May we all strive to remember why we are here at this time, and to whom we owe our greatest thanks for all that has been given us. And then with gratitude in our hearts may we go forth in the true spirit of Christmas, taking upon ourselves His name and loving and serving our fellow men.
"The magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence."
As mothers, our daily lives might not be grand and glorious. Our days are more often filled with cooking, cleaning, tending sick children, suffering from lack of sleep, laundry, laundry, and more laundry, crumbs on the floor, sticky hands and faces, spills, little ones crying, fighting, and throwing tantrums in public. But for a second, let's just ignore all of those things, pretend they don't exist, and see what is left. When I think about what I am left with, it is more than I ever asked for. And then instead of thinking about all the things that are difficult in life, first let us think about everything else we have been blessed with.
It's been crazy around here over the past month! Thanksgiving was awesome and the food I enjoyed the most was probably the homemade cheeseball and of course a nice slice of pumpkin pie! Oh...and bacon-wrapped little smokies! Thanksgiving night I left the kids with Russ and headed off to Twin Falls. This time, I didn't have to stop in Raft River for gas, and after driving around for way too long, and afraid of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, stopped by a random home filled with people who did not speak English except for one girl, who told me there are no gas stations in Raft River! They pointed me in the way to a farm, where there were gas pumps. The only farmhouse I found with gas pumps had no one home! So...I ended up getting the help of a truck driver, who also spoke no English, who called his boss...and this boss got ahold of one of his other workers, who came to my rescue, brought about 10 gallons of gas, filled up my tank, refused payment, and told me to "Pay it forward!" Whew!
Let's just say, even if I am in a hurry, I ALWAYS fill my tank before I leave town!!!!! And thank goodness for guardian angels and a Heavenly Father who watched over me that night!
Thanksgiving night I left with a full tank of gas, gave Raft River a nice scowl as I drove by, and made it to Twin safely to prepare for my sister's bridal shower on Friday!
I mean, really....what town just doesn't have a gas station???? Ridiculous!
Friday morning, I was my sister's escort as she went through the Twin Falls Temple to receive her endowment. It was a very special day for both of us and we shared some awesome moments together! I am grateful for the knowledge that Heavenly Father has provided Temples all over the world for all of His children, to bless them and bring them closer to Him. And the best part is that whether in this life or the next, all of God's children will be taught and given the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, to learn about His gospel, and have the saving ordinances performed for them that bring eternal life and exaltation. What God offers to one, He offers to ALL.
Here is a neat video about a new temple in El Salvador:
My sister's bridal shower was held at Kiwi Loco in Twin Falls, and everything turned out GREAT! Thanks you to everyone who came!! It was tons of fun! I was the host, and was very nervous about it all! Haylee got some pretty awesome stuff to start her married life out with...and some pretty fun stuff too! Now we all just have to make it through the next few weeks until the BIG day on December 30th! Oh, and if you sneak Christmas and all the festivities in there too, it calls for a VERY busy next few weeks!!!
I am doing an arrangement of paintings of different sizes for her backdrop at the reception, and I have almost 4 out of the 8 completed! I will post pics soon....but don't hold your breath....ya know....just in case.
The past few weeks I have been able to finish felt dress-up dolls for my neices and cousin, as well as Kya's quiet book, felt ornaments, and I still have quite a few projects yet to be started and finished! Hopefully I can get it all done in good time!
We made it a goal to get most of our Christmas shopping done by the end of November, and we were successful! We just have a few things to get for Kya (we are having the hardest time finding just the perfect gift for her), and a few finishing-up stuff and we are done! It's a good feeling to know we don't have to rush last minute!
Another fun fact about the past few weeks: the Flu bug attacked our family...I think there was a total of 16 family members who all came down with the Flu all within the same week! It was crazy! LUCKILY...I did NOT get it!!! Just all my kids.
