Sunday, January 29, 2012

We Are Daughters....

I have officially given my second talk in less than six months.  For someone absolutely terrified of public speaking....this is huge.  So for your reading pleasure.....here's my talk, minus ad libs, tears and miscellaneous rambling.


We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
Every Sunday the Young Women stand together as symbols of truth and righteousness and repeat the Young Women theme.  Each Sunday we say and listen to these words, as a reminder of our value to our Father in Heaven and the sacred nature by which we are here.
Brother Holmes asked me to speak on how the Young Women’s theme could apply to all of us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The easiest way to do this is look at each part of the theme.
The first part of the theme says “We are Daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us and we love Him.”  In one of the first pages of the Personal Progress handbook, the First Presidency wrote a message for the Young Women of the church.  In part, it reads, “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. Your loving Heavenly Father has blessed you with talents and abilities that will help you fulfill your divine mission.”  Can this not be said of every one of us? 
We have each been sent to earth to fill a divine mission.  Our missions vary as much as we do.   Sister Majorie Pay Hinckley said, “Think about your particular assignment at this time in your life. It may be to get an education, it may be to rear children, it may be to be a grandparent, it may be to care for an relieve the suffering of someone you love, it may be to do a job in the most excellent way possible, it may be to support someone who has a difficult assignment of their own. Our assignments are varied and they change from time to time. Don't take them lightly. Give them your full heart and energy. Do them with enthusiasm.” 
Our Father in Heaven did not give us our missions lightly.  I am certain that before we accepted the opportunity to come to Earth, He took a moment with each of us.  I know that He explained that it wouldn’t be an easy road.  I know He explained that there would be many trials and tribulations along the way, but that there would also be great joys.  I know He told me how much He loves me and that if I didn’t think I could do it, He would understand.  And He made sure that I understood He would stand beside me and that the armies of Heaven would surround me and that I would not have to take one step of the journey alone.
The next part of the Young Women’s theme comes from Mosiah 18:9.  “We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places as we strive to live the Young Women values.”
The values by which we live are Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue.
Why are these 8 things the values that Young Women’s is based on?  They are cornerstones.
In Alma 32:32 we read, “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”  Faith is the building block that brings us to church each Sunday, and brings us to our knees in times of great trial and great joy.
“Be partakers of the divine nature. … Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:4–7).  It is not necessary to be a Young Woman to recognize your Divine Worth.  It is only necessary to recognize that you are a Child of God.
D&C 18:10 says, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”  Our Father in Heaven knows who we are.  There can be no question, that to Him we are HIS child, not another in a sea of faces.  Anyone who has ever received a blessing can attest to the fact that He is aware of our individual needs.  He is  mindful of WHO WE ARE.
D&C 88:118 says, “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”  We may not all be destined for continuing education, but we are not to strive only for secular knowledge.  We are here to learn of Him, and how we can be more like Him through all that we do.  Our Savior gave us the example and teachings necessary; we have simply to follow and learn from His example.
We have been counseled in Joshua 24:15 to “Choose you this day whom ye will serve;…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  At any age, one of the most difficult lessons we have to learn is consequence.  We seem to think that we can rationalize our way out of anything and everything.  But with each choice, there will always be a consequence.  Our choices can bring great sorrow or great joy.
Good works is a necessary key to living the gospel  3 Nephi 12:16 says, “Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”  One of my favorite scripture mastery verses is from James 2:26.  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  Faith is a verb, it requires action, and how better to exemplify our Savior’s example than through service to others.
Job 27:5 reads, “Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.”  Joseph B. Wirthlin gave his definition of integrity in a conference talk from April of 1990, “To me, integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences.  It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions, but, more importantly, in our thoughts and in our hearts.  Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant.”  I would like to add that integrity means standing for what is right, even if it means standing alone.
The final value is virtue.  Young Women’s General President, Elaine S. Dalton said, “Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards”, which was taken from Preach my Gospel, but she went on to say, “It encompasses chastity and moral purity.  Virtue begins in the heart and in the mind.  It is nurtured in the home.  It is the accumulation of thousands of small decisions and actions.”
Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue are not simply values for Young Women.  They are meant for each of us, as a guide for each day and encouragement to “Hold to the Rod”.
The final section of the Young Women’s theme says, “WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”
Living the values outlined in the Personal Progress program prepares us, each of us.  Age is irrelevant; we are being prepared for each new breath, each new experience and each new lesson.
I love that the theme specifies we are being prepared to strengthen home and family.  The family is under attack.  Satan goes to great lengths to lessen the importance of a family in today’s world.  Part of the “Family: A Proclamation to the World reads, “…The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”  However, through living the values of the Gospel we are able to create armor against the biases of the world and protect that which we and our Father in Heaven hold dear.
By learning who we are to our Father in Heaven, and recognizing our sacred role as His children we become worthy to enter the temple and make the covenants that will help us return to Him.
Our mandate from Our Father is simple, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20) 
And it will be joyous, “And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father, yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father…” (3 Nephi 28:10)
[There was some filler here....ad libbing, crying, miscellaneous rambling....]
I would like to close by urging you to develop your relationship with Heavenly Father.  Get to know Him as He knows you.
And to close, I would like to share the theme one more time, with a single word change.
We are CHILDREN of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Excessive Wipers

