Thursday, October 31, 2013

Closer to Christ: Day 11

Question:  How can I improve my thoughts?

Read: Doctrine and Covenants 6:16 Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.
Doctrine and Covenants 121: 45-46 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
Alma 37:35-37  O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Ponder: Do I strive to keep all idle, unclean or negative thoughts out of my mind?  Do my thoughts affect my attitude?

What problems, concerns, worries, plans or ideas consume the greatest amount of  your thinking time?  Try today to "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly."

When negative thoughts comes, replace them with thinking about the Savior

Ok, so the part about keeping my thoughts clean is not a problem for me.  However, the negative things gets me sometimes.  There are days that I really struggle to keep my thoughts happy and swimming above water. There are days that I feel like I am drowning in my worrisome thoughts.

My thoughts totally affect my attitude - and not just with spiritual things - with everything!  My thoughts either bring me up or take me down.  They either allow for success and happiness or they pave the way for failure and depression.  Thoughts are that powerful!

This has been perfect for me today and I wish that I would have read it earlier, but my thoughts were elsewhere and I procrastinated.  Today has been a downer of a day for me.  I'm not sure why.  I exercised this morning with a friend even though I wanted to just go back to bed.  I enjoyed it.  I love our conversations as we walk!  The day went down from there. 

My thoughts today have been on Christmas.  I know! It is Halloween!  But with six kids I have to start planning early to get it all done.  I love Christmas!  I love thinking about each of my children and planning what to get them.  I love seeing the surprise on their faces.  I love the spirit.  I love the focus on Christ and service.  I love being together.  This year though I feel different.  When I think about the upcoming holiday I get down and depressed.  Finances are tight and even though we put a little aside every month to help with Christmas, it won't go very far this year.  I know the things are not what is important, but it is still part of the fun and excitement for children on Christmas morning. 

I won't go into all the details, but that is where my thoughts have been.  So I have walked around the house today sad and down.  Not even chocolate made me feel better!  I have, however, tried to turn my thoughts to prayer.  I have tried to go to my Heavenly Father for comfort and guidance.  I have asked for His help on what I can do to make Christmas special for my family this year.  Maybe you think that is something not prayer worthy, but I think it is.  He is there for all of our worries and concerns, no matter how small they may seem.  I am not asking Him to provide us with a wonderful, present-filled Christmas, I am asking Him to help me make it special for my six children who themselves are very giving and aware of others who may be lacking.  Children who love to go and pick names off the Christmas tree at Walmart and get a present for a child who won't have any.  Children who love to draw each other's names and do special things for them.  Children who are willing to give up part of their Christmas to help a family that may not be having one.  They deserve to have something special themselves!  So my prayers have been to lead me in a direction to make it special to them.  Will He help me?  Yes, I believe He will. 

Anyways, maybe that was completely off topic for today.  I was just trying to point out that my thoughts totally affect my attitude and my day.  If I can keep focused on the Savior, if I can keep my heart turned to my Heavenly Father in prayer, if I can do those things, then I can get through my days with a better attitude and happier thoughts.  So often, when I do do this, I am able to remember the blessings I do have and the negative is replaced with gratitude and happiness.  It also allows me to remember all that He has done for me and it grows my faith to help me know that He will continue to help me.  He will "direct me for good".  He will lead me in the way I should go.  He will help me lead my children in the way they should go. 

How can I improve my thoughts?  By starting the day out with prayer, by ending the day with prayer, and by keeping a prayer in my heart.  By remembering my blessings, by surrounding myself with good - good music, good books, good friends.  By loving others and serving them.  As I go about doing good, my thoughts will be positive, my heart will be filled with the Spirit and my life will be pointed towards the Savior.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Then and Now

Yesterday I went out and took pictures of the kids.  Some of them were similar to ones we took about three years ago.  I thought it would be fun to do some comparisons!
Maddi then...
and now...
Makenna then...
and now...
 Zane then... 
and now...
Dillon then...
and now...
Zeke then...
and now...
Olivia then...
and now... 
It's crazy to see how much they have grown and changed over the last few years!  Time really does fly and they grow up so fast!  I am so grateful to be the mom of these six beautiful children.  I would not trade it for anything.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Good Girls

Yesterday I got to go watch Makenna and her teammates play their last volleyball games of their 6th grade year.  It was a tournament.  They played four teams.  With each team they played two sets to 21.  How you did in those matches determines whether you went on to the final rounds or not.

