Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm BACK!!

FINALLY!!

They connected our internet yesterday!! I've been glued to the computer ever since!! I've been stressing about getting caught up on posts and then I realized last night: Getting caught up on posting will be a BREEZE compared with catching up on reading all of YOURS for the last month!! Oh dear. That is an overwhelming task.

Anyway, I'm so excited to get back in touch with everyone! As much as I love it here I miss you all like cRaZy! So this post will be short, but I figure if I post once a day I can be caught up pretty quickly. :)

So stay tuned!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We're still alive...

This is going to be quick...

So there's only one little internet company in Green River. And they're WAY backed up. We signed up forever ago for internet and they aren't going to get to us until December 29th. So I'll be back to posting and commenting then.

In the mean time, all is well. We love it here! Although we miss everyone like crazy!

But most of all, I miss the blogging world!! I need to curb my addiction daily! :) Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, I'll be back to join you all! I miss catching up on what's going on with all of you!

Anyway, hopefully I'll be back soon!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

TODAY'S THE BIG DAY!!

I can't believe it's actually here!! CRAZY!!

So if you're wondering why I haven't posted all week, it's because 1) My husband came home on Sunday!! Yay!! I'm no longer a widow!! 2) We've been packing and getting everything ready to go. 3) I've had lots of goodbye lunches, dinners, and visits! So sad and so fun! And 4) I don't post consistently anyway, so you probably weren't wondering in the first place. :)

Anyway, gotta make this short and sweet since we're leaving in just a few hours and I still need to shower.

As soon as we get the internet in our new place (hopefully within the week) I'll have LOTS to post about! In the mean time, you'll just have to wait patiently.

Yes, I'm excited to get out of my parents' house. Yes, I'm excited to live in the same state as my husband again. Yes, I'm excited to NOT share a room with my children! And yes, I'm actually excited to live in this cute little small town, Green River.

Yes, I'm completely depressed about leaving my family. Yes, I'm completely depressed about leaving the most WONDERFUL friends in the world. I honestly couldn't ask for better. Yes, I'm not looking forward to unpacking and organizing and cleaning everything that's been in storage the last 8 or so months. And yes, I'm not looking forward to starting over. Making friends is so much easier when you're young! I get nervous. And I'm sure no one will ever compare to the friends I have here.

So to you who I haven't been able to say goodbye to, know that I love you and I'll miss you like CRAZY! And to those I have, thanks for the GREAT memories this week! You're all the best!!

See you in Green River!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tis the Season!!

(Post inspired by Catherine :)

**DISCLAIMER** I am not skipping Thanksgiving!! In fact, I have strict rules about listening to Christmas music, decorating for the holidays, watching Christmas movies, etc. before the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING!! Just so you know. :)

Shoot Your Eye Out
Comments & Myspace layouts

My family has always had GREAT Christmas traditions!! During the month of December we have several holiday activities.

We walk around Temple Square in Salt Lake one night to see the lights and end our night with hot chocolate at the mall.

We spend one night with my aunt and uncle and cousins. We eat yummy food, of course. And the kids dress up and enact the Nativity as it is read and we all sing the accompanying hymns. This is usually followed by challenges of song.

"Play something on the guitar!"
"Get out the harmonica!" "Now all the boy sing Jingle Bells!" "All the girl cousins sing Rudolf!" "I'll sing a solo if you do!"

It turns into most of us rolling on the floor in laughter. I love it.

On Christmas Eve, my family drops off the neighbors' Christmas gifts (usually yummy bread from Kneaders and a scripture like John 6:33). That night, everyone wears their pajamas and we have an elaborate candlelit dinner in the formal dining room. Dinner is always delicious, but never the same, except for the sparkling cider.

After dinner we play Christmas bingo, do a reader's theater about Jesus Christ, try to remember the answers to some Christmas trivia (we do the same questions every year, you'd think eventually we'd get the right answers!), listen to my dad read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and I Believe In Santa Claus by Diane G. Adamson, and then open one gift (always an ornament from Santa Claus!). We have hot chocolate with peppermint stir sticks and usually watch a Christmas movie before bed.

That night, all the kids sleep in the same bedroom. When everyone is awake (I was always waking everyone up around five am, which is really crazy because I was never up before noon if I could help it) we wait for Mom and Dad to turn on lights and take a few pictures. Then everyone comes down the hall,
youngest
to oldest,
to see what Santa brought during the night!

After those presents are opened, we clean up the wrapping paper and make a HUGE breakfast!!

Bacon,
sausage,
pork chops,
eggs,
hasbrowns,
buttermilk biscuits,
jams and jellies
(usually gifts received from neighbors),
and juice.

Delish!!

When everyone is stuffed beyond belief we head into the living room. My mom has a HUGE tree that is PERFECTLY decorated. It's probably the most beautiful tree in the world. :) Presents are sorted by recipient and then we open them 1 at a time, youngest to oldest. This way, everyone sees what everyone gets and we get to watch everyone's excitement. It also makes Christmas last until around two in the afternoon! :)

By the time we're on the last few gifts, everyone is bored and wants to play with their own toys so we shred through the last ones.

We spend the rest of the day trying on new clothes, playing with toys, watching new movies, calling relatives and friends, and just being together as a family.

Mom makes a ham, spinach dip, cheese ball, and more and we much on those and crackers and veggie trays all day. :)

Jason's family never really had traditions like these, so he's loved being able to experience it with my side of the family the last four Christmases.

This year we'll be in Wyoming. Jason is scheduled to work the week of Christmas so we won't be coming home. A part of me is sad and will miss my family, but another part of me is so excited to be on our own! We'll be incorporating so many of these traditions and making them our own.

Now, I don't want to do EXACTLY what my family does every year. I want to have our own traditions. Things that our kids will remember forever. This is where you come in! What are your favorite family traditions? They can be fun, spiritual, food related, for Christmas day or not, whatever!! I need some great ideas to make our 1st Christmas alone special for our little family!!

Can't wait to hear what you do!!

Propostition 8

BEWARE!! LONG POST AHEAD!!

We've all been hearing about Proposition 8. Although it has already passed, and it was an issue only in California this time, I know we all have very strong feelings one way or the other. It has frequently been a topic of conversation in our home.

Recently I have received personal hateful e-mail and had very personal attacks because of my position on Prop 8. I'd like to share my own views on the subject.