So I have evidently entered the gross phase of my life.  I thought that happened around 18 months old....oh no!  Not me!  Now is the time.

Last Thursday, Noah was making root beer....yes, my little Emeril was feeling the soda vibe.  There was no room in the fridge upstairs, so I told him to chill the syrup he made downstairs.

The next thing I know there is screaming.  There is lots and lots of screaming.  Now, for those of you who aren't aware, Noah is perfectly happy wearing socks with holes in them....but get them wet....and somebody may as well have taken a sledge hammer to Humpty Dumpty, set him on fire and had scrambled eggs.

The screaming????  Noah's socks were wet.  They were very, very wet.  In the downstairs kitchenette, there was about an inch and half of water and no idea where it was coming from.  It hadn't reached the carpet, so we mopped it up and tried to figure out where it was coming from.

I went in the utility room to check the water heater and realized there was a puddle of water in the middle of the floor.  Correct-o mundo!  Puddle in the middle of the floor....hmmmmm.  Insecurities about because I am feeling KAH-RAZ-EEEE.  How did there get to be a puddle in the middle of the floor?

The next day everything was fine, dry, and fine.

Then Saturday happened.  There was even more water on the floor!  What the growl?????  Felix was home so he was able to validate that I am NOT insane (at least, not that way).  He found the cemented over drain in the utility room....that was beginning to crumble away because of the water.  Double uh-oh!

So we cleaned it up and called the landlord.  Who didn't call back....and didn't call back.....and didn't call back.

Then we woke up Sunday morning.  I was totally ready for a little peace....until I went downstairs....and it was flood number 3.  Yes....3.

We called the landlord again, and he said he had never had a problem like that.  So, for right now that is neither here nor there.  He did tell Felix that he thinks one of the kids was putting too much toilet paper down the toilet.  Really????

So, we had a plumber out on a Sunday morning....PREMIUM price of course!!!!!  He augered 75 feet of pipe, said he couldn't feel anything and couldn't recreate the problem.  Okay....it stayed dry all day, so he must of gotten it!  YAY!!!!!

And it stayed dry on Monday.  Yes!!!!

So Tuesday, I took the kids to school, went to the civic center and then home to shower and start on my list for the day.

Then I went downstairs and found the flood of floods.  The kitchenette, the mini dining room, part of the family room, utility room, music room and theater room.  Not good.

I immediately called Felix and the plumber....my favorite plumber, we're good buddies because we have seen one another every month since we've moved here.  But Keith fixed it.  It wasn't inside the house.  It was outside the house.  Near the main....ewwwwwwwww.....