Our girls won their first two sets and were so excited.  Then they lost their next two.  It was a hard game and the girls really had a tough time.  The team they played against was an amazing team that had been fine tuned and probably could have played well against a lot of varsity teams!  Even though we were getting beat, the girls still stuck with it.  They also ended up losing the rest of their matches.

Through out the day they had to deal with a lot of emotions and other things that I will not go into here.  There were tears and frustrations, but I walked away, as a parent, proud of our girls.  Despite the toughness of the day, our girls handled themselves very well.  There was a little bit of getting at each other, but overall, they stuck together, worked together, and kept trying.  There were tears at the end when they found out they didn't make it to the brackets, but there were no fits, no angry words, no blaming each other (at least not that I heard). 

They worked hard this season, they improved over last season, they had fun with each other and included new teammates into their group.  We have some really good girls on our team and I am proud to call one of them my daughter!  Way to go little 'Phins!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 5: Closer to Christ

Question: Who am I?

Read: Psalms 82:6  I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
Acts 17:27-28  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Ponder: Why does Christ care about me?  In what ways do I see His hand in my life?

"One of the greatest challenges is to overcome the feeling that we are unimportant, that we are not special an unique.  Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to the earth by accident, with out the possibility of significant work to perform?... My dear friends, you are a royal generation... Not just a few of you, but all of you.  There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. If you do not prepare to do them, they will not be done.  Your mission is unique and distinctive for you. Please don't make another have to take your place.  He or she can't do it as well ass you can.  If you will let Him, I testify that our Heavenly Father will walk you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here."                                                           -H. Burke Peterson

"Who are we?  We are children of God.  Our potential is unlimited.  Our inheritance is sacred.  May we always honor that heritage - in every thought and deed."  - Russell M. Nelson

Today's reading hits kind of close to home for me.  I go through most of my days feeling inadequate in what I am doing.  My confidence comes and goes.  There are days that I sit and wonder what in the world I am doing.  I wonder at my purpose, my importance.  Some days I feel like my kids have been ripped off having me for a mom!  I wonder if I am doing right and if my life  or my presence has really made any difference to anyone at all. 

Yet, deep down I know who I am.  I always have.  I know that Christ came to this earth and sacrificed for me.  If I was the only person that would ever live on this earth, He still would have come down and done it for me.  He knows me.  He knows my struggles, my pains, my weaknesses.  He knows my joys, my triumphs and He celebrates with me in them.  Why does He care about me?  Because He is my Brother.  His love is true and unconditional.  His love spans the eternities and endures the ups and downs, the times when I pull away and stray from the straight and narrow.  He is always there.  All I need to do is stick out my hand and He will take it and lead me back to my Father in Heaven.

I have seen His hand in my life in so many ways.  Simple ways.  Real ways.  Everything good in my life I attribute to Him.  In the Book of Mormon in Omni 1:25 it says, "there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord." 

I have felt His hand so often.  I have mentioned before the heat we took for having so many kids so close together.  Even family questioned what we were doing.  When I had my miscarriage, it was family that said maybe it was my fault for having so many so close together.  It wasn't.  Having children was something that I took very seriously.  Being a mother is something that I took very seriously.  It is a sacred responsibility and I didn't take it lightly.  When we decided to have another child, it was only after having long conversations with the Lord.  I felt Him guide me during those years. 

Our moving and jobs that we have had over the years is another area that I have felt His hand in my life.  Sometimes the decision to move or switch jobs was easy and brought excitement.  Other times it was hard and brought many tears and struggles.  Through it all though, we were blessed with peace and comfort.  That peace and comfort let me know that we were doing the right thing and that He was there to help us through it all.  It gave me strength to do what was needed and to help my children through their struggles.