Initially, I was conflicted. I feel that rights should be given equally to ALL. I feel that VERY strongly. I didn't understand how this would affect me and my family and I couldn't comprehend why my church (the LDS church) would be in support of denying rights to anyone.

However, putting my own feelings aside I also believe this church is Jesus Christ's church, under the authority and direction of my Heavenly Father, 100%. I can never deny it. I believe that the prophet on the earth today, President Thomas S. Monson, was called of God and ordained by the correct authority to the position he holds.

The day it was announced he would be the new president of our church I had been praying continually for my own confirmation that this was the Lord's will. I trust my church leaders, however I have been promised that I can know all things for myself through the Holy Ghost, and I wanted this knowledge.

Jack had just had a blow out diaper. Feces was EVERYWHERE. Not a fun thing to clean up. I had the press conference on in the background turned up so that I could here it as I bathed Jack and cleaned up the mess. When they announced President Monson as the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, tears filled my eyes. My heart knew this man was who my Heavenly Father had chosen to lead and guide His church. I knew it without a doubt.

I laughed when I realized that this sacred moment came in the midst of cleaning a poop covered child. :) But regardless of the circumstances, I received the confirmation I had sought for.

In April of 2008, at the church semi annual General Conference, I stood in my home, raised my arm to the square, and sustained President Thomas S Monson, his counselors, and other leaders of the church.

There is something natural in each of us that confirms what TRUTH is. When something is true we feel it. I know this to be the Holy Ghost. When I feel it, I am forever changed. I would suffer beyond comprehension unto death before I denied it.

That said, although I wasn't sure how I felt about Proposition 8 in the beginning, I knew that I had to support it, if only because the Lord, through His latter-day prophet, had asked me to.

Shortly after exercising this faith, I began to learn more. I began to understand the reason the the Lord and the prophet were asking me to support this. I watched the news and read the Yes on 8 information I received in e-mails from trusted friends and family members, and then researched each story on my own. I did not want to be accused later on of blindly believing something that turned out to be false.

Recently, I was introduced to an interview with with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, and Elder Lance B. Wickman, a member of the Seventy which completely describes my personal views on homosexuality. The article is REALLY long, so I won't post it here. But I hope you'll click here and read it.

Situations are already popping up in states where gay marriage has been legalized. A teacher in California took her first grade class to a gay wedding as a field trip. First graders. Parents were not notified and given an option.

David Parker of Lexington, MA was arrested for simply requesting that the school sign something agreeing that they would notify him before reading stories such as, Who's In A Family by Robert Skutch.

Also, some friends have stated the information better than I could myself, and have given me permission to share their thoughts. (Some thoughts may be duplicated.)

Michelle said:

Background

In March of 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22 to crate a law that said only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. However, in May of 2008 the California Supreme Court Ruled that the statute enacted by Proposition 22 and other statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. They also ruled that same sex marriages would be recognized under the California Constitution.

Prop 8 Proposal

Proposition 8 is a measure the will amend the California Constitution to specify that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. It would overturn the California Supreme Court ruling of May 2008 and make marriage between a man and a woman the only recognized marriage in California.

Why we are Voting Yes!


When the Supreme Court gave their decision last May they said changing the definition of marriage “would not alter substantive nature of the legal institution of marriage or impinge upon religious freedom.” However, the apparent fallacy in this statement is shown by the new rights that will be granted if Prop 8 is not passed. One of these rights would allow individuals to sue religious institutions that teach traditional marriage. If a religious institution doesn't conform their teachings to the definition that the California Supreme Court issued (recognizing same sex marriage) they could be sued and lose their tax-exempt status. It appears that embedded in this Proposition there is another agenda beyond the desire to marry. We believe this will be just the first step toward a wide range of issues that will be more easily pursued if Prop 8 is not passed.

We see Proposition 8 as a direct attack on the family.

The decision of the California Supreme Court renders all civil marriage meaningless. The state Education Code requires that teachers instruct children as young as kindergartners about marriage. If the same-sex marriage ruling becomes permanent, teachers will have no choice but to teach young children there is no difference between same-sex marriage and traditional marriage, we are already seeing this happen in Massachusetts. I personally don't like that 4 judges on the Supreme Court can tell me that my child will learn about this in public school, period. It is wrong that they have gone against the will of the people (Proposition 22) and can tell us on such a huge ideal or belief that our children will learn about it and they get to say how. The issue of same-sex relationships is an issue that parents should discuss with their children, in their own homes, in keeping with their own beliefs. It is not something that should be forced on us or our children.

Redefining marriage will deny many children the right to be raised by a mother and a father. There are specific characteristics that are innate and irreplaceable that men and women bring into a successful raising of a child. However flawed traditional families can be, being flawed is not a good argument against traditional families. The flaws being pointed out are human and are flaws that non-traditional families will have as well (death, divorce, or other issues). The best environment for a child to grow up in is a family with a loving mother and a loving father. Statistics have shown how important it is for a child to grow up in a home with both parents (a mother and a father). It is important that we allow a child to have every opportunity to succeed in life and redefining marriage will only create one more situation in which a child could be denied this opportunity.

Proposition 8 does not take away any rights or benefits from gay or lesbian domestic partners. Under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits” as married spouses. There are no exceptions to this. Proposition 8 will not change this. Proposition 8 is not an attack on the gay lifestyle, but rather about preserving marriage.

Cara pointed out:

Six Consequences If Proposition 8 Fails

1. Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage.The California Education Code already requires that health education classes instruct children about marriage. (§51890)Therefore, unless Proposition 8 passes, children will be taught that marriage is between any two adults regardless of gender. There will be serious clashes between the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children their own values and beliefs. (Schools are not required to get a 'permission slip' for this.)

2. Churches may be sued over their tax exempt status if they refuse to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their religious buildings open to the public. Ask whether your pastor, priest, minister, bishop, or rabbi is ready to perform such marriages in your chapels and sanctuaries.

3. Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston already closed its doors in Massachusetts because courts legalized same-sex marriage there.

4. Religions that sponsor private schools with married student housing may be required to provide housing for same-sex couples, even if counter to church doctrine, or risk lawsuits over tax exemptions and related benefits.

