Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Teacher I Admire

As a mother, I love to brag on my kids. I love it when they say sweet things or when they make good choices. There are many posts on my blog about those very moments and I am so glad that I have recorded them, so that I will never forget. But, this time I want to brag on my husband. Cory was called to be the Sunday School teacher over the 12 and 13 year olds. He has taken this calling and literally run with it. These kids are so lucky to have him. He spends so much time during the week preparing for his lessons. He does power points, he sends out a weekly email, and he is constantly thinking about what he can do better. He has actually gotten the kids to read their study guides each week in preparation for class (it helps that he occasionally brings candy bars for those who did it). He also starts his class each week with highlighting a Book of Mormon hero and challenges them to read more about them on their own. He has even asked the kids to come prepared to teach about a Book of Mormon hero (one that is not well known). He has been such an inspiration to me!! He has shown me what it means to magnify your calling. Just so you can see what I mean, here is some of the email that he sent out this week....

My young friends:

An assignment was given to each of you at the end of class last week. It was to read the following scriptures and answer the following questions. Now as I am asking you to do this, please keep in mind that I don't want you to answer these questions with answers that you think I want to hear or to appease me. These are questions for you to have answers for in your own life when you are placed in a situation that is trying to get you to compromise your beliefs. For those who would really like to go the extra mile, I would strongly encourage you to sit down with you parents and do this exercise with their help and input. Have a phone handy when you do this, cause they will probably immediately go into shock after you request their help to answer these questions and you will need to be able to call for an ambulance. LOL

Here is the exercise:

D&C 121:45 - What does it mean to garnish thy thoughts unceasingly?

D&C 27:15-18 - How can we keep evil or un-virtuous thoughts out of our minds?

How can we more actively fill our minds with virtuous thoughts

I really look forward to your answers, and to see which of you will have the most heart-felt and detailed answers.

Between each class, from Sunday to Sunday, 10,080 minutes will pass by, of this total surely you can find 30 mins to dedicate to the Lord and prepare yourselves for class this week. Please take the time and prepare yourselves to feel the spirit and continue increasing your very own testimony! This week we will talk about missionary work. In addition to including the study guide I have included the reading from Our Heritage, which, is a part of our lessons, please read it, it's only 10 small paragraphs, won't take you that long to complete. This week I will be teaching exclusively from the study guide, so be prepared to discuss what you've read and studied!

Dear President Obama,

At one point I believed in you. I believed that you really did want to make good changes, that you would help our country in ways that were so desperately needed. I stood up for you. I even thought for a time that I would vote for you. I ended up not voting for you though, because when it comes down to it, I am a conservative and I always will be. I just could not justify voting for someone who is so liberal in his moral views, but I still had hope for you when you won. Unfortunately, my hope for you is beginning to fade. Today I read a 17 page article about government and the purposes of government by Ezra Taft Benson. I worry for our country and I'm afraid that all of the things that you are doing to "help" is actually creating a people who use the government as a crutch. A people who will never learn to walk on their own because they don't have to. I thought that there had to be a way to help those people who just couldn't afford health care or who just seemed to need that extra bit of help because for whatever reason they were stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty. I still hope and pray that those people get the help that they need, but now I can clearly see that the help that they need should be from their neighbors or their families, not from their government. As I continue to learn, listen, and watch, I see that the change that must take place in America needs to come from the inside out. We need to change. We need to be more charitable. We need to be more hard-working. We need to be more honest, virtuous, and God-fearing. We need to protect and defend our families, our homes, and our liberty. Mr. Obama, I will continue to pray for you and for all of the governemnt officials. I will pray that the Lord will show you a better way. That He will show us all a better way. May we all rise up to the challenges before us, that the future of this country will reflect the greatness and humility of its beginnings.

A Concerned Citizen

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I think it is time for a "randomness" post. Here are all of my random thoughts for the day...

* Tonight I am having book club at my house. Totally didn't even read the book. Oops.

*Yesterday I told the girls that if they didn't get their chores done that they couldn't play at the park or check out books at the library (we always go the park after our library trips). As I walked out of the library empty-handed ( I am usually carrying a stack of 50 plus books...okay not really, but around 15) I realized that the whole no-checking-out-books punishment was pretty lame. Who punishes their children by withholding books??? Apparently, I do.