I feel His hand in other ways too, quiet reassurances, gentle promptings, kind words from others, joy in my childrens' faces.  He is there in so many ways.  He knows me.  He loves me.  I am a daughter of God.  I have divine potential.  He is there to help me discover that potential and live up to it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences

This week I was able to go to parent teacher conferences for my five youngest kids.  I went to Maddi's a few weeks earlier.  I must say that I walked away feeling quite pleased with my children :)  As a mother, I always hope and pray that they will act they way that they have been taught, treat people nicely, and always do their best.  It was so nice to hear from their teachers that they are all doing just that!  You never know what they will do when you are not looking!

We had mostly A's and S+'s with a few B's.  We had reports of being responsible and kind, helpful and respectful and hard working.  I am so proud of my children.  They are hardworking and respectful.  They are good friends and helpful.  They have their moments of course, but so do I!  They are good kids and I love them all so very much.  They are each so different with different strengths and weaknesses.  I love watching them discover things that they are good at.  I love watching them grow as they try to learn these new things.

I have watched them overcome fears and step out of their comfort zone to experience new situations.  I have watched them stand up for what is right and not be bullied by those who think they have the right to push people around.  I have watched them take care of those who need a friend and include classmates that may be different from everyone else.

I am thankful for them and their examples.  I am thankful for their teachers.  We seriously have the best teachers in the world at Deubrook :)  I am thankful for the rest of the staff there too.  The principal is there to greet them each and every day.  The secretaries will stop what they are doing to get a band aid or a bag of ice.  The librarian knows them all by name and takes time to learn about them and help them find a book that they can get lost in.  The food staff also knows the kids by name and even knows what foods they will eat on certain days.  The counselor comes to the classrooms and helps promote positivity in the school.  The janitors even greet the kids with smiles (even when there is mud tracked from one end of the school to the other)!

I just feel so blessed.  Great kids.  Caring school.  Good community.  Amazing friends.  I love Parent Teacher Conferences!

Day 4: Closer to Christ

Question: Do I really love Christ?

Read: John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.
3 Nephi 13:20-21, 24, 33  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Ponder: Do I keep the commandments or am I guilty of "selective" obedience?  Have I put another God before Christ?

It is so easy to keep the "big" commandments.  Thou shalt not kill.  Ok, I can do that.  Thou shalt not steal.  No big deal, I can do that too.  But what about the less obvious ones?  What about the little ones that no one really sees?  Maybe sometimes the less convenient ones?  Be kind, love your neighbors, love your enemies, serve those around you...  Right is right even when no one is looking and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.  That is hard sometimes.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  Do we just pick and choose the easy commandments for us to keep or do we try our best to keep all of them?  Sometimes loving others is the hardest thing to do.  Sometimes others aren't very lovable, but we are commanded to love them as we love ourselves.  In fact love is one of the greatest commandments!  Love of God and love of neighbors.

Years ago my mom taught at a little country school.  She had grades 1 - 5 (I believe) and then there was a kindergarten teacher in the school too.  At the beginning of the year things were fine.  The other teacher was very nice and they got along great.  A little bit into the school year the other teacher started getting really mean.  She would talk about my mom behind her back, she would yell at my mom and threaten her, she would tell lies about my mom.  There were times she even came up to my mom, scissors in hand shaking them and pointing them in my mom's face while she yelled.  My mom is a very strong willed, southern belle and she didn't particularly appreciate what this other lady was doing.  At first she let her strong southern pride stand up and fight back, but that did no good.  Then she got the idea to love her to death.  Her strong will and ability to control her emotions combined with a lot of prayer and humility, allowed her to be so sweet and so kind to this lady that the attempts to start a fight were useless.  She would come in mad and my mom would respond with a smile and a helpful attitude.  The other teacher would stand there speechless.  How can you fight against kindness?  There were days my mom would still have to come home and vent about all the attacks from the day, but she was able to continue this kindness and display of love until Christmas when the other teacher finally moved away.  Would it have been easier to continue to fight back and dish out what she was serving?  Yes!  And everyone would have thought that my mom had the right to do it too.  But she didn't.  She loved her until the day she walked out of the building and never came back.  My mom did the right even when it was hard.  She did the right even when no one was looking.  She kept that hard commandment to love our enemies and do good to them that despitefully use you.  That has been a great example to me.

