Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thank You for the War Stories

Many times when I read the scriptures I find new or additional meanings to the verses that I have never thought of before.  It's like my eyes are opened to a different understanding of what I have read before.  In the past I have often wondered why, when it was such a tedious and difficult task to engrave on metal plates, have all the war stories in Alma been placed in our scriptures.  We have been taught in the Book of Mormon itself that these prophets knew they were not writing for themselves or their people but for a future audience.   As I taught the Book of Mormon in Institute last year I began to appreciate and understand more of the stories in these war chapters, but this time as I have read I have gained a whole new respect for this part of the book.  I am reading with Jeff's ward and their BOMB or Book of Mormon Blitz.  The schedule has us read about five pages daily and we will finish it in a three month period.  This time as I read I am reading it on my iPad so I have no markings that I have done or no notes in the margins because this is the first time I have read it on the iPad.  So as I read there are no flags for me to recognize what I have learned in the past or felt was important enough for me to mark.  We are deep into Alma and the constant array of battle after battle.  Usually I have read these chapters strictly to be finished with them so I could get on to the good parts, or so I thought.  The past few days as I have read I have been mesmerized by these battles as I recognize they could be explaining today's world.  We are losing thousands of people in battles everyday.  They are not dying physically, but they are dying spiritually.  We have been told by our church leaders that we are living in enemy territory and we certainly are.  We are surrounded by the enemy and they are deceiving our neighbors, family, and friends.  In these chapters I have felt enlightened as to instructions on fortifying ourselves, our homes and neighborhoods.   Satan's plans that he is using against us now were being used by the evil leaders in the Book of Mormon.  These great and strong people kept their covenants and listened to the prophets; they built protections to keep evil out; and those who stayed close to the Lord and obeyed his commandments were given the strength they needed to overcome the adversary.  We can be successful too.  These war chapters can be an instruction manual to each of us as we strive to remain true and strong in our battles against Satan today.  Thank you prophets of old for listening to the promptings to include these chapters in this Book.  We need them, every one of them, to help us be strong as we raise our families in enemy territory.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Marriage=Two Imperfect People

Jeff returned home from last weeks Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting saying he thought it was the best one he had attended.  He mentioned several times that day how much he especially enjoyed Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk.  He spoke about the Importance of Marriage and Children.  If you would like to read the entire speech go here.  A few points that really touched me were the following.

  • Family relationships start with the love of a husband for his wife and of a wife for her husband.  Marriage brings together two very different, imperfect people.  Husbands and wives deal with their imperfections best with patience and a sense of humor.  Each should stand ready to say, "I'm sorry!  Please forgive me."  
  • While differences of opinion occur ones objective in marriage is never to win an argument, but to build an eternal relationship of love.
  • Marriage is sanctified by family prayer morning and night and daily scripture study.  Marriage is stabilized by careful financial planning, avoiding debt, and living within a budget with willing obedience to the Lord's law of tithing. 
  • Marriage is energized by making prime time together.  Marriage is protected by an absolute commitment to make it successful.  
No matter how many years I am married I appreciate being reminded about the aspects of marriage that are so important.  At times I am amazed at the insignificant and silly items that couples choose to argue over.  It is true that I am married to an imperfect person but Wow is Jeff ever married to the most imperfect one I know.  Amazingly Jeff would never let me or anyone else know that.  He is so kind and understanding with me and I know I usually don't deserve it.  I do love that man, and how appreciative I am of his acceptance of me and my weaknesses.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One Sentence Journal

I read Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project several months ago and loved it.  Like so many things in life you take parts of it that speak to you and incorporate them in your lives and let go of the rest.  There is good to be found in so many places.  A couple of weeks ago I was rereading parts of it to search for something and I read again the part about one sentence journals.  I dismissed it last time I read it but this time I noticed the format that she used and I had an "AH HA" moment and I decided I wanted to try it.  If you use the book that she designed there is a great daily quote and then every year on that specific date you write your one sentence caption to explain your day.  The beauty of it to me is that each year for five years can be reread and remembered as you write for that year.  I didn't understand the first time that the days would be listed on the same page each year.  

