Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Celebrating Makenna

On the 15th of this month we got to celebrate Makenna's 11th birthday.  She was so excited for her birthday to come.  Out of all of the kids, she is the one who gets the most excited.  The night before her birthday I let her open a present.  She has been asking me since she was four years old to have red hair.  I have always said no because it was such a drastic change and I didn't want anything permanent.  That and she was four.  Who lets their four year old dye their hair!  Then again, what four year old asks to have their hair dyed :)  Anyways, I found a semi permanent red hair color and I got that for her.  I let her open it the day before so she could go to school on her birthday with her new red hair.  She was so excited! 
In the process

The finished product!
 
I think she makes a pretty cute red head!  The next morning she woke up and opened all her presents before school.  I don't think she posessed the capability to wait until after school :)  I don't know where she gets that from!
 
Her favorite gift was this stuffed elephant from Munu and Papa.  She loves elephants  (I think she has 2 of them now) and this one was really big, really soft and extremely cuddly!

 
She took treats to school to share with her class.  After school a family friend took her out for ice cream and a golf cart ride.  That night we had steak, green beans and rice - her choice followed by cake and ice cream.  She wanted a chocolate cake with orange colored frosting.  Easy enough!
 
 
Makenna has really grown a lot this year.  She has faced a lot of challenges - moving (again), starting a new school (again and unexpectedly), to name a few.  She had ups and downs dealing with it all but has come out on top when all is said and done.  She has made lots of new friends, joined the volleyball and basketball team.  She's on student council, won in a DARE essay contest, and has straight A's.  She is taking piano, loves to read, tried out for All-State choir and is developing a love for cooking.  She can be tough as nails, yet she has a very sweet, kind heart that makes people love her.  We are so thankful to have her in our family.  She teaches us so many things and we can't imagine life without her!  Happy Birthday Nennna!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude

For me, November is a month of reflection.  A time to look back and see all the many blessings that I have.  I think it is that way for a lot of people.  We take time to count our blessings and give thanks for them.  It's something that I try to do year round, but because of the season I focus on it even more.  I have so many things that I am thankful for - a wonderful husband, six beautiful children - each with their own personalities and abilities, a home, a job, food, clothing, friends, the gospel and my Savior Jesus Christ.  There are so many more things - too many to mention.  Each day though, I am blessed.  Each day I can feel God's love for me and His hand in my life. 

In the scriptures it says, "every day [we] should give thank to the Lord [our] God."  I believe with all my heart and soul that the blessings I have in my life come from God.  He loves me and He wants me to be happy.  He looks out for me and gives me the things that I need.  Sometimes those blessings come wrapped up in trials, sometimes they come through friends, sometimes they come from quiet moments spent in prayer and pondering.  However they come though, I know from Whom they come and I am grateful for His love. 

A few years back when all my kids were little, I was having a very overwhelming day.  The kids were all needy, the house was a mess, I was tired and there was no end in sight.  I sat down to take a break and try to gather myself together and these are the thoughts that came to my mind:

With pen in hand I humbly write about all my blessings that may seem out of sight.
They get pushed to the side by day to day things like diapers and errands and quarrellings.
I have so many gifts on which to reflect, blessings that come when I least expect.
Sometimes distracted by the tasks on hand, I forget about the blessings behind the demands.
I do not like laundry, to wash and to fold, but I am grateful that we all can be clothed.
The dishes keep piling, I don't always keep up but I know if they are dirty then we are filled up.
My cupboards are few and I have to stack things around, but I am grateful they are full and there is food to be found.
Dusting is a job that never seems done, but I am grateful for the furniture that the dust lands on.
Making the beds is not a fun chore, but I am grateful that we do not sleep on the floor.
Our house needs work out here on the farm, but I am grateful to have something to keep us warm.
My children have needs, sometimes almost more than I can bear, but I am ever so graetful for the love that we share.
Our vehicle gets smaller as we all cram in there, but I am grateful we have it to take us everywhere.
The bills pile up - telephone, gas and utilities, but I am grateful to have such luxuries.
Through the child bearing years my body has changed from young to not and from firm to mush, but I am grateful for the strength it posssesses and for it's ability to continue to push.
The list goes on - the blessings camouflaged by the tasks. Our Father has so much to give us if we will just ask.
I'll never be a rock star, but I love to sing. I'll never be a concert pianist, but I can have the joy that playing brings.
I won't discover new cures or lands, but I can teach  my children to discover with their hands.
I'll  never be a gourmet cook and have a T.V. show, but I can feed my family and help them grow.
My children won't have all that they adore, but I can give them so much more.
I can teach them to see all that blesses us and help them to look beyond the task.
I am grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. Iam grateful for His act of love which for me was meant.
I am grateful for the everyday tasks because behind them are blessings far more than I could ask.
 