Have I put another God before Christ?  What are other gods?  Money, possessions, jobs, distractions, leisure time, even relationships.  It is so easy to get caught up in all that is around us and forget our real purpose here.  Our purpose is to live our lives righteously so that we can return to our Heavenly Father and live with Him again.  That is not an automatic thing.  We don't just get to go to Heaven while we do whatever we want down here.  We don't even get to go to Heaven just for saying that we believe in Christ.  We get to Heaven by doing.  Doing what is right, following Christ's example, keeping the commandments, repenting when we fall short and then trying again, enduring to the end.  There are so many things that get in our way and if we don't do some self evaluating along the way, we will be caught up in the world before we know it. 

I have blogged before about our life in Wyoming.  Michael's job caused him to be gone from home two out of every three weeks.  I was home alone with the children, he was alone at a man camp.  The lifestyle he had to live in was horrible.  He was the only man on his crew that didn't drink and one of two or three that didn't use tobacco.  When the men were off shift they would go to the bars and strip clubs.  There were drugs and crime and all sorts of things going on.  Language was horrible.  Some men had two completely different lives - a wife and kids at home and a girlfriend and kids in North Dakota.  After all, they would see their girlfriends more than they would their wives because they were at work for 2 weeks and only home for 1.  The wives liked the money so much that they didn't care what went on as along as they got his paycheck!  Some wives would force their husbands to stay there even though they hated the job and lifestyle because the wives had gotten to accustomed to the things that they "needed" the money to keep getting the things.  It was sad and scary.  I didn't want Michael to become one of those men and I didn't want to become one of those wives.  We knew it was not good for our family relationship or our relationship with God.  We gave up the money and the ability to have more things and traded it for our family and our standing with God.  Is it hard?  In ways.  We struggle to make ends meet.  We don't get many wants, but we have most of our needs.  We don't get to do things we used to be able to afford to do.  It is hard to pay the bills and I cringe every time I go grocery shopping.  Christmas and birthdays can be depressing because of the financial situation, but we have each other and that is what is most important.  The kids have their daddy home every night.  He doesn't miss birthdays and holidays.  He can go to church with us on Sundays and be home for our family prayers each day.  We are happier because we are trying to make sure that we are putting Christ first in our lives and not letting the desire for things or "other gods" get in our way.

My feelings are that if I am doing my best to do what is right, He will take care of me.  If I put Him first in my life He will not fail me.  Will I be able to sail through life with no difficulties?  No, but I will have what I need.  One last story and then I promise I am done for the day :)  When I was a missionary in Ireland our days would be spent walking through the neighborhoods talking to people on their doorsteps or on the streets, trying to share a message of Christ.  The first month or so I would come home at nights and my feet would hurt really bad.  They would be swollen and tender.  In the morning when I would first get up and stand on them, pain would shoot through my feet and I would have to walk so carefully.  I prayed for my feet to get better.  I reminded Heavenly Father that I was there doing His work so He needed to help me.  My feet didn't get better and I was frustrated.  Then one day while saying my prayers I was overwhelmed with a feeling of peace.  I knew that He was there and He was helping me.  He didn't take the pain away, but He gave me the strength each day to get up and do my work, to take those first few painful steps every morning.  Eventually it did get better, but I will never forget that lesson I learned.  Doing the right thing doesn't guarantee a pain free, easy ride.  In fact, a lot of times it guarantees the opposite!  It does, however, guarantee His companionship and strength, His love and guidance and His promise of eternal life with Him.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 2: Closer to Christ

Question: Am I seeking Christ's help?

Read: Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Jacob 4:7  Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.
Ether 12:27  And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Ponder: Am I seeking the Lord's help in all I think and do?  Do I pray enough?  Do I pray with integrity?  How can He help me overcome my weaknesses?

