Apparently all the hotels are booked up for spring break and they couldn't find a place to stay, so they asked if it would be ok to come down this weekend with the twins, that way so many people would have to come down for spring break. They got a late start on Friday and also had a delay due to traffic. Avery tried so hard to stay awake so that she could see them, but sleep eventually got her. :p Which was nice for us though; it made it a lot easier to move her to our bed. They were finally able to get here a little after 11PM and they all zonked out. The next morning Avery woke up and and got excited, she looked at me and said "Mommy it's morning, that means Parker and Andrew are here." She loves her cousins and has so much fun with them. :) James had to work for a while on Saturday because of a subpoena that is taking place within his department. So while he was at work we took a drive to look at houses for Mom and Dad, then we took the kids to Firehouse park. The boys loved that it was a fireman's park. :p
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Monday, February 2, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
This past Sunday James and I had the chance to give talks in church. For those who aren't familiar with an LDS church service we have a sacrament meeting where we have the opportunity to renew our covenants with the Lord by taking the sacrament which is bread and water. We also have the chance to listen to our fellow ward members talk about different principles and topics of the gospel that is assigned to them by or Bishopric. Usually when someone new moves in, they like them to speak so everyone can learn a little more about them as well. I just wanted to share the talk that I prepared, minus all the get to know you stuff at the beginning. :p
The inspiration for my talk is from Elder L Tom Perry's conference talk "Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families." As Latter Day Saints one of the blessings we are able to receive is an eternal family. As a former missionary this is one of the topics we would often feel inspired to share a lot. It would help open doors and introduce the gospel to the wonderful people of the Philippines.
The phrase Families are Forever is so common in the LDS culture that at times its a shock when this phrase doesn't apply. As an example of this, my brother has been inactive from the church for years. His wife is a devoted christian with no real organization that she's apart of. Before they were married here and I were talking one day about religion, she started asking questions. Being inactive my brother couldn't answer a lot of her questions and had referred her to my parents and other siblings.
The topic of the temple came up and the usual question of what its for? or What do we do in the temple? was asked. I told her about the sealing power of marriage through the priesthood authority that allows families to be together forever, not just in this life but in the next. She immediately asked if she could call and schedule an appointment to get married there. Which lead into a whole new conversation. That experience got me thinking about how truly blessed we are to have the blessings of an eternal family.
In Elder Perry's talk he focuses on how to find peace and spiritually build our eternal family. He quotes Charles Edward Jefferson. In part of that quote he says "...The world is crying out for something, it scarce knows what. Wealth has come, ...The world is filled with inventions of human skill and genius, but...we are restless, unsatisfied, and bewildered."
Elder Perry then says "Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live. Those to whom they look up and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to him and live. The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation. It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord's eternal plan for his children. The Savior is the master teacher. We follow Him."
As we continue to come to church, pray, read our scriptures, and build up our testimonies through those things and more, it not only builds our individual and personal spirituality, but our families as well. When kids grow up they may forget particular events from their childhood, but spiritual experiences , righteous habits and family practices stay with them through out their lives.
I remember my parents waking us up at 5:30 to read scriptures and say family prayers before my dad went to work. I also remember not being able to see what Santa brought till we all knelt down and had our Christmas morning prayer. All of us, as a young kid being the last in a family of 8 kids, that was a killer.
Elder Perry says "Our homes must be holy places in order to stand against the pressures of the world. Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families. We must carefully continue to evaluate our performance as parents. The most powerful teaching a child will ever receive will come from concerned and righteous fathers and mothers..."
Elder Perry talks about a story of a mother and her sons, but I'd like to share one of ours. Our little girl is starting to understand the basics of giving a prayer and now asks to say prayers herself. Her prayers are a typical 2 year old, she thanks Heavenly Father for things like her books, toys, door, light, socks and such and then asks to bless her books, toys, door, light, socks and occasionally throw in things like mommy and daddy or her grandparents.
For awhile I would try and hurry her along or what I thought was help her, but was really just telling her what to say. One particular night, I was really trying to rush through the bed time routine to go and have some me time. Time to myself to read, sew, craft, whatever I wanted. I was trying to rush Avery through her prayers and both her and I were getting frustrated.
Then she started to push me away and told me "no mommy it;s my turn not yours." I realized that in my haste, I had interrupted my daughters opportunity to talk to her Heavenly Father and start to cultivate her relationship with home. This is so important even for young kids; to start to gain their own testimonies and build their spirituality piece by piece.
