Today was a hard day to find something to be grateful for.
But then I remembered this little thing I kept called a blog.
It made me think hard because there is ALWAYS good to see - sometimes harder than others, yes I will admit that.
When I stopped and thought about what it was that I was grateful for....it always came back to the blog.
Yes, the blog.
I am grateful for the BLOG because as I read through these posts, they clearly showed a pattern of change - a change in my perspective....and for that I am grateful because life is nothing if we do not do something with it!
A heart full of gratitude will carry you through anything.
A heart full of gratitude will enlighten your mind.
Best of all...it will make you realize it really is not that bad :).
We went swimming at the Y before swimming lessons - well the older three did.
Charleigh and I hung pool side while they swam and what a bad idea that was!
She was moving and grooving all over the place and wanted to get into the pool since it was so hot in there.
Next time, we will be swimming with the older three.
Tonight, I was able to read a book with Chloe; "I love you forever" by Robert Munsch.
I gave Diana that book when she was two and the story just touches me every time.
The woman loves to rock her son and sing him her song and as she gets older the tides turn, and now he is the one holding his dear mother in his arms.
Life is like a ferris wheel.
Sometimes we are high and sometimes we are low.
And eventually the ride will end here on earth.
I am grateful for those chances to read stories with my children.
It always brings a smile to my face.
Today was the first day of spring break with the kiddos.
We started out with yummy homemade cinnamon rolls, free swim lessons at the Y and played outside the whole afternoon with friends at the park.
Taylor climbed a tree with his friends Jonah and Nathan.
They were quite the little monkeys :)
Tomorrow the rain hitting for the REST of spring break so I was grateful for one day where we could enjoy it outside.
Today was stake conference (a huge meeting with a numerous congregations)
I loved hearing a distant family members talk on his conversion to the gospel.
This person was married to his wife (a member) for many years and went to church off and on, eventually serving in callings in scouts and primary, even giving talks in church and paying tithing as a non member.
A few months ago during fall soccer games, I heard from his wife he was to be baptized.
I was so elated to hear such wonderful news!!
Seth said in his talk, "I joined the church backwards." He was active and engaged and then was baptized but really in the end, it does not matter which way you make it to the waters of baptism. The Lord rejoiced as did his family when he made that decision to enter the waters of baptism.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is apart of who I am and it blesses my life and testimony when I see such tender mercies bless those around me.
We have SO many imperfections, habits and choices we make that keep us from being perfect but he loves us so he gave us the gift of Grace. Grace gave us the ability to repent and become new. It gives us the gift of transformation to become who we are meant to become.
Without it, I would feel alone and lost in this world.
He loves me and he loves you and may we all stop to appreciate and show him in return the same love he gave us.
I am grateful for Abraham's example of faith to me.
Today I taught my primary class about when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Issac.
As a parent when I was reading this lesson I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was asked to do and grateful that I have never been asked to do such a sacrifice. We will all be asked to sacrifice things in our lives; doing so enriches our lives and makes us enlighten our minds.
Every day we are asked to stand for truth and righteousness, to wear our honor and be moral compasses to those who are around us.
Doing that comes with a price sometimes that is not easy but the blessings in return are ten fold and worth every sacrifice.
One of my favorite scriptures is proverbs 3: 5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."
May we all remember that the Lord is there to catch up, to guide us and to teach us.
Today I am grateful for my children's good friends.
I have been lucky in this department so far as a mother because being apart of of such amazing wards at church (our congregations), they have been able to meet good friends who uphold their same standards. This gives me peace of mind and has been a blessing because I do not have to worry they are out doing things they shouldn't be doing...
Now, yes my oldest is 13 and Taylor and Chloe are only 9 and 7 so time will tell....
But if they stick to good people who uphold their same beliefs and values...all will end well :).
Today I am grateful for how we have instilled in our children a feeling of love and support for one another in our family. Tonight we attended a simple spring band concert for Diana and yes, in the scheme of things it may be small but when we are there for small things, they add up so when the big things do hit us, it becomes second nature to be there for your family. Sickness, track meets, band concerts, pack meetings, swim meets, dance recitals, school talent shows....they are simple things on the calendar but I know when our family is there to show our support, that person appreciates it.
It makes that person feel important and what they are doing valued.
Back in 2011 I ran my first marathon in Newport, OR.
The support my husband showed me was beyond what most young fathers would have done.