After ordering my journal on Amazon, (my go-to for everything) I started writing daily about two weeks ago.  Even if you miss a day, it is so easy to catch up as you recall memorable moments of days passed and write a quick sentence.  For those of us who are not journal writers, who will never be journal writers, and are overwhelmed by the thought of one more thing to do, this is the answer.  Quick memories written will not be forgotten and I can smile about them in the future, see the progress I may have made, and maybe someday my grandchildren can appreciate this glimpse into my life.  Another plus is only having to store one small book for five years of memories.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentines Day

My cute teen age daughter, Jessi, helped me out this Valentines Day in the gift department.  She was making the cutest items for her boyfriend and offered to make extras for my boyfriend also!!  How fun to be in high school and in love.  Dating is so much fun.  We old married people need to remember the fun exciting things we did and continue to do them to enhance our marriages.  Jessi is incredibly creative and loves to make things so it worked out great for me!!

Here is the basket with most of the items in it.

We (I actually made these, I'm not a total slacker) also did chocolate covered strawberries.  

Jessi made these Chinese Take-out boxes out of black card stock.  All except for the color, these looked exactly like the real thing.  I went to a Chinese Restaurant and bought fortune cookies.  Using tweezers we removed the original fortunes and put in our own reasons of why we love our boyfriends.  It was good for me to really think about the reasons I love Jeff.  I know I love him, but it was fun to really type out in words what it is I love about him.
I'm sure high school boyfriends are a little more excited about things like this than husbands of 34 years are, but it was fun to do.   I'm sure Jeff's favorite were the Oreos; he does love them.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Last One

Last Monday I attended my very last Parent Teacher Conference.  I have been faithful and have always attended each and every parent teacher conference for all 5 of my children.  I can't even begin to count how many that would be, but I'm not sorry I did it.  At times, I felt that the only reason I went was so the teacher would be aware that I cared and was aware of what was happening in the classroom.  It isn't usually convenient or fun, but I'm hoping it sent a message to my children about the importance of Education.  Honestly, I feel like celebrating that I won't be attending another one.  I did end on a high note, this was probably the most positive one I have attended for Jessi.  Teacher after teacher mentioned that she was like a new person, she was quiet in class, turned in all of her homework and excelled on tests.  Obviously there are some positive aspects of being sick.  She didn't feel like playing so she might as well do her homework!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday Fireside

Sunday we had a YSA Fireside with three other YSA Wards.  We were privileged to have Elder Kikuchi speak to us.  He is an emeritus member of the Quorum of the Seventy.  What an incredible conversion story he related.  He was born and raised in Japan and his father was killed in war by the United States during WWII.  He hated Americans and was so against them when he was contacted by two American missionaries when he was 15.  He learned to forgive the country and people whom he felt had killed his father, embrace an American religion and serve faithfully in the gospel throughout his life.  His mission was actually extended by 1 1/2 years.   He served a 3 1/2 mission.  First they asked him to serve an extra 6 months and at the end of that they asked him to serve an additional 12 months.  He had a girlfriend at home waiting for him.  She told the mission president that she would wait 10 years for him.  They were married 2 weeks after he returned home.  Spjut, Jessi's boyfriend, kept nudging her during his story.
He said he felt impressed to speak for the remainder of the fireside about the Savior.  During his presentation he had Jeff come up and he used him as a very powerful example of Bishops representing the Lord.  He will always have his hand extended to us.  If someone lets go and loses that hold, it will be because they let go not because the Lord let go.  Great visual and Jeff was so incredibly handsome standing beside him.  Jessi had her phone and snapped a quick picture of the moment.  (Not sure it is appropriate to take pics at church but it is a great remembrance)
We have so many great opportunities to listen to Servants of the Lord on the Wasatch Front.  I know sometimes I take it for granted.   Hopefully I will always make a concerted effort to attend all meetings and events where I may learn something and be inspired in some way to become a much better and deeper person.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Message For My Young Single Adult Friends!!

