Monday, November 29, 2010

Homecoming & Talents

This past weekend was full of festivities due to the homecoming of my brother-in-law, Sam. I can't say that he looks a lot different, but he is very much like James was when he first returned from the mission: full of the fire of faith. I love to see recent RM's, because they really do have a certain glow about them. They also want to shout from the rooftops how amazing the Gospel is. It was really great to see family that we haven't seen for a while (since the family reunion in June.) A cousin also had a bridal shower, for which I made a cute apple print apron. I didn't use a pattern and it was different than I had originally planned, but I was pleased with the result. (That's all that really matters, right?) I wish I'd taken a picture, but I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

I was reading recently about the parable of the talents. I noticed the phrase "every man according to his several ability." We don't all come into this life equal, but we are all given talents, whether it be 5, 2, or 1. What really matters is what we do with them. When the day of reckoning came, the Savior was equally pleased with those who had received 5 and 2 talents. They had both doubled what they'd received. They were both made rulers over many things.

I used to think that I didn't really have any talents. After all, I don't play a sport and I can't play a musical instrument. I've never been a very good actress, storyteller, or comedian on the stage. It's taken me years to realize that I am still of great worth without those things. I'm okay with the fact that my capabilities are not those "stage talents" that make the crowd cheer.

It's a little early, but there are a few talents I really want to focus on. These are the things that I'm not so good at but want to be.

Singing--I'm going to join the ward choir again. It's been tough with a small baby, but I loved it before.

Sewing--I want to make at least one project a month. I may never venture into the realm of fancy clothing or using complicated patterns, but I can make some simple things.

Knitting--I want to learn some more stitches and also make one project a month. It's nice to have lots of warm things to wear, and it's fun to be able to design your own!

I will probably think of more things, but sports will probably never be on the list. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010


This entry is dedicated to my family, because I know they will read it eventually. It's been 5 whole years since I spent Thanksgiving with my family. I can remember helping make the pies the day before...half of them never making it to Thanksgiving. Mom always put me in charge of making the green bean casserole. I tried to steal as many French-fried onions as I could when she wasn't looking. When it was finally dinnertime, we crowded around the table and tried not to bump elbows too much. Sometimes we had the missionaries over, so we ate from our real plates instead of paper ones. Even with company, our silverware was always mismatched.

the whole crew in front of the Apex temple
2008, I think
I am thankful for eternal families. I don't know if I'll ever live close to my family again. There's a chance of that when James goes to grad school, but we just don't know as of right now. I am grateful for the new family that I became a a part of last July, and I am especially glad that my brother-in-law made it home from his mission, finally! (Luckily, I already knew him and did not just meet him for the first time.) I love my own little family, though it's definitely not complete. I love my husband and darling little boy. I can't wait until the other children get here and make our little family complete.

The family might be failing as the basic unit of society today, but it will always be the basic unit of the celestial kingdom. I'm thankful that I come from an eternal family, married into one, and have been able to create my own. I know that I'll never be alone as long as I stay close (though not physically) to my family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Book of Mormon Hero

I love Nephi. It's not that I haven't studied the other prophets in the Book of Mormon, it's that Nephi is still my favorite! I even like 2 Nephi. :)

A talk in Church yesterday mentioned some of my favorite qualities about him. He delighted in the scriptures. He frankly forgave those who had wronged him. He was obedient to all the of the commandments, yet still unfailingly humble. I think of the story of the broken bow. Everyone in the family, including Lehi, had starting murmuring about the lack of food. Nephi got to work and made a new bow. Before leaving, he asked his father, the prophet, where he should go for food. Nephi probably could have done it on his own, but he made sure to respect his father by asking him for direction first. He made no assumption that he could do the task on his own, even though he probably could have. He put his trust in the Lord.

The speaker mentioned that it is through our obedience that we gain the capacity to deal with our challenges. It was through Nephi's obedience that his life was spared so many times. He easily could have been killed by his brothers on several occasions, but the Lord protected him each time. It didn't save Nephi from all suffering, but he continued faithful to the commandments of God, giving thanks each time his life was miraculously spared.

I've never been threatened with death, almost drowned in a huge storm, or been forced to run away from home so my brothers wouldn't kill me. I've never seen an angel, written down the record of my nation, or been a prophet. Nephi's example is very inspiring to me. No matter what I go through, there's no excuse to give up and say that it's too hard!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coo Coo

my big boy
Joseph has a funny habit of babbling at the most inopportune times: in the middle of Church, Institute, while I'm trying to listen to someone, etc. It's so adorable, though. He can say "ba", "ma", and "ga". Yes...that means he can say "Mama"!

Who care if he doesn't know what it means? I love it that he's starting to be a little person and not just a cute doll baby.

(His funniest sound is the one he's making right now--I call it the drooly Chewbacca.)