5. Ministers who preach against same-sex marriages may be sued for hate speech and risk government fines. It already happened in Canada, a country that legalized gay marriage. A recent California court held that municipal employees may not say: “traditional marriage,” or “family values” because, after the same-sex marriage case, it is “hate speech.”

6. It will cost you money. This change in the definition of marriage will bring a cascade of lawsuits, including some already lost (e.g., photographers cannot now refuse to photograph gay marriages, doctors cannot now refuse to perform artificial insemination of gays even given other willing doctors). Even if courts eventually find in favor of a defender of traditional marriage (highly improbable given today’s activist judges), think of the money – your money – that will be spent on such legal battles.

When I said before that I have been personally attacked for my position here, I will give you an example. The other day I was told that I was no different from a member of the KKK. I have personally been called sheltered, a prude, ignorant, a bigot, intolerant, and hateful because of my faith and beliefs. I have lost friends. My church buildings and temples have been vandalized and picketed (respectively) because of what I, and others, believe.

There are both good and bad people on both sides of this issue. I will not deny that gays and lesbians are discriminated against by many. They are suffering right now as well.

This issue does not need to yield hate. Fighting meanness with meanness, disrespect with disrespect, and hate with hate does no good. Ever.

The last thing I want to say is that regardless of any of this, I do not hate anyone. I am not a perfect person, by any means. But I can honestly say that I don't hate gays or anyone else. I don't hate anyone who is against Proposition 8. I don't believe in smoking, however I still love people who smoke. This is the same thing. We don't have to believe the same things to be friends, to be family, to get along, to love one another. I have both close friends and relatives who are gay. I love them no differently than if they were straight. Seeing the hurt that this debate causes them makes me sad. I can't deny my beliefs and faith, but that doesn't make it easy for me to watch them suffer.

I welcome your comments on this subject, whether you agree or disagree. The only thing I ask is that EVERYONE, on either side of the issue, be respectful of everyone else. We can discuss this and agree to respectfully disagree. Please harness your passion and convictions just enough to remain kind. I will remove anything that is intended to hurt anyone else, on either side.

P.S. Also thought this was interesting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I heart GIVEAWAYS!!

So, I'm wanting more free stuff. Each time I post another one of these I'm reminded how incredibly greedy I am. :( But oh well!! I want it! So, I'm hoping to win this giveaway this time.

Wish me luck!

Tiggity Iggity Tag

Tagged by Erin. This is the 4th folder 10th picture. Although I couldn't do just one. I needed one of each of my kids. So one is 4th folder from the top, and one is 4th from the bottom! :) It worked out just right. Gotta keep things even! I wouldn't want anyone finding out who my favorite is! ;)

This is over the summer here at Grandma's house. We spent most of the summer out by the pool. Payson started getting really posey (I've decided it's a word) and wouldn't take any normal pictures. If only I looked that cute in a bathing suit!


And here's my sweet little guy on his first birthday! Also this last summer. Wonder what's going on in that cutest little head I've ever seen?!


Hmmmm....I tag Randi, Kristen, Ally, and Kate!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gratitude...How appropriate :)

Funny that this happens to fall on the month of Thanksgiving. Although it wouldn't matter at all if it were the farthest day from it. I have to share my thoughts with you.

Obviously, the last few weeks haven't been easy for me. Last week was especially difficult. This week is better. Not easy, but definitely better. Let me tell you why.

Shortly after I posted, my cousin (in law) an dear, dear, sweet friend texted me out of the blue. "What's your favorite ice cream?" Minutes later she and her darling husband and kids were here with hugs and a giant cup of rocky road ice cream from Iceburg. :) Of course, I cried.

Wednesday night we had our ward Halloween party (pictures to come soon). Then Thursday night, another bestest friend, Kristen, took me out for the night. It was a much needed escape. After the kids were in bed, she and I headed to PF Chang's and split a Great Wall of Chocolate and Banana Spring Rolls. Heaven. We spent the night being silly and talking.

I also received several uplifting comments, phone calls, and text messages from you all. They were perfect. Just what I needed.

A couple of nights ago I was up late with Jack. I flipped through the channels and found a documentary on Joseph Smith. It was on his letters to Emma and others during his time in Liberty Jail. A passage from D & c 121 was read:

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
(D & C 121: 7-9)

I wasn't in prison. I wasn't being persecuted. I wasn't separated indefinitely from my loved ones. I wasn't denied sun light, good food, or my freedoms.

It was simply a hard day. And I don't know that I endured it well. However, immediately, when I heard this scripture quoted I knew this promise had been kept for me. My friends were there to support and lift me up. You didn't make my problems go way. You weren't able to swish a magic wand and fix it all. But for the time being I was able to focus on my gratitude for friends, true friends. I didn't think for a second about my hard days or weeks. I just thought of how much I love each of you and how much love I felt from you.

I hope at some point I can return that beautiful service to each of you.

Thank you to each of you who helped me this week. I love you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tomorrow won't be so hard.

I've been thinking about trials tonight. A close friend called me today to tell me that her sister in law's cancer is back. The doctors are saying "it's aggressive". When we talked, she wasn't sure what that meant. Needs aggressive treatment? It's terminal? I guess time will tell.

So my hard days and weeks don't seem like much in comparison. I could weigh the invisible trials in my hands. Rough day? Or possibly terminal cancer accompanied by financial burdens and all of the stress, heartache, etc that tag along? Hmmm...which would be harder?

It's nearly eleven and I've finally stopped comparing. The cancer wins. Hands down. They are dealing with something much worse. I'm grateful we're not trading places.

However, I've also come to the conclusion that this doesn't mean that what I'm going through isn't hard. I may not be fighting a terminal illness or dealing with losing a child or loved one or any of the other things that are completely worse. But that doesn't mean that today was easy.

I hope this doesn't sound like a pity party. It's not meant to be. This really is just me working things out in my head and throwing them out there. Maybe I'm symbolically releasing the negative from my brain or something crazy like that. I don't know.

What's so rough about my life anyway?

*Yes, my husband is gone. Has been for a long time. Will be for a long time still. So? At least he's alive and healthy and I will see him again soon.

*Some days, my kids are really hard. Lately, Jack clings to me a lot. He tends to do that when he misses his dad. I spend most of the day doing things one handed. (I know this is true for most moms, it's just multiplied for me on days like this). And he yells. And yes, Payson hasn't been as obedient lately as I'd like. I'm sick of counting to three and giving time outs and taking away privileges. At least my children are happy and healthy and here and as well behaved as they are.