On Sunday the women in our YSA ward had such a fun surprise.  One of the young men in the ward wanted to wish all the ladies a Happy Valentines Day and purchased fresh cut flowers for all of them.  (I guess US because I got one also) After Sacrament Meeting they had 5 gallon buckets of water that were full of every kind of flower that one could ever want:  Roses, Daisies, Carnations, Lilies, and lots more that I can't even begin to name.    Of course this wonderful young man did this anonymously.  Whoever he is, he is certainly my hero.  One beautiful girl in our ward, who has experienced some rough years, told me with tears in her eyes that no one had ever given her a flower before.  She cherished it and the one she chose was just like she was; bright, cheerful and radiant.  I'm certain that whoever this wonderful man is he most likely finds himself stuck in the "Friend Zone" of so many women's social circle.  How sad that is because I know that this was a very unselfish and expensive gesture for him.  Obviously he will be an incredible husband and father one day.  I don't need to know who it was for me to know unequivocally that he is an awesome guy and unfortunately there are so many young women who would never give him a chance because he is 'just their friend'.  Ladies, if I were you, I would be looking in that "Friend Zone" of yours and do a little rethinking about some of the guys that you hesitate to date.  I think you might find some incredible husband material there.

Most of these flowers are actually flowers that Spjut gave Jessi before her procedures.  BUT the red rose and dark pink flowers are ones that Jessi and I received on Sunday.  Aren't they Beautiful!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

If Something Is For Eternity.........

Shouldn't you treat it differently?
A friend told me they were having a Relief Society Meeting with that theme, and I have been intrigued and pondered that thought frequently in the last few days especially since we were celebrating our anniversary. If we truly believe that our marriage, our families and our homes are for eternity, we definitely should be treating them with the upmost respect and reverence.  Believing in Eternal Marriage and Eternal Families should mean that we have the happiest and greatest families ever.   Unfortunately it seems our spouse and families get our worst behavior instead of our best.  I have always been amazed when I have known of spouses yelling at each other.  I can't even imagine ever doing that or being yelled at myself.  What an incredibly degrading practice.  I know though that I am often grumpier and more moody around Jeff and children than  I should be.  When the doorbell rings or I leave I am smiley and happy to others.  Why should others get the best me and not my eternal family?   I need to be more willing to serve and help those I love, looking for ways to uplift and improve their lives and especially our time together.  My goal is to try more diligently to treat those Eternal relationships with the care and understanding that they certainly deserve.  I want my family and especially Jeff to know how grateful I am to them for loving me with my imperfections and I want them to never doubt my love and devotion to them.

                                                                       February 10, 1978
Today we have added many pounds, wrinkles and grey hairs, but we are much more in love today than we were on that beautiful wedding day.  Some things do get better with age!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

34 Years!!

Thirty four years ago today we had a horrendous snow storm, the worst storm of the year.  It began like this year without much snow and moderate temperatures.   My dad had even golfed every month.  Then on Feb 9, 1978 it began to snow, and snow, and snow.  It was the night before our wedding.  I lived in Logan, Jeff was in Bountiful, and we were getting married in the Salt Lake Temple.  As we crept through Sardine Canyon the next morning, I sat in the back seat of my parents Chrysler New Yorker and prayed that I would make it alive to my own wedding.  There were cars slid to the sides, cars spinning in circles, and fenders smashing fenders as we passed them.  I remember my dad saying; "If we stop we will never get going again."  He would keep the gas pedal down and drive out around the accidents and buried cars.  Needless to say, we made it and we experienced a beautiful day!!  The greatest and most important day of my life.  I'm so grateful as I celebrate this anniversary that there is no one I would rather spend time with and no one I cherish more.  I still love playing, visiting, and working with Jeff.  It would be appropriate to put a cute picture of the two of us in this post, but guess what?  I don't have time to look for one.  I'm off to spend a wonderful day and night with my handsome husband!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spiritual Lightening

