Saturday, February 25, 2012

His Daughter, Memories, and Thirst Quenching

Today, was our Stake RS Conference and it was fabulous!  It always is and is one of the spiritual highlights of my year.  LDS Women are Incredible! The theme of this conference was "Daughters in My Kingdom" and all of the classes were based on different chapters in from that inspired book.
Our stake RS President and the Stake President spoke in a general opening meeting and truthfully their talks somewhat meshed together.  Sister Merrill told of 2 people who turned out to be her parents and talked of their journey to membership in the church and raising their family according to the principles of the gospel and what their lives would mean to generations to come.  Then Pres. Riding spoke about "Whose daughter art thou?" which is a reference to the story of Abraham's servant being sent to find a wife for Isaac- he asks this question of Rebekah.  Pres. Riding shared with us a conversation he had with  Elder Nelson when he was here for our Stake Conference.  Elder Nelson told President Riding to teach the youth of their ancestry.  We are all descendants of the House of Israel or we will be adopted into it.  The blessings that come with that heritage are beautiful and eternal.  There is work on our part but all of those given to Abraham can be ours too if we live up to our covenants.
The first class I attended was "A Wide and Extensive Sphere of Action" (chapter 4).  We were given these questions:
1. What are the foundational responsibilities in my life?
+Search your patriarchal blessing (this will help with 1 and 2).
2. What are my unique gifts and talents or special purpose that I can use to help others?
+With this she pointed out that much of what we do does not need to be large and overwhelming but daily and consistent; ie focus on having a positive attitude with our children each day (okay so this can be overwhelming at times).
3. What can I eliminate in my life to broaden my sphere?
The teacher all shared these ABC from President Monson: Attitude,  Believe, Courage.
My favorite quote: "Let your first business be to perform your duties at home.  But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties, because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion.  By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish." - Eliza R. Snow
I have felt this to be true in my life.  When we put our lives in the Lords hands, with a sincere desire to do those things that he would have us do, He will make us capable of that work.  "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say..."  and "For with God nothing shall be impossible."

The second class I attended really blended well with what I felt and heard in the first class.  I went to "Charity Never Faileth" (chapter 5).  I went to this one because I have felt so often in my life that my charity is failing.  I may be there doing the service but my heart is not always filled with the Christ-like love or attitude that maybe it should be.  As one person pointed out, that maybe if we do it long enough that will grow in our hearts.  The teacher gave a great lesson and asked these two great questions:
1. What is the difference between charity and love?
2. Why/how does charity never fail?
I think what really hit me the most was when a sister shared a portion of this quote with me.  It meant so much to me that I looked up the rest of it and am adding it here:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all. …
“Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” (Moro. 7:46–47.)
Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.
Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.
Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.
None of us need one more person bashing or pointing out where we have failed or fallen short. Most of us are already well aware of the areas in which we are weak. What each of us does need is family, friends, employers, and brothers and sisters who support us, who have the patience to teach us, who believe in us, and who believe we’re trying to do the best we can, in spite of our weaknesses. What ever happened to giving each other the benefit of the doubt? What ever happened to hoping that another person would succeed or achieve? What ever happened to rooting for each other?
My heart was softened today and I pray that today marks the day of a better more concerted effort on my part to live up to the covenants I have made with my Heavenly Father.  I do not want to let him down.  I know he has a work for me if I will give my life over to him.  I am grateful that he does not expect perfection because there will be days when I will need to courage and do as Pres. Monson said: "Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

I want to also share 2 more things: I need to record them for me.
Today there was a musical number and it was the song "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go".  This song makes me cry. During the early part of Peter's unemployment we sang this song in Sacrament meeting.  I remember I did not sing much because I was too overcome with emotion.  As the words were sung, I felt the Spirit reminding me of the many times in my life where the Lord had led me to and through situations and times where I could grow, learn, teach, serve, and love.  I knew that this was again one of those times.  I had not really wanted to move away to Las Vegas but I had gained so much from the experiences and the people the Lord had placed in my life while we were there.  I knew that if he needed us to move again that He would lovingly lead and direct my life into more than I could ever make of it on my own.  I was blessed to have a strong, smart, and spiritual husband by my side helping me to raise our family and we knew that with the Lord's help it would be what it needed to be.  I will always love that song and pray that I never forget those wonderful feelings I felt that day.
Second, I have observed recently that as my children drink of the sacrament water they make that "ahh" sound after they swallow- like it is the best drink they have ever had.  Sometimes, I think they are being to noisy/silly but then I was thinking the other day about what the sacrament water represents.  It is the blood of Christ.  He freely spilled his blood for each one of us so that we could have the gift of repentance and forgiveness.  Truthfully, the sacrament water is best drink in the world.  It made me think of drink deep of the living waters and get your fill. John 7:37 "...If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." And in John4: 14 we read: "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." And so if your kids like to gulp or "ahhh" with their sacrament water, go ahead and let them quench that thirst- when they are older they can come to appreciate the rest of the living waters our Savior has to offer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Black Belt (loads of pictures)

Saturday was Joey's big day! He has spent the last 3 years practicing and sweating and learning many new moves.  He has done a whole lot of push ups, kicks, punches, and countless other moves.  He has had some discouraging times and he has had some very exciting times.  Overall, Joey being in Teakwondo has been a great blessing.  He has grown stronger both physically and mentally and he has found something he can succeed at on a personal level.  
We are so proud of Joey! 
The first pictures are of his form.  We had a few hiccups with the cameras and so there was not any video but he did a great job!