So lemme talk landlord for minute.  I can't blame the guy for looking for reasons for what was happening....he's not here.  They are good people and they have been good to us....and let's face it, plumbing is my ancient nemesis from beyond.... But too much toilet paper?

No matter what kind of preconceived notions you have, we are not excessive wipers.  Thorough?  Yes.  Excessive....really people....

Lessons Learned
1.  I still hate plumbing.
2.  I really, really hate plumbing.
3.  I really hope I wasn't wading through other people's poop.
4.  I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
5.  WIPE ON!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PANTS ON!...No...Off!....No....ON!

This is a funny story.  At least it is to us.  And since I'm trying to share a little humor from every day...or at least every day something funny happens....this is Tuesday.  And I will change the name of the guest in order to protect the innocent and the GUILTY!  (And the fact that he was only 6 might have something to do with it too!)

Tuesday afternoon Caleb had his first play date with a friend from school.  We are going to call him Aytch (Pronounced 'H'....like the letter).  We picked up Aytch from school and just brought him home with us.  The little boys were immediately off and running and playing through the house.

I had to do something....really, do I know what I do each day....nah, I don't....so I had to do something in my room (which is right off of the family room) and Noah, Savannah and Baylee were with me telling me about their days.  Since we just switched schools last week, we still have lots to discuss about each day as we adjust to our new environment.

As we were talking, Caleb came in and let me know that Aytch needed to take his pants off and where should he do that?  Well....the best place is the bathroom....don't ya think?

A few moments later, Aytch came out of the bathroom....sans pants....with his pants and shoes in hand.  I called to Caleb and asked him to come into my room.  "Hey Caleb, is Aytch wearing pants right now?"  "No."  "Why not?"  "I don't know."  "Does he need new pants?"  "I don't know.  Hey Aytch, do you need new pants?"  "No."

So I decided to take the matter into my own hands.  "Aytch, are you wearing pants?"  "No."  "Do you need new pants?"  "No."  "Aytch, why aren't you wearing pants?"  "Because I wanted to get comfortable."

Okay.

Lessons Learned
1.  I might need a sign that says something about PANTS ON!
2.  Caleb was able to delicately let his friend know that we wear pants here.  I didn't know Caleb could be delicate.
3.  Noah makes a great undercover spy that goes out in the open to make sure people are wearing pants.
4.  I suppose every one is more comfortable without their pants....although not in front of strangers......
5.  I'm grateful I have a home where guests feel comfortable enough to take their pants off?  WHAT???

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PUKE-A-PA-LOOOOO-ZA

Funny is everywhere.  That can't be helped....although it does help when you have a little bit of a twisted sense of humor.

So, last night we were all hanging out....which is pretty much what we do.  I made Noah laugh...and he laughed....really, really hard.  Then he started coughing....really, really hard.  Then he started vomiting....really, really huge amounts.

At first we were all stunned.  Felix just stood there and stared.  Savannah just stood there and stared.  I just stood there and stared.  After about the third or fourth major heave, I finally realized what was happening and ran to get some towels.  I was just throwing them at him, trying to capture a little bit of the massive amounts of fluid coming out of his body.

Then Savannah realized what was happening....her reaction was a tad bit different from mine.  She ran out of the room screaming that now she was going to throw up....and then she started dry heaving.  Neat-o.

Felix still stood there.  I finally yelled at him to go and get a bowl to catch some of the....whatever it was.  Just as he jumped into action, Noah stopped throwing up.

So Felix started to try and help.....from a distance.  "Noah, take your shirt off."  "Noah, don't do that....you're just making it get everywhere."  "Noah....Noah....Noah....Noah."  Poor Noah.

We finally decided there was no hope for the T-shirt or the towels so we sent Savannah to go and get a garbage bag.  About that time, the dog decided that it wanted a snack....a vomit snack.  So I start yelling at the dog to get out of the room, then Savannah comes back, freaks out about the dog trying to eat the puke and starts dry heaving again.

