Sunday, September 2, 2012

Something for Sunday

I'm always amazed at the ability of the Holy Ghost to teach me, even when I'm busy trying to keep my children from eating crayons, shouting at each other down the pew and wailing for a bottle in the middle of the Sacrament.  These teaching moments are just that--moments--and can be easily missed.  I know that I don't often enough find myself in a place to recognize these teachings, but I'm always so grateful when I do.  Today's little nugget came when one of the young men in our ward shared his testimony through Alma 37:37, which reads:

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.

As he read the scripture, my mind stopped on the phrase, "and he will direct thee for good."  What the Spirit taught me in that moment was that the promise was not that the Lord will show us the right answer--the Lord is not interested in spoon feeding us, nor is there always one right answer--but that he will direct us for good.
We're here on the earth to make our own decisions, and we do so based on our own intelligence, study, and life experiences. Sometimes those decisions are between a good choice and a bad one, and those are the ones the Lord is very interested in directing us in.  The Lord beckons us to counsel with him so that we will continue progressing on the right path. I think that sometimes when we feel our prayers are left unanswered, it's because the decision we're seeking counsel in is between two or more good things, and as much as the Lord loves us, there's no need for him to step in and direct--we're already pointed toward the good, and that is what he is most interested in.  That's not to say that asking the Lord for help in choosing between two good things is frivolous or that it's unnecessary, because we're commanded to counsel with the Lord in all our doings. (I think the reason for that is twofold. One, because we can't always discern between the good and the bad, especially when emotions are involved in decision-making, and two, we need to be in the habit of always seeking the source of all truth.)  But when searching for answers, or for confirmation about a conclusion we've drawn, we must realize that the Lord's silence does not constitute abandonment.  His direction comes when there is the threat of straying from the good.What a beautiful principle!
And what a tender mercy the Lord showed me in the middle of a chaotic meeting, where for a fleeting moment, the heavens opened and the Spirit taught.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Bullet Point Summer

Hi there! Long time no post....

So here's the scoop....

*Today marks our 13 year anniversary.  It's been a bumpy road, but I couldn't have married a kinder man who never shows his embarrassment when my crazy starts to show. He even joins in every now and then! We celebrated on Saturday with a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, (Why, oh why, did Tom Hardy's face have to be covered the ENTIRE movie???) and a yummy dinner in SLC at PF Chang's. Love you, Babe!

*I was released from my beloved Gospel Doctrine calling and was made 1st Counselor in the Young Women Presidency.  I have never in my life been so excited or so happy about a call! For the past few months I've felt such a pull to these girls and now I know why.  I love how I can see the tender mercies of the Lord in action! And the women I get to work with? They're seriously the Dream Team.

*On Thursday I begin my graduate program through Grand Canyon University, for my Masters in Education: Elementary Education. My options were somewhat limited in terms of schools I could attend because I already have a Bachelor Degree, but I'm not already a licensed teacher. Grand Canyon's online classes, tuition rates, and timeline made it the perfect fit for me, and I'm over the moon to finally see my path in life. I doubt I'll do any substitute teaching at NDPA this year...much to the chagrin of the teachers.  It's so nice to be loved and needed, isn't it?

*Thanks to a kind and generous Home Teacher, we'll spend my birthday (Saturday) soaking up the rays and splashing around at Cherry Hill. Chelsea amazingly volunteered to take Gretchen for the day so we can have a little more freedom to do as we please!

*Before I knew that Wednesday nights were going to be scheduled for the foreseeable future, I made reservations for our family to attend the Brigham City Temple Open House next week, the night of Maggie's 11th birthday. The girls can hardly contain their excitement that they can actually walk through a temple!  I have to admit, I'm pretty pumped myself!