Besides the fact that I have had a bad sinus cold for 15 days now, we are all well, happy, and counting down the days until Christmas! Monday we had Family Home Evening, and I made present out of felt, and we talked about what our gift to Christ would be this Christmas. I want my kids to really understand that it is not about presents, but about Him. He will bring us more happiness, peace, and comfort than any present will. After all He gives to us, we need to make sure we are giving something back. Anna's gift was "If someone needs help, I will help them." Carter's was "a spiderman web shooter" at first, so we had to talk about how we give Christ different gifts than the ones we want to receive from Santa! He helped me decide that his gift would be "Making good choices", since that is something I am really working with him on. My gift was to continue having Family Home Evening every week, family scripture study, and family prayer. My gift I want to improve upon is doing my personal scripture study everyday, as well as consistently saying my personal morning and night prayers. I know that if we center our lives around Christ, speak of Him often, teach our children about Him during everyday activities, use His example as we discipline, and remember Him as we try to do more of what He has asked us in our everyday lives, that our lives will be greatly blessed, relationships will flourish, there will be more peace and less contention, and our homes will truly become a place of refuge, a place where we will always want to be.
If you are interested in some new Bible videos about Jesus Christ click ME! They are awesome!
What has your month been like and what gift are you giving to Christ this Christmas?
Gotta go....so much to do, dinner....and I promised the kids we would make gingerbread houses tonight...which means a trip to the store! If only I could perfect the icing recipe to be stronger so that it holds it all together better! Any ideas???
Oh, and to end on a happy thought....Russ has one more week of school left and then we get to have him with us everyday instead of a few hours Friday night, a few hours Saturday night, and Sunday. It's amazing how much more I can accomplish in less amount of time when he is home!!!
I washed a BIG load of whites last night. It feels good to wash all the dirty clothes. It makes me feel so...oh, what's the word....starts with an "m".....shoot....ma....mmme.....dang....it's not coming!
So tonight, I start pulling out all those nice, clean, white, fluffed clothes. And I start seeing traces of red. A little red here, more over there....
Then I find Anna's sock. The whole toe is covered in red and the sock is stiff!!!
What in the heck is that??????
I had to go through that huge, ginormous load of clothes, searching for the mysterious item that bled all over my nice white clothes. Nothing. Then Russ sniffed the stiff sock. When in doubt, or ever confused, just give it a whif! You want to know what it smelled like?
Do you ever have times where your kids did something, and you can't figure out what possessed them to do it?
Who just thinks, "Hmmm, I am going to take this RED crayon, and put it in this sock...just for fun!" Cuz...yeah....that's what happened.
So my next question is...
"How in the world do you get melted and dried RED crayon out of white clothing?"
Lately, I have had Carter take a nap in the afternoon. He seems more tired during the day than usual, yawning non-stop. He goes to bed on time, so I am not sure what the deal is. Carter and Kya are both taking their naps right now, Anna doesn't get home from school until about 2:40, so I am taking advantage of my free time to get some things caught up before life gets too busy.
Next week is Thanksgiving. I always feel the need to do deep cleaning before a big holiday, so today I have been making mental lists of all my "to do's". Of course we have lots of cooking to plan for to celebrate Thanksgiving, plus we want to plan something special to do on that day with family, like a family devotional or something, so we aren't just getting together to eat. The day after Thanksgiving is my sister's bridal shower in Twin Falls, which I am helping host, so lots to get done for that. She is also going through the temple that morning, which I am so excited about! I haven't had a chance to go through the Twin Falls temple yet, and I am greatly anticipating that! Russ and I want to have all of our Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving as well...we've got a list for that too. Then I have to teach the first Sunday of December in Relief Society, and so I really need to get started there, plus I have sewing projects to finish! Kya's quiet book, a dress-up doll for Anna and two neices, and a cousin...(who is more like a neice to me since she's the same age as my kids), ornaments for our kids, a notebook and crayon holder for Anna and Carter...plus a few more sewing things. I am also doing a collage of paintings for the backdrop at my sister's wedding reception December 30th, and I am starting to stress over those, since it will take me about a month to get them all done! Yup...if you do the math, that doesn't leave me with much time!!!
