Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Miracles?

“I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you.
I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity.
I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure.
I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve.
I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know.
If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.”


― Gordon B. Hinckley


In Alma, chapter 8 verse 10, we read,
"Nevertheless, Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer..."

These two little tidbits may very well be the missing pieces of "my puzzle" in life and I was blessed to happen upon them together today.


Alone they stand as a really nice quote and a verse of scripture that tells a little of Alma's experiences, but I assure you they are so much more significant.

I have read them both in the past and have been touched by these tender words of President Hinckley, BUT when the two of them came together for me today, well...they just "fit"...they perfectly describe where I have been for the past few months.  I love it when things make sense, when I can see a WHY to what has been happening...

I feel that I have been asked to rise to what lies ahead for me,
to prepare myself,
to prepare my family;
to be a little stronger,
while also allowing myself to be more submissive and obedient.
I struggle with thoughts of failure at times
and have been known to put a little more on my shoulders than maybe I should. 
President Hinckley's quote is a beautiful reminder for me
to SIMPLY do what I can do in the best way I know. 
And his promise ~
miracles will come to pass
How reassuring and beautiful is that???
I am seeing in my life that when I labor and prepare myself spiritually that I can feel a power that sustains and carries me. 
Prior to the past few months,
I don't know that I have truly "wrestled with God in mighty prayer"...
I have said my prayers,
I have gone to Him when I was in need,
I have done what I felt was my best,
but I hadn't experienced what Alma described...

Until...I did.

And today I recognized it.

Today, I read these scriptures and heard this quote and...

I realized that I did have cause to do just as Alma did, I did experience those feelings.

I did LABOR much in the spirit...
I did WRESTLE, with all the strength and determination I possess, with my Heavenly Father in mighty prayer...

As much as I hate to say this out loud

I can see WHY we have our trials,
I can see WHY we need to struggle,
I can see WHY it is important for us to feel alone and desperate and hopeless,
I can see WHY Heavenly Father steps aside and allows us to grow...

I can say that I now understand that it is GOOD for us to have cause to
"labor much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer..." 
We NEED this experience, laboring and wrestling are essential!

Had I not been in the midst of troubling times, if life had been a cake walk, had there been no surprises, had things gone the way I had them all planned, I would never have had the opportunity to experience this blessing and to witness for myself that Miracles do come to pass.
I also may have never seen that I do have it in me
to RISE to the great potential within me.
I may not have recognized that I have a Heavenly Father
who does hear my prayers and my pleadings,
a Heavenly Father who loves me and wishes all the best things for me,
I may have missed the miracles that abound in my life
and dismissed them as coincidence.

Today I see clearly...
the "puzzle" fits together beautifully,
and I can Rise
to anything and everything
that comes my way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Begging and Pleading

I just have to share my Happy Dance Moment with you!!!

As you may already know, I have a handful and a half of kids...BUT there are times that it feels like I actually have 10 handfuls of 'em!  This past couple of weeks that would definitely apply.

Our three teenagers (that sounds soooo strange)
3 teenagers...almost sounds a tad scary,
but they really aren't...
anyway ~
these 3 kids of ours were heading out to Wyoming for "Trek" for the better part of a week.  I have one in particular, a lovely boy, who REALLY, REALLY, REALLY did NOT want to have anything to do with Wyoming or a trek or a bus ride or, or, or...he would have chosen to do anything or be anywhere but "there"...much to his dismay, we sent him anyway.  He finally stopped begging me late the night before he was leaving, I think he finally gave up, it was a lost cause. 

Well, the begging and pleading and all just about did me in...I wondered if I was making the right choice by "FORCING" him to attend something he so desperately wanted nothing to do with.  But as I asked him his reasons WHY he didn't wish to go, nothing was truly sufficient to change my mind, so I did the only thing I knew how to do; I begged and pleaded behind closed doors.  I pleaded for his heart to be touched, to be softened, I begged for answers to help him see his place in this world and how he can make a difference...and then I waited...

This darling boy of mine is such a joy to me, he has always been kind and considerate and he has a smile just melts my heart!  He still gives me the BEST hugs ever...I was told many years ago to enjoy those hugs because once he hit the age of 12 they would a thing of the past...I am so grateful that the woman who said those words to me was WRONG!!!  This young man isn't quite 16, and he still likes his Momma, didn't end at 12, didn't even really change...well, as I think about it ~ it has changed, because I am no longer the one wrapping my Big arms around his little body,


he is now wrapping his BIG, STRONG arms around me
(my body is not so little, but you get the picture).

But there are some things that have changed...
He does have his own mind and he's not too afraid to use it (DARN!!!)
It was so much easier when they just did what you said,
because you said so;
when they become a little older that does change. 
But that's not necessarily a bad thing. 
It just tries your patience as a mother and it can put your faith to the test.

