Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No more braces...

Last day with braces

After two years of torture, Landon is finally free! Look at those pearly whites! And with his new short haircut I can just picture him as a missionary. In Gilbert he was bribed by a member of the bishopric to cut his hair. He did it, but then grew it back out again. I actually like his hair long and am glad that he is planning to grow it out at least one more time before his mission. He turns 17 in March so in just two short years he will be leaving. I can't believe it! Where did the time go? I can't grieve though, Landon is such an amazing person that his future should be a glorious thing to witness. I feel very privileged that I was the one who got to bring him into this world and share his life with him.
Just as Landon is finishing up with braces, Marlee is beginning. I guess when you move one baby out of the crib just in time to move the next one in- in the future you get to do the same with braces.

Friday, January 25, 2008

100 days

Wednesday was the 100th day of school. 100 plus days of our lives gone in a blink. I paused to think about what wonderful things I accomplished in those 100 plus days and although I was richly blessed to be with my family and friends during that time, I feel like I want to do better at making every day of my life count for something a little above the ordinary. As President Hinckley says, we need to strive for excellence. I've been striving for excellence the past few weeks in taking care of my body (working out, eating better) in caring for my home and family (washing my dishes and making dinner every night) and in my spiritual growth (studying scriptures, the ensign and praying more fervently) and now I want to push myself even further. I need to write more, edit my novel, enter more contests, get a writer's chapter started here in Snowflake, be more prayerful about my calling and get back into the grove of visiting teaching (I really slacked through the holidays). Each day is a blessing, another chance to excel. Here's to the next 100 days. May they be the best yet!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just Right...

While grocery shopping, Waylon snagged a box of Dora popsicles as I hunted for the perfect flavor of ice cream. He marched through the isle chanting, "Dora popsicles, Dora popsicles." Lucky for him they were on sale so into the cart they went. Of course he had to have one the minute we got home, and I was very pleased to see how small they are. No more sticky puddles on the table. He can easily finish the whole thing. This reminded me of the double-sided popsicles of my youth. I always wanted a whole one, but being from a large family, my mom would snap them in half on the edge of the kitchen counter handing one half to me and the other to one of my anxious siblings. I probably would have never considered that these popsicles weren't always meant to be halved and shared, after all they did have the perfect seam for snapping, if my neighborhood friends from small families didn't often parade around slurping on two-sided, double sticked popsicles all their own. Don't get me wrong I was never bitter about sharing, I just wanted to know what it would be like to have a giant popsicle all to myself. Another curiosity would arise when I'd visit my small familied friends on Christmas and Easter. I'd look in amazement at their tremendous stash of gifts and goodies and wonder just what the heck they had done to please Santa and the Easter Bunny that much. Once again I was not bitter or jealous, just curious and bewildered. I played with these kids everyday. I knew they weren't THAT good!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Easton's 8th Birthday

Like most of my kids, Easton prefers something other than cake for her birthday. This year she had a yummy brownie trifle!

Make a wish!

About 10 years ago I sat in my baby nursery happily taking apart the crib. I was happy because it was my first time putting it away since I had started having children. We'd move one baby out just in time to move the next one in. I felt like three small children were enough for awhile and wanted to take a little break before having my next child. It was at this moment that I heard a voice say, "I want to be born."
Taken back I asked, "Now?" To which she replied "Please."
I told her to go tell her father because he was even more adamant about waiting then I was. That evening as I stood at the stove making dinner, Rick came home from work and told me that as he was sitting at his desk that afternoon he had a very strong impression that we were supposed to have another child. Of course I burst into tears because I realized that this sweet little spirit had followed my instructions and gone to tell her father (that's just like Easton).
I was troubled that after this wonderful experience, I was unable to get pregnant for nearly two years. I worried that perhaps I had not acted quickly enough on this prompting (I had waited a couple of months before trying to get pregnant) I prayed often about it and wondered if perhaps this sweet little spirit had gone elsewhere. One night during prayer my Father in Heaven allowed me to see my beautiful daughter in the spirit form. Wow! She was magnificent! Glorious and radiant above any person I had ever seen. I was in awe of how perfect she was and became quite convinced that she would be born with some sort of physical or mental disorder, for truly she had to be too great for this world. Shortly after that I became pregnant, but to my sorrow the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. As I stood working in the kitchen one afternoon, the presence of a male spirit was there with me. I felt his love as he simply said, "Thank you." then departed. I felt joy that I had been able to give him this service before receiving the precious little girl that I had been waiting for. Five months later I finally became pregnant with my wonderful Easton. She is strong in mind and body and still every bit as glorious as I had witnessed her to be. She is a choice daughter of God and I can't wait to see all that she will accomplish here on earth. I thank my Heavenly Father for my little butterfly and for all that I have learned and will continue to learn as her mother.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today is good...