*Thirteen days. School starts in thirteen days and not a moment too soon!  For some reason this summer has been different from previous ones.  We started out on top of the world--went fishing and played tennis and went to the library and the park--but about 3 weeks ago, it was like a switch got flipped and everyone is at everyone's throats!!!  I really truly in my heart believe that we have just been together too much. The kids need to be away from me (and me them!), and probably more importantly, they need to be away from each other.  They've lost some of their individuality and autonomy and need the separation that comes with being in different grades, different classrooms, with different friends and different teachers.  We are ALL ready for school to start so we can go back to liking each other again. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Bridget had been all kinds of excited for me to sub in her Kindergarten class again--well, up until today, that is.  

Looking back, she was kind of quiet on the way to school, but I'm sure I had my mind on other things as I usually do first thing in the morning, so I didn't really notice.  

I started my day out on the playground, making sure hundreds of spring-fevered children didn't attempt to fling themselves (or each other) off the top of the slide before the morning whistle even had a chance to blow. I remember seeing that familiar pink backpack resting neatly against the school wall, marking Bridget's place at the front of the line.  I only remember because I thought it was unusual--my disaster of a daughter doing anything other than chucking her backpack on the ground, only to come to me in despair over her "lost" belongings.  

Eight-twenty signaled the I-don't-know-how-no-one-got-trampled-in-the-mad-chaos transition from playground to classroom, and school was officially underway.  As I headed into Mrs. Hansen's room, I expected your usual Kindergarten chatter, but instead, I saw a dozen little bodies huddled around that familiar pink backpack, whispering excitedly.  I knew it was something, I just wasn't expecting this....

Yep.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is in fact, a baby bird, loving placed in a nest of blanket and stealthily brought to school in the bottom of an emptied-out, familiar pink backpack.  This contraband turned into the ultimate show-and-tell for our little criminal, who's official street name is now Mama Bird.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Minute Update.

It's getting more and more difficult to keep up with my blog since I've been working so much lately.  It's a good thing--the work, I mean--but I miss my littles as well as having a somewhat orderly house.  Mike is a great SAHD, but unfortunately, multi-tasking is not his strong suit. I try not to be too critical, but coming home to a crazy house is not good for my already crazy head.  On the upside, he's got an uncanny ability to make it to the pond above our house to go fishing 3-4 times per week.  If he didn't have 2-3 children in tow each time, we may have to have words.
Still no luck on his job search.  He consistently finds himself in the top three or four with a second interview, but invariably returns with, "We just had so many great candidates," or, "We went with someone else, but here's a $10/hr. job we could offer you."  I just don't get it.  I know, I know, "It will all work out." Unfortunately, "It will all work out" doesn't pay the bills.

On a lighter note, I was able to snap a few shots of the kiddos on Easter Sunday.  I'm going to play around on the computer and try to get them cropped/edited the way I want, then blow them up onto engineer prints @ Staples.  Can't believe how big these kiddos are getting!  Not much longer and Maggie will be in Young Women's, and Bridget is only a kindergartener for 5 more weeks!  Where has the time gone???

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Our humble abode. Forgive the mess in the pictures; we're still trying to move in! :)

 Our western view of Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake from the kitchen/back deck.
 Our eastern view from the front room of the Wasatch Mountains.
 Dining area. We can actually fit our entire family around the table and there's no need to push it in & out!
 Our more-than-one-butt-kitchen!  :)  So happy with the bar and amazingly sturdy bar stools!
 Another view of the kitchen.
 Our huge backyard with peach, plum, cherry, apple and pear trees!
 Large back patio that runs the length of the house!
 Living room with brick fireplace.  That puppy kept us warm for 4 days while waiting for our gas to come on.
 Master bath.  Yep.  ALL MINE. (Ok, Mike can share it with me....)
 Main upstairs bathroom.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Movin' on Up, to the East Side.....

