Friday, April 27, 2007

"I am so glad that I live in this beautiful world..."

I am so grateful to be a mom. It wasn't until I had children that I learned to really savor each and every moment of life and to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. I have learned to take the time to look at the birds, flowers, grass, clouds, trees and even the bugs. I have come to love nature more than I ever have in my life. I can actually tell you the names of different plants and flowers, ones that I never knew existed. No wonder we are told over and over in the scriptures to become as little children. They definitely understand what it means to be grateful for the beauty of the world and to savor every moment in it. It is at moments such as these, that in my heart I sing with gratitude, reverence, and vigor the words to one of my favorite primary songs, "I am so glad that I live in this beautiful world that Heavenly Father created for me."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There isn't anyone you couldn't love...

Yesterday I read the book "A Heart Like His" by Virginia H. Pearce (Pres. Hinckley's daughter). It is such an amazing book. She basically teaches how to individually feel God's love. She says that in order to be receptive to feeling His love, first we must open up our own hearts to others. She goes through and gives some personal examples of how we can open our hearts and show charity and love to others in our everyday interactions. She gives the rules to the "Awareness Experiement" which are as follows;

1. To be more aware of the condition of our hearts and with that awareness to keep them more open toward others.

2. To do this in the normal course of our lives, in other words, not put any extra activities into our day--no extra visits, no preparing of casseroles, etc. Above all, people were not to become "projects", and our lives were not to be filled with more things to do!

3. Notice the Spirit, and be willing to come together and honestly report what happened or hadn't happened. (she had a group of sisters/friends that she did this "experiment" with)

I have learned so much from reading this book. There are so many things that I am determined to change and improve upon in my own relationships and in the way that I interact with people (whether I know them or not) in my everday life.

She says that once we learn to open and soften our hearts towards others, consequently we make the necesssary adustments within ourselves in order to feel God's love towards us. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from Elder John H. Groberg. He said the following...

"When filled wtih God's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways suprising even to us."

One of my favorite parts in the book is when she is teaching how to open our hearts up to others. She says, "If I honor the Diety within others and my divine connection to them--brothers and sisters who sat together in the grand council, pledging to help each other--it seems that I have to be willing to assume a certain amount of goodness in every person right away."

I wonder how many people in my life I would've or could 've loved if only I had listened to their story and honored their Diety within.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Cloey Noel!!!

The song "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..." has all new meaning to my little two-year-old Cloey. She was not feeling well yesterday and she made sure that everybody knew about it. We started off the day with tears and screaming and ended it the same way, but in between there were some sweet moments of her creating "Horsey" at Build-a-Bear, eating pizza (her favorite) for lunch, riding on the carousel at the mall with Katelund and Ethan, playing with her cousins, eating cake (at least one bite of it), and opening her presents (oh wait, that was my favorite part-- thanks to Aunt Andrea and Grandma Black's adorable clothes and shoes).

Although Daddy wasn't here to do any celebrating, we are planning another party in Asheville for next month and one this Saturday for Uncle Sean, Aunt Brittney, Kade, and Landen. Hopefully she will be a little happier for the follow-up parties.

I still can't believe that two years has gone by. Why do they have to grow up so quickly? Although I know she'll continue to grow, I still hold on to the words from my favorite book in the whole world, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

{Pictures are coming soon}

Friday, April 20, 2007

Off to the Bronx

On Wednesday night, Dustin and Austyn came over to say their last goodbyes. They filled our fridge with their leftovers, we watched American Idol together, and then we took pictures and gave hugs. I had spent a lot of the day making Austyn her goodbye gift. It was a "Bronx survival kit". I bought little things that she would need to "survive" and then I had little explanations to go with each item. For example, I got her goggles because I figured that since she has already ran 2 marathons that her next training would be for a triathalon, and I figured that she would need the goggles to train in the Hudson River. I also got her some sweet tarts so they would help her stay sweet among all the tough New Yorkers. I got her a black bandana to help her blend in with her neighbors, a set of Rook cards to play with their new Rook partners, etc..... It was a lot of fun to make it but even more fun to see her read each explanation. As they drove away, I lost all control and just sobbed on Cory's shoulder. I still have great friends here but I will miss Austyn terribly!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rook Partners