In Helaman 5:12 it says:
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
This scripture reminded me of the leaning tower of Pisa. Part of a beautiful architectural church structure the bell tower for the catholic church was the last building to be built. Construction began in 1173, the bell tower was to be 8 stories tall or 185 feet high and build using marble which makes the total weight of the tower 14,500 tons. the base dug and the first few stones laid, but what the architect didn't know is that he was going to be building this massive building on shifting sands, shells and clay. The progress of the tower was going smooth until the tower started to sink, causing it to lean.
Construction ceased to see if the ground would harden and allow the tower a more firm ground to continue. Due to war it was 100 years before construction resumed, but the ground had not hardened. Causing the tower to continue to lean. The architect in charge now decided to shorten the arches on one side and elongate them on the other side so that the tower wouldn't bear so much weight and could stake the rest of the 4 stories. The Italian government over the years have continued to use different tactics to preserve this beautiful piece of history.
There is a primary song that reminds me both of the tower and was written with the scripture in mind, to help teach the importance of building upon the foundation of Christ. The song is The wise man and the foolish man, it goes like this:
LyricsWhen we build ourselves and our families upon the foundation of Christ and his teachings, we can find peace and strength for our families. So when the rain come tumbling down or the world starts to press in on us, we can turn to our foundation and the strength we have in Christ for our support and refuge from the harshness of the world.
I know god lives, I know that he loves us all. I know that Jesus lives, he is the Christ and the Savior of the world. I know and can testify of these things. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Posted by Kristene Armstrong at 3:59 PM
Thursday, January 8, 2015
For New Years we were planning on going to Washington city. They put on this family friendly new years eve party with videos, games, jugglers, food and more. We were kinda looking forward to it, on New Years Eve I decided to see what kinds of things they were going to have and the food vendors so I knew if we needed to bring money or not. But it was going to cost us $22 to get into the event and then some of the other activities cost money as well. Not to mention the food vendors were people like Texas Roadhouse. They did have Subway that was going to be there but still, it sounded like it was going to cost us a whole bunch of money that we didn't have. James surprised me by coming home early from work. After talking to him, we decided to have our own little new years bash at home. After making some quick decorations out of items I had around the house, I decided to head over to the dollar store for a few party favors and balloons. Then we all piled in the car to go to our favorite doughnut store. Nope not krispy kreme but a local company here called The fractured prune. They make gourmet doughnuts right in front of you. They have this big batter dropper, after they get your order they drop however doughnuts you ordered into the fryer which takes the doughnut through on one side then flips it over and cooks the other till it comes to a conveyor belt that lifts it out the fryer and onto a pan to cool. They then pick up the donuts and plop them into the glaze and topping you want. Avery really loved watching all the doughnuts get made. After we got our doughnuts it was off home to have dinner and start our little party.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Posted by Kristene Armstrong at 11:42 AM
Saturday, January 3, 2015
A couple days after Christmas it snowed, so the kids were inside for pretty much all day. I think it was driving them a bit stir crazy. But at least they had all their Christmas toys to keep them busy. I am so very happy that Preston and his family were there. I think Avery would have been a little terror being stuck inside all day without a friend to play with if they hadn't been there. Her and Evie played really well together all weekend long. We only had a couple of fighting issues, other than that they were really great together. When it finally stopped snowing, we were able to go outside and play, unfortunately that was also the day that Evie and her family went home. After we said goodbye to them Avery wanted to play outside, so we got all geared up and went out. We played int he snow, I taught Avery how to make a snow angel. till Dad was able to find the sled hiding in the garage. I knew Avery would be terrified going down hills first, so I decided to ease her into it, first getting her into the sled. This was pretty difficult, but we finally did it;James and I took her for a little ride up the drive way, Avery was really scared but the fact that the dogs were following us really helped to relax her. We went up the drive, turned around and came back. James went back in after that but I decided to see what Avery though about going down hill. I took her to the front of the house and down the big hill. Of course I forgot my camera for all this. Avery was clinging to the side of the sled for dear life and had this fun cringing face. I asked if she wanted to go again, I was surprised when she said yes. So we went again, she seemed a little more relaxed but not much, after that she said she was done and wanted to go see the horses. After finding grandma we all got onto the 4-wheeler and headed over to the neighbors to see their horses. Avery was scared of the 4-wheelers at first but after we got going she really enjoyed it. She loved the horses too. Like mother, like daughter. :p She made a point to visit every one that she could get to, she even ran into the barn to make surer there was none in there that she missed. All the horses came right up to her,they really seemed to either love her or were just intrigued.
Posted by Kristene Armstrong at 10:53 AM