*I don't have a home. Most of my things are in storage. I share a room with my children. I even share a bed with one of them. The closet is crammed with clothes for three. There's no space for anything. I feel guilty when my children play with toys because it's a mess in someone else's house. I feel guilty getting in the shower because the kids may get into something they shouldn't or pester someone they shouldn't and I'm not there to stop it. I feel guilty when I have to put the kids in the bath and to bed after dinner, because that means someone else may clean up after us. If I were in my own place, I would just clean up when I was done. Instead, someone else may clean up after me and may then be frustrated that I didn't clean up after myself and my children. When the kids are loud, they aren't just bugging me. They are driving people crazy in a house where it would otherwise be calm and quiet. The three of us can be a very big nuisance. I have a laundry day. There are too many people in this house who use the machine. Get your laundry done in the allotted amount of time or wait until your day rolls around again next week. In my own home I wash laundry on a specific day. I do laundry on my scheduled day and then as needed during the week to keep things from piling up too much. One day is not enough. Here, I don't have more than a day. But at least I have my family. At least they are willing to share their home with me. I have a room and a bed and food and family. I am SO grateful, as I should be, that I am surrounded by loved ones instead of alone in this situation.

You'd think living with family would ease the physical burden. I guess it can in some situations. I just don't choose that. My family does not watch my children. My husband works full time. My full time job is them. That is my choice. I am burdening the family enough being here. I don't need to make them raise my children too. I bathe them, I feed them, I dress them, I change diapers, wipe bums and noses, etc. If I need a sitter, I pay my sister or call someone in the young women's, just as I would if I lived in my own space. I want my family to enjoy my children, not view them as something they have to put up with while I'm here. I am happy to do it. It would simply be added guilt to ask someone else to do it for me.

These are simple trials. Basic. And temporary. I know they will all disappear soon. Hopefully replaced by easier trials. :) (A joke! I just emoticon smiled!! Working things out this way MUST be helping!!) In the mean time, I'm trying my best to endure. And with a good attitude. In August, when someone asked how I was, I could answer cheerfully, "Good!!" Even on a hard day, I was still handling things well. In the last few weeks my answer has been with a smile, "I'm getting through it" or, "It's almost over!" It was hard, but I could do it. This is the final stretch.

Today, I have broken down. I don't share this so that you'll feel sorry for me. Like I said before, I'm working out my thoughts here. It's helpful for me. Also, I don't want everyone to have pictures of me in their head of someone who is strong all the time. I think I'm generally a pretty strong person. But I'm definitely not always that person.

Today I'm definitely not that person.

Today my depression and anxiety (yes, I suffer from severe anxiety, which causes depression. I'm very open about it. If you ever want to ask me about it, feel free. Talking about it makes it easier for me.) have turned the hard things into really, really hard things. They feel like too much. Every tiny thing feels magnified. I'm tired. My eyes are tired. My feet are tired. My arms are tired. My back is tired.

My soul is tired.

I'm ready for this to be over. I'm ready to refresh and reboot and start something new. I don't want to face this same challenge any more.

I know, I know. Endure to the end. I keep reminding myself. I have not endured well today. I was not patient enough with Payson when she didn't want to put her dolls away. She just wanted to play. And I wasn't understanding when Jack wanted to be held. He just misses his daddy. And I took a lot of my frustration out on an underserving Jason. I'm sure he wishes he hadn't called to see how things were going.

I cried. Like a little baby. For a long time. I didn't know how else to make it all stop. I guess I didn't get all of the tears out. They're still coming. I'm just so tired. And there's still a ways yet until moving day.

I'll go to sleep. I'll wake up and get Payson off to school. I'll get things done for work. I'll finish folding my laundry. I'll enjoy the ward Halloween party. I'll try to be better with the kids. I'll read a little more in my scriptures and stay on my knees a little longer. I'll try not to think about how hard today was. I'll try to handle things better. I'll remember the sweet comments of friends letting me know I'm not alone and that I can do this. I'll remember the delicious rocky road ice cream that was brought by tonight, along with a much, MUCH needed hug from a true friend. (I love you, Erin. I really do). And I'll just keep going until I feel better. I hope that's soon.

I'll remember that I do not have it that bad. I'll remember to pray for those who are dealing with so much more. But I'll also recognize that it's okay to feel like life is hard. Even if it's nothing big. It's okay to have hard days.

I'll be okay. I'll be more than okay. I really will. Tomorrow won't be so hard. And really, a month from now, I'll probably laugh at myself for thinking that today was such a hard day. I'm really looking forward to that day.

Just need to throw it into cyber space...

This has probably been one of the hardest, crappiest days and past couple of weeks, of my life. My problems don't measure up at all to those of some, but right now they are weighing on me like two million ton of bricks and I feel like I'm about to collapse at any second. Ever had days that desperate feeling?

Friday, October 24, 2008

HELP!!

I've been crazy busy lately (which I'm actually loving) and haven't had time to finish the AWESOME post I'm working on. Hopefully Sunday. So stay tuned.

Anyway, I need you help! Every now I see someone post about blog stats and how they know a certain number of people are checking them out from certain areas and such. I'd really love to be able to do that! All I know are the little blog counters, but those also count every time I log on to my own bog to check or post or whatever and for some reason that bugged me enough to get rid of the counter.

Sooooo..............calling all blog nerds!! If you know how to get into the whole stats thing, share the love!! I wanna learn!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I heart free stuff.

So lately, I'm really getting cheap. Or maybe just GREEDY. I don't know. But it's bad. It's becoming an obsession.

First, I decided to become an official coupon clipper!! I found a bunch of websites and blogs about it, bought my own organizing stuff (yes, I spent money to save money), and now I'm officially clipping!! Although I have yet to use my coupons. I'm living with the parents right now who have forbid me to buy groceries. Aren't they just mean? ;) Needless to say, I'm VERY excited about my first grocery trip in Wyoming!!

Second, I entered the www.handbagplanet.com giveaway. I entered myself on way too many e-mail addresses and really wanted a free bag. Oh well. Someone else got it. Congratulations, 24 random strangers.

