Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hands

When I was little, I loved my dad's hands.  He has really big hands and they were always calloused.  When I was a little girl I loved to measure my hands against his and see how much bigger they were. I loved to feel the roughness of his hands.  To me they represented strength, love, help, and discipline. 

I loved my grandma's hands.  They were small and soft.  She would always pat my arm or tickle my back when I would sit next her.  Her hands showed me love.

I loved my babies hands.  When I would hold them, they would reach up and touch my face or grab  my hair.  I loved to feel their soft little touch and kiss their tiny fingers.  Their hands were pure and innocent.


Hands communicate so many things - love, service, fright, nervousness, playfulness, work, strength, dedication, sacrifice.  This week has been a tough week for a lot of people that I care about.  Loved ones are sick, loved ones have passed away, loved ones have made bad choices.    During all this I have watched as hands have reached out to comfort, lift up and hold.  I have seen hands write notes of love, hands reach out to steady and hands wipe away tears.

For some, they will need to hold the hands of their loved ones a little tighter as they struggle through their trials.  Some will be holding the hands of their loved ones one last time as illness overcomes and weakens the body.  Some will no longer be able to hold the hands of those they loved here in this life.

At some point we have all experienced these things in our life.  I love holding hands and I miss holding the hands of people that I love that are no longer with me on this earth.  With each experience, comes greater love and gratitude for Another's hands.

Hands that taught, healed and served.  Hands that suffered and bled.  Hands that were lifted in prayer on our behalf.  Hands that loved unconditionally.  Hands that were nailed to a cross.  Because of those hands, my hands can be washed clean from my mistakes.  Because of those hands, forgiveness is given.  Because of those hands, I will be able to hold the hands of my loved ones again. 

I hope that as we all go through our trials and sadnesses in life that we will be able to feel the love and strength of His hands and allow them to surround us in peace and lead us back to the safety of His presence.  I also hope that my hands can represent all that His hands stand for - love, sacrifice, service, forgiveness, patience, humility, strength, compassion.  I hope that through my hands, those around me can feel His hands.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

You Are An Inspiration

We all  have things that we wish were better about ourselves.  I could give you an endless list of all my flaws and all the things that I wish were different about myself.  I listen to these wonderful people that I love feel bad about themselves, doubt themselves and even become sad and discouraged.  When I listen to them talk, I don't see them the way that they see themselves.  I don't notice the extra pounds, the gray hairs, the scars, the forgetfulness, the supposed lack of patience or understanding, etc, etc, etc...  I see them and their beauty.  I see their hands and how they use them to help those around them.  I hear their voice speak words of encouragement and praise.  I see their eyes look at others with love and kindness.  I see their accomplishments in school, home, work, church, and community.

I notice how others interact and react to them and I know that they see the same thing I do.  They see love, kindness, intelligence, humility, light - things that make them beautiful.  Beauty from the inside, far outshines beauty from the outside.  It is amazing what love and kindness can do to a person.  It really does make a person more beautiful! 

A friend on Facebook put this quote on her status today and it touched me.   "Before you put yourself down, please consider everything you've accomplished to get to this point, every life you've touched, and every moment you've pushed beyond your fears. You are a champion. You are a fighter. You are are worthy of nothing less than the deepest love you have to share. You are an inspiration." -Scott Stabile

So many of my friends and loved ones have inspired me in ways that they will never know.  Their quiet strength as they go through their lives, strengthens me and helps me get through my tough times.  Their love and kindness affect me in ways that make me want to be kinder to others.  The service they give to me inspires me to go out and serve others.  They are champions - heroes in my life.

I am so grateful for the people in my life - those people that struggle just like me yet continue on with faith and love.  Those people who have touched my life and made it better.  Those people that are always reaching out and lifting up.  I hope that I can be the kind of person that can do to others what they have done to me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hearts

Today we made hearts out of clay.  72 to be exact.  The kids picked out the colors, swirled them together, rolled them out and cut out hearts.  Then we baked them for a few minutes to harden them.  I think they turned out really cute!
 
The whole time we were making them the kids wanted to know what they were for and why we were making them.  I waited to tell them because it was making them crazy and because I could :)
 
I got the idea from a blog I read (but I can't remember where).  A teacher used her left over sculpey clay and made hearts for her class.  It was around Valentine's Day.  Each of the kids got some hearts and they spent the next week or so sharing those hearts with people that they thought could use extra love.  I really liked the idea.  We try to teach our children to look around them and see people who need a smile or a helping hand.  We try to do the same.  Service is one of the best ways to lift others up and also to lift ourselves up.  When we are serving our hearts are filled with joy.  I loved the idea of leaving a heart at the scene of the "crime" so the person we served has something beautiful to remind them that they are loved.  So... I ordered some sculpey clay and we made hearts.