If you are ready for a personal journey to become spiritually deeper and develop more faith to guide your life this book is a must read.  It is not a quick and easy book, it needs to be studied, pondered  and  embraced. Reading it has been a life changing experience for me.  One amazing thing about the book is that it is not new.  It was written in 1996, but a dear friend, whom I admire so much, recommended it just recently.  How thankful I am that I listened to her and spent the time to learn from it.
The premise of one chapter in the book is that we should not worry about developing self esteem, we need to be much more concerned with developing Faith in the Savior.  I believe studying this concept has helped prepare me for experiences that we have had in our family in the last few weeks.
I quote from Sister Thomas:   "We may think that we or some other mortal opens the necessary doors to our future, but this conclusion is an error.  We ourselves do not open these doors; only the Lord does.  We exercise our agency through our choices, but he retains the power to open or close the doors.  Often doors have closed before us that seemed to lead to the opportunities we thought we had to have.  We may have assumed that the closed door was a reflection of some inadequacy in ourselves; but perhaps the closed door had nothing to do with whether we were good or bad or capable or incompetent.  The opening or the closing of these various doors is dependent on the Lord's perfect perception of our developmental needs.  The most important things that will happen to us in this life will come to us often by no initiative of our own, but rather because he is piloting the plan.  Therefore, we do not need to fear that our future lies in the fact that an authority over us plays favorites, or that a person's employer isn't well disposed toward him.  Even though someone in authority thinks he controls doors, there is really only one Keeper of the Gate.  Now, I ask you, as various doors open and close, as the Lord Jesus Christ orchestrates even the details of our lives, as we are obedient to him, where is the need to pursue self-esteem?  We don't need it.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will take us so much farther."  
Some interesting thoughts, and she mentions at times as she has taught this that it has become somewhat controversial.  As I studied it I felt like I completely and totally believed it.  It is interesting though that this week I've had to decide over again if it just sounded good and right or did I really truly know it was true.  I've had to put it to the test.  After several days of contemplation and self introspection on this concept, I can say I do know it is true.  It becomes much more difficult to understand when you or your loved ones are involved, but it is still true.  It basically boils down to whether one believes in the scripture from Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  
Life is interesting.  We never know what tomorrow may bring.  I hope I can continue to develop my faith to always know a dear and loving Father is orchestrating my life and I can trust Him to help me develop to become the person He needs me to be.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Like Mother-Like Daughter

On Saturday we all went to lunch before Ty and Carly left for North Dakota.  We were in the restaurant and my kids let their children order for themselves.  (Which I think is a great idea so they get used to speaking to adults)  The waitress was taking drink orders when she asked Blake (age 3) what she wanted to drink, and without hesitation she quipped up "Pepsi".  Amy was mortified and quickly changed her order to Sprite.

Ty and Carly were running a little late as they had just finished packing their moving van so they hadn't heard Blake's order.   When the waitress was getting their drink orders Lucy (age 3 in two weeks) immediately requested "Diet Coke".   Carly being highly embarrassed jumped in and ordered Lucy a Sprite.

We all had a great chuckle.
Like mother -Like Daughter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Onward To North Dakota!!

Today is Super Bowl Sunday.  Usually a huge event at our home, but today I'm watching it alone.  This is not a "woe is me" comment, it is a "Wow how fast life changes" comment.  I'm totally fine with being alone,  I actually enjoy it.  Yes I would hate to do it full time, but tonight I'm totally OK.  The only reason I mention it is that it made me realize how quickly stages in our life pass.  We almost always have a crowd for the game, with lots of food, laughter, conversing and a little game watching.  Today Amy, Luke and family, Jessi and Kevin are all watching the game at their friends homes.  Ben and Carrie are in Oklahoma and I have no idea if they're watching the game, and Jeff and Ty, Carly and family are driving to North Dakota.  They are moving there!!  Jeff is driving their U-Haul while Ty and Carly are following an hour behind in their car.  Having them leave has made for a very melancholy day.  That is now a "woe is me" comment.  After we said our good byes this afternoon I mentioned to Jeff that I feel a little like sending a missionary off.  I know it is the very best place for them to be.  It will be so great for them and their little family, but how hard it is for those of us left behind.  They will have an incredible experience as they go forward in this new adventure.  The friends that they will make will become like family.  The growth from facing new and difficult things together will be tremendous.  The opportunities that await them in business, in church work and in the community will enrich their lives forever.  How much they will all be missed here.  The four of them all have such fun vibrant personalities.  Our now small family get togethers will be lacking something without them.  Thank heavens for Telephones, FaceTime, Blogs and Airplanes.  Our time together in the future can be more one on one and precious.  It will be great thing, it just takes some time to get used to it.

                                               Here they are, all packed up and ready to roll

Thursday, February 2, 2012

17 or 50?