Lots to do! I am just trying to take it one day at a time! Anyways, I came across some things over the past few weeks and I wanted to share.
I loved this message. It is something I have been thinking about alot. I think it is a great message for people of any age. I have been pondering for weeks about how I want to use my time, I have been making changes, and I feel better about my life because of those changes. There are still more changes to be made, and this video just reinforces in my mind the importance of families coming together and working out their kinks, and learning how to function in better ways...taking out what is not needed and replacing those things with something better.
A little over a week ago, one day I had a ton of things to do. Because of that Carter watched t.v. all throughout that day. As much as I could justify to myself and others why it happened, I could have done better. It's hard. And you have to make sacrifices. But I know, at the end of the day, and I knew at the end of that day, that I owe my kids more than that. I can be better.
The weather has been cold. I haven't gone running for a month! So, I have got to exercise inside for the rest of the winter...which isn't my most favorite thing to do...but I am going to do it consistently, darn it! I came across a really great link that helps you figure out your Body Mass Index, as well as gives other useful information too. If you are interested, click HERE!!!
I calculated mine, and it told me my daily caloric intake should be: 1,380
I watched a previous episode on Biggest Loser, where the contestants had to guess the calories of their favorite meal. One of the contestant's meal was over 3,000 calories...and if I recall, it was over 4,000! Wow! I know I am uneducated about certain foods and the calories, but I am trying to be more aware. This week's episode of Biggest Loser I learned that if you put 2 tsp of cream and 2 tsp of sugar in your coffee, you can gain 10 lbs in a year! From 2 tiny little TEASPOONS! That's crazy.
Changes I am making in the way I eat are these:
Drink plenty of water
Don't snack after dinner
Have you tried Greek Yogurt? It's a great source of protein, and I put granola on mine. The brand I like best is called YoCrazy...and you can buy it with granola included.
Whole wheat bread
Healthy cereal that has whole grains and fiber. Click HERE for a list of some healthier choices to try. I have tried the Kashi brands and I REALLY like them.
I try not to snack between meals
I have been trying very hard to not eat sugary sweets and drinks, candy, ice cream and so on. I know this sounds crazy, but the longer you go without eating sugary stuff, the less satisfying it is when you do eat it. I am serious!
And of course, I try to go for more fruits and veggies vs. processed foods
I watched this Mormon Message last week. It makes me feel good inside. I watch it every Thanksgiving because I love it and it helps me get in "The Spirit of Thanksgiving"!
7 years = one 6 year old, one 4 year old, and one one year old! When Anna was born, we had been married 9 months and 6 days!!! Doesn't get much closer than that! (She was 2 weeks early)
"Find joy in your children. Don't over-schedule them or yourself. You may not be able to take them on exotic vacations. It doesn't matter. When the day dawns bright and sunny, take an excursion to the canyon or the park. When it's cloudy and wet, read a book together or make something good to eat. Give them time to explore and learn about the feel of grass and the wiggliness of worms." -Marjorie Pay Hinckley``
7 years= 5 moves, members of 3 different wards, lots of callings...primary teachers, nursery workers, Elder's Quorum and Primary presidencies, Scouts, choristers, teaching the young men, subsituting...lots of hard work, lots of fun, lots of frustrations too! Yesterday morning, right before church started, Russ got called in to visit with the Bishop. I came a bit later with Kya. Russ helped pass the sacrament, so we didn't talk. Announcements were made for new callings, since our ward and another were recently split and a third ward was created, and Russ stood as they called him to be the first counselor in the Young Men's! Russ was watching my reaction, and I guess it was pretty funny! Just a few weeks ago I got put in as the second counselor in our Relief Society! I am in charge of Enrichment activities....I am excited and a bit anxious....and I have to give the first lesson in Relief Society for December...and there's no topic. Whatever I want. Yikes! Wish me luck! So much to learn from each new calling...