We (meaning I) (okay, mostly Noah with severe words of encouragement to stop get puke all over the floor), get Noah's shirt and the towels that so selflessly sacrificed themselves for the greater good, into the garbage bags when Caleb decides to run into the room to see what's happening.

"Hey, what's going on in here?"  Then he starts dry heaving.  Then he runs out of the room screaming, "I almost threw up because I saw Noah's nipples."

Lessons Learned
1.  Try as you might....you can't keep your six year old from talking.
2.  Noah is not allowed to eat Totino's pizza rolls EVER AGAIN!
3.  Carpet cleaner with Oxy Clean in it actually works.
4.  Noah was totally fine, he just laughed until he threw up.
5.  Sometimes, vomit is just funny.

A New Year....

A New Year, A New You!!!!!

What a load of crap!  Sorry, but the new me is trapped in the old me's body....oh well.

This year I have no, I repeat, NO resolutions!  I did that on purpose.  But here are my goals:

1.  Be happy with me.
2.  Be happy with where I am, why I'm there and what I'm doing.
3.  Be grateful.

There it is.  It's all out there.  I'm going to try and change from Oscar the Grouch to Elmo.

Lessons INTENDED to LEARN
1. That there is JOY everywhere.
2. That there is HAPPINESS everywhere.
3. That there is LOVE everywhere.
4. That there is PEACE everywhere.
5. That HE is EVERYWHERE.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One EMOTIONAL Roller Coaster

2011 was an adventurous year!  And because I'm trying to change a few things....like no longer isolating myself....I need to have a little bit of emotional vomit.  And what better place than "Ye Olde Blog".

I am hoping to be more forthcoming in 2012....with myself and everyone else.

January
It was January....what do I say.  I had pre-cancerous lesions removed, which essentially made it look like I had been in a bar fight....which is what I told people.  Because that is way cooler than telling people the dermatologist beat me up.

Mom had major surgery.

Grandma was in the hospital.

February
This one was quite painful.   Grandma reunited with Grandpa.....happy for them, but I miss them both so much, it still hurts.....it really, really hurts.

This was also the month that we had the first stirring of a job that may take us someplace new.

Noah turned 11...had to celebrate his birthday in the midst of a lot of emotional pain.

Gained a poodle.  She's kind of a spaz now.

Dad nearly died.  That kind of sucked.

Mom broke her back.  That was awesome.

March
Spent the entire month negotiating about the job.  It wasn't fun...exciting, or anything else.  I started working on the house, because I think deep down, I knew things were going to change.

Dad nearly died again.  It still sucked.

April
I think this is month we accepted the job.  I'll be honest.....I don't remember a heck of a lot.  Everything happened so slowly, yet so quickly.  It was crazy!  I just remember telling Felix that if we were supposed to go, Heavenly Father would prepare the way.  And He did.  We only said NO to the job 5 times.

I really started tackling the house.  We knew there was no way to sell it, we are too far underwater (thank you economy), so the plan from the beginning was to rent....and thank you ocd, for making me fix everything.

Caleb turned 6.  He likes six.  We still haven't gotten over how awful 3 was.  (It was actually fine, he just didn't like 3 and wanted to be either 2 or 4....I think he has a thing for even numbers)

I think my dad came home in April....again, it's all kind of fuzzy.  And I know mom had a major surgery in there somewhere too.  Fuzzy....it's all fuzzy.

May
Started talking to all of the doctors about how to transition Baylee's care.  Again, this was part of the "if Heavenly Father wants us there He will prepare a way" thing I was doing.  Because He did.  We received personal recommendations from everyone for doctors in St. Louis.

I got a new nephew.  Baby Owen.  You could tell he'd been hanging out with Grandma....she taught him how to treat us all like trained monkeys.

Caleb decided to have pneumonia....bad enough they didn't know it was pneumonia.  He was hospitalized the night before I was supposed to fly to Missouri and sign papers for our rental home.  That was awesome.  He spent 4 days there.  Scared the pants right off of me.  But that it when my faith started changing to trust.