The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning

My schooling emphasized the importance of using metaphors, allegories, anecdotes, etc. to really make sure that a lesson hits home. I teach Relief Society once a month, and it's almost crazy how many ideas just pop into my head. I'm sure that they are not mine. There's no way that my brain came up with it all on its own.

This week, I've been studying about the Holy Ghost for my lesson on Sunday. The lesson did not explicitly mention the Spirit as a fire, but that thought kept popping up in my mind. I decided to study it further.

When one is baptized, it is often referred to as "baptism by water". Water is a cleansing agent in that it removes all visible dirt and grime--stuff on the outside. Water is what we use to clean our physical bodies. Water, however, it not enough to complete the process of sanctification.

Fire is necessary to really sanctify us. Not only does it remove impurities--ones that we cannot see--but it cleanses us from the inside (our spiritual bodies). The work that the fire does is more subtle. It works over a lifetime and, like a real fire, leaves a lasting mark on us. Once we've felt the warmth of fire, we desire to feel it again.

It's like washing dishes. Whether by hand or with a dishwasher, the process is the same. Dishes get scrubbed with soap and water, which is like baptism. Then, they are rinsed with lots of heat, which of course is made by  a heating coil (fire!). Soap and water make them clean, but the heat is what does the sanitizing. One without the other is only half of the process, and they must be done in that order.

We often overlook those tiny little "germs" in ourselves. After all, they are really hard to see! That's why we need the Spirit to help us with the process. We simply cannot do it on our own. You can't fix a problem when you don't think that there is one!

I was wondering how we can be really be compared to dishes when the Ensign fell open to Pres. Packer's talk, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel." Vessel = container or dish. Boom. Problem solved. I hope the lesson sounds half as cool to my students as it does to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hopes and Dreams

Everybody has that list of things they'd like to accomplish one day, right? Here are mine, in no particular order.

Have 6 kids

Grow a garden and use it all

Own a sewing machine and use it

Teach the Gospel in some way every day

Try lots of new foods and recipes

Stay in shape

Bear testimony spontaneously and often

Get a master's degree

Go on a mission

Stay close to my family


This weekend, we went to the SLC area for a wedding reception and to visit James's aunt. It was really fun, but it reminded me of how much I don't like riding in the car for more than an hour. On Saturday, while we were on the way back, we got slightly lost in the ghetto of SLC.  We didn't intend on going there, but one wrong turn led to 20 minutes of wandering around in a place we didn't want to be.

All it takes is one wrong turn to end up on the wrong path! There is only one path home. It is well-marked with signs that let us know we are on the right road. If we leave it, we lost precious time as we try to make our way back. Sometimes it takes more than a simple U-turn. There are roadblocks, detours, and trains. We wander without guidance until we find our way back to the road overhead with its bright lights beckoning. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get back on the road. It will still lead us home!

The dark road is so distracting, full of dead ends and boarded up houses. The path meanders and doesn't really lead anywhere. Some may scoff at those who take the well-traveled road, saying that the scenic route is faster, prettier, or easier.

There is one road home. Where we are on the road may not matter as much as the fact that we are on it. It will always lead us to the place that we should be.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Wintertime, It's Wintertime, the Snow is Falling Down

And yes, it's all around the town. We got several inches of snow a few days ago. Surprisingly enough, it was the first real snowfall of the season. 

Fall was so beautiful this year, and I'm quite sad to see it go. But, despite all my wishing, the seasons will keep on changing. I will keep growing older, my baby will grow up, and my husband will lose his hair. (I think his hairline is already receding, but he doesn't believe me!) Sometimes I  look back on the days when I had few responsibilities. 10 years ago, I barely had to do anything for myself. My parents paid for everything, did my laundry, cooked my meals, and drove me where I needed to go. At school, I was just a student, nothing else.

It's interesting to see how my roles have changed. I am still a daughter and a student (though not formally). I have also become a teacher and a mother, as well as a nurturer, cook, wannabe seamstress, wife, sometimes chauffeur, and housekeeper. Taking care of a family is no small job, but there's no real way to compare it to the things I did 10 years ago. Is it easier? Certainly not. But is it worth all the stress? Definitely.

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be a homemaker. My mother was and is the best example to me. I'm glad that she stays home and shows the world that it can be done with lots of kids and one income. I know that I'm doing the right thing, and the Lord has blessed us financially in many ways. We don't have extra money or even a whole lot to save, but we have enough. It takes so much faith (which I don't always have) to know that we will be able to pay for everything, but the Lord knows our needs. He goes above and beyond blessing us with just our needs, though. As any loving parent, he often gives us things that we don't deserve but He knows that they will make us happy.