"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." -Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man (and woman) is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby." -D&C 46:11-12
7 years= A few failed meals, like "Favorite Macaroni" with a new spice...lemon pepper!!! YUCK! What was I thinking??? Years later we still laugh about that...and laugh about when I turned the oven on with a bowl of caramel popcorn in it! I ruined Russ's favorite Tupperware bowl. I also ruined our griddle. I put it on the back of the car while I was buckling Carter into his carseat. Then I got into the car and so did Russ. He turned the corner and heard "SMASH!" as he saw pieces of something bouncing all over the road! Oops...it was the griddle!!! I loved that griddle. Russ got me a new one for Christmas! I don't feel so bad about the griddle now, because this year, he forgot to put his backpack in the car, shut the strap in the door, then dragged it down a dirt road, and ran over part of it before he realized what happened! It had his laptop in it. Yeah. He can thank his lucky stars that the laptop was completely fine! We have some pretty darn good luck! Especially when I left my purse on the back of the car in Salt Lake City. It fell off into the road. We had no idea. Some guys in a big truck grabbed it, chased us down, and gave it back! I really try not to leave things on the back of our vehicles anymore.
...don't ask me why I am admitting this to everyone...
7 years= all body parts still here and in pretty good shape, minus one gall bladder from Russ, I got my first cavity and filling, and amazingly, we still weigh about the same as we did when we were married! We were told it would all be downhill after marriage, but somehow, we have managed to dodge that ball! Whew! We are really trying to get into better shape, eat well, stay active, and make better choices overall than maybe we have made in the past.
"And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." -Mosiah 4:27
"Choose carefully each day that which you will do and that which you will not do, and the Lord will bless you to accomplish the important things that have eternal consequences." -Marjorie Pay Hinckley
7 years has included 32 months total I spent breastfeeding. It actually doesn't really seem like a whole lot. Do I dare even try to figure out how many diapers we have changed? Probably over a thousand! Nights of little to no sleep? I would have to say we've been lucky there, our kids are good sleepers, minus baby #3 who I will affectionately call "Little Miss Stinker!" Our marriage just wouldn't be so awesome if the past 7 years didn't include the ups and downs of raising little ones...and we always feel so blessed to have healthy, happy children...despite the difficulties.
"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner." -Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"Marriage is still very much a living institution, worth all the time and patience invested in it. Marriage is the stable structure that encircles and supports two clumsy individuals, learning to love and live with each other." -Ronna Romney and Betty Harrison, "Giving Time a Chance"
7 years we can look back and see that we have experienced so much life!!! We have been given so much! So much generosity from family, friends, and anonymous givers too. How much it means to us to this day to think back on the times when my grandparents would fill up our car before we headed back home, the night when someone left Christmas gifts by our front door, when my sister and her husband unexpectedly gave us $100...just because they felt like they had been given so much through their struggles raising their firstborn son, who suffers from some pretty extreme physical disabilities, and they wanted to "pay it forward." We can never forget the time when we had my brother Ben, and the strength we received from the prayers of family members. When we got married, we received great sums of money from Aunts and Uncles and loved ones. Thank you so much! Russ recently had a few dental appointments. The work done on his mouth would have cost us about $3,000.00. Our bill was $0.00 and we were told to use the money to get my wisdom teeth out instead. Words cannot do justice or explain our gratitude.