Spend half an hour each day with the Lord, and you will spend eternity with Him
- Stephen R. Covey
Today there is a lot to think about!  Today's scripture in Proverbs is one of my favorites.  So is the one in Ether.  Those are scriptures that come to my mind often when I feel inadequate in what I am doing.  And let me tell you, I feel inadequate quite often!

Growing up I was always taught to pray.  I said my personal prayers morning and night and then we had family prayers morning and night.  I do the same with my family now.  I always knew that Heavenly Father would hear and answer my prayers.  As a missionary in Ireland, prayer was an important part of the day.  We would pray to touch people's hearts and to be led to those who were seeking Christ in their lives.  We would pray for strength and the spirit.  However, once I became a mother, prayer took on a whole new meaning for me.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because I felt huge responsibility.  Here I was, with six children of God, responsible for their well being and their spiritual growth.  It was my job to teach them and raise them up so that they would learn what they needed to know to be good people and to return to their Father in Heaven.  Maybe it was because being a mother some how has the ability to bring all my weaknesses to the fore front for all to see.  I'm not sure why, but for the last 12, almost 13 years, my prayers have been different.

Do I pray enough?  I doubt it.  I know there are many times when I should have stopped and said a prayer in my heart to help me handle a situation differently and I didn't do it.  Is it something I am working on?  Constantly.  Do I pray with integrity?  I don't know... I try to.  I try to make sure that my prayers and intentions are honest and in line with what I know to be right.  I will be honest though.  Sometimes I have to check and recheck my intentions.  Am I praying for something because it is right and best or because it is what I want and am hoping that God will go along with it and make it be the right thing for me because I want it so badly!  Does that make sense?  Am I seeking the Lord's help to make my weaknesses become strong or am I trying to just skip the whole weakness and growing thing and go straight to the being strong part of it?

Another area that I fall short in is praying for help.  I think I can or should do it all myself.  I don't have to though!  Heavenly Father has promised us His help!  We have to do our part, but He will help us the rest of the way.  That is for all areas of life - not just spiritual things.  Maddi ran cross country this year.  She worked hard.  She ran all summer, went to every practice and ran in every meet.  She was dedicated and strong.  Towards the end of the season though she was tired.  She was a little nervous learning to run varsity - that is a completely different kind of race than JV.  She seemed to lose a little of that confidence in her ability.  Before her region meet, we talked to her about what she had done to get to this point.  We told her that she had the right to pray and ask for Heavenly Father's help.  She had done her part.  She had worked hard. He would step in and give her courage and strength to run her best.  She did and He did.  She ran an excellent race and I could see on her face that she was running with confidence again.  Did she win? No.  Did she make it to state?  No. Did she do her best?  Yes.  Was she proud of herself?  Yes.  Was I proud of her?  Of course and for more than one reason.  I was proud of her efforts during the season, but I was also proud of her faith.  She had the faith to ask for help.  She had the faith that her prayers would be answered and she had the faith to get out there and do it.  He will give us what we need.  His grace is sufficient for our needs.  He will make our weaknesses become strong.  All we need to do is pray and do our best.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 1: Closer to Christ

At church yesterday we were given the opportunity to participate in a 22 day challenge called Closer to Christ.  Each day there is a question, some scriptures to read and another question to ponder through out the day.  It is suggested that we do it in the mornings so that we can ponder during the day.  If our schedule doesn't allow morning study then they suggested that we read at night and then use the next day to ponder what we read.  They gave the challenge to the youth but then extended it to any adult that would like to participate.  I decided I would. Then I decided that I would blog each day because writing helps me get my thoughts out and in order and some times helps me see things more clearly.  So here is Day 1:

Question: How can I follow in Christ's steps?

Read: 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Abraham 1:2  And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
Moroni 7:48 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.

Ponder: How can I follow in Christ's steps today? In all my decisions I will ask:"What would Christ do?"

