Sunday, January 25, 2015

"This Is Sacred Ground"

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend my Stake Women's Conference. I wrote it down in bold on my calendar to show how much I was looking forward to it. And let me just say, "looking forward" would be an understatement. I was so excited to be able to get out with other women and take a Devin break. I was eager to listen to Carole Mikita (Channel 5 News anchor/ religion specialist) and was hoping she would share stories from all over her travels--she did. I invited my mom and I just love spending time with her!

I know I have heard the it said before that you could have a room packed of people listening to a presentation and everyone will get something different out of it. I think this is especially true when the presentation is that of a spiritual matter because the Holy Ghost will touch each person with what they individually need to hear. I really saw this yesterday during the soup luncheon and constant chattering. All the sisters around me were each sharing what they liked. As each shared their little take home gem, I was like "Oh yeah, she did speak about that." and "That was an interesting story." But their tiny little gems didn't mean much to me other than it being such an interesting story--Carole Mikita has truly traveled the world and interacted with so many LDS people/ temple dedications/ etc.

I wanted to share my gem, the thing that I took home and inspired me to become better. Because I have this hope that sharing it might touch someone else.

She shared a story about a family from Tonga. While I definitely do not remember the names (I don't even think I could have repeated the Tongan family name immediately after she said it--lol), the message was written in my heart.

A girl was able to come to Utah for General Conference. She returned home to her family disappointed to relay the message that no temples were announced for Tonga. The father (maybe grandfather??) of the family said that from that day forward they would treat their five acres of land as a sacred place. The land was thought of as sacred ground to that family. A good time later--like years, Pres. Hinckley (and Carole Mikita and others were with him) was touring Tonga to look at the land. Many different places were presented for where the temple could be built but Pres. Hinckley kept asking to see more options on the island. Then they came to this five acre spot and Pres. Hinckley did not even hesitate. It was immediately decided on the place to build the temple.
She went on to talk about how we likely won't have a temple built literally on our own land (definitely not us... we have a huge backyard but not temple size! haha!) but that we could still make it a sacred place. That thought stuck with me and I have chewed on it over and over.

Our home is sacred. According the the Bible Dictionary, "Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness." I love that--the stake center with the baptismal font is not mentioned. The chapel where we have the opportunity to take the Sacrament each week is not mentioned. No, it is the home. I realized that I have definite room for improvement for treating our home as the sacred place that it should be. And using the sacred voice that I should.

Within the walls of my home, I'm raising a future missionary (maybe two)--plus the goal of serving a couple mission with my sweetheart. I'm teaching a future father and mother (the most important calling). I'm changing daily trying to better myself so I can be ready to live with Heavenly Father again. Ignore the fact that there are patch jobs and scribbles on walls, stains in the carpet and lumpy carpet pads, an unfinished basement, only two bedrooms, etc (sidenote... someday these will be fixed/ finished... love our HUD home! Someday...) this truly is a sacred place.

Our home is the place where we put on the armor of God with prayer & scriptures.
Our home is the place where we show our faith as we face trials.
Our home is the place where we unite as a family for meals.
Our home is the place where we build our testimonies & feel the spirit.
Our home is the place where we truly can live on Sacred Ground.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Miracles of 2014

How can you summarize a year with just one word? I have continued to ponder this over and over. So much happened in 2014. So many prayers, tears, excitement, frustration. And change. Change definitely happened in 2014. But the best word to summarize our entire year would be MIRACLE. I'm not kidding. The entire year was a miracle. So many miracles that I will forever remember.
  • Pregnancy in general is always a miracle. But mine was even more so. Heidi was meant to join our family and fought so many odds against her while I was pregnant.
  • Surviving half of the year on Casey's old salary after all overtime was cut out. I really don't know how we even lived. Truly food stretched further and utility bills were smaller than we have ever experienced. It was a miracle for sure.
  • Casey's new job is a miracle. He has an amazing boss. He loves what he is doing. He is able to commute on the train. Not to mention his salary. Sure, we could always use more money but we feel like we are back to functioning/ living normal.... not rich... just functioning. AND his new job also brought with it the much needed miracle of great health insurance benefits. Little did we know when he started the job how huge of a miracle this would become!
  • Planting an apple tree and attempting to grow a garden this year. Both were first time miracles in our new(ish) home owner lives even though neither produced hardly anything (the tree still has a few years before it should).
  • Living day in and day out with a two year old is a miracle. No joke. Some days he tries my patience further than I can stretch. Other days he cuddles with and kisses me constantly. He has changed so much in 2014!! But little kids do that.
  • And speaking of Devin, potty training is a miracle. Well... almost miracle. He still has occasional accidents.
  • Heidi's birth is a complete miracle. Modern medicine is a miracle. And all the medical staff is a miracle. Missy Moo would have died at birth if it weren't for the hospital staff and life flight. So scary at the time but seriously such a miracle.
  • Buying a car and getting a loan was a miracle. We needed a reliable car because the one car we share was starting to have problems. Its 13 years old and as few of problems as it has is a miracle too. But we also each needed our own vehicle. We were definitely guided and blessed.
  • And this doesn't even mention the day to day miracles. They happen all the time and we are so richly blessed. Waking up to two little loves. Going to sleep with a goodnight kiss from my sweetheart. Owning a washing machine and dryer. Going for walks in the double stroller. It is the day to day things, the little tender mercies, that make life worth living.
Looking back to January 1, 2014, I would have never, ever imagined all of the miracles, all of the faith building experiences, all the change, all the growth. I can't believe where we are today and the miracle it took to get here.