Third, I entered a giveaway contest on my cousin's wife's friend's photography blog. (Complicated, I know). Anyway, Kristin the Awesome (as I have just now decided to name her) of Paisley Photo Art had a giveaway on her blog a couple of days ago. Write in your hilarious reason to get a free photo shoot. Five winners chosen. I WON!! YAY ME!! Seriously, couldn't be more excited about it. Free photo shoot for my DARLING kiddos. :) What was my hilarious reason, you ask? I told her to pity me. I have to move to Rock, Springs, Wyoming. (Note the diarrhea colored font I have used for Rock Springs. This depicts my feelings well). (In the e-mail I went into more detail. But that's the general idea. If you really want more, I'll forward you the e-mail).

Next, I jumped into this biz op. I seriously think you all need to hear about it. Maybe I'll blog the details later since no one seems interested in my TOTALLY AWESOME brunch. I'm telling you, you'd be crazy not to take advantage. Anyway, I've been working hard the last couple of days on this. Well, working hard for a stay-at-home mom, that is. I still have my children and other responsibilities to attend to, but in all of my spare time I'm on conference calls and such. I had forgotten how much I love being a part of a business, something bigger than me. I really enjoy it. And to make money for doing something I enjoy, well, how could I not?!

This brings me to my latest freebie obsession!! THIS QUILT!!

It's absolutely beautiful!! Go check out the giveaway at Pigtails and Snails although, don't try to hard to win, because that will just make it harder for me!! And I can just picture this quilt perfectly on Payson's new bed with the fun new dressers (you know the one's from my first garage sale purchase?) that I'm refinishing!!

Maybe it's the economy that has me on this cheap/free fix. But you know, if if the economy was doing great, why wouldn't I want to save up some extra dough? That could add up to a vacation with the hubby, or for the family, a new car, college/mission/wedding funds...the list goes on!! The point is,

I heart free stuff!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

This had better be the last time!!

(I know this is a HIDEOUS picture, but it's all I could find of the two of us that I haven't already posted. Apparently we don't take many pictures together).

So Jason had an entire week off of work!! Seven whole days!! We spent the first two in Wyoming with him, looking for a place to live. Then he spent the rest of the week here with us!!

(Jason helping Payson make a little beaded bracelet at the Cox Family Reunion this past summer).

I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to have him here with us!! We didn't do much of anything. We played and did normal things, like take Payson to and from school and ran errands.

(Jas with the kids at the Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.).

On Sunday, we got to go to church with our Daddy! That was SO NICE!! He asked to take Jack to priesthood, so I actually got to listen in Relief Society! That was wonderful! And then I had an extra set of arms in sacrament meeting. We didn't have to take anyone out in the halls! NOT EVEN ONCE!!

(Jack and Daddy swimming in Grandma and Grandpa L's backyard. Those are two HANDSOME boys!!)

And then tonight, Jason had to leave again. :( Back to Wyoming for the last time. I should be overjoyed that after this last stint, we're all moving, so I'll see my husband every night! And I am! But this last time is for over a month. He won't be off work until the week of Thanksgiving. So this is going to be HARD.

I spent this afternoon on my bed in tears in his arms. And then I cried most of the lonely drive home, after dropping him off with his carpool. And I'm crying again now thinking about going to bed in a bit alone. I hate that.

But women have gone through much worse and as stated in conference, I can do hard things! So there will be MUCH to be thankful for come Thanksgiving!! Aside from the gospel, my family, our health, etc. I will merely be glad that I get to fall asleep next to the best man in the world every night for the foreseeable future!! :)

P.S. Jason took me to see GhostTown with Ricky Gervais while he was here and I spent most of the movie in tears, laughing hysterically!! SO FUNNY!! Go see it NOW!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Do as I'm doing! Follow, follow me!!








Okay, so that song has nothing to do with this. But I'm pathetic and it makes me feel better about myself when I see that someone has clicked "Follow This Blog" (to the left). Comments and followers boost my self esteem. :) So go ahead!! Click it!! What harm is it going to do?
P.S. What the *#$^@*&$^(@!! I can't figure out why there's a big gap between my image and script!! Arg. Dumb computer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing Catch Up

And now the moment you've all been waiting for!!!

Really, the truth is, this is probably going to be a lame post. It's taken me forever and thus built up undue anticipation. But oh well!! I didn't promise anything special. Just a post!!

So first, we'll start with our excursion to the zoo!! A couple of weeks ago, my cousin, (actually, my cousin's wife, but family is family, in law or not!) Erin, and I decided that since we were both temporary single mothers we needed to get out of the house. So we took the kids up to the Hogle Zoo!! We planned to leave early (ish) in the afternoon but ended up leaving around four. Such is the life of mothers with young children. :)

Morgan, Noah, and Jack
three monkeys watching the monkeys =)
p.s. Jack's shirt is light maroon, but for some reason it looks pink in this picture


The kids had a lot of fun. I think Erin and I couldn't have cared less. Anything that got us out of the house for some adult conversation would have been accepted JOYFULLY!! We hadn't hung out for a long, long time so it was really fun to reconnect. We've been each others' replacement spouse the last few weeks. (Erin's hubby, Isaac, does summer sales and extended, but she and the kids had to get back for Morgan to start school).

beautiful Morgan Mae

Of course, I had to take the traditional picture of Payson comparing her arm span to that of a gorilla...

And then, to show you how freakishly tall Erin is compared to me, check out her arm span!! SIX FOOT ONE!! Actually, almost the same as the gorilla!! =D

Check out this picture of Noah! I know it's a little blurry, but look how similar he and Jack look!! At first I actually thought this was my son!!

He's just too cute! Look at those pouty lips!! I wanna bite 'em off!!

Anyway, so then the next week, Jason had Monday through Wednesday off of work!! AND he got off early on Sunday! So we had him home Sunday evening, Monday, Tuesday, and half of the day Wednesday before he had to head back.

I can't even tell you how much fun it was to have him home!! And for three days instead of two!! I bawled like a baby again when he had to leave. I hate that part. But we had a blast while he was here. Monday we took Payson to school. She was so excited to show her Daddy her classroom and teacher. It was really fun.

Then we spent the rest of the day Monday and Tuesday shopping!! I was still wearing nursing bras and garments!! YIKES!! So I got what I would call an AMAZING boob job from Mervyn's!! a.k.a. new bras. Seriously, if I don't catch you checking out my rack the next time I see you, I might be a little offended.

