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.)
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.