Thursday, May 17, 2018

Seminary

When I teach seminary my entire day goes better. It is amazing to be with these amazing high schoolers in the morning.  I felt crummy yesterday.  Fever, sore throat, so cold. Knew my body needed sleep to overcome whatever bug I had but got up early to teach and miraculously feel so much better!  Spiritually fed and the Lord is able to bless in ways that we can't comprehend.

Grateful for Danny who gets the kids ready and manages the home in the morning so I got to sub today. It is amazing how the spirit guides.  We spent some of the lesson talking about how each of the kids blessed others. I wanted them to know their worth and how much Heavenly Father loves them.

Mothers Day

Mothers day has been hard the past couple of years.  When my mom was really sick, it was hard because it was the reality that my mom's countless energy was confined to a chair.  She was trapped inside a body that didn't work and part of me mourned that for her. 

Then when she was gone, I pained for my dad and for us.  Knowing we were celebrating her legacy.  I am not one to get overly sad or emotional.  That is not my nature but the weekend always just seems a little off for me.  Sometimes I was able to attribute that to not having my mom and others times not so much.  Writing is my therapy.  When I realize I need an outlet I turn to writing.

Danny worked on Saturday.  I shuttled the kids to activities on Saturday and came back and worked on a business proposal and played with the kids.  Evan and Danny took the kids to the new avengers movie at night and I stayed home with Parker and Hanna.  It was a good day but also kind of a blah day.  They cleaned the home for me on Saturday which is my love language.  

Sunday morning we got up to Danny's french toast casserole.  I was fasting to give thanks that my shoulder was getting better.

I went to church and in years past I have realized that Mothers Day has always been kind of a grumpy day for me.  Part of it is missing my mom.  Part of it is wanting a break and never really getting it. The irony of mothers day.  I self reflected on that and realized that is not what I want mothers day to be.

I went to church with the kids. Danny offered to take Hanna but I wanted to feed her before teaching. It turned out I got her poop all over my skirt and shirt.  So I took of her clothes, threw out her shirt, cleaned up her dress, cleaned myself up and was ready for teaching.

After church the kids were all excited to give me beautiful plates they made.  It was sunny out and we took a picture together. We had the Claibournes over and Cynthia who both recently lost moms and we had a beautiful day and evening.

Yearning for Hanna for months made me realize how truly blessed I am! I feel complete with all my kids and am so grateful for all that they teach me and how they help me grow. I am grateful for all we celebrate on mothers day.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

change

It is amazing how fast sunday sometimes has a theme attached to it.  Last week I was praying about what to do for work and our family.  I am not sure if the Lord just pointed out things to me and resonated a theme for me or if everyone felt what I felt but it amazes me how he answers prayers and fasts.

Testimonies seemed to be centered around change and growth.  In Gospel Doctrine the lesson was on the Israelites having a hard time with change.  They often wanted to revert to their old ways, but ultimately the Lord had greater plans with them that took growth and change.  Relief Society was about growing and not getting stuck. 

They were all answers to my prayers.  I realized the importance and excitement of growth and change.  I look forward to this new season in my life with work and whatever that entails.

Balaam & Balak

I really need to do a better job at recording my spiritual impressions or thoughts in my life.  Today I taught Gospel Doctrine on Balaam and Balak.  Basically Balaam was a pretty amazing, streadfast prophet of God.  Balak was the King of the Moabites who felt threatened by the Israelites.  He asked Balaam to curse the Israelites.

At first Balaam didn't curse them.  But with time and the lure of riches, prestige and honor got Balak got Balam to consider it.  The Lord said no to going and no again.  The third time he told him he could go but wasn't pleased.

How often do we not listen to the answer from the Lord and yet through asking and asking and asking some more get an answer that is suitable or pleasing to us?  The Lord always wants our life to go the absolute best it can.  It made me realize how I need to make sure I am not only listening to Him but also trusting that he knows what is best.

So Balaam continues on his journey and the donkey sees an angel that blocks his way.  Balaam doesn't see it and he gets mad at the donkey for not obeying.  Finally the donkey needs to talk to him to tell him about the angel.  Balaam was too focused on his own desires that he couldn't even see an angel.  It took his donkey talking to him for him to finally be humbled and realize that even if he were to curse Israel, the Lord was the only one who could curse or bless.  His disobedience or cursing, even as a prophet, would not have overruled the Lord's will.

The angel tells him to continue onward but to only say the things that the Lord wants.  So Balaam continues on and instead of putting a curse on Israel he blesses them.  It seems like all is going well, he has been humbled and everything is working out.

However, he continues to hang around Balak and of course with time he succombs the lures of wealth and prestige.  Only to realize that the Lord really is over all and Balaam is killed by the Midianites.