While we lived in Fayetteville, we started a tradition. Every Sunday night we played couples Rook with our really good friends, Jim and Celeste Ward. After they moved to Tennessee, we played with a couple of our other friends but it just wasn't the same. When we moved here to Asheville, we became really good friends with Dustin and Austyn Smith. They became our new Rook partners. We played every Sunday night at 8pm. The Smith's don't have children yet, so it worked out great. Sometimes they brought fondue or pie and other times we made cookies or Rotel and chips. We looked forward to it every week!! It was our thing. Well, the Smiths will be moving this Thursday to New York City. Dustin got a job with MLS (Major League Soccer). They are so excited, and we are so sad. They were the best Rook partners ever. I don't know how we will ever find a couple to replace them.

Last night we had them over for a great dinner (thanks to Cory) and a great game of Crazy Rook. Katelund and Cloey will miss them so much. They both LOVE Austyn. She always plays hide and seek and spins them around. Last night Katelund got all dressed up and did her hair all up for Austyn (note the attached picture). I don't know if I will ever find a friend to replace her. She has been such a good friend to me!!! I could go on and on about how truly incredible she is. I am so sad to once again say goodbye to an amazing friend. It seems to be the story of my life.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Girls' Night

Yesterday, Cory drove to South Carolina to go see one of his good friends from college who was there opening up a summer sales office. Since he was gone for the night, I had a girls night with my neighbor Beth. We went and got pizza (Cloey's favorite) at Little Ceasar's and then we rented a chick flick for us and a Princess movie for Katelund. We had a "pizza picnic" on a blanket in the living room while we watched the Princess movie with Kate and Cloers and then Beth and I waxed our "mustaches". After the girls went to bed, Beth and I made cookie monsters (a big cookie with ice cream on top) and watched our movie. We cried, laughed, and dreamed together (all of the essentials for a good chick flick). It was a great night.

"My Friend, Cloey"

Today while we were at the park, Cory and I were sitting on the bench watching the girls play. It is really interesting to see how your children interact with other children. Katelund is very content playing by herself or with others. When other little kids came around her to play, she was very much the leader but she was also open to their ideas.

Cloey, on the other hand, wants everything done her way. There was one little boy who wanted to play with her and she was okay with that as long as he did what she wanted him to do. Fortunately, the little boy was so sweet and he would do whatever she said. It was so funny to watch.

At one point, Katelund had a whole bunch of little girls following her around. As they ran passed Cloey and her little boy friend, Katelund stopped and said to the group, "This is my friend, Cloey."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Joy in My Journey

Today Cory got home from work early so we decided to all go to the park. We played on the playground, had a pull-up contest on the monkey bars, and flew our kite. Then we came home and decided to make the girls their favorite dinner ever...macaroni and cheese with apples. Then as Cory played a golf game on his X-box, I decided that Cory needed a little trimming and pampering to prepare him for the highlight of his week....Thursday night basketball. I trimmed his ear hairs and the unibrow he had going on. Then I gave him a pedicure. The funny thing is that he loved every minute of it....So ADORABLE.

After Cory went to basketball, I should have cleaned up after dinner, folded the laundry, and/or put away the bags of "stuff" that I cleaned out of the car today. But instead, I decided to redesign my blog. It is kindof like rearranging my house. After a couple of months, I just need a change. I guess it is just part of my personality.

To put the cherry on the end of the day, we stayed up until midnight tonight watching "The Pursuit of Happiness". What an incredible movie. It sure puts things into perspective. I cannot even begin to put into words how grateful I am for my family (immediate and extended), for the loving home that I live in, for Cory's wonderful job, and for my knowledge and testimony of Christ and His gospel. Although everyday is not perfect (sometimes not even close to perfect), I find joy and peace in the fact that I too am pursuing happiness, eternal happiness. It is not a destination, but a journey. A journey that defines who we are, who we will become, and where we will go. I am just so thankful for the little things each day that bring joy to my journey.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An apple a day must keep the frowns away.