As a young girl I became acutely aware of my own mortality. I believe it began when I was about 10 years old and had a vivid dream where two very bright, almost glowing, white haired men came to my bedside. I remember I could see my body, every dimension of it, lying in bed while I spoke to them. (I always knew this was a dream because I could see the front and the back of my body at the same time. You can imagine my interest when I recently read a book about a near death experience where the author described how she could see all of her body at the same time, both front and back. I still believe my experience was only a dream, but even so that was interesting to read.) The men told me that they had come to take me home. I told them I wasn't ready to go yet and that I wanted more time. I don't remember what happened next but I think the experience made me look over my shoulder wondering just how much extra time I had been allotted.

Later when my dad passed away I again was reminded of my own mortality, I mean if Superman can die than anything is possible. I remember lying in bed one night desperately considering what would happen to my kids if I died. "They're my children!" I cried to myself. "I'm the only one who can care for them! They're mine!" At that moment the spirit spoke to me and said, "No, they are my children." Of course! My children are His children with their own mission and purpose, and even though I am a very important part of that mission, it can be fulfilled without me if needs be because God lives and he loves His children, my children.

On another occasion I watched a documentary on the Utah pioneers. After watching it, a weight rested upon me as I tried to fall asleep. I felt sorrow for the trials of those wonderful people, particularly in the loss of their loved ones, and thought that surely I wasn't immune to such trials in my own life. I began to worry I worried that I too would lose those so precious to me. I prayed to my Father and asked for his comfort. I then turned to the scriptures. Often times in my life I open my scriptures directly to a message that seems to have been hand picked for me by my Father. This night I opened my scriptures hoping that I again would find a message from Him. I turned to Mosiah 4:27 ...and it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. I thought it was a nice scripture but not necessarily an answer to my prayer. It wasn't until my morning prayers that the spirit told me that that scripture was the answer to my prayer. I was not to run faster than I had strength. I was not to run ahead of the game worrying about what might happen. I was told to rejoice in my blessings each day knowing that my Savior's comfort and love would be sufficient if and when trials would come. I have never forgotten that and each day when I say my prayers I say, "I thank Thee today that we are all healthy, that we are all still together, that we have a job and comforts, a beautiful home and food to eat and for every other blessing. Today is good and for that I am grateful.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Walk with boldness...

We had new beginnings tonight for our young women. It went beautifully. I love the women I work with and all of the wonderful girls in our ward. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony about something very special that happened to me shortly after I was called to serve in the YW presidency. I've shared it before and it has touched many lives. I believe it is a message worth repeating as it is meant for every child of God.

Many years ago when I was a young woman myself, it was hard for me. I never really felt like I belonged. Fast forward to my calling as the YW first counselor, those old feelings came back. A dark shadow of inadequacy fell upon me, I wasn't good enough, I didn't belong. Then the spirit intervened. He spoke very clearly, very powerfully to me and said, "How long are you going to let the father of lies deceive you? How long are you going to allow him to tell you that you are less than you are? Walk with boldness. You are a daughter of God, and as a daughter of God, you can do anything." That moment changed everything. I can now serve, teach, and love with boldness because I am a daughter of God and as His daughter, I can do anything. This message is for everyone. The father of lies, Satan, our greatest foe, loves to tell us that we aren't good enough, that we are less than we are, but we are children of God and as His children we can do anything!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Grandma's Birthday

Rick's mom was born on New Year's day. She was the first baby born, but because it was during the war, her mom didn't receive the traditional "first baby of the new year" gifts and hoopla. Of course her baby girl was the greatest gift of all, and she is still a gift to us today!
We spent the evening with her and Roger's family. We ate leftovers from our party, played games and ate three different kinds of cakes and pies (did I mention that we love food?)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve Party

A fun game of "Mall Madness"

Carter, Liam and Marlee

Cameo and Cedar

Waylon and Granger

Callie, Bailey, Jamie, Adelia and Easton

Liam and Jamie play "Singstar 80's" this game was a big hit with the kids

Our 11th annual New Year's Eve party was a lot of fun. Of course it is always all about the food. Rick and I love food. Some day we want to go on cruises and travel around to various food festivals so we can just eat, eat, eat! What could be better?
The kids had fun with their family and friends. They played board games and video games, watched movies, played with toys, broke a pinata and pigged out with the rest of us. The adults bowled in our private bowling alley (okay so it was on a Wii but still fun) We never broke out the board games because we were too busy talking and eating but it was fun laughing at every one's stories. At midnight Landon shot off some impressive fireworks and because we live in Snowflake, no cops showed up. I finished off the evening with an entertaining table dance. Not really but we did joke about it. Although dancing was one of my favorite things to do back in the day, it never involved a table and besides it wasn't that kind of a party (Martinelli's sparkling cider was our strongest drink) All in all it was a great party and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Christmas Morning

What a great Christmas! It was our second one in Snowflake. I can't believe we've been here over a year already. My kids never cease to amaze me with their generous, grateful, gracious hearts. They truly are six of the noble and great ones.