Okay, so maybe I've gone too far. Back to our time with Jas! So then Tuesday night my little sister (thanks Madie!!) watched the kids so that Jason and I could go on a d-a-t-e!!! We hadn't been out together in MONTHS! It was so perfect!

We went to my favorite little Japanese place for dinner. Osaka in Provo!! It's SO delicious! I got loads of sushi (and yes, I even eat the raw stuff) and Jason got the same things he gets every time: Teriyaki chicken and steak.

making our best fishy faces in front of the fish tank

Just for me, Jason ACTUALLY tried some of the RAW stuff!! I had to catch it on film...

AND HE LIKED IT!! Who can resist a good spicy tuna roll?

After dinner, we headed over to tRaFaLgA to steal a date night idea from Jayni!! Apparently Trafalga has a $20 date night package that includes

* go cart races
*50 pitches each at the batting cages
*18 holes of mini golf
*some tokens for the arcades
AND
*2 large dip n dots at the end of the night!!

What a steal, right?!

We made a bet before we raced about who would win. Here I am taunting the future loser.
When the light turned green and we started, I pressed my foot down to the floor on the gas and my car didn't go!! WHAT?!?! So Jason got a HUGE head start! Not fair! Although, he turned to look behind himself at me and while he was distracted I zipped right passed him and then stayed on the inside of the track so that he had no chance! :) I totally won!! (By the way, babe, you still owe me that massage!!)

Batter up!!

Look at that BUTT!! So HOT!!

We had so much fun! I didn't think I would like the batting cages as much as I did. And I was surprisingly good!! Or maybe lucky. I'm not sure which.

Jason kicked my tail at the miniature golf. I had several holes where it took me 7-10 strokes to reach the stupid hole. I'm a little impatient and golf is not my thing. By the time we got around to the golfing it was too dark outside for any decent pictures. Oh well.

We bought some extra tokens inside and wasted them on ski ball and some shooting and racing games. I felt like I was twelve!! We had such a blast!! Then we found this arcade game version of Deal or No Deal!! SO FUN!! Instead of money amounts it gives ticket amounts and is played just like that game show, but with a few less cases. It goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, 40, 70, 100...or something like that. Anyway, we ended up winning 70 tickets!! The second highest amount!! Imagine if it had been the real game show!! HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!! :) Well, I can dream, can't I?

We got our dip n dots and used our tokens to get some cheap prizes for the kids and headed home. We had so much fun and didn't want to be done with the night, so we grabbed a movie on the way home. And then realized that we're old and went to bed before we were half way through it. :)

Anyway, having Jason home was amazing as ever! This time apart is such a reminder to me not to take advantage of having him around. I can handle the house and kids and laundry and such on my own just fine. But having my best friend around makes it a million times more worth it!!

That next weekend was the General Relief Society Broadcast, which I L.O.V.E.D.! President Uchtdorf is so wonderful and I loved each of the talks. They were so perfect. It got me so excited for General Conference this weekend!! I must be a real grown up. As I teenager I always dreaded (even though I did end up enjoying it most of the time) knowing that I was going to be spending eight hours in front of the tv trying to stay awake. Now I can't wait for conference to roll around! I love taking notes and then rereading the talks in the Ensign later in the year.

Oh!! A couple of funny stories about my silly girl!! So the last week with Payson has been terribly entertaining!! First, the other day I was doing laundry and could hear Payson in the family room. Rachel Ray was on in the background. All of the sudden Payson cracked up as loud as I've ever heard her! She starts yelling, "Mama! Mama! Guess what that lady said!" So I came out and asked what. She says to me, "She said 'chicken bra'!!" And she starts guffawing again. I couldn't help but laugh!! Apparently Rachel Ray was cooking with chicken broth and Payson had misheard. :)

Then one morning this week she had put a Barney dvd into the portable dvd player and turned it on in the bedroom before school. There's this song that goes, "No matter how you choose to move, exercise is good for you!" So I'm listening to Payson sing along and all of the sudden she belts out at the top of her lungs, "No matter how you shake your boobs, exercise is good for you!!" Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! I almost peed myself! That one caught me so off guard. She looked at me so innocently! She thought those were the ACTUAL words!

And last, to top it all off, she came to me the other day with her teeth super glued together. That's right, folks! Her TEETH were SUPER GLUED together. Apparently she had found my secret stash of superglue in the back of a drawer and chewed on the tube. Her tiny teeth punctured little holes in it and the glue was all over in her mouth. SOMEHOW she managed to keep it off her skin, thank the high heavens! But I spent some time after that reading the warning labels to make sure we didn't need to call poison control or the doctor's office and then sat picking at the dried glue until we had most of it off. Good grief, child!! I swear. Fortunately, the saliva in her mouth kept the glue from sticking to her cheeks and gums and also made it a little easier to pick off of her teeth. But it was still time consuming and completely obnoxious!! So next time your kid eats glue, just be glad it's not Superglue!!

I still have a couple of tags to post and another post in my head about honesty that I will be needing some input on!! So stay tuned! But that's all for now!! Happy Conference Weekend!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

** sigh **

I have way too much to post and no time to post it. I'm falling too far behind and I'm losing the will power to catch up. So for those of you 'anxiously awaiting' my next rant, soon enough. I promise.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ah, the ramblings of me.

Usually I think a little ahead of time what I'm planning to post prior to doing so. Tonight, I haven't at all. Totally impromptu. We'll see how this works out.

Random ramble #1) Today, I decided I want some one on one time with my sweet little girl. This desire came after I realized there was nothing in the house that sounded appetizing and it was lunch time. I wanted to go out. I had just put Jack down for a nap. My mom was home and not planning on going anywhere. So I bribed her to listen out for Jack with a promise of bringing her home something delicious to eat. I mentioned Kneaders, Payson wanted Los Hermanos. It was her special date, so we went with Los. She was hilarious the entire time. She talked my ear off and I just smiled and thought about how I'm the luckiest mommy in the world. Then we ran a few errands, grabbed something delicious at Kneaders for my mom, and came home. I have now decided that this will be a monthly tradition (monthly for now; I'm sure as life gets busier, it will have to be less frequent). And as soon as Jack is old enough to really appreciate it, he will be added to the mix. Spending time special time with her was meant to be for her. But it turned out to be a reminder to me of just how grateful I should be that even when she isn't behaving so sweetly I really do have the best three and a half year old out there!