Since there is no part of the cat that is actually still in the bag, thanks to my loose-lipped children and a few others, I guess I can finally share with you all that after nearly 11 years of giving half our lives to the mortuary, we are FINALLY leaving!!!!  I know, I know, it's hard to believe.  I was with all of you who thought we were destined to be here forever, but the stars have aligned, and there is a 6 bedroom, 3 bathroom home in the foothills of Layton, just waiting for the Stringhams to grace its doorway!  (Not to mention the 5 mature fruit trees and beautiful large garden area at the back of a huge backyard!)  Our official move-in date will be March 1, though we've been gradually moving things over for a couple of weeks now.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to be saving $300/month just in gas money! Being closer to the school is a huge bonus, but the best part, I think, is the fact that we will no longer be chained to our home every other weekend, or miss out on anything scheduled for Tuesday or Thursday nights.  What a relief!

So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm busy working full-time (still subbing for a teacher on maternity leave), trying to pack my house up, move-in to the new house, patch up and clean the old house, and still find time to nurse my baby and do homework with my kids.  Phew!  Thank goodness Princess Gretchen is now consistently sleeping about 8 hours every night, or I might just go crazy! :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Right Stuff.

So I was pretty much a blogging slacker in 2011, but in my defense, I've been busily living mi vida loca! 

I don't know why the new year always brings such a sense of relief to me--it's not like anything has changed considering yesterday was just yesterday, ya know?  That being said, 2011 was a challenging year for me, and probably like a lot of others, I didn't accomplish a lot of the things I was so gung-ho about when the year first began.  However, I was not so subtly reminded in Sacrament Meeting yesterday that I am often way too hard on myself.  I'm generally the kind of person who jumps in feet-first to the new year with all sorts of thoughts and ideas about how to improve myself and the environment I am surrounded by, but I fail to look back at the things I did right.  And while I do have goals and things I want to work on improving for 2012, I'm trying to remember to be gentle with myself, after all this life is a training ground where we are able to learn from our mistakes rather than be condemned by them. (Bruce C. Hafen)  So before I make the jump ahead, I'm taking stock of what I did right so that I can recognize and repeat the patterns that got me there.

1.  I bought my very first parenting book called Parenting with Love and Logic, and read it in almost one day.  While I'm not an expert, I've been using their techniques, and it's making me feel like a parenting rock star! It has taught me that I don't have to be in control of everything (whoa!) and that my children are perfectly capable of making choices on their own and dealing with the consequences of those decisions.  Our home has been a much happier place since mama figured a few things out.  What I learned: It's okay to not have all the answers as long as you go and look for them.

2.  Despite my dread over another pregnancy, we followed the spirit and added Gretchen Caroline to our family.  Every time I look at her, hold her, feed her, think about her--I am reminded that it was absolutely the right decision to bring her here and that she was meant to be our caboose, even though we went into this thinking we were giving Dixon a brother.  All is as it should be.  What I learned:  Follow the Spirit. Period.

3.  The Great Purge of 2011 was so, so right!  Clearing out our clutter and reclaiming the space in our home did more for my peace of mind than anything else I did all year long.  It made me see that I could undertake a huge project (while pregnant, no less!) and succeed in accomplishing something so daunting.  Because of the great purge, I have begun to work on living within my means in other aspects of my life, and this will certainly carry on into the new year.  What I learned: Organization = Peace.  AND, I can do hard things.

4.  I became a substitute teacher.  At first, it was only to supplement our income during the holiday season while work is slow for Mike, but because of my experiences so far, I will soon be going back to school to get my teaching license in conjunction with my Master of Arts in Teaching degree.  It's quite ironic, since I remember vividly my time at BYU when I mocked all the "Molly's" who were majoring in Elementary Education. "Of course you're an El. Ed. major!" I would think to myself with an obvious eye-roll, as another sweeter-than-sweet co-ed would introduce themselves at the beginning of a semester.  What I learned:  I LOVE teaching. AND, not all teachers are sweeter-than-sweet. :)

I've had a lot of little victories on my journey through 2011, but these are the major ones that I need to remind myself of when in the coming year I start to feel like I'm doing more wrongs than rights. 

With that, my resolve for 2012 is to Remember the Right and Press Forward.  It's gonna be a great year!