He loaded up my three kids at the time, made signs, went to the dollar store for special treats to eat along the course, packed extra water and lunches, looked over the bus schedule for the marathon and then headed out for a long day to support me in 90 degree weather.
All along the route I could see them as they would ride the spectator bus a couple of miles ahead to get off and cheer me on, hug me and say"Good job Mommy!!"
It meant the world to me and is the ONLY reason I finished that race.
That act of support, service and affection my family showed me will always be with me.
So, it is with that thought, that I want to instill in my children a value of family - to be there in the big and small things of our lives because that support we can give them, makes them not only feel loved but apart of a family that will be there for them no matter what.
Today we got together with my cousin Jennifer's husbands side of the family for dinner to celebrate Elias's first birthday (Jennifer's fourth child who is only 6 weeks older than Charleigh) and a couple others on his side.
We joke that we are their cousins since well... technically we are family :).
We got together to eat and share good food, chat and play games while the kids played.
It was a good ending to a wonderful weekend and I feel so blessed when we get together with family like that. I have fond memories as a kid with all of the get togethers we had for holidays and birthdays, especially with my cousin, Jennifer. She is only four months older than me and was more like a sister growing up since I did not have one.
We were able to get together to celebrate Diana's 13th birthday with family and what a wonderful blessing that was to see everyone. My brother Michael, who is busy with finishing up his masters degree in forestry at OSU was able to make it. It was good to see him and I will miss him when he moves away to Fort Collins this summer. I admire what he has done with his life and look forward to seeing all of the beautiful pictures he will share from his adventures in living in Colorado!
My brother Matthew and his wife, Nicole were also able to make it and Diana loved the make up she received from them as a gift. I remember being 13 when I first started wearing makeup to school. But holy moly...I was horrible at it. Can you say, "Tropical pink" from Wet n'Wild anyone??
Needless to say it was the 90's when I started my adventures in wearing make up.
The party was fun and the grandparents were able to make it too, as well as her godmother, Karina.
My mom brought these fun outfits for Charleigh and made Diana and I matching infinity scarves. A fun weekend catching up with mile high chocolate cake, made for a blessed day.
For the past few months I have been busy with this and that and have not had the time to read much of anything so finally after sometime, I was able to finish the first book in the series, "The brothers." It is a church (LDS) book about the pre-existence and the following of two brother in this life. So far so good and now onto book two!
My friend warned me book one was a bit slow and yes, it was slow but like the work and the glory series from the 90's, early 2000's, where it could drag on sometimes, it was still really good because of that depth and detail.
Today I am grateful for the power of the priesthood.
Taylor is still really sick and not keeping anything down.
I am really worried about him getting too dehydrated with him not keeping anything down for three days and so Keith gave him a blessing tonight. What a blessing to have that assurance and power in your home when a child is sick, or you need a blessing of comfort from the Lord.
Tonight we had "It's great to be 8" for those children in our ward who are being baptized.
Chloe said the opening prayer and I was able to talk about Activity Days to the girls.
I loved seeing the enthusiasm on all of their faces when they entered to look at the font.
So ready and eager to learn.
We all should be more like that!
Chloe will be our third child to be baptized and I know she is eager to be baptized by her father. I am grateful for Chloes desire to do so but also for a husband who is a worthy priesthood holder who can and wants to baptize his beautiful daughter.
We love you Chloe and your father and I are so grateful we were blessed with your fiery spirit.
I had the chance today to meet up with an old friend for lunch today who had moved away and I loved catching up with her. I miss seeing her beautiful face on a daily basis and our conversations!
I was contemplating after lunch how hard it is to keep in contact with everyone that you make friends with over the course of your life. Its sad when you see ties broken or that it has been THAT long since you last talked with them....but I think that is normal. Friends come and go and for whatever reason and the Lord puts them there at that time for specific reasons. Some stay in your life permanently, some come and go as the seasons but each one has a purpose in your life. Some have been put into my life to teach me lessons. Some have been put into my life as a support. Some have been put into my life to change it - ALL important and though we may not stay in touch, do know, I still love ya and am grateful our lives collided even if it was but for a brief second.
Last night Diana came up with her own FHE get to know you game for us. A question would be asked such as, "What is your favorite book?", "What is your favorite church song?" etc. After that we would we would write down what we thought everyone's answer would be, then the person would respond with he/she's correct answer.
For each answer you answered correctly, you would put a check by their name. At the end of the game, whomever you put the least amount of checks by their name, Diana challenged us to get to know that family member better.