Random ramble #2) Last week I packed up the kids Tuesday afternoon and headed to Wyoming. We drove three hours in the POURING rain. Jack slept for the first half of the trip (then we stopped to eat, which woke him up) and was silent and happy the rest. Payson watched the Wiggles on the portable DVD player the whole time. I think I reached back once to hand Jack his binki. No screaming, whining, grumpy children to be found in that car! Does anyone else find this to be ASTOUNDING?! I mean, my kids are unusually good (at least I think so) but on a three hour car ride?? I was BEYOND amazed! We then spent Tuesday evening, all day Wednesday, and most of Thursday with our WONDERFUL daddy! (He had Wednesday and Thursday off. His schedule is really weird right now, and he wasn't going to be able to come down, so we went to him). We didn't do much. We looked for housing, we saw daddy's work, we rented a movie one night, we ate out a lot. But mostly, we just enjoyed being together as a family! That's something I need to remember never to take advantage of!! When Jason's not around, we're just not whole. For those of you who have asked how I'm doing with him gone, I've generally responded that I'm doing REALLY well. And that has been the truth. Things have gone really smoothly. Then we saw Jason for those two days. I spent most of Thursday crying like a little baby. It was pathetic! Every time I thought to myself, "We have ___ hours left", the floodgates opened. The whole time he's been gone, I have kept myself busy enough that I hadn't even realized how TERRIBLY I missed that man! Leaving felt like someone was tearing my heart out! I hated it. I couldn't see for the first fifteen minutes of our drive home. When I stopped to get gas, I ran in to pre pay and I'm sure the cashier was wondering what was wrong with me. Swollen, red, puffy eyes, smeared mascara. I was such a wreck. I finally called a friend who talked to me for a while and got my mind off of Jason and I was okay for the rest of the drive...mostly. (Thank you, Shauna. You probably saved us from dying in a fiery car crash). But I really do have the most wonderful husband and he is making such a sacrifice right now to provide for our family. Only until November 8th (ish)!! Then things will get back to normal. (That's when we'll be moving). I spent Friday and Saturday in my pajamas ALL DAY moping. It was pretty pathetic. I'm sure everyone was wishing I would get up from my book and take a shower. Sorry. Anyway, I'm good now. Back into busy mode and missing my husband with a reasonable amount of hormones and emotion. :)

Random ramble #3) I finished the afore mentioned book late Saturday night (the one listed on my sidebar). It's definitely a new favorite! I cried like a little tiny baby at the end!! Really, it was pathetic. I was in bed at two a.m. sobbing, hoping my kids wouldn't wake up from my sniffling. SO GOOD!! I recommend it to you all! But now I'm done and I need a new suggestion. I like just about anything. I used to say anything but sci-fi or fantasy stuff. Then I met Harry Potter and Edward Cullen. So I guess from now on I'll have to just say, I'll try anything once!! So please leave your recommendations below!!

And final ramble of the evening) I don't have many enemies (that I'm aware of). Okay, as far as I know I don't have any. But I do recognize that I can be snippy and judgemental and critical of people at times, even if it is only in my head. This is something I've decided to make a serious conscious effort to work on. I was reading about having virtuous thoughts the other day and found so many wonderful scriptures and counsels on the subject. I believe that will make a significant difference. However, I need some help. There is a certain group of people who I have a VERY, VERY difficult time with. I don't think they know how I feel. But I am very aware that I do not love these people. I am extremely critical and judgemental towards them, and if you knew the whole story, I believe it's fairly justified...if not for the fact that it is NOT my place to judge them. And because of my relationship to these people I feel it is absolutely necessary that I learn not only to interact with them civilly, but to actually love them. Not knowing the circumstances, I'm sure this sounds silly and childish. Maybe it is. I don't really know. I'm not entirely objective. But I do know that this will be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. It will take all of my effort to erase my previous habits and thoughts and learn to actually sincerely LOVE these people the way Christ would. So I'm wondering if any of you out there can relate. Is there anything you can share with me? Any advice? I honestly feel like it would be easier for me to jump out of an airplane or climb a mountain than to do this. So your thoughts are super appreciated!!

Anyway, now that all of my rambling is out of my head and into cyber space, I think I may be able to sleep soundly for the night!! Sweet dreams, fellow bloggers!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Whistle While You Work...


Ode to Generation LAZY!!

Well, I'm much too lazy to write an actual 'ode', so this post will have to do. I've thought about this a bazillions times in the last several years, but lately, especially. And I'm allowed to be critical about this subject, because let's face it: I'm in desperate need of this criticism.

To what do I allude, you ask? Work. REAL, HARD, WORK. My grandparents and great grandparents worked their tails off daily. Just to get by. They had to. The cows had to be milked, the gardens had to be planted and weeded and watered. The sewing had to be done. The laundry had to hang dry. The butter had to be churned. I'm sure this list could go on and on. You get the idea.

So now I come to me. My life today. I am so grateful for the luxuries that I have that make life a little easier. I'm glad I'm not out shoveling manure or hand stitching all of my children's clothing or anything like that. I feel overwhelmed enough with my modern day work load. But lately I've realized that I may be the laziest person I know.

Growing up, we had chores around the house. We dusted and vacuumed daily. My poor mother had to nag us to death to get it done, but eventually (most of the time) we did. We did dishes, scooped up the dog droppings in the backyard, helped in the yard, cleaned our own rooms and toys. The usual.

Then one day, we had a bigger house, a bigger yard, more to clean, more to weed. We griped and groaned and eventually my parents got sick of trying to make us and hired help. My parents themselves continued to work, but paid others to come in and help where we children would not. I don't blame them.

Now I'm a grown up with a husband and a family and a home (soon!!) and responsibility. And although my parents gave it their honest BEST effort, I have not learned how to work. I was a lazy kid. Now I am a lazy adult.

I do dishes and laundry and I cook and my kids are always dressed and bathed and their teeth are brushed. We stick to our routine pretty closely and the kids are generally in bed on time. We always make beds first thing in the morning. My house is USUALLY straightened. I'm good at the basics.