"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious;and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more." -D&C 78:19
Grandpa Meredith always takes time to give special attention to our kids, taking them outside for walks in the backyard, and because of that, our kids have a great relationship and bond with him. My dad gives me great advice and wisdom about life, family, and what is most important. He has helped me to make different choices in my life that have benefited my family. My grandma, Nanny, has never forgotten my birthday. Jan Stubbs, one of my old Young Women leaders, always remembers my birthday too and sends me the cutest homemade cards. It means so much...those small kind acts. The past 7 years wouldn't be anything if I didn't have my sisters there with me. Sometimes, we haven't gotten along, or treated each other the way we should. We face bumps along the way. But my sisters are willing to forgive. When someone withholds forgiveness...it hurts. I am blessed with some pretty awesome sisters. (and brothers too)
We have been blessed over the past years from many, many, MANY, manymanymany expressions of love from family and friends around us. We could never count them all. And I have been blessed from all the wonderful expressions of love from Russ. When he comes home from school, the first thing he does is hug his kids, give em all kisses, and then he attacks me!!! "I love you" are words he uses multiple times a day. He has a love for family history and the scriptures. He gets so excited about growing food in the garden, canning, and building up food storage. He is always encouraging me to write more, paint, sew, and run...because he knows those things are what bring me more happiness in my life. We have really struggled over the past 7 years to consistently have FHE, family prayer and scripture study...but I think we have FINALLY figured it out and have realized the great blessings that come from making those priorities and doing them everyday and every week. (even when we have nights where we TRY to read scriptures and it ends up more a disaster than success!) We for sure are not perfect. We have had moments where we certainly weren't proud of our actions. But we just try to move on, learn from our mistakes, hope others are willing to look past our faults, and improve upon our life circumstances and improve ourselves.
"The test, then, of our soul's greatness is rather to be sought in our ability to comfort and console, our ability to help others, rather than our ability to help ourselves and crowd others down in the struggle of life." -Joseph F. Smith
With everything 7 years has brought us, we are excited to live through many more.
Alma said, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." -alma 37:6
"When we look back on decades of life we see that the seemingly insignificant things we do over and over actually weave the pattern of our lives. And if those small and simple things are good, we will end up having lived a fulfilling life-and that is a great thing!" -Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside."
"Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes."
"The most effective form of birth control I know is spending the day with my kids."
"A mother who navigates the waters of the terrible twos can weather any storm"
"Laughter is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't permanently solve any problems, but it makes things more acceptable for awhile."
"Never tell a child anything you wouldn't want the whole neighborhood to know."
"There are only two things a child will share willingly-communicable diseases and his mother's age."
"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."
"A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after."
"Child rearing means taking a big bite out of your life."
"Surrendering to motherhood means surrendering to interruption."
"Darwin actually had mothers in mind when he came up with the "survival of the fittest" theory."
"Motherhood is not for the fainthearted. Used frogs, skinned knees, and insults of teenage girls are not meant for the wimpy."
"I don't know why they say 'you have a baby.' The baby has YOU."
"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
Happy Birthday Miss Kya Lyn!!! You are becoming our sweet but fiery little girl...full of life, fun, tantrums and squeals, busy as can be getting into everything you shouldn't and telling us, "Nooo, no, NOOO!"
A few years ago, as I was sitting in the Celestial room of the Rexburg Temple, I knew there was a spirit waiting in Heaven to become a part of our family. And everything I went through to bring this little cutie pie to this earth was worth it...and I would do it all over again....except maybe not the whole being in labor with a posterior baby....that part I could do without....can I add GERD and Colic to that list too? Thanks.
You are the poem
I dreamed of writing
I longed to paint.
You are the shining star
I reached for In my
ever hopeful quest
for life fulfilled..
You are my child.
Now with all things
I am blessed.
Upcoming posts...if I can manage to find the time:
7 yr wedding anniversary
Things yet to happen like:
Paintings and projects
My baby sister's bridal shower
Baby sister's wedding
This morning I HAD to take a picture of Anna before she left for school because she just looked so darn cute! I am trying to find new ways to fix her hair since she decided she did not want bangs anymore. Her bangs hit her right in the eyes so we have a long while before she can tuck them behind her ears.