I have been watching this boy struggle with finding who he is and what he believes and what is of value to him and what he wishes to do with his life and which path he will choose to follow...there are times that I worry that I've not "given" him all that he may need, BUT I know that I have done my best.
When I look over at him in church with his head resting in his hands and catch his obstinate glance as he refuses to sing a hymn or try to recall a time when he shared anything he believes, I want to kick myself for not being a stronger example, for not always having FHE or Family Scripture time, but I just have to sit back and remember that I really have done my best, it wasn't THE BEST, but it has been my best. 

Well, as they prepared to go off on their Trek, I was also preparing letters for each of them.  These letters were to be given to them at some point along the way of their journey.  I knew that the words that I would share with this boy of mine, who was a little unhappy at the thought of being there, would have to be words that would make a difference. 
He has always needed to know the REASON WHY we do things, whatever it may be, anything from chores to schoolwork to reading to singing a song or digging a trench to rebuilding an engine or washing the dishes or planting a garden..."WHY" is imperative for him. 
Sooooo, my challenge was to share with him why I believed he was meant to be there this week. 

Ready for my HAPPY DANCE MOMENT???

After reading the letter I wrote to him,
this sweet son of mine walked up and STOOD IN LINE,
YES,
he stood in a long line of kids
as they waited to bear their testimonies in a Stake Testimony Meeting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
If this doesn't sound like anything too amazing to you, I guess you can sit down and not do a happy dance, but I'm shaking it for all I got at this point!!! 
I have never had the privilege of hearing my son bear his testimony, short of a single line in our own little Family Home Evening setting, and even then it was kinda like pulling teeth to get him to speak...so to hear of him volunteering to bear his testimony and then to stand in a line and then to speak in front of over 300 people sharing thoughts he had from the letter I sent for him and making sure to let everyone there know how very much he DID NOT want to be there with them, but that that feeling had changed for him.  That he wanted to be the kind of person that just one other person in the world could look up to and that he was grateful he had been there that week with them. 
Are you happy dancing yet?

Well, our daughter who was there with her brothers, told me of the experience.  She said she did a double take when she saw him standing in line and then a triple take because she was certain that couldn't have been him...as she told me of the words he shared and of the reason she knew she was there (to hear her two brothers bear testimony of what they feel and believe) I was so filled and so grateful and so thankful.  The begging and the pleading that I did behind closed doors did not go unnoticed by my Heavenly Father...my kids were all strengthened by their experience and I, in turn, am strengthened.

Now I'm happy dancing and my eyes are leaking...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

May was "something"...

I'm tellin' ya what...
May just about kicked my buns!!!

It was one BIG thing after another...
some of the highlights ~

**Well, I married my best friend during this amazing month,
we celebrated a whole bunch of years together on the 7th...
love that man of mine! 
And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this quote:
"A successful marriage requires
falling in love many times ~
ALWAYS with the same person..."
Pretty much sums it up...
He is so worth falling in love with over and over and over again!

We took the day together and went to the mountains. 
We attempted...strong on the attempt,
to ride up to the top of a lookout...
the snow was less than cooperative, but it was still a fantastic ride. 

We hiked to Boiling Springs ~
so beautiful with all of the flowers popping up ~ and took a little dip in the hot springs...soooo warm!  :0)

**We finished up finals and co-op classes and choir concerts and a few fantastic field trips and Prom and college entrance stuff and the BIGGIE (drum roll...)
...we had another of our kiddos graduate!!!  Oh my, time has gone by so fast! 

**I mended a relationship that has been struggling and suffering and limping along for too many years...I hope with all of my heart that it is securely stitched up and will now prove to be a happy, healthy wonderful experience for both of us for the remainder of time!!!  This has to be one of the very most important things that I've experienced in a long time...it can be so hard to feel heart-broken and then open yourself up, hoping with all of what is left of your heart that it won't hurt worse, that it will only prove to be joyful and happy.  With a lot of prayer, a ton of faith, all the compassion and understanding that I could muster up...I approached the situation knowing that it could only improve...and guess what???  It really has...I am so, so, so happy!  There is still work to do...may always be, but don't all things that are worth it take effort???

**Chad decided it was time to take all the kids out shooting...first time for the little girls to learn to shoot the guns.  They loved it!  I got to show off for my boys...LOVE IT when that happens!!!  They were mighty impressed at my target blasting...hehehehe!