SO MUCH FUN and surprising on how well we knew somethings and not so well on other things....
I am grateful for family time but especially a daughter who took the time to make such a fun night of FHE for us all to help us in getting to know each other better in our likes and dislikes.
I know some people do not like Valentines Day and I do agree with some of their reasons which are: flowers are ridiculously expensive, people are running everywhere spending WAY more money they should be on trinkets that really do not say I love you and the ridiculous crowds that can bring out the worst even in the best of people.
Now, those reasons aside, Valentines really is not that bad because...
I have fun making the kids lunches with little notes and a fun treat.
I love going heart attacking with my family.
Writing love notes to those I hold dear is a lot of fun.
I love spending time with my husband that evening.
Chocolate covered strawberries and fancy desserts.
And in all honesty, how bad can a day about love be?
It was a crazy day back at work with a fun Valentines Party with my class. I felt so loved by the kids. They had missed me when I was out sick and were happy to see me as I was them.
After work, it was onto a little shopping and getting things ready for the evening.
I decorated up the table with hearts, fancy dinner ware and we had fun with it.
The kids enjoy this tradition of a fancy dinner and I am grateful for a day where, yes it maybe commercialized, it is a time to smooch and smother those you love with a little love and chocolate!
Today, the National weather service issued a warning for where we live for 8-12 inches of snow, combined with the popular duo of freezing rain, creating a skating rink that caused 20 car pile ups, interstate closures.....and of course school closures.
At first, I was sad since the last time this happened in December we ended up missing 5 days of school in a row, leaving the kids to make up 3 more in June (Boo) but then I realized what a blessing to just be and soak in the family time.
I was able to just relax and catch up on housework, read, and play with Miss C.
The kids were in and out playing in the snow making igloos in the backyard, going over to their friends for snowball fights and enjoying their time off their regular schedules.
It was amazing - although the stress of waiting to have Keith come home from his 25 miles commute was stressful :).
Tonight, we are supposed to get another 4-6....should be fun!
Tonight, we had the LDS missionaries (commonly wear black suits and name tags) over for dinner.
I am grateful for the spirit they bring into our home and along with that, the example they set for my children in their example of service to the Lord. Keith and I did not have the opportunity to serve missions before we were married, so it's important for me to have them in our home.
I like to think of them as my own children because some day, another mama, somewhere around the world, will bless the life not only of my child but me by taking care of my baby by having he or she in her home for dinner or whatever the occasion may be.
They leave their homes for 18 months to 2 years.
That is a long time in the worlds view.
in the eternal perspective of things, it really is short.
Lives are blessed....
of the missionaries, their families and of those they teach.
Tonight they shared a message from Helaman 5:12
"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."
They asked my family the question, "In what ways can we make our foundation stronger?"
Responses were: The YW values, following the commandments, repenting, and prayer.
To build our foundation, praying to our Father in Heaven is one of the most important. Just like a little child wants his parents in times of need or despair, we too will go to the Lord in our times of need,if we have built that relationship with him. A wonderful way to end the weekend!
Two weeks ago, Chloe started a new Beginning Jazz class here in town at the Mitchell Arts Center. It's a big change from the 5 years of ballet she took but she loves it and I think it is a better fit for her in many different ways.
The first two classes they worked on jumps or "leaps."
Chloe struggled to get it which surprised me!
She had been great at doing leaps in ballet class so it seemed odd to me that she was having a hard time with it.
When we went home, I could tell she was feeling a bit defeated about the whole thing, so the next night I set up a dance studio in our hall way!
We were going to get this and I knew she could.
I knew one of the reasons was her teacher was using different phrases for the dance moves which was throwing her off a bit.
Second, it had been awhile since she had done it and she has a hard time with attention on her (hmm, sounds like her mama....)
Next, we put up a couple of things to jump over and I told Chloe to watch me leap...well make a fool of myself but that's what we do for our kids....right?
She giggled and before I knew it, the both of us were leaping and jumping down the hallway laughing.
After a few minutes, she was back to her old self, with beautiful leaps galore!
Today in class when teacher Karen asked them to line up and do leaps, Chloe excitedly jumped up and did it.
Watching your child work hard at something all week long (though it may seem silly to some - it was a big deal to my seven year old) and NAIL IT in dance practice...was the highlight of my day.
And for that I am grateful.
It is moments like those that make it all worth it.