Here are a few tidbits of information about her:
She is surprising me this year in first grade at how many friends she has made. Each week, we hear about a new friend she sat with at lunch or played with at recess. She has struggled with shyness and social anxiety her whole life, so I am very relieved to see it getting better and better.
Anna is excelling in reading and math. The goal for all first graders is to read 16 words per minute by January. Anna is already reading 32 words per minute, which was so exciting for us, as parents, to hear! She loves to read! Right now she has been working hard at reading a chapter book, "Meet Kaya" from the American Girl series. She can't read every word, but she sounds each one out, and in my opinion, that is the best kind of practice for her!!
Loo has been working on the art of making "fish faces" and she is getting quite good. There's talent for ya!! Another recent talent is clicking her tongue, fine tuning her technique for "fake crying"... for example, I will scrunch up my face and say, "Boo, hoo, hoo!" and she will mimic me. She's getting to be quite convincing! She is also very good at crying for attention, especially crying at grandpa and getting him to take her outside to see the "woof, woof!" She loves to say "Hi!" and "Bye!" and even heard a random woman say "Bye" while we were at Walmart, and Kya said "Bye" right back! She can barely stand to see another cousin holding one of her toys, and will quickly try to take it away. She's showing us how well she can cry crocodile tears too, after we stop her from taking the said toy away from the said cousin! Talent, I tell you!
I don't know about you, but I think Batman needs some more work with his "fish face." Batman has been gracing us with his presence lately, as well as Wolverine, Spider Man, and Iron Man. An occasional Power Ranger will vist too. All of these super heros have one thing in common: they like to run, jump off of anything they are not supposed to, and yell...a lot. It's been real.....fun. Today Wolverine rode his "motorcycle" that shoots fire out the back to the park with me. I also found out that Wolverine loves to drink Egg Nog, with a straw. And Wolverine went down for a nap today very well....much better than Carter would have. I think we are gonna keep Wolverine around for awhile, as long as he stops jumping off the couch.
Not much else to report. Kya will be one year old next weekend, Russ and I will celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary, my sister Emma has the most adorable newborn baby boy, Jaxton, my sis Haylee is officially engaged to be married December 30th, we made lots of sugar cookies that we need to frost tonight, I am planning on posting pics of Kya's quiet book I have been working on, Kya is now drinking half formula, half whole milk, and hmmmm....got lots of laundry to do this weekend!
There you go, just a little, ordinary, average, everyday goodness!
Have a very happy weekend filled with lots of everyday goodness!!! And, uh...we'll keep working on those "fish faces"....right Batman???
I have always loved October. I love the way the wind carries with it the smells of change. My favorite thing to do when I go outside each day is to inhale deeply. It's so very lovely outside in October. And what beauty comes from the changing of the leaves from bright green to deep golds and reds...the sight has always, with each passing year, brought to my soul wonderment, awe, and a deep abiding peace. I LOVE October. I love it for the new zeal I receive to bake homemade pumkin bread, chicken noodle soup, and so many others of my favorite recipes! I am filled with pleasure when my feet get to crunch through all the crackly, crumbly, crinkly leaves. Leaves have such a distinct smell too...have you ever noticed? I love it! Autumn is a wonderful time of year...a time of harvest...canning...a time for preparing for the cold winter. Moms get to dress their babies up in cute wool tights and sweater dresses, and after the kids have been playing outside...there's the slightest nip in the air that brings the most lovely rosiness to their cheeks and noses...so cute! I love to wake up in the morning and have a hot cup of apple cider for breakfast with wholegrain toast sporting a robe and fuzzy socks.
Speaking from a religious point of view, I love October for the opportuniy as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to listen to a living Prophet speak during the Chruch's worldwide semi-annual General Conference. I have been listening and re-listening to the recent talks that were given this past weekend. I am learning so much. It is a great blessing to me. I was just listening to a talk this evening by Kazuhiko Yamashita titled "Missionaries are a Treasure of the Church." If you would like to listen or watch or read this talk Go Here.