 Next we had sparring: he is the one doing the jump kick. Nice!
 Now for the board break.  Joey practiced a great deal but was still unable to break the board with an elbow strike.  He had done it once in class which allowed him to test and once at home but had not done it for over a week before testing.  We were a bit anxious to say the least.  His kick was great! Just before leaving for testing I asked him to try the hammer fist move from last testing cycle and he did it without any trouble- broke right through the board on his first try!
 We arrived at testing and I asked his teacher if he could do a the hammer fist instead of the elbow and was told no, that Master Pechacek (the school owner) would not allow it. I felt defeated and heart broken for Joey.  I know I should have had more faith but it was not looking promising.  
Peter decided that he needed to be his child's champion and went to Master Pechacek with our question.  He told Peter to be prepared to fail.  Peter asked what it meant for Joey to be in the special abilities category if it would not allow for some compromise in the testing.  He said it needed to be prearranged which we did not know.  When Joey had all of his testing done a year ago, it was found that he has diminished upper body strength and coordination.  (Taekwondo has helped immensely but he still struggles.)  
We just decided to cheer Joey on and hope for the best.  Well, after the forms and sparring the judges deliberated for a time and then they went to speak to a few parents and students.  Mr. Coleman Joey's teacher came to speak to us and told us that they wanted Joey to try the elbow first.  But, the visiting judge Chief Master Westbrook (8th degree black belt, the 2nd highest rank in Taekwondo) said he would consider letting Joey do the hammer fist. Check out the pictures and the videos below to see what happened.

This is the link to other video that I could not get loaded through blogger, here.

Oh, I am not sure how this cutie snuck in but she sure is fun to look at!
These final pictures are of him getting his actual belt.  It is really neat.  It has his name embroidered on it as well as his degree (1st) and American Taekwondo Association in Korean. 

Proud and grateful for parents.  Joey is a wonderful son.  I am thankful for the blessing Peter gave Joey the night before that I am confident calmed him and gave him the courage he needed.  I know there will be times that Joey will not always succeed but I am thankful that we, his parents could be his champions and help him with this amazing achievement!
Oh and we celebrated with lunch at Fuddruckers! Delicious! Joey polished off a half pound buffalo burger all by himself! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Art Work and Broken Boards

Arabella has learned to write her name.  
 She has been creating a lot of artwork lately and signing it.

 This is a family picture.
 She hangs it up all over.  It is all very securely attached with a minimum of 8 pieces of tape per paper.
 This one she made while Jon and I were working on his "If I were to be president..." poster.
The brown square with a sun like looking object is her scriptures.
 And Joey has been busy making firewood.  Actually, in practicing for his black belt testing he has been breaking boards with a round kick and an elbow strike.  He can do it, his consistency is a bit off though.  
I will be praying for him, you can too.
We have a few more boards for him to practice with tonight.
Maybe we will roast marshmallows tomorrow night after testing to celebrate so we can put these broken boards to use.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Weekend in Thoughts