The recommended age for a colonoscopy is 50.  Unfortunately because of some health issues Jessi had to have one today at 17.  What a trooper she has been.  She had a much better attitude about hers at 17 than I did at 50.  She also had an endoscopy along with it.  For those who are unfamiliar with the prep for the colonoscopy, it is much worse than the actual procedure.  Two nights before you have it you stop eating at 7 p.m.  The next day you can have only clear liquids.  Then at 5:00 pm, after taking four ducolax, you start drinking some powerful liquid that enhances the cleanse.  There is a lot to drink and it is not great tasting.   You are supposed to drink it all in an hour and then 10 hours laters repeat it all over again.  The result is a totally cleaned out colon so that they can scope it with no mess or obstructions.  If you do not complete the cleanse they cancel the procedure.  We have had such a difficult time to get this procedure ordered because pediatric GI specialists didn't want to see her because she was too old and adult GI specialists didn't want to see her until she was 18.  Jessi has been so sick and has lost so much weight it was imperative to get this done.  Finally our wonderful friend who is a Doctor pulled some special favors and got us into a specialist.  So now on to the moral of my story.  Last night as Jessi started the cleanse with the drink, she would violently vomit as soon as she would drink the fluid.  This happened time and time again.  I started to panic knowing how desperately we needed this done.  I finally called the GI on call doctor and he told me about another medicine they could use that maybe she could tolerate, but then he added there really is only a 10%-15% chance that the pharmacy would carry it.  He called them and called me right back to inform me that amazingly they had it in stock.  At 8:55 p.m. I ran to the pharmacy before they closed at 9:00 p.m. to pick it up.  I mixed it up and Jessi took one tiny sip and began to throw up.  By now I'm in a frenzy, Jeff isn't home, both the doctor and the pharmacist told me that time was running out to get her cleared out and they would probably have to cancel the procedure.  I began to pray fervently that somehow she could tolerate the fluids so that she could get cleansed so she could have the procedure.  I felt that we could deal with whatever they found, we just needed some answers so she needed this done.  By 10 p.m. there was no improvement, I knew we needed Divine Intervention.  Jeff was involved with His Bishopric but I called him anyway and told him I needed help.  He said to give him a minute and when he called me back he told me that our Bishop and our next door neighbor would be over shortly to give her a blessing.  So about 10:30 p.m, dressed in suits and white shirts with smiles on their faces, they knocked on our door so willing to help.  Our Bishop is a wonderful man and because he used to be a seminary teacher, he speaks in a very simple straight forward manner.  He simply blessed Jessi that she would be able to tolerate the medicine and that she would be able to have the procedure done.  It was short, precise and exactly to the point.  When he left I had no doubt that it would all work out.  Jessi began to sip very small amounts, she would run to the bathroom but was always able to keep it down.  By about 11:30 p.m. she had maybe drank 1/4 of the potion, but I had the thought so clearly;  "It is enough"  I told her to go to bed and we would start again in the morning.  She was supposed to start again at 5:00 a.m. but that was if she drank it the night before at 6:00 p.m.  I debated on what to do and again the thought came clearly that she didn't need to start that early, let her stomach rest.  I mentioned to her that we would start drinking the second half of the medicine at 6:30 a.m.  It would be OK.  Of course in the middle of the night I started questioning what I was doing.  Had she had enough to clean her out?   Would there be time enough in the morning to finish the job?  She slept without getting up very often so then I was afraid she was dehydrated and was in trouble.  I tossed and turned all night.  Finally at 5 a.m. I got up to tell her maybe we needed to start drinking and I observed how peacefully she was sleeping and I had the thought again that everything was going to be alright.  Have faith in what I had felt and heard.  I went back to bed until 6:30 a.m. when Jessi woke up, feeling so much better she started drinking the liquid.  It stayed down, she was doing great until she came in to tell me that she had knocked the pitcher over and spilled the rest of the drink.  Once again, I had the thought;  "It is enough".  This time she maybe had 1/2 of the medicine.  I knew she had been promised the night before by a servant of the Lord that she would be able to have the procedure.  We went to the hospital and she did great.  They kept asking if she had completed the regimen.  I told them no but she was OK.  It would be fine.  They were able to complete the scopes successfully.  She was totally cleaned out.  They found a couple of problems.  She has gastritis in the stomach.  They are waiting for the results of the biopsy in her colon to pronounce a diagnosis.  Hopefully she can get some relief of her symptoms with the prescriptions that they have given her.  How grateful I am today for the Priesthood in our lives.  There is no reason she should of been able to have this procedure done today with the preparation that did not occur.  Miracles still happen!!

This is Jessi in August 2011 on the first day of school.  Notice how healthy she looks.

This is Jessi today in the hospital.  Notice how thin she looks.  She has lost 12 lbs. in the last couple of months.  Still smiling but obviously not top of her game.  Hopefully she will soon return to that healthy appearance.