Monday, February 2, 2015

CHD Awareness Week

Yes I am going to be participating in my 6th annual CHD Awareness Week. Just not on this blog. If you would like to participate please go to http://chdawarenessweek.blogspot.com/ .
Thank you

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Speaking


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:

Lyrics

  1. 1. The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    The wise man built his house upon the rock,
    And the rains came tumbling down.
  2. 2. The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    And the house on the rock stood still.
  3. 3. The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    The foolish man built his house upon the sand,
    And the rains came tumbling down.
  4. 4. The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    The rains came down, and the floods came up,
    And the house on the sand washed away.

             When 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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year

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.
 Oh yeah, did I mention that it was snowing on New Years Eve. :p It was kinda humorous to see how upset the people were that it was snowing. Avery was really excited about the snow.
 Our countdown balloons for each hour, starting with 8:00
 Just some paper banners I was able to throw together
 More fun balloons. As the night progressed it was VERY clear that Avery wasn't going to make it to midnight. :p So around 9:00 we got her in her pajamas and got her ready for bed, the let her pop the balloons on the banister. gave her her glow-sticks and horn to ring in the new year. Then we went outside and made noise and popped poppers  and had confetti guns and said Happy New Year. Avery thought this was great, she was having so much fun.
  After she wore herself out, we put her to bed. It took her a little while to fall asleep, she took her horn to bed with her and we would hear an occasional blast from it. James and I stayed up and played video games the rest of the night, we had had a serious talk that actually kinda killed the rest of the night for us. New Years day was a nice relaxing day, we lounged around the house and then went for a hike. We had to go to the store for some stuff but overall it was nice day. Avery was still pretty beat from the fun from the night before and she went to bed fairly quickly that night. :)
 With her piggy as her guard she had a good long sleep. :p

 HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Merry Christmas Part 3 Rest of the Weekend

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.
Back on the 4-wheeler we headed back to grandma's and straight into the house to get all nice and warm and have a little down time...with daddy. :)
The rest of the day Avery played with her toys and watched some shows. just a nice relaxing day.
 I asked her to smile, she kinda did. Then I said smile and show me your teeth. The above is what I got. :p The next day we headed home, just like on the way down we wanted to make a stop so that Avery didn't get to bored in the car. There a re a lot of view area's and rest areas on the 110 mile stretch between Green River and Salina where there are no services. James and I just chose one that sounded interesting. The one we chose this time was called the black dragon canyon we actually learned a lot about the way the canyons formed and the different rock formations, it was really interesting and pretty.
After that it was back in the car to make the rest of the trip home. We had a very nice, relaxing Christmas and hope everyone reading this had a good one as well. A few days later...a much needed haircut for Avery. :p
She wasn't very happy that I was taking her picture, but that eventually changed. :p

Friday, January 2, 2015

Merry Christmas Part 2: Christmas Day

On Christmas morning we were woken up by my Dad pounding on our door. I hurried and went out to the living room so he wouldn't do it again. I found my Mom, Dad, Brother Preston and his Wife Mina. Almost all the adults were awake and the kids were still fast asleep. :p I later found out from my Mom that Dad woke up at 5:30 and woke her up to say they needed to get up to get the lights and music on and get the fire started since we were going to be waking up soon. Now I don't know about any of your toddlers but my toddler doesn't wake up till she is ready to wake up and according to Preston that goes for Evie too. :p I think my Dad was just super excited for Christmas. :)

Well I went back in our room to see if Avery was still asleep, I found her sitting up in bed, but I think she was still half asleep. I asked her if she wanted to lay down and go back to sleep, she said no. (I bet I could have laid down next to her and got her to fall back asleep though.) So I asked if she wanted to go see what Santa brought her, of course she said yes. She followed me out of the room, I got ahead of her to see if I could take a picture of her reaction, I didn't get much time though. She walked into the room and right to me to snuggle  up on my lap, she didn't even look at the toys. :p I kept asking her if she wanted to look at her castle that Santa brought her, She just got annoyed with me and went and cuddled up on Mina's lap. :p But then She saw Evie's new bike and got kinda excited and came over to me to tell me about the pretty red bike. Preston and Mina were able to get Lem and Evie to wake up and come out. Lem looked excited but Evie looked mad. But then she saw Avery's castle and got excited and sat down to start playing with it. :) It took awhile to get the girls aware enough to start opening presents. It started out really slow, but then they figured it out and started ripping through their Santa gifts.
 For awhile Grandma was the official present opener. :p
 She was very excited about these crowns that she got from Santa, so excited she wanted them opened right away and tried to give everyone a crown.
 Awe pretty queen grandma :)

 Santa even brought her dress up shoes and a dress. They all went on immediately. :)
 I didn't get many pictures of James and I opening our stuff, I was to focused on Avery. :p
 After all the Santa gifts were opened the adults went in to cook breakfast while the kids played with all their new things. We wanted to eat some breakfast before opening the rest of the gifts. The kids ate pretty good considering they were excited to get back to the gifts Then the chaos continued.
 Before we opened gifts we changed the girls diapers and Avery wanted to wear this cute outfit that Santa brought her. Then it was back to opening gifts.
 This cute little Olaf sings and dances and talks. Avery and Evie fought over him quite a lot for the rest of the trip. :p They both love him
 This girl LOVES clothes, every new outfit she opened she wanted to put it on. :p
 These are static stickers, Avery again LOVES these. This is her asking me to open them up.
 Thanks Uncle Bob and Aunt Ilia for the books, Avery reads them all the time, we have them pretty much memorized now
 Thanks Tara, Avery was a little unsure about this doll at first, but after we got her out of the box and I explained to her that it was Elsa she danced around with her while singing "let it go".
 The big surprise of the day was this. After all the presents were opened both Avery and Evie had one more. So we sat them by each other and had them open them up at the same time. They were a box of dry erase markers and another bag of chalk. The chalk I thought was just sidewalk chalk and I knew Avery loved that, I couldn't quite figure out how we were going to use the dry erase though. Then with the help of James and Preston; Mom and Dad brought out these awesome easels. Both Avery and Evie went straight to work coloring on them. I couldn't get a picture of the Merry Christmas message fast enough before Avery had colored all over it. :p
 The rest of the day was nice and relaxing, all the kids played with their toys, we watched shows, and after it stopped snowing. (Yup it was snowing most of Christmas morning and afternoon. HOORAY!!!!) We all bundled up and went outside to play in the snow for awhile.
 Avery just wanted to walk around in the snow. I tried to show her how to make a snowman, but after I was able to build up a base and start on the snowman's middle she came over and squashed him. :p So much for wanting to build a snowman. So we just walked around and we even went and got the eggs out of the chicken coop for grandma. we were out for only about an hour before Avery and I got cold and wanted to go back in to play with her toys some more.
All the women worked together to make a yummy Christmas dinner. Then we all needed a break before pie. James and I played his new game Tsuro which is  A LOT of fun, and best of all you can play with 2 players. We love board games, but we cant find people to play with us. This game is perfect because when we are in the mood for a board game we don't have to try and find people or wait for visitors, we can pull it out and James and I can play. The rest of Christmas night was spent letting the kids play till it was bed time, then the adults pulled out the cards and played shang-hi and not necessarily rummy till 3 AM. I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday. oh and here are a few more pictures.
James, Avery and Rosko playing in Avery's new tent.
 Both her and Evie Love these books. Thanks again Bob and Ilia
                                          MERRY CHRISTMAS!