But when it comes to cleaning...I'm a disaster!! When guests are coming over, I clean it...usually. When there are things sticking to my feet on the floor, I clean it...usually. When you can barely see yourself in the mirror, I clean it...usually. When the car is full of crumbs and gunk and I can no longer see out the windows, I clean it...usually. When it gets really disgusting, I clean it...usually. When you can see a black ring starting to form in the toilet bowl, I clean it...unless Jason is home. Then I make him clean it. Get the idea?

So what am I thinking with wanting to get my own house?! I'll just run it down!!

I DREAD cleaning. I have a really hard time getting myself to start. Then once I get going I realize that I'm just fine. And I feel so great when it's done.

Lately I'm trying to be better. I think, especially since having Payson, I've been in a rut. I get ready...when I have to. I clean...when I have to. I go out...when I have to. It's been depressing.

So I've been making an effort to get ready, whether I have somewhere to go or not. I'm calling friends and making plans to get out of the house, just to get out of the house. I'm trying to read my scriptures more and really search. I'm trying to pray more sincerely. I'm trying to work out and eat more appropriate portions and more healthfully. I'm trying to make little efforts to make BIG changes.

So far, so good. Everything is working. I'm happier. I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Getting my behind out of bed in the morning is hard. Getting to bed early is also hard. Getting myself onto the treadmill is hard. Ignoring the goldfish crackers and choosing a celery stick instead is hard. But I'm doing it. And I feel so great when it's done!!

Twas the lesson I (re) learned yesterday. I got up early, got everyone fed and ready, got Payson off to preschool, came home and worked out, picked Payson up, ran some errands, fed the kids again, put Jack down for his nap, and realized that I didn't have anything to do for a while.

Turns out, Jack didn't actually want to take a nap yesterday. So instead, Payson threw on her swimming suit and I put Jack in his stroller with some toys outside and we decided to wash the car!! That's right, I decided to wash it myself. No automatic car wash here, folks!! I cleaned out the car, vacuumed and wiped down the inside, cleaned the windows, busted out the soap and hose and bucket and rags and got that sucker SPARKLY CLEAN!! And it felt SO GREAT when it was done!!

I just kept thinking to myself, it's just a silly car wash. Most people wash their own cars. Why am I so darn proud of myself? But the answer I came up with is: I DON'T CARE!! I worked hard, with no nagging mom on my tail, and got the job done. AND IT FELT GOOD.

Light bulb moment: I LIKE to work!! I like the feeling of being productive. I like looking at my work when it's done and feeling that pride. I like sitting in a clean car, or house, or whatever it may be, and not having the thought floating around in the back of my mind that I have to do that (and a million other things) later.

I guess that's why the Lord says, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;" D&C 109:8.

And that one scripture could take me off on SO MANY tangents that have run through my mind the last few days, but I'll save those for another time, another day. But for now, my latest revelation:

I LIKE TO WORK!!


(Mom and Dad, I hope if you're reading this, I don't give you an actual heart attack).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Standing in Holy Places


I've been wanting to go to the temple for a few weeks now. Jason and I try (not hard enough) to go as a couple, but it's gotten harder with each child. Finally we decided that, if necessary, we would just go separately. One would stay behind with the kids, while the other went. At least this way, we were going. Well, Jason went once. And I still haven't been for quite some time. Honest reason: I haven't put in enough effort.

I'm now realizing that I've taken for granted that I live near so many temples. In just a couple short months I will be three hours from a temple. Each visit will need to be carefully planned. A babysitter will be necessary most of the day. We will even need to budget gas money!! :)

Today I finally made it. I put Jack down for a nap and got Payson entertained so that my mom would have minimal work to do. Payson would keep herself occupied (hopefully) and Jack would stay asleep until I returned (hopefully).

I left at about a quarter after eleven. I assumed the temple wouldn't be too busy. It's the middle of a work day. I generally do evening sessions with Jason. Very busy. And we usually have to hurry back to relieve the sitter and get kids to sleep. I was really looking forward to a few peaceful hours for just myself.

As I turned onto the road the temple sits on, I could see the spire in the distance, the Angel Moroni. I can't explain the feelings I had, the warmth I immediately felt, just seeing the temple.

As soon as I pulled up, I noticed a very full parking lot. I worried for a minute and then saw a BEAUTIFUL bride and groom outside. Yes, the temple was busy. But everyone was attending sealings. Sessions would be small, giving me more time to reflect.

I had realized on the way that I forgot everything but my purse. Oh well. At least I had some cash and my recommend. I rented my clothing, changed quickly, then entered the chapel, sitting on the front row.

Quiet. Peace. Calm. Warmth. It had been far too long. This was so very needed.

I pulled the scriptures from under the pew and picked up where I left off in my personal scripture study. Charity. Attributes of the Savior.

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Moroni 7: 47-48

I've been reading this chapter in Preach My Gospel about the Attributes of Jesus Christ. I've loved reading about becoming more like Him. The way is so simply outlined. But charity...charity does not always seem simple. How do I find charity in myself?

The promise at the end of verse 48 made me stop. That we may be purified even as he is pure. Pure. How must that feel? Clean. Some words found in a thesaurus are absolute, complete, fresh, guiltless, innocent, refined, ...and simple.

Simple.
Having charity is simple. Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love. Simple. Ask. Okay. I can do that. Simple.

After the endowment session, I walked, alone, into the Celestial Room. Quiet. Peace. Calm. Warmth. It had been far too long. This was so very needed.

I sat, alone, praying to my Heavenly Father. Wanting so much to stay here. Wanting to feel this close to Him always. Wanting to feel this pure forever.

We unavoidably stand in so many unholy places and are subjected to so much that is vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord that I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to strive to stand more often in holy places. Our most holy places are our sacred temples. Within them is a feeling of sacred comfort. We should seek to be worthy to take our families to the temple to be sealed together for eternity...We must strive for holiness by being “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity"...In this way we can maintain and strengthen our own individual relationship with our God...Holiness is the strength of the soul. (James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2005, 62)

My soul was strengthened this afternoon. I feel it inside me. I want to be able to share this feeling with everyone I love. And just with everyone. I want to seek for this feeling more often. Even on days when I can't stand in that Holy place. I want to make my home a holy place. I want to feel that charity, that pure love of Christ, always.

I am so grateful for temples and the eternal blessings my family has because of them. I testify that these beautiful buildings are so much more! They are sanctuaries, havens from the vulgar, profane, and destruction. They strengthen me when I stand even near their walls. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father when I am there. They are truly Holy Places.