Today at lunch, the girls and I were eating apple slices. Katelund put the apple in her mouth (see picture), stood up to look in the mirror, and then started laughing like crazy because the apple looked like a big smile. She wanted each of us to do it and then get our picture taken. So here are the pictures for all to see.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I accomplished a major goal today. I ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles). It was so amazing. Austyn and I had so much fun doing it. The hardest miles for me were the first (because I knew I had so far to go) and the last (because it was mostly uphill and I was so tired). One day I want to do a full marathon but for now I am just so proud of myself for making it this far.

Happy Easter!

We had such a wonderful Easter. Some of our Easter weekend events included; watching "Happy Feet" as a family, playing in the snow (yes, it snowed 2 inches Friday night), flying a kite, having an Easter egg hunt, watching the girls devour Easter candy/food from the Easter bunny (there favorite being gold fish), watching Cloey eat snow, and getting the girls all beautiful in their Easter dresses. Although we didn't have any family to celebrate with, we had so much fun together as our own little family. It was so nice to just hang out together. Although the Easter traditions were a lot of fun, I think my favorite part of Easter was at church. I participated in an Easter Cantata that had speaking and musical parts that told the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. I was in the choir so I really had to focus on singing instead of listening too closely to the words because I didn't want to get emotional, but on the part when the Savior appears to Mary I couldn't control myself. The Spirit touched me in a very powerful and personal way. It is hard to describe in words, but it was amazing.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My New Primary Song...

"I looked out the window and what did I see? Snowflakes falling off the Bradford Pear tree. Spring has brought me such a nice surprise, blossoms falling right before my eyes. I can take an armful and make a treat, a snowflake ball that would feel so neat. It wasn't really so, but it was to me. Snowflakes falling off the Bradford Pear tree. "

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Katelund, Cloey, and I walked outside the other day to walk to the park. They both got so excited as they noticed the "snow" that was falling all around them. I explained to them that it wasn't snow, it was the white blossoms falling off the Bradford Pear trees. As we were walking along, Katelund got so excited every time she saw a dandelion in the grass. She had to stop each time, carefully pick it, and then place it in my purse for safe keeping. I told her that I thought it would be a good idea if she said a prayer to thank Heavenly Father for all of the "beautiful" dandelions that he created for us to enjoy. She said, "that's a great idea Mommy....Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the beautiful dandelions you made for us and also for the blossoms that fall like snow."

Spiders, Bats, and Bears...

The other day I took Katelund and Cloey on a walk. We walked along a trail that took us into the woods. Katelund started getting nervous after awhile because she said there were "spiders, bears, and bats coming to get us".

Standing Alone

The other day I was washing a bag of grapes. As I poured some out into a bowl for lunch, I realized that at the very bottom of the bag was one green grape. As I took it out and placed it on the top of the other purple grapes, the Holy Ghost impressed upon me the significance and importance of standing out and being different from the "world". As a member of the church, we are told that we are a peculiar people, but I think sometimes it becomes very easy to just try to blend in with everyone else. I find myself doing this at times when I feel like I am immersing myself too much into the things of the world. I will be eternally grateful for the fact that I grew up with different values, standards, and beliefs than those around me. I am grateful that I chose to continue being different as I began my own family traditions of scripture reading, family home evening, prayer, temple attendance, and service. Lately, I have really felt satan working on me. There have been times where I have really felt like I had to stand alone in a bowl full of purple grapes, but really I am never alone. One of my favorite songs is "I'll Never Stand Alone" from the Cumorah's Hill CD. In the song it says, "I stand with Nephi and Moroni, and Abinidai who testified in flames....when I walk with God, I'll never stand alone".

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