Tonight was our family night.  Makenna had the lesson and she, without knowing my plans for the hearts, gave a lesson on serving and setting a good example.  It was called "Being the First One on the Dance Floor."  It talked about how dances often begin with everyone standing around the edges for the first few songs.  Everyone wants to dance but no one wants to be the first one out there.  It isn't until that one brave soul decides that he is going out there that everyone follows and begins to enjoy the dance.  She shared examples of how kids have done that.  One group of girls decided for two weeks that they were going to smile at everyone they saw - including themselves.  They talked about how it spread from them smiling at others to everyone doing it.  Another group of kids got into geocaching.  Instead of leaving a trinket or toy at the site they left a scripture and their testimony of Jesus Christ with instructions for the next person to do the same.  I told them about a boy I read about that had been bullied after his father died.  He switched schools because of the bullying but decided that he was going to change things at his next school.  He started his first day by holding to door open for the other students and greeting them as they came into school.  At first the others thought it was weird but then they started looking forward to seeing him and they started doing things for others too.  The staff talked about how this one boy had made such a change in the entire school.  He was the first one out on the dance floor.  He set and example and others followed.  He served those around him and made a difference. 

We talked about things we could do at home and at school that would help others.  What could we do to be the first ones out on the dance floor?  Then I gave out the hearts.  The instructions - look for ways to serve and uplift, do it, and leave a heart letting them know that they are loved.  I hope that over the next few weeks hearts will be spread around the house and school and that with each heart that is given, our own hearts will be filled.

What a Week!

Monday morning started out very cold around 5:45am.  I went downstairs to do my workout and noticed it felt unusually cold!  I went out to our back room where we have our dishwasher, extra fridge, washer, dryer, and a bathroom.  Sometime during the night, the back door had blown open.  The floor was so cold it hurt my bare feet!  Later that morning before I left for school I tried to start a load of laundry.  It wouldn't work because the tubes going into the washer were frozen, of course.  I had kids running late, kids that couldn't find their band stuff, and I was trying to get all my stuff put together that neither Michael or I checked the pipes very closely to look for any damage.  When I got home from school that afternoon, Zane came running into the dining room saying that there was water spraying everywhere!  Yes, during our night time freeze of the back room, a pipe had busted and there was indeed water spraying everywhere.  It was spraying the wall and ceiling, running down the stairs and seeping through the floor into the basement.  I ran downstairs with the phone, called Michael and started searching for the water turnoff.  Eventually I found it and got it turned off.  What a mess!  I started trying to dry up the floor in the back while I waited for Michael to get home.  We found the split in the pipe.  Michael cut the bad section out and went and got what he needed to fix it.  I finished cleaning up the water on the floor.  We got it all fixed and cleaned up before bed that night.  The washer didn't get damaged - thank goodness!  There was no other damage done to the house either.  We considered ourselves quite lucky that nothing else happened! 

Tuesday I had a dentist appointment to get a couple of fillings done.  One was an old filling that needed to be redone.  When he got the filling all drilled out, we discovered (with a little pain) that the cavity had spread into the nerves.  My options - root canal or get it pulled.  I have lots of teeth :) so I decided to save myself $2000 and get it pulled.  He did a great job and I didn't feel any pain - until the next day of course!  Wednesday wasn't too bad.  I kept on ibuprofen.  It was a busy day and we didn't get home until after 9pm.  Wednesday night was a rough night.  I was freezing, couldn't get to sleep until after midnight and the motrin pm did not seem to take all the edge off the soreness.

Thursday I woke up feeling quite ill and only made it through a couple hours of school before I had to come home.  I slept for over 4 hours and could have slept longer if I didn't have to wake up and be a mom :)  I missed Maddi, Makenna and Zane play basketball. 

Friday finally arrived and I was feeling much better.  I made it through the day and headed out the door pretty close to 4pm.  Got in the van and it wouldn't start... So, I called Michael.  He came and jump started the van and we drove it to the Cenex to get a new battery.