 
I still feel this way some days, overwhelmed with all that lies before me, frustrated with all I have to do.  My children are older now, I don't have diapers to change and they can help with the every day tasks more, but it still gets busy and I still get caught up in the everyday things and forget to look beyond that.  When that happens, these word start to run through  my mind and I know to step back and be thankful.  My children are healthy, my husband has a job, we have a nice home to live in, we have our needs met and some of our wants satisfied, we have each other.  I am so thankful for those quiet moments that allow me to step back and see all that I have.  I am thankful for a Father in Heaven who continues to bless me and my family.  I am thankful for a season in which we stop to give thanks followed by a season in which we celebrate the most important gift of all, which is the gift of Jesus Christ.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

October

I haven't done much of an update for quite a while.  It has been a busy month or two here (I am discovering that it is always busy though).  October started with my birthday.  The kids let me open presents that morning before they went to school.  I walked with my friend that morning and then she took me out to lunch that afternoon.  After school the kids and I went to a volleyball match here in Hendricks to watch some of their friends and my cross country runners play.  Then we all went out for pizza with some more friends.  When we got home we had angel food cake (my favorite) that Michael and Dillon made for me. Another friend made me some apple crisp and brought it over.  It was delicious and Michael got to have that for dinner since he was working and couldn't come for pizza.  It was a good day and even though it means I turned another year older, I enjoyed it!  There were no pictures taken (kind of glad for that) so I can't post any from the festivities...

I also got to go to the school and read Halloween/Fall stories to all the kids in Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades.  Then we decorated sugar cookies.  It was fun.  The kids seemed to enjoy it and they are already making plans for me to come back another time :)  I love going in and being in the classes.  I know at some point my kids won't think it's cool for me to be there so I better enjoy it now while they do!

 
 
We also got a new puppy.  He was really a birthday present for Michael.  He is a border collie/australian shepherd cross for Michael to train and use at the feedlot.  His name is Tuff and he is a cute little fluffball right now.  The kids love him and he seems particularly attached to Dillon!
 
 
October also brought the end of volleyball, little Dolphin football and cross country.
 
 
We ended the month with Halloween of course.  The kids had parties at school, we had our traditional spaghetti supper and then the kids and I went out trick-or-treating.  The weather was great so we just walked until we got tired.  I have wimpy trick-or-treaters so they got tired by the time we finished our side of town.  When I was little we didn't didn't stop until our bags were totally full.  My kids don't get into it like we did when we were little.  We had fun though!
 

 
The kids had their primary program at the end of the month.  They all did good with their speaking parts.  They also participated in a comminuty choir and had a concert towards the end of the month.  Makenna had a solo part and did and excellent job.  Zane had a speaking part and he did a good job too. 
 
We had parent-teacher conferences and I got good reports on all the kids.  Our high school football team started their playoff games.  We were ranked number two in the state so all the play off gaes were at home.  We had a lot of fun watching them win!  Earlier this week we got to go to Vermillion and watch them win State at the Dome there!  It was so fun to be a part of all of that!  We are part of a great school.  Our elementary school was honored by being in the top 5 percent of the best schools on the state.  That is a big deal here!  One of the elementary teachers just got honored with a teacher of the year award.  The kids are loving it.  I also enjoy going in a subbing and getting to know the staff and students.
 
As we head into this Thanksgiving season we are truly blessed by all that we have been given and are privileged to be a part of.




Zeke's Ear

The other day I got a call from the school telling me that Zeke had some how hit his ear on his table and cut it open.  They weren't sure if it would need stitches or not so I went in to look at it.  I wasn't sure about it either.  I was not a deep cut but his lobe was really swollen and it was pulling the cut open.  I called the clinic and they wanted to see him.  It was swollen enough that glue or butterfly bandages wouldn't do any good and it wasn't deep enough to need stitches.  They just cleaned it up and put medicine on it and I took him back to school.  It was a little sore to the touch for quite a while.  In fact, it still hurts when I touch it and it happened over a week ago!  They still aren't sure how it happened.  I guess he was sitting at his desk coloring and he dropped some crayons.  He bent over to pick them up and he slipped and hit his ear on the table.  The principle came in and checked the table and found no sharp edges.  The table had the rubber around the edge so it was even a little rounded.  He must have hit it just right though and it must have been hard because it sure did leave a mark!  A week later and it is still the talk of the school and everyone is still checking on his ear to make sure it is healing!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Go Forward

Okay, so I don't get in to politics too much.  It drives me crazy.  All the lies and mudslinging and fighting.  It seriously makes me crazy!  It's like a junior high sissy fight - all the drama and silliness.  Can't stand it... There is one thing that bothers me more though - it's people's reaction to politics.

