2:30 Church

Yep. Church starts at 2:30 and, if you’re not familiar with the LDS faith, our church is three hours. So… you can image with kids, 2:30-5:30 is not the easiest time. I’ve been looking forward to Finn turning 18 months old for some time now because that would mean for the last two blocks of church, Finn would get to go to nursery and I would be kidless and enjoy Sunday School/Relief Society once again!

Well, the time came! Finn’s first class was last week and he did great. He cried for a minute when I dropped him off, but each time I checked in after through the window, he was playing or sitting nicely in the chair for singing time. It was adorable.

And since I’m already posting about church last week, Eva gave a little talk in Primary and it was so sweet seeing TJ help her. I’m grateful to have a husband who takes us to church each week and leads us in the gospel.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

As I mentioned last month, I’m on the Relief Society activities committee at church. If you’re not Mormon, then basically what it means is I help plan the activities for the women at church. This month was the anniversary of when the Relief Society was created, 175 years ago. We got to thinking as a committee about the theme “Bloom Where You’re Planted” and what the early Saints of the church went through. They sacrificed so much and had such great difficulties yet took what they were given and made the best of it. So, we wanted to use that idea for a Spring inspirational activity.

We had a Cafe Rio style salad bar along with a soda bar and beautiful cupcakes made by someone in our ward. It really turned out nicely, although I did learn a lot about planning a big dinner for a large group! We had an inspirational speaker who has been given five years to live by her doctors because of the type of cancer she has. She has “bloomed where she was planted” and is making the most out of her time and showed us why each day is a gift from God.

Thanks to all who came and helped!

A Pinterest Party

I have a pretty fun calling right now at church. I’m on the Relief Society (the organization for the women) activities committee. We threw a little party last month where people brought treats from Pinterest ideas and made two different (very easy) crafts. We had a pretty good turnout and I think the gym looked nice so I decided to share!

Rock the Boat

A week ago in Sunday School, our teacher asked us when was the last time we wrote down a spiritual experience that we have had and if we have any experiences that we haven’t written down, but should. I thought about it all week long. What experiences have I had that I haven’t written down? Something I want to remember forever and want my children to be able to read one day. Something that maybe one of you all need to hear?

First off, I had one thing instantly pop into my mind that I haven’t been able to shake. Back when I was about 19 or 20, I’d go home in the summers and attend the singles ward with my brother. At the time, we didn’t really love going because we didn’t know many people, but I did make two memories there. The first thing was just funny. There was a man who bore his testimony and pounded SO hard on the podium saying something like, “Have you ever been so mad…” I don’t even remember what else he said, but he was passionate that day! The second memory is something that is so simple but so dear to my heart now. We would urge each other to go up and bear our testimonies. We called it “rock the boat.”

“Are you going to rock the boat?” We’d ask. “Only if you do it first.”

Those Sundays were good ones. And as Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

Then today, I was still thinking about spiritual experiences or memories that I wanted to write about when I realized one was enfolding right before my eyes. It was Eva’s primary presentation today, where all the children (there are probably 80 of them in our ward!) sit on the stand, each say something and sing all the songs they’ve been working on each year. Watching Eva sit up there as an almost 5 year old is touching, itself. To realize I have this real big kid who is brave enough to say a line into the microphone in front of everyone and to sing loudly, proudly, smiling and waving at me through the whole presentation… it’s just incredible. I’m truly blessed. But there was one song that stood out, and specifically one verse that sincerely touched me.

We have been saved for these latter days
To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
We hear the words our prophet declares:
“Let each who’s worthy go forth and share.”
I instantly felt the Spirit when I listened to these words, sung by my daughter and all the other children. They have been saved for THIS TIME. This critical and difficult time that we are living in. They were saved because they have the capabilities to be strong enough to make it. We need to be good examples for them. Teach them, show them the way. So that they can carry the gospel throughout the world. When I see all the hatred going on this week, all the riots, the crazy election stuff… Eva and Finn will be immersed in this world so soon and have a lot to bear. They are such precious spirits and God has entrusted them to us. I hope I can be a good enough mother and follower of Christ so that they are ready for what is to come, and that they one day can “go forth and share.”

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Cascade Springs

I took the kids up to Cascade Springs (info about it over here) and we really had a great afternoon. Blue skies, nice breeze, it was beautiful.