Saturday was filled with basketball.  Michael had meetings all day so I was on my own.  The girls had games in Volga at 9 and 10.  The losers were supposed to play again at 11 and the winners at noon.  I told them they needed to win so I could get there in time to watch them play.  Zeke had his first game in White that morning at 10 so I wouldn't be able to get there for an 11am game.  Well, they both won and I was so excited that I would get to see them both play! Then I got a text saying that they had moved Makenna's game up to 11 instead of 12.  I ended up missing most of her game.  I did get to see the last little bit of it and I got to watch Maddi's game.  They all played hard and had fun.

The weather Sunday was beautiful and the kids were able to be outside for  hours enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps!  It was the perfect way to end the week and gear up for next week.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Zeke Turns 9!

On the 6th of this month we were able to celebrate our Zekie boy's birthday!  He was very excited for it to come and even more excited when we got a late start that day!  He took treats to his class and even left one on my desk - what a sweet boy :)


For supper he wanted chicken cordon bleu with rice and green beans and cherry pie for dessert.  That boy knows good food!



He got to continue his birthday week with no school Wednesday and Thursday and a late start Friday.  Friday after school he got to have a friend come home with him and spend the night. 



We are so thankful for Zeke!  He is certainly one of a kind.  He is helpful and kind, thoughtful and generous.  He is quirky and crazy and never sits still!  He loves to read and draw and play with legos and army guys.  He loves to be outside playing.  This year he has been able to play football and now he is in basketball.  He seems to love both.  He loves listening to music and break dancing.  I love the entertainment that the break dancing provides :)  We are so blessed to have him be able to share our lives with him.  We love you, Zekie boy!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year, New Word

At the beginning of the year last year we all picked out a word that we wanted to focus on and work on.  I was amazed at the words that my kids came up with and how much each word fit them.  During our family scripture study throughout the year we looked up scriptures that had to do with each of their words.  We also tried to find stories or examples of instances where others used those words.  We tried to point out examples from our own lives when those words came into play and blessed us.  Last week we talked about our words and what was learned throughout the year because of our focus on that word.  Again, I was surprised by what they learned.  Of course, learning took place on both ends.  Sometimes the lesson came from using that word.  Other times it came from not using the word.  Some implemented the idea more than others so they were able to learn more. 

I asked everyone last Sunday to make this last week a time to think, ponder and pray about their next word.  I do believe that prayer is an important part of this process.  Heavenly Father knows us and loves us.  He knows our strengths, our weaknesses and our potential.  He wants us to grow and reach that potential.  He is interested in our everyday lives.  The decisions we make in our everyday life are what brings us closer to or farther away from Him.  If we petition Him, He will help us determine the things we need to draw closer to Him - even in the choosing of a word.

Today we shared our word with each other, why we chose that word and what we will do to remember that word.  Listening to everyone share their word, my testimony of the fact that Heavenly Father is interested in us, was strengthened.  I did not give any of them any examples of words, no hints as to what would be a good idea or anything else.  The words they came up with came from within themselves.  I do believe that if each individual focuses on their word this year their lives will be blessed and they will change in amazing ways.  I do believe that God was there, helping them and prompting them.  I believe that He will continue to be there to help them and prompt them with their words - that includes me with my word.

Maddi - her word is Believe.  Learning to believe in herself and continuing to learn to believe and trust in her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Makenna - her word is Integrity.  Learning to be honest in all her dealings.  Learning to be a doer of the Word and not just a sayer.

Zane - his word is Work.  He wants to learn to do the work and not be ok with just sitting back and letting everyone else do it.

Dillon - his word is Selfless (he is the most selfless of everyone in the family).  He knows that sometimes he thinks about just himself and he wants to remember to think of others and their needs.

Zeke - his word is Strength.  He wants strength to work hard in his sports and school work.  He also wants strength to stand up and be himself and not do something just because some one else is.

Olivia - her word is Kindness.  She wants to learn to be kind.  She knows that sometimes she can be stubborn with her friends and she needs to be right.  She wants to learn to be kind instead.

Michael - his word is Patience.  He felt it was something he needed to work on.

Me - my word is Perseverance.  I really need this!  My first thought was endurance.  That just meant hanging in there until the end.  Perseverance was the same as endurance but it talked about having grace.  To me that means hanging in there with a good attitude and humility. 

So, we begin our new year with new words and new focus.  I hope that we will all be able to find truth and knowledge through these words.  I hope that we will have the ability to remember these words and use them, even when it is hard.  I know our lives will be blessed as we focus and use them.  May we have the Strength, Patience, Perseverance and Integrity to Work hard, be Selfless, treat others with Kindness and Believe throughout 2015!