We just had an election.  Obviously not everyone got what they wanted out of the election.  Today Facebook, the internet and the news is filled with all this craziness over the reactions people are having.  I don't understand it.  Don't get me wrong, I have opinions and I was disappointed in things that took place and results that came in, but I don't understand the extreme responses. There's all this tough talk, talk of darkness for the next four years, blaming Obama lovers for all the problems that are coming to us, kicking people in the balls, etc, etc, etc....  What?!  I know we have freedom of speech and all that other stuff.  If we didn't I couldn't be writing this now.  But sometimes we need to stop and think if what we are saying is really helping the situation.

I want to bring it back home for me.  I am a Mormon - I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am a Christian - I believe in Jesus Christ.  I believe that He is my Savior.  I believe that He came to this earth, suffered for my sins, died on the cross and was resurrected so that I, a sinner, could return to live with my Heavenly Father again.  It requires faith, hard work, continued and constant repentance and obedience to the laws of God. 

There may be dark times ahead, there may be obstacles and hardships, but we are told to have faith.  We are told to put our trust in God.  We are told to act like the Christians we claim to be.  Just because we don't like something doesn't mean we get to put our standards and morals aside and act like blind, raging idiots!  Christ did not do that.  As Christians we carry His name, we represent Him.  We can't do that while we are threatening people and calling names.

The leaders of my church put out this statement:

"We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.

After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people."

What a great example to us!  This is how we, as Christians, should act.  We already know who will win the fight between good and evil.  The question is, which side will we be on?  When we put our morals down, we are stepping on the side of evil.  We can't control other people.  We can't change their minds by threatening them and calling them names.  We can, however, make sure that we are in check for what we should be doing.  Are we the citizen that we want everyone else to be?  Are we the friend to others that we want others to be to us?  Do we look after our neighbors and help those in need?  Do we pray for those that lead us?  Do we go forward with faith and do our best and know that in the end all will be okay?

In the Bible there is a story.  It is found in Genesis.  The Lord was talking to Abraham about destroying Sodom because of the wickedness in the city.  The Lord told Abraham that if he could find 50 righteous people in the city then He would not destroy it.  Abraham asks the Lord what if he can only find forty-five.  The Lord said he would spare the city for forty-five righteous people.  Abraham then asks what if he can only find forty righteous people.  The Lord said he would spare the city for forty people.  Abraham continues this all the way down to ten.  The Lord says in verse 32 of chapter 18: "I will bnot destroy it for ten’s sake." 

The Lord will protect us according to our righteousness.  Will it all be easy?  No.  Will we face challenges and hardships?  Yes.  Will the decisions of others affect us?  Yes.  So what can we do?  We can pray.  We can be law abiding citizens. We can be obedient.  We can be faithful.  We can be righteous. If we are not religious, we can still be good citizens, obedient to the laws of the land and respectful of our neighbors and fellow Americans.

I know there are tough times ahead.  It would be that way no matter who was president.  I know we are all going to walk stormy paths at times.  But there will also be good things and sunny days that will bring light and joy to our lives.

Henry B. Eyring, a leader in my church, said this: “Ask yourself, 'How did God bless me today?' If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life.”

This morning I woke to a beautiful blue sky with a warm sun shining down on me.  The wind was calm, the town filled with colors of fall.  The air was cold but the view was beautiful.  God has given us so  many things to help us, lift us, bless us, strengthen us and guide us.  During the tough times, if we can remember to look for the good, serve others, and show gratitude we will feel His love and strength and know that all is well.

I'm not trying to preach religion.  I am trying to point out that there are other ways to deal with disappointment than what I have seen over the last few days.  Some worry about the future for their children, I worry about that too.  I have six children that have a lot of life ahead of them.  But who is president isn't the only thing that is affecting them right now.  Who I am has a greater affect.  My reactions and ability to handle different situations is affecting them.  I need to make sure that I will not be a stumbling block in their future.  All of us have morals and standards, religious or not.  We need to pull together, hold to those morals, keep our standards high and go forward.