I had a little spiritual moment up there that I thought I’d share. The Springs are surrounded by three loops, all paved. It’s an easy walk, doesn’t take too long to do all three loops. I had my stroller with me, so we had to backtrack a bit because I didn’t want to carry my stroller up the stairs. Well, at one point, we put the quilt down and enjoyed the scenery for a while, then when we were heading out, I went the wrong way. We got back to the stairs. Then I backtracked again but it led me to a dead end. There were maps pretty much every 100 feet or so, but I never took the time to look at them. I kept thinking, I can do this by myself, it’s three simple loops (with a couple extra dead-end paths). But I couldn’t. Even though it was a simple path (we weren’t in any danger, so Mom, please don’t be alarmed!), we still got lost. After a couple minutes, we went back to the map we had just passed and figured out the pathway without the stairs. The map led us back to where we needed to go.

I immediately felt that those maps are like the scriptures. They’re there for us. They’re ALWAYS there, ready for us to turn to when we get lost. Even on the simplest paths when we think there’s no way we’d need help, no way to get sidetracked, they’re there. If we don’t turn to them (even if life is easy), we won’t be able to find our way to safety. Things will come up, we will get lost. We need to swallow our pride and stop thinking we can do it by ourselves. We can’t. We need their help.

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These are my people

A year or two ago, I was sitting at the piano on the stage of our church back in Jersey. I was brought tears as I looked down at the congregation when the following thought came to me, “These are my people. They are my family.”

I won’t forget that moment. I knew at that point that we were sent to Jersey for a reason. Tons of reasons actually. But one of which was to be a part of that great ward.

Well, fast forward to now. We’ve lived in Lehi for almost a year now. The congregation we are in at church definitely doesn’t look or act the same as that ward back in Jersey City. I definitely miss those Fast & Testimony meetings back in the city because you never knew what was going to happen. Break into group prayer? Sure. Sing at the pulpit? Go for it. Bring your harmonica? Give it a blow! But although this new ward has different quirks, yesterday I was at Stake Conference. I was standing in unison with my fellow neighbors and friends singing a powerful hymn. I looked around and saw the faces of many who have really reached out to me this past year, some who probably didn’t even know the influence they’ve made. The relief society counselor who always is honest in her testimony. A mom who’s always kind to me in the nursing room. A couple who always has a smile on their face no matter what trial comes their way. These people… They are my people now. I love them. We all may have families close by and may not need each other exactly how we needed each other back in Jersey. But this congregation is where we are supposed to be right now, and I’m so glad for that amazing confirmation yesterday.

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WWJD

One day this month I was having a really hard time with Eva. I don’t know what has been going on with her lately, she’s such a sweet girl but she has been really trying my patience. So, on this one day in particular, we had a big fight. Probably because she just wasn’t listening. JUST LISTEN AND OBEY. I swear I say this 250 times a day, and probably 500 times on this day I’m describing.

Well, in the middle of the yelling, (LISTEN AND OBEY! … I MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS … YOU ARE ONLY FOUR … back and forth, you get the picture), I just called a time out pretty much and said, “Okay, let’s both take some big deep breaths.” We turned on Curious George for a couple of minutes and sat on the couch together. While she was immersed in the show, I was overwhelmed with incompetence as a mother. I feel this way often, but this time was so intense that I just didn’t know what to do. How was *I* supposed to be responsible to raise these children? I feel so lost sometimes when raising them. I feel like I’ve got an idea on how to parent and then it backfires. I come up with one discipline system that works for like five days then she’s totally over it. How do I discipline fairly for a four-year old? What is going to work and actually teach them a lesson? Is spanking too harsh? Do time-outs do anything? HOW THE H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEYSTICKS DO I TEACH A STRONG-WILLED FOUR YEAR OLD TO LISTEN AND OBEY? AHH!

So, that was how I’m feeling, sitting there on the couch while tuning out Curious George. My mind started wandering. Thinking of new approaches. Then I saw a picture of Christ in my room. News flash: I instantly started crying. I started thinking of our Savior and our Heavenly Father, but for the first time in my life (why is this the first time I ever considered this?) I asked myself how THEY would parent a strong-willed four year old.

I brainstormed some examples in the scriptures on our Savior’s attitude, how he dealt with others, how he handled difficult situations. At first I thought of His forgiveness towards others. Christ is our ultimate example of forgiveness. So, try and forgive Eva….? Well, most of what she was doing was just being a typical crazy four year old. I guess I could try and not take it personally? But that still doesn’t solve the problem on how to discipline and teach my child to listen.