This talk made me remember that 16 years ago, in October, I was baptized at the age of 12 years old. It never occurred to me that of all my most favorite times of the year, I was baptized in my most favorite time and month...which, now, at this very moment, makes me love October all the more. (especially since I was also married in October) I echo the very words spoken by Brother Yamashita,
"I would like to express my sincere love, respect, and feeling of thankfulness for all the returned missionaries who have served around the world. I am sure that those you helped convert have not forgotten you. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings … !”
I remember. I have not forgotten and will never forget. The missionaries taught me and one of my younger brothers at a time where our family was in great turmoil. They taught us during the climax of my parent's drug addiction. They never entered our home. I always wondered why. Now I understand. The Spirit could have never dwelled inside the walls of that house, where there was so much despair, pain, anguish, abuse, fear, loss of hope and faith. Those missionaries knew what was going on. They made us lunch one afternoon, and took us to the park and fed us. We had so little food, sometimes none. We didn't think they knew any of what we were going through. They knew. And I think now of what they must have thought each day as they left us, wondering what would become of us.
The messages they shared with me gave me the literal strength to get up each day and face the awfulness that my life was back then. They taught me the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I began to understand that God loved me, that He didn't cause such awful things to happen to my family, but that the influence of Satan drew my parents away from all the goodness that is found on the Earth. I knew that my parents choices caused all the suffering, but I could still find strength to overcome all my suffering if I had faith in God, trusted in Him, and kept His commandments. His promise to me would be blessings to come, relief through the Atonement, peace and understanding from reading the scriptures, and physical, moral, and spiritual help through those who would act as His hands.
Brother Yamashita also goes on to say:
"I would now like to say a few words to the missionaries currently serving missions around the world. Your attitudes and the love that you show toward others are very significant messages. Even though I didn’t immediately grasp all the doctrines that the missionaries taught me, I felt of their great love, and their many acts of kindness taught me important lessons. Your message is a message of love, a message of hope, and a message of faith. Your attitude and your actions invite the Spirit, and the Spirit enables us to understand the things that are important. What I want to convey to you is that through your love, you are imparting the love of God. You are a treasure of this Church. I am so very thankful to all of you for your sacrifice and your dedication."
My missionaries taught me of LOVE, HOPE, and FAITH. They helped to plant the seed of faith in my heart, and through the help of my family, leaders, ward members, and good friends, that seed of faith began to grow. So many people became a part of my physical conversion and my own spiritual conversion and I will ever be thankful for all of them throughout these 16 years...especially for those who were there at the beginning and have stayed with me to this very day.
I am who I am because of the trials I lived through. I knew hunger, deprivation, neglect, verbal and emotional abuse, manipulation, fear, panic, hysteria, depression, pain, deep sorrow....
But I have also experienced so much goodness all because my Heavenly Father loves me, and that love in manifest in so many ways. Everything has shaped me into the person I am. Because I have been through such difficult trials and overcome so many obstacles, it has made me a better person. But ultimately, I am who I am because of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and example of my Savior and His Atonement.
Thank you missionaries who taught and served me 16 years ago. I don't know where you are, but my hope is that someday I can thank you in person for the priceless gift you have given me because of your selfless sacrifice to serve a mission.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
-How has your life been blessed by missionaries? And how can each of us follow their examples and let go of our own selfish desires and be of service to those around us?
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
(note: please remember that though my parents made choices in the past that affected us in a bad way, they have made choices since that have made up for the suffering we went through. People always have the capacity to change their lives...none of us can cast a "stone" for we are all imperfect and we all sin. Someday, I might be able to tell their own story. The danger of drug addiction is that it binds you down, controls you, and it is so hard to escape. My parents never knew what would happen to them and their children when they first experimented with drugs. My dad has overcome great monsters most of us will probably ever know. He is an example to me in many ways and I learn so much from him today. Don't judge my parents, that is not my intent for writing what I do. Adversity affects us all, in all forms and in many different ways. There is no adversity out there that we cannot overcome, no matter how hard it might seem. It can be done through His love and grace.)
