass. I wish we had a fire pit and a patio. I wish we had a working furnace. I wish the curtains and pictures were hung. I wish the basement wasn't piled with boxes.

I wish. I wish. I wish.

But I have to remind myself. This is enough. This was the house we were meant to buy. All the other offers fell through and Heavenly Father doesn't make mistakes.

We don't need a bigger house, it would just mean more to clean. There is no one to live in the third bedroom right now anyway. The computer works just fine in the basement. The cars are protected in our double carport. A finished basement would just mean moldy walls with all the plumbing/ leaking problems. The walls are at least clean. The fan normally stops clicking after it has been for a long time and then I fall asleep. We are saving money on electricity and I keep up with the dishes so at least they don't pile up. Devin doesn't mind playing on the weeds. Are standing fire pits even legal?? And if we want to have friends over on a patio--move the cars and instant "patio" under the carport. Who needs a furnace in the middle of summer?! There are blinds! I really don't spend much time in the basement anyway so I don't see the boxes... Devin is not allowed down here and screams at the door if I'm down here without him.

It is more than enough. My stake has a free exercise class every day--this means the world to me and gives me motivation to get up and get ready in the morning. It feels so good to exercise again. This is such a needed blessing!

It is more than enough. There are several young women in the ward who baby sit. So far we keep asking the same girl. She is great with Devin. She brings a sweet spirit into our home. And we can afford to pay her! Plus she babysat for free while we went to the temple. Words cannot even express what a blessing this is!! Sometimes the temple takes way longer than you plan because it is crowded. Without her generosity, I'm sure I would be a total stress case in the temple trying to get in and out and forgetting to learn and enjoy while we were there.

It is more than enough. With the Relief Society sisters all starting the Personal Progress program, I have found motivation to become better in the basics. I will admit. I was definitely slacking. But that changed because I want to pass off my experiences. But more than that, I want to transform into a Princess. This is probably one of the biggest blessings in my life right now--coming closer to the Savior and Heavenly Father!

It is more than enough.
My ward is just filled with the sweetest, most caring people. I know I have mentioned this before. But it is such a huge blessing to feel comfortable in my ward. To feel like I have friends. To feel like everyone in the ward shares our same standards.

So when the wishes start creeping in and I want something bigger/better/fancier/etc, I just have to remember. This house is more than enough. Heavenly Father did not make an accident. We are here for a purpose and we are so richly blessed!