I thought of some more examples in the scriptures. We know He was kind, understanding, compassionate, but also, there was that time when He got pretty upset with the people selling things in the temple, which they shouldn’t have been doing. So, does that mean I can lose my cool sometimes when Eva purposely disobeys rules?

Since that afternoon I asked myself those questions, thinking of the attributes of our Savior and trying to relate them to parenthood, I keep thinking about it. Honestly, every time Eva drives me up a wall I keep thinking about it. Really, I haven’t come up with a resolution. It’s something I am still pondering. I’m trying to read the scriptures and for the first time ever, read them with the perspective of a parent trying to teach her child to obey. It’s hard. And I guess I’m writing this post to ask you all what you think?

If Jesus came over to babysit (and I mean this question in the most serious way because we should always look to Him as our example), how would He discipline Eva if she would not listen and then acted crazy/hyper before bedtime? If you have an answer for that, PLEASE comment. And then tell me how you think it relates to us. I know there’s not just one way to teach our kids/discipline/etc. I also know that God loves each one of us more than we can imagine, so we should teach with love, as well. But there’s got to be some sort of example from our Savior on parenting in those difficult times. Sorry for the rambling… just trying to get my thoughts out here!

FYI-Eva is so great, and I love her dearly. Overall, she acts great… we just have our moments, as all parents do. I don’t want you all to think I’m child-shaming her!

love

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Let Him In

On Monday, I was so lucky to see the amazing Forgotten Carols show with my in-laws. I absolutely loved it. I had no idea that Michael Mclean was actually IN the show, along with his son and his wife! So neat. I was familiar with the music but had never actually seen the play. It really touched me and made me want to focus on the Savior this Christmas season. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

“Yes I did believe them Though I’d not seen a thing
I did not go to Bethlehem Or hear the angels sing
But there was something magic In the air
That made me feel as if I had been there

I knew that as the world moves on through time
There would be more stories just like mine
About the souls who’ve chosen to believe
In something that they never got to see

Do you think you’ll join us Though you’ve not seen a thing?
You were not there in Bethlehem To hear the angels sing
But if you feel the spirit In the air
Then just like me you’d know

That He was here, He was here
The King of kings, And Lord of lords was here”

He was born, so we can be born again.

When I watched this video, I couldn’t help but to think of the many people in the world who have lost their way and turned away from the Savior. Sadly, I have seen so many close friends in the last year lose their faith and drift far from peace and happiness, far from God. And honestly, I would be lying if I told you I haven’t had my own minor faith crisis in the last year when I’ve seen so many struggle. I’ve really had to figure out what I believe. Examine where I stand. Hold on to the basics to get me through the doubts. And what I’ve come to realize is that it all comes down to Christ. My Savior, my Redeemer. I have a testimony in Him. I feel it in my heart, no matter what my mind might be saying. No matter what the world might be saying. He lives and was born so we can be born again. After that, it all falls into place.

So to you, to you who is struggling. To you who just doesn’t know anymore. To you who is lost in this dark world, hold on to this:

“He understands you. He heals us. He can bridge the lonely gap between God and man and bring us home if we let him. If we love him. If we follow him. That’s why we celebrate. That’s why we sing. And that’s why he was born.”

Just open your heart. Let him in.

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Sunday Drive

Our church has been emphasizing the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I have to say, it has been a really good reminder for me. It gets easy to slack off a little on Sundays. When we moved out here, we felt like we were in limbo for a bit since we weren’t in our own Ward or home so we made some excuses on why we could bend the rules a bit. But now we’re back on track and trying harder to go to all of our meetings, get to church on time, and keeping the rest of the day holy and different than the other days of the week. It’s actually been a positive experience and I’ve enjoyed noticing the difference it makes in our home on Sunday.

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That being said, this past Sunday we drove through the Alpine Loop and walked around Sundance for a bit. The weather was perfect-it was about 65 degrees up in the canyon and it got me so excited for Fall to come! So, if you’re looking for an activity on Sunday to get out of the house-go on a scenic drive!

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I just had to add this funny photo… we laughed so hard about it. For whatever reason, TJ was holding Eva so strangely, it’s like he had never held her before. And the lady taking the picture said, “Uhhhh are you guys sure you’re camera ready?” We didn’t realize what she was talking about until after we saw the photo! Haha too funny!

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