#1. I just bought everything needed to make my first Quiet Book for Miss Loo's birthday the end of October! I am so excited...and really don't have a clue...but none-the-less EXCITED!!! And I only spent $20.00 for everything, and should have enough left over to make some more pages that will go to Anna's Quiet Book for Christmas. Woo!
#2. I went to Smith's this morning after I took Anna to school. It is so nice to shop in the early morning, and I love the smaller stores in town. The checkers at Smith's are so fast too! And they have car carts. I mean, come on, hello??? Grocery shopping is 100 times easier with kids when you get to push them around in a car cart!!! As I was in the treat isle, trying to decide what treats to buy for General Conference weekend, Carter decided he wanted a big bag of candies and mom said, "Uh...nope." He started crying. I picked up the bag of Hershey Kisses in my cart, and said, "Look Carter, I already got your favorite treat." He cried more, insisting that he did NOT like them! It was quite funny to me, actually, and funny to the worker a few feet away who was stocking shelves.
Then this worker stood up and said to Carter, "Would you like for me to give you a treat?"
His tears stopped in an instant as he shook his head, "YES!"
Then she said, "Tell you what, if you can be a good boy for your mom, I will give you a treat, okay?"
Sold!! Carter agreed.
She let him pick what he wanted, opened the bag, and gave him a handful, reminding him he had to be good. Then she went to the check stand and bought the bag of chocolates she shared with my Mister Man.
I told her "Thank you!" and so did Carter, but as I was driving home, I felt like I should have said more. Such a kind thing for a stranger to do. She could have rolled her eyes and been annoyed at Carter's tantrum, judged me in 100 different ways, vowed to herself to never have kids...but instead she chose to be kind. And I am so grateful.
Thank you brown-haired girl who works at Smith's!! Such a small and simple act of kindness will be remembered for a long time.
#3. Speaking of treats for General Conference....I am so excited to listen to a prophet speak this weekend!! Need I say more??? It's gonna be good!
#4. Which leads to more excitement this weekend....I am also going to Twin Falls Saturday night so I can see my newest nephew Jaxton Jay Shaw, who was born this week. My sister was in labor for 12 hours, couldn't dilate past a 5, and then the baby went into distress. So she ended up having a c-section, but all is well, and I cannot wait to hold the little cutie bug fresh from Heaven!!! And I am so looking forward to spending an entire day with my sisters (while Russ stays home with the kids...what a good husband!)
Yup...my life is good...my Heavenly Father loves me...I have amazing kids...my husband...well, I don't have the words right now...but he is pretty much awesome and has been my greatest advocate...pushing me to be the person I want to be and to do the things that make me happy. We are by far perfect. And so is our life. We have trials...but guess what? Everyone does...and no matter what we go through, there is always a way to find inside yourself the strength to move on, learn from your trials, own up to your mistakes, repent and become better.
Trials are funny things...we can embrace them or fight them...but there's only one way to find true happiness.
I choose happiness.
PS: If you haven't had the chance to go hiking....GO!! Before our wonderful fall weather turns too cold!!! Speaking of fall...my most favorite month of the whole year will be here in just 2 days!!! October makes my heart happy!!! Hmm, hmm, good stuff to come....
I know I don't comment enough on the blogs I love, but comments are the best! Some of you have made my day by your simple comment. Thank you for those who have taken the time. Be a follower and if you have time, take a moment and share your thoughts with me.
Those who make my heart happy:
Anna Belle-9 years old!
Carter John- 7 years old!!
Kya Lyn- almost 4 years old!
Brennen James- 2 years old!
Married 10 years this October!
BEING HAPPY doesn't mean everything is perfect. It means you decide to see beyond the imperfections.