I'm so grateful to be a mom. It's the best job in the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One in a Million

Yesterday at church, two babies got blessed. There were three other babies born in the last week. It would seem that Joseph, now 5 months old, has lost his novelty. He's not a newborn anymore, so he doesn't have mobs of people begging to hold him or catch a glimpse of him for the first time to see which parent he resembles more. It would almost seem that he's not as important as he used to be. The world is constantly changing. One fad replaces another before I can blink. Technology becomes outdated soon after it hits the shelves.

Heavenly Father does not see His children that way. He knows and loves us individually, no matter how long we've been around or how imperfect we are. He rejoices when His children succeed and choose the right, weeps when they feel pain, and laughs when they suck on their toes (as Joseph is doing right now). He understands each child and loves them all.

I understand only a tiny part of that love He feels for me because of how I feel about my child. Long before Joseph was born, I dreamed of having a baby that I could hold in my arms and call my own. His arrival was none too soon, and I look forward to the day when he will have brothers and sisters.

God gives us children to teach us how to love. We may fail to love our fellow man for his imperfections, but it is so easy to love a child, even an imperfect one.

Class Registration from Hades!

Okay, there's really only one thing driving me mad right now, and that is class registration at BYU-I. I'm not even the one taking classes. James put me in charge of signing up for classes for my brother-in-law, who returns home from his mission in a little over two weeks. Yay! Anyway, there are several things about BYU-I's website that are just plain stupid.

1. You can't find anything.
2. The course search has way too many possible options, leaving you with 50 pages of stuff or nothing at all.
3. You can't use the back/forward button.
4. Classes change codes every 2 years.
5. Those codes are never updated in the degree audit tool, so you have to load your degree audit, find the class name, then go back into class registration and figure out the new code for yourself. Um, why not keep the class codes the same? Or at least put the old code in parentheses? Is it really that hard?
6. Old catalogs have classes that don't exist anymore!
7. The new website claims to be more user-friendly. HA.

I could go on, but all I'll say is that I'm really glad that I don't have to register! Luckily, my brother-in-law will end up with a decent schedule and all the classes he wanted.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nothin' Much

I guess if you asked what I've done this week, I'd probably say, "Not much." Really, I've just been doing my same old routine, which is fine, because I like routine. As long as I have one set in place and get all the normal stuff done, then I am allowed to have some fun. That might sound crazy, but I just have to be doing something. Sundays are hard for me, because I don't like to "relax" for too long. (Luckily, Joseph doesn't like for me to relax much either!)

I like Fridays. Even though my job is basically the same 24/7 (though not usually 24 any more!), Fridays just feel relaxing. Saturdays are the only days (not counting Sunday) that James can be at home and semi-relax. I say semi because he will be starting to work on our future apartment tomorrow and has lots of homework (like a 10-page paper).

I wasn't in a such a good mood yesterday, and I don't really want to remember what I was like. Some contributing factors were definitely having a sharp pain in my hand from who knows what, a whiny baby, and dinner not turning out like I wanted. But that's okay. I only got 5 hours of sleep last night, but today is already a much better one. I made dinner early so it can just be popped in the oven later, Joseph did not spit baby food all over me, and I'm almost done with an excellent book called Three Cups of Tea. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. It's very inspiring. Our first refund check came too, even though it was only 67 dollars. Hey, every penny counts. Poor James had a crown and 5 fillings done earlier this week. No dental insurance = lots of money coming from us. I'm glad I researched dentists to find the cheapest one! Who knew that he'd need some of the most expensive procedures!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend

We had a great time this weekend celebrating Halloween. Okay, that sounds strange. What were we celebrating? Gluttony? Maybe. Either way, I love Halloween. It's a great reason to eat lots of candy and dress up in a silly costume. Plus, I LOVE pumpkin. ( On Friday, James's aunt had an awesome party with lots of "spooky" food. We got to hang out with lots of the cousins. Saturday, we watched Night at the Museum 2 and went to a comedy show on campus. It was lots of fun. Some of our first dates 4 years ago were to comedy shows on campus. Good memories.

"Brother Joseph", the Dalmatian, and my dance costume
A talk in church really impressed me. No matter where we live, it can always be a house of God. The guy talking said that he and his wife had moved to a trailer to save money. In 2 months, we will be moving into "the barn" to save money. Not wanting to make such a change was a result of my own pride and caring too much about what others would think. It really doesn't matter what they think. When we make the right decisions, the Lord will always be pleased with us. James and I are making this decision because it was inspired and it will keep us out of debt. Yes, even with kidney stone surgery, school, having a baby, being a stay-at-home mom, and James's intense dental work this month, we have been blessed and have managed to pay for everything. Such miracles can only come after we've done our part, which often requires great sacrifice. I truly believe that sacrifice means giving up something in exchange for something greater. The tricky part is just seeing that what we've received really is greater.