June
Baylee hit the big 1-0.  Nobody really had parties this year.  I just didn't have it in me.  So sad little monkeys.  You would think she hit the teen years...she's been ornery ever since.

We started going to Lagoon once a week with the Grants.  The most fun EVER!  Sara and Savannah made me want to die on Wicked several time and I just had a good time soaking up Lisa (I still want to almost cry when I think about her....it's hard not having her right across the street!).

It was the beginning of the best summer of ever.

July
Packing, packing and more packing.  Painting, painting and more painting.  Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  We bought the antique baby grand that the owners of the house in Missouri didn't want to move.  I called it my birthday present and we were all good.

I think my mom might have had one more surgery.  I think.

We got boxed up.  The carpet cleaners came and our stuff hit the road.  Then our cars hit the road.

We saw Sam get baptized (it was beautiful).  And realized how much we were going to miss out on.

We spoke in church....why?  Because Bishop Wilde wanted everyone to see me blubbering like an idiot.

We spent the final days making our rounds, saying our good-byes and letting our hearts grieve.

August
Moving day was the day from Aytch EEEEEE Double Hockey Sticks.  Problems with the animals.  Worst heat wave ever in Missouri (humidity sucks).  And sad babies.  And a sad mommy.

Met new doctors and got treatment scheduled.  That was an adventure.

We got our stuff.  Started unpacking, got registered for school.  Met the ward.  Started school.

Caleb got beat up on the school bus.  No more school bus.

And I got to speak in church again.  Neato.

September
Fought with T-Mobile....and won.  That was cool.  Still unpacking.  Still crazy.  Got called to Young Women's and Felix got called to primary.  Savannah turned 14.  Sigh.  I don't think it was the worst birthday ever...but it was a little lonelier than most, we still didn't know very many people.

October
This was personality shift month.  Separation anxiety.  Every day vomiting.  Nuff said.  But it was sad, really, really sad.

For Halloween, we sat in the basement, turned off all the lights and watched a movie.

Dad had a birthday....it was pretty low key.  Everything seemed pretty low key.

New nephew #2 made it.  I haven't met him yet.  It makes me sad that I can't talk to him about poop.

November
Starting riding lessons.

Met with new doctors for the boys.

Transferred Caleb to St. Pauls Lutheran school.

Savannah was threatened at school, it was caught on tape and the kid was referred to the juvenile court system.

Had Thanksgiving with our new friends, who are also transplants and we spent the holiday alone....together.  Yup...that's how we roll.

Got called from YW counselor to YW president.  Oh boy.....let the adventure begin!

December
Kept really busy, learning to do crafts.  Half decorated for Christmas and just tried to keep rolling with it all.

Baylee had a solo at the choir program.  Savannah also had a beautiful program.  Caleb got to have a Christmas program about Jesus.  THAT was cool.

Baylee fell in the frozen pool, and had pneumonia.  Then bronchitis.  Then double ear infections.

Felix had bronchitis.

Savannah had a throat infection and a sinus infection.

Noah had 2 sinus infections and an ear infection.

Caleb had a sinus infection and an ear infection.

Yup, everyone was sick.  All.  Month.  Long.

Christmas was small and sweet, and it helped make up for some of the illness crazy.   I love it when Christmas falls on Sunday.  We were supposed to do a family special musical number, but I ended up getting Felix to get permission to play guitar, and he did a duet with our new friend who plays the harp, while all of the kiddos sang.  It was perfect for me!

So it's 2012.  There will be a post about that shortly.

It was a tough year.  A really, really tough year.  And it's over now.  Good.

Lessons Learned
1.  The world doesn't stop turning...even when you want it too.
2.  Trust is a world apart from faith (you have to have faith to trust...it's not a one or the other kind of thing).  Trust is so much bigger.
3.  I can DO Hard Things.  (Thanks mom for the reminder)
4.  Hiding away from the world, doesn't make things ANY easier.
5.  My kids can do hard things too.  They have more than proven that.

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