**I helped my sister with her wedding plans ~ and had a wonderful time helping with her decorations for her special day...June 2nd!  It was such a wonderful feeling to see her so happy...wedding pictures coming (hopefully soon!!!)
I will share this one though...this was way too fun!  I am planning to make one for my little girls' room...all you need is a hula hoop, some Christmas light, some big, fat stuff...dang, not even sure what it is called...it has holes in it...it's heavier than tulle, you work it around and tie off with ribbons to get the "fluffy" look going on.  Then add some greenery or flowers or whatever sparks your fancy.  It was stunning with the lights turned on.  Hoping to add some better photos from their photographer.  Cannot believe I don't have any of my sister, I guess I was too busy watching her and forgot to snap a few for myself!!!

**This was also the day of my baby turning 7!!! 
Happy Birthday
to our little ROCK STAR!
What is up with that?! 
How can my baby be that darn old already? 





(Sorry I snuck in a couple of June things, cause they really consumed me during much of May...so I kinda count them as May stuff, too and it was only the 2nd day of the month...so I think it works)
What a day June 2nd proved to be...
full of so many emotions, so much excitement, so much of, well... everything... 
and then I just have to add this in... 

**I saw my Grandpa ~
same day as the wedding and same day as my baby turning 7
(as if the two of those weren't BIG enough already)
Oh how I have always, always, always loved and adored this man. 
So why do I sound so weird and flipped out about seeing this man???
If I love him, shouldn't I have been ecstatic to see him?
Well, I was...kinda...
The story is that much to my dismay, after making a religious choice many years ago, I was no longer accepted in as family.  This was heartbreaking for me.  My grandparents have not seen my last four children...and missed watching our others grow up. 
Seeing him at my sister's wedding was bittersweet
I was truly grateful for the blessing of seeing him, of wrapping my arms around him and of being in his presence, but it only intensified for me the feeling of loss I have experienced for these past 16 years.
I guess I can only love him and my grandmother and relish in the memories that I do have of them and not dwell on the choices that they've made...there will be time to mend this relationship ~ probably not here, but I do know it can happen, and I fully expect it will and that it will be a beautiful, magical reunion. 

Okay, so back to May and all the "Stuff" that went on around here...

**I beautified
~not so sure that is "really" a word~
 but I like the way it sounds...
so I'm using it!...
anyway,
I beautified my yard
and I finally hung pictures on my walls
and I made an adorable shelf for my dining room ~
(this is made out of an old piece of barn wood and a couple brackets...it was exactly what I wished for)  And look at those happy gerbers...what a great thing to look at every day!

Yes, it is the little things that make me smile! 
I love walking out and seeing flowers happily looking back at me...I am so enjoying my time making my environment feel alive and welcoming and making it look like me...well, it doesn't look like me, it just looks like what I love to surround myself with...yeah, I'm rambling and probably losing you, but bear with me, I get like that sometimes!

My very 1st rose!
Love this old barn door ~
I just added a touch of yellow and it is simply perfect!!!
Gotta love a big strong boy who loves to work hard!
Bryce pulled this dead tree out and helped me plant fun stuff in it's place...
what a kid!!!

**I gave a presentation for our business and have been working like a bit of a crazy woman trying to grow this business back to what it used to be...prior to this darn recession...it is working and I am so pleased!!!  I am enjoying my time doing networking and meetings, but there are times that I feel a little crazed trying to balance it all.  Luckily our kiddos are fantastic and quite understanding and know that they come first for me ALWAYS!  Even my business card makes me think of them...aren't those some darn cute little feet?  Yep, they belong to my little ones!

**May held very little time for writing for me...I did fit in a substantial amount of time for study and reading.  Hooray for that time ~ I think it kept my level of sanity "okay".  I am deep in the middle of studying Adlerian Psychology and I LOVE it!!!  I feel so drawn to it and spend my Tuesday evenings learning as much as I can from someone that I am so blessed to have as a mentor. 

Hmmm...I was certain there must have been several other "things" that I did, but I cannot recall any others, so I guess that was it.  The list doesn't look quite as daunting as it felt.  May was a fantastic month...full of so many wonderful events, so many BIG things.  Maybe it felt so BIG and daunting because the "things" were significant to me, so meaningful for me. 
Watching another of our daughters walk across the stage to accept her diploma ~ it is so "real" ~ that "graduating" word means a whole awful lot.  It doesn't just mean they are done with school, it means they are starting a new life...

they are no longer the little person you've held in your arms, 
rocked to sleep at night, 
kissed the hurts away,
and wiped the ketchup from their chin...
this little girl of ours has grown into a beautiful young woman,
full of talent and potential,
she is ready to take on the world and give it all she's got ~
and I have to make sure that I do not hold her back...
that I give her wings to fly and that I send her with my love and blessing.

So yeah, May was something, it was something beautiful and memorable...and June isn't starting out half bad...life is pretty darn happy!