*A girl's night out on Friday night for a Chocolate party-a real treat! My friend Emily Parma has an annual chocolate party.  I finally got to go this year.  It was delicious! It was really fun to chat with the ladies.  Thank you so much Chad Ostermiller for watching my kiddos so that I could go since Peter was camping with the scouts.
*I stayed up late on Friday night ironing and watching episodes of Once Upon A Time.  It is my new favorite show.  If you have not seen it watch the pilot on and you will be hooked.
*Peter took Joey camping with him.  It was just a basic overnight camp out and they did Scouting for Food Saturday morning.  It was the first really cold weekend here-like 20's.  They had a great time.  Each of my loads of laundry on Monday had campfire smelling clothes in them.  It is a good smell.
*Saturday, I slept in until 7:30. Then cleaning and taking care of kids and such. I also spent some time working on sewing some pieces for a large tee pee that Peter is building for the blue and gold banquet this coming Saturday.  I have more to sew.
*We helped Joey make an invention out of a water bottle for school.  He chose a backhoe.  Peter and Joey worked together but Peter let him do most of it.
*Since Peter had been doing church calling stuff for about 24 hours, he decided to stay home and watch the kids so that I could attend the Worldwide Leadership Training meeting that afternoon at 4.  It was such a wonderful meeting.
       +I am thankful for the truths of the gospel. I am a Christian and I will strive to live my life so that those who are not of my faith will know by the way I live that I am a follower of Christ.
       +The Priesthood is a great power in our lives.  I loved what was said about any elder has the same priesthood power as the prophet; they just hold different offices that come with different keys.
       +We are an organization of families.  We need to do all that we can to get families to the temple so that they can be eternal families.
        +Marriage is something that must be worked at, strengthened, empowered, energized and several other marvelous things that Elder Nelson shared.
        +When we focus on the WHY of the gospel the who, when, how and what will fall into place.
        +We must serve, rescue and honor our covenants.
*I was watching Pres. Monson's talk from the past general conference and struck by the fact that he took his opportunity to speak to us to focus on the 10 commandments and the basics of the gospel.  We sometimes demean the "standard Sunday school" answers but it is by holding fast to these gospel basics that we will find peace, happiness, and enjoy the fullness of the gospel.
*After the training, I raced home and fed Lily in time for the babysitter (a sweet sister from our ward) to show up and watch our kids so that Peter and I could chaperon the stake youth dance.  We ate a quick dinner at Pei Wei (yummy) and then danced the night away until 11.
*It was like a night of flashbacks but oh so much fun to dance and hear some of those standard youth dance songs played.  Although, I was highly disappointed no to hear Lady in Red.
*Watching the youth made me realize that you know you have found love and are at peace with who you are when you are willing to make a fool of yourself and not care what anyone else thinks.  There were a few awakward youth and I loved that they were there participating in a good wholesome activity that provided them the opportunity to associate with other LDS youth which will one day ultimately lead to a relationship (or at least they are learning the skills they will need to form a relationship) that can last for eternity.
*Sunday morning Peter headed to a training meeting at 7 am with the Stake YM presidency in conjunction with ward conference. Then I headed off at 8:40 to make some copies for an upcoming RS activity and then attend ward council at 9.  Home by 10:15 and out the door again at 10:45 for church.
*After church, we snacked and rested.  Then Peter got a call from his sister to let us know that his grandfather had passed away.  It is sad and we are praying for his mom that she will be comforted during this time. Edwin Kent Baggs (Peter's middle name Edwin is from this man) lived a long life especially for being a survivor of polio.  It was a joyous reunion I am sure when he was united with his wife Josephine once again.
*I stopped by an inactive sister's house that afternoon.  She and her family (non member husband and youth aged children) moved her in October and her dad convinced her that she should let the church visit her.  They were really nice people.  She said to me that she did not know if she would come to church because she had not been in 18 years and she might feel awkward.  I told her that nobody in the ward knew that she has been inactive so this would be a great place to return.  I hope she comes.
*Over to another member's house to fill out a food order form and then I raced home to finish up my agenda for my presidency meeting that night at 8. The meeting was a great one.  We laughed and had a hard time staying on topic but we made some great decisions and assignments.
*It was a full weekend.  It was filled with a lot of church related activities.  The truth his that I would not have it any other way.  There really is not better way to be spending my time than in the service of the Lord and his children.  Peter and I try to maintain a balance though remembering that our children are His children to and they need our love and service more than any others.  I am so thankful for all that my membership in this church brings to me.
***On the schedule for this coming weekend is JOEY'S BLACK BELT TESTING!!! I am so proud of him. He will do wonderfully! He can actually break a real board with a kick and an elbow strike.  Amazing!  I promise to post all of the details and plenty of pictures.***

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Miss (or Mister) Lily

She is 6 months old now! 
Yes, I am the one that gave her a marker to play with but the lid was on when I handed it to her.
She was just testing out the taste of marker and what she might look like with a crazy mustache.
She was happy at least.
 On Monday at her check up she was:
16 lbs 12.5 oz
26 inches
Yea Lily!!!
 We call her Silly Lily alot!
She does not think solid food is a good thing.  She ate rice cereal the first about 3 times and then would just cry every time we tried to feed her.  So I tried a different cereal - one reasonably good feeding and then no way.  Her MO is you get one spoonful of anything (I have since tried some veggies and some fruits) in her mouth and she gives you a dirty look as she kind of gums/gags it down and then each time you get close to her with the spoon she clamps her mouth shut.  
We have tried tricks like getting her laughing and quickly putting some food in her mouth but that only works about twice and then she keeps her smiles limited.  Oh she is a smart one! 
She did enjoy some applesauce the other day and I gave her a baby rice cake thing yesterday and she thought it was fun to chew on but when it began to dissolve she got that same "wait a minute this is food-you tricked me" look on her face.  She did finish it - likely because it was entertaining.
 What I love about this little girl is that she will smile for just about anyone.
She does seem to like me best but she really is great about strangers.
She will let all sorts of people hold her and I am so glad that she will.  Sometimes I watch women hold her and it is like they get their baby fix.  I have felt so blessed to have her since the moment I found out I was pregnant.  I love sharing the joy of Lily with others and I am so grateful she is happy to share her joy.
Lily, I love you! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rabner Roller Derby

 Enjoy these pictures of us roller skating because we may not go again for a really long time.
 But really it was fun and Arabella was so daring!

 Jon did not have so much fun and this is him pouting in the corner at one point.