So many great lessons!  We talked about tithing and how sometimes we think that instead of paying tithing we should get that car or something else we need.  I thought a lot about my jobs.  I thought about when I interviewed for a medical sales job and got the job but knew that it wasn't right.  When I prayed about it, I knew it wasn't right.  I prayed that the Lord would take care of it.  I gave my work every opportunity to rescind the offer but they didn't.  Why?  I needed to learn to sacrifice.  I needed to learn the importance of free agency.  If the Lord didn't give me the opportunity to follow the Spirit and not take the job, no matter what enticing offerings they gave me, I would never have fully appreciated how he blessed me in the years to come.  He blessed me with an amazing profession and job at the Aquabears.  He blessed me to be a part of so many kids lives.  He blessed Danny with numerous amazing jobs.  He blessed me with a profession that had a great work/life balance as I was having all my kids.

And now I find myself in the same situation.  After last season, I knew that my time with Dana Hills was coming to an end.  I didn't know why or when but I knew that it was.  It was a job I love, am good at and have fun.  It pays well and it incorporates my kids lives into the job perfectly, but I knew that it wasn't right.

I finally made the decision to write a resignation letter for next year and as soon as I did it was like all the weight on my shoulders was lifted.  I was able to fully enjoy and appreciate my last year there and look forward with excitement what the future has in store.  I am still not totally certain what that is but I do know that it will all work out. 

I keep feeling to be like Nephi in building a ship so that is what I am doing.  I formulate a plan adn then I pray and see what doors open up and what doors don't.  I have my plan for my business.  I don't know what will transpire but I do know that with time a marvelous, amazing plan will come to pass that I am so excited about.  I know the Lord has prepared the perfect plan for me and my family.

There have been several impressions I have received for months that have led up to this point.  Listening to conference there was a talk about growth.  It made me excited to hear about trying new things and getting out of our comfort zone to grow.  I realized that I have done everything I can to grow Dana Hills into what I wanted it to become.

I organized the Spirit Squad to help in the water.  I organized the Otter pup program to be organized and actually swimming instead of just being held.  The first year I was told it was totally organized and efficient only to realize that it was a program that really had never gotten any attention.  We organized it but also were able to set forth a plan for the second year.  Now in year 3 it is a really well run program.  It is so fun to see something evolve and become well run through organization and training. That is what I love to do.

When Danny bought his practice in Walnut Creek, Scott was swimming in Walnut Creek, Kira was doing gym in Concord and part of my thought we would eventually move out there.  It has been something I have prayed about for probably a year.  There are good things about Walnut Creek and there are good things about Brentwood.  Ultimately, I knew that Brentwood was where we should be.  I happened to try out Black Diamond for Kira which has been the best fit and now we are going to find swimming out here which I know will all work out.  Danny's business is great out here.  The location of our home and schools can't be beat.  It is amazing how when you listen to the Lord, you know it will all work out and I am seeing that little by little. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fasting

Three of my kids fasted today.  They decide how long to fast for and if they want to but we encourage them after baptism that fasting is a great way to draw closer to God and see miracles.

Today Scott, Kira and Tyler all fasted for breakfast.  I was so proud of them.  At the end of the fast I asked them what they fasted for and they each said for my shoulder to heal.  I hurt my shoulder a week ago at work to the point I can't do anything.  I can't lift it at all.  I am doing everything 1 handed.  Even moving my body or touching it hurts it.

I woke up on Monday morning and my shoulder was so much better.  It didn't touch it to hurt it.  I could lift it a couple of inches.  It was a total miracle.  I know it was because of the fast.  I told people at work and they of course thought I was somewhat crazy.  I am soo grateful!  I can't explain how grateful I am. I thought I would go the rest of the summer in pain.  I thought for sure I would need surgery.  I was pretty certain I was going to be miserable and not be able to enjoy my kids, holding my baby, getting all I needed to get done around my home, coaching.  The list is endless because of the pain of my shoulder.

Well prayers and fasts were answered.  A couple of life lessons.  Fasting works.  Prayers are answered.  I need to start taking care of my body.  I have not exercised in who knows how long and realized I need to take care of my body.  I take my health for granted.  It is something I need to be more grateful for.  I was humbled with a reminder of how danny lives with constant back pain.  He often reminds me how he just can't do as much or as fast because of his pain and I realized waking up without pain is a miracle. 

So I am grateful today!  And hopefully the rest of the month, hopefully year and forever. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Dinners

"I didn't grow up in a family with a ton of family traditions" As I wrote this, I thought to myself that maybe I did have family traditions.  I thought about breakfast every morning.  Waffles, pancakes, omelets with all the fixings.  Sunday was always fresh bagels.  Family dinner with friends.  Always lots of friends and sometimes friends of friends or maybe even strangers.  Anyone who needed a place to stay, eat or celebrate a holiday was invited into our home to eat and be a part of the family.  

I looked to Danny and said, "My family didn't have many traditions?" and he laughed.  He said my family was the epitome of tradition and mentioned all the dinners.  The little saucer plates, the countless parties, the tables set up in the backyard with matching tablecloths.

So of all the things we have carried on from my parents it is Sunday dinners.  We always went to my parents on Sunday for a feast.  We sat in the backyard, the kids played and we talked and talked.  Pete came, my sisters family came and it was a great night.  The kids would go home with their stomachs full of ice cream sundaes and a bag full of candy from the ever stocked pantry.