Do those who know you,
But don't know Christ,
Want to know Christ,
Because they know you?
This is tough. It is so easy to get caught up in the day and the moment that we forget to stop and see where we are and what we are doing.  Yesterday Zane was out playing with some of the neighbor kids.  They had found some one's junk pit and had hauled junk to the bushes to make a fort.  They had chairs, windows, an old TV, a toaster, all sorts of things to make their fort.  It was quite creative and they had a lot of fun building it.  Then in the midst of their fun they decided to break the glass.  Caught up in the moment, no one stopped to think that maybe that was something they shouldn't do.  They all laughed and even though not everyone participated in the actual breaking of the glass, they were all guilty by association.  Later that day Michael took the dogs out for a walk and went by the fort to see what they had built.  He found shattered glass all over the place.  It was actually quite dangerous. We called Zane and after a little prodding found out what had happened.  We asked him why he didn't stand up and say not to do that when he knew it was wrong.  His answer, "I don't know."  Well, we called the boys and got everything cleaned up, no harm done.  Boys will be boys :)
My point in telling this story is that how often do we get caught up in the moment only to realize later that maybe it wasn't them best thing to be doing?  When questioned why, either by some one else or our self, how often do we say, "I don't know"?  It is hard to constantly check ourselves to see if we are in line with the Savior.  After all, we are imperfect human beings.  We make mistakes.  That's why Christ came in the first place right?  However, there are things that we can do to become better.  The first is to pray.  We can pray for strength and guidance.  We can pray for His Spirit to be with us to lead us in the right direction.  We are promised that He will always be with us if we but ask.  Second, we need that desire.  We have to want to do right.  Really want to. We have to let that desire motivate us.  We also have to know Christ.  How can we follow in His footsteps if we don't know Him? 
President Thomas S. Monson gave this advice: "seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day—and then one more and then one more after that—until we’ve lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness."
I heard that in a talk he gave last year and I refer to it often.  If I just take one step at a time in the right direction and not worry about anything else, then I can make it.  To follow in Christ's footsteps we just have to take one step at a time.  He has shown us the way to go and He will be there with us as we try to follow the path He laid out for us.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Deubrook Nation

This post will be an "Ode to Deubrook" kind of post :)  Last fall (2012) we made the decision to enroll our six children in the Deubrook School system.  After looking at the different options we felt this would be the best place for our kids to go.  It was hard.  We lost friendships.  Maddi lost the opportunity to go to school with her best friend (something she had been looking forward to since we first started talking about moving back to the area).  Now we are in our second year at Deubrook and all I can say is that I am so glad we made that hard choice.  It has been the best thing for our children!  I am not trying to say anything against any other school, but for our kids this was the best thing.  Last year and this year my kids have been quite involved in sports, newspaper, choir, band, student council, etc.  It has been so fun to watch them!  It has also been so neat to see how the kids and the staff work.  I have also been quite involved at the school.  I sub and I try to go a few times a year to visit the classrooms and do something fun with them.  I have really had a chance to get to know everyone at the school and I am impressed.

We have been a part of five school districts and I have never seen a school like this.  Teacher meetings are started with a prayer at the beginning of the school year.  Teachers love and support each other.  I can go to any of the classrooms in the elementary school and I could ask any of the teachers for help and they would do their best to give me the help I needed.  They would pray for me and even with me if I asked.  They get together outside of school too and build true friendships.  And they include me and I am just a substitute teacher.  I have sat in on teachers' meetings and listened to their true concern for their students and seen the time and effort they put in to their lessons.

Maddison has moved to the jr. high/high school this year.  She has been running cross country with several of her friends and classmates.  They all support and help each other.  If they aren't running, they are cheering on who ever is.  Before each race, they huddle and pray together.  At the end of the race they are there to congratulate.  They work hard and are kind to each other.  The older kids include the younger ones and encourage them and set wonderful examples for them.