Somehow, in our own way, we have carried on that tradition.  We don't have the backyard they had. We don't make the extravagant meals.  We don't have an outside table but we have great friends, an awesome court, trampoline that fills our entire backyard and always enough food.  We have friends over almost every Sunday.  Since we have 6 kids and most of our friends have multiple kids, the house is usually loud and filled but it is always a good time!  We do buffet style.  Set out plates, put forks and knives upside down in some mason jars, have lemonade and water.  We make it simple.  We have a couple of dishes we seem to rotate.  Meat and potatoes, some type of chicken dish, mexican and fajitas are frequent.  People usually come at 5 and bring a dessert or salad.  We hang til 830 or so talking while the kids play. 

  It is always a good time.  There is something about having people over for dinner that strengthens friendships.  So the tradition of food and friends live on.  On Sunday our kids always wake up and ask who is coming over.  We have our close friends and then we mix in friends we want to get to know better or friends who we haven't seen in a while but want to.  It often just depends on who we talk to that week randomly.  It is usually not planned a ton in advance.  Sometimes we just talk to people that day or the day before. 

I am by no means a great host but that is the beauty of it.  It is simple, it is wonderful and always a great time!  I want to take more pictures but have been so bad at it lately.  I am trying to journal more hence the couple of posts today and last night.  This is my only journal and I have gone months without journaling.  Now I am going to try to take more pictures to remember the great times.  

Last weekend we had over the Needhams, Olsons, Nielsens and Kurz's.  Brittons dad came over with ice cream sunday supplies.  I loved it.  It was a great surprise.  Britton was sick and his mom was out of town so his dad came.  I love that people want to come.  Don't feel like they are imposing but instead feel like they are welcome and know how we think the more, the merrier.  Today we had over the Popes.  I texted Kristy to ask her husband something about work and then realized how much I wanted to actually hang out with her and talk to her instead of just a couple of minutes here or there. It was a great time!  

I am grateful for my parents and the tradition of Sunday dinners that they passed onto us.  It is a great blessing!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A new Calling

Danny got called into the Elder's Quorem.  He is with Britton, Rusty and Gordon who in my opinion are amazing men.  When I talked to Britton he said that he wanted men who were no drama and got along with everyone and that pretty much sums up those 4 men.

The church did away with EQ and High Priests.  Now everyone is in EQ.  I think it will be such a great change.  It will streamline taking care of people.  I think that it will also help unify the men to one purpose and one group.

I know Danny is going to love his calling and the men that he serves with and serves.  I am excited to see how this change helps the church and ward.  With that said, he was in his dream calling.  He was primary chorister.  I have never seen Danny shine and be so into a calling.  It truly is a calling that all of his talents work miraculously together.  He is so good with kids.  He is an amazing music teacher.  He does fun games and songs.  He has fun and it shows.  He is an amazing primary music leader.  When Britton called him he knew how much he LOVED his calling so said that he would allow him to stay in Primary so they are going to see how it goes.  For now, he really wants to try to do both.  We will see if in time that will be too hard or he feels like he needs to be with the qourem on Sunday. He might just need sometime to say goodbye to his primary calling or maybe he will be able to do both just fine. Time will tell.  It was really fun for me to see him so into his calling.  Those kids were so blessed!  Our kids were really blessed.  I am not musical at all but love music and am affected by music.  I remember my conversion and what a blessing music was to me.  It gave me so much hope and peace and am grateful Danny blesses our family with music.

I continue to be Gospel Doctrine Teacher.  This is my 4th year.  I started with New Testament, then Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and now Old Testament.  Makes my life seem to go extremely fast.  Not quite sure how that went so fast.  I love it.  I love teaching.  I love spending more time with the scriptures.  I am not able to do much during the week when I work so this is the perfect calling for me right now.  I wouldn't mind staying here forever.  This week I got to sub in Seminary and LOVED that!  Maybe that will be my next calling.  I was scared I was going to be so tired the entire day but it wasn't too bad.  It was such an amazing way to start the day.  Everyone says what a blessing it is to teach seminary and it really is.  Those kids are amazing. What an incredibly inspired program!  I am so grateful my kids will get to go to seminary in high school.  I was so impressed by how faithful and amazing those kids are.

I was so impressed by the Seminary president.  He was an 84 year old guy who had the room set up perfectly and neatly.  Chalk boards set out, binders open, hymn book out.  It was so nice to come into such a neat and set up room.  I got to talk to him briefly afterward. He retired over 10 years ago and said after a weekend that he was bored and so decided to go back to work at ACE.  He worked there for 10 more years and when he turned 80 went to his boss and told him he needed to stop punching a clock because he had a lot of things he needed to do.  He then went to remodel his daughters home which she wanted to sell.  He knocked out walls and remodeled the home.  It was so inspiring listening to him.  He was a man who loved to work and gained great fulfillment in life through work.

Somehow I want to instill that in my kids.  I am not sure how to do that but it is something we definitely need to work on.