I know it's not perfect.  No school system is.  It has it's fair share of problems and it always will, but they always seem to rise above it and continue forward.  Today I was impressed yet again.  Maddi had a cross country meet.  She ran varsity along with three other 7th graders and an 8th grader.  Those girls got out there (some of them had only run varsity one other time and some had never run varsity) and they ran with heart and determination.  Our little jr. high girls took 1st place for the meet!  It was so exciting for them.  I know all the kids get out there and do their best and I know a lot of people feel the same way about their school, but I was still so proud!  I watch them practice, I have been to every meet but one.  I have watched them improve and get stronger.  I have watched them cheer each other on, even if they do as well as they had hoped. 

Our school has good kids and good staff.  My kids absolutely love it and I do too.  I was afraid of losing friends by switching but instead I found even more friends.  I was afraid my kids would struggle with another change but they were swept right in and welcomed with open arms.  So, to all those who make up the Deubrook Nation - thank you for all that you do and all that you are!  My family has been blessed by being a part of you!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Makenna has been playing 6th grade volleyball this fall.  She has really been enjoying it!  It is her second year playing and she has really caught on to the game.  I love going to watch her and her teammates play.  They always have fun and find something to smile about even if the game is not going as well as they would have hoped :)

Makenna has been learning her overhand serve.  She has gotten it over the net a few times but in the meantime she uses an underhand serve during the matches.  When she gets in her groove she can serve over and over again without ever sending it out of bounds!

She also learning to dive for the ball and during her last game she had some pretty good and frequent contact with the floor!  My favorite move consisted of her somehow ending up on the floor on her knees with her back to the net and she still managed to get the ball over the net!

Kenna's the one on the floor :) #15.  It's been fun watching her learn and improve over the season.  They have one more match and then tournaments.  One of the blessings of being a mostly stay-at-home mom is being able to go to all my kids' events and cheer them on.  I love it!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Zane and Dillon have been playing football again this year.  Zane is on the 5th and 6th grade team.  Michael is helping to coach that team. 
 Dillon plays on the 3rd and 4th grade team.

I have only gotten to go to one games o far.  Dillon has four games and Zane has six.  Dillon has one left and Zane has two.  They have really had a fun season and worked hard.  Zane has made some great tackles and a touchdown or two.  Dillon has made at least four touchdowns. 

 This is Dillon running in for one of his touchdowns.  That is one of his best friends blocking for him.

This is Zane running in for a touchdown.  He had to out run a lot of guys to get there.  Thank goodness for a few good blocks from his teammates to help him on his run!

I love watching them play and get excited about the game.  It will be fun to watch them grow up with these boys and see what their team can do! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cross Country

Maddi joined the cross country team this year and has done awesome!! She started out JV and took first in her first race.  She was so excited!
Each time she ran she cut more time off her best and she has really enjoyed running with the team.  There are seven 7th graders out for cross country this year and they all seem to have a lot of fun together.  They are so good at cheering each other on and showing support.  I love to watch them run and interact with each other.

This last week she ran her first 4000m race (usually JV runs 3000m) and she took another first!  She was nervous to run the extra distance because she had never done that in a race and wasn't sure what pace to go.  I think she picked the right pace!

Yesterday the coach moved her up to varsity along with one of the other 7th graders that has been running up front with Maddi.  They ran their first varsity race and did well.  Maddi took 13th. I did not get to go watch but I am so proud of her for doing her best even though she was tired from the race the day before.  All three varsity runners placed in the top 20.

Now she has a few days of recoup before her next race.  Then it is on to regions!  I have loved watching her run this year!  I love watching her get stronger - not just physically but mentally too.  She has learned to run hard at every race.  She has learned to push even when she is tired and get to the finish line with nothing left to give.  She has learned that she is better than she thought she was and I have loved watching her confidence grow.  She has learned that hard work pays off.  She has learned to cheer on a teammate even if that teammate beats her in a race.  She has learned to use her arms :) She has learned respect for her body.  I hear her making choices on things to eat and drink as she decides which would be healthier for her.  She has learned to be a positive part of a team that builds up each other and pushes each other to do better.  I hope that as she continues through the last few weeks of this season and moves on to the next sport that she will carry this all with her and always strive to be the best that she can be!