*I made brownies last night to serve to the missionaries after dinner. I should know this by know, but just so I have it in writting...NEVER add ingredients when you are in a conversation. After I took the brownies out and realized that they were saturated in grease, I realized that I added 1 and 2/3 cup oil instead of just 2/3 cup. One of the elders actually ate some...bless his heart....literally...bless his heart so he won't have a heart attack!!!

*My mind has been consumed with something that is going to happen that I cannot talk about at this point. I am feeling...consumed (I can't think of a better word) Don't you hate it when people start something but don't finish?

* Next week I register Katelund for first grade.

*The week after that we are leaving for our long car ride to Utah so that we can see Cory's little sister, Stefani, get married. She is going to be one beautiful bride!

*I can't eat ice cream or peaches. Both of them make me throw-up.

*Can I just tell you how much I love to listen to talks by Elder Maxwell? He is one of the people that I can't wait to meet in heaven!!! Speaking of favorite people....our Bishop told an awesome story on Sunday about an experience he witnessed with Elder Bednar. (you don't really know me if you don't know how much I LOVE Elder Bednar) I'll have to write a whole post on just that story. I'll save it for a rainy day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Memory of...

These words were written to me today in an email from my sister-in-law/one of my greatest friends of all time. I couldn't have said it any better.
..."Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His perfect plan of Happiness, I feel that I know things about Clairisa that others might deem impossible to know. I know that she inherited all those beautiful virtues that her mother possesses so completely {apparently she has lived away from me for way too long}. I know that she is full of courage, as, I have no doubt, that she full-heartedly volunteered to fulfill her role in your family. It must have taken a courageous soul. I know that she is full of knowledge. She must have had a comprehensive understanding of what her short life would mean. I'm sure that she knew it would be hard and cause heartache for so many, but I know that she must have understood the big picture, as does the Lord. I know that she is full of a testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ. Of this I have no question, because I felt the overwhelming power of her spirit this time a year ago. I know that she is valiant. After all, she only needed a body. I know that she is righteous. Her righteousness was something that our Heavenly Father needed more than we did. I know that she possesses that quality that most of us strive a lifetime to achieve, even charity. I think that everything she was meant to do leads every one of us back to our Father in Heaven. Through the many acts of service that were given because of her, the best was brought out in all of us. She undoubtedly encourages us all to partake in the pure love of Christ. I know that she is perfect. At that day, when the Savior comes again, she will be with her Father in Heaven and if we live up to our covenants we shall be privileged to see her as she really is, perfect, exalted, and celestial.
Happy Perfection Day Clairisa! We love you!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Pioneer Day!!!

This poem was in the Ensign a couple of years ago, and it has always been one of my favorites.

Faith to Follow
by Lisa South

I dream of being a Moses, an Esther,
A Nephi--And despair that I
Don't have that
Greatness in me.
But thenI remember--
God doesn't require greatness,
He requires faith;
And some of us must have
The faith to follow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pioneers: Day Four

I am an 8th generation Mormon on every single genealogical line. I feel so much gratitude for the ancestors that preceded me and for the legacy that they left behind. I have some pretty amazing footsteps to follow, and for that I feel deeply humbled and blessed. But, I have often wondered what it would be like to be the first one in your family to join the church, to be a modern day pioneer. Cory's dad is just that. He joined the church when he was 21 years old. He made that life-changing decision to step into the unknown and act upon his faith in order to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He has been an active strong member of the church ever since. He and his wife have raised 5 incredible children. All three of the boys have served 2 year missions for the church and as of next month, all 5 children will be sealed to their spouses in the temple.

He is a modern day pioneer. A man who walks in faith and who taught his children to do the same. I absolutely love this picture of him holding Clairisa because I see a grandpa who loves and cherishes his granddaughter, a man who has given his life and heart to God and who knows what it means to anchor himself in faith and cleave unto hope. I will never forget his loving embrace in the hospital or his tender words spoken at the graveside service. I feel so blessed to have two of the most incredible fathers in my life, my own father and my father-in-law, a pioneer in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pioneers: Day Three

The last two stories have both been from my Dad's side of the family. The following story is from my Mom's side. I LOVE this has always been one of my favorites.

Sarah Ann Weeks joined the church as a youth. She did so against the wishes of her parents. She wanted so badly to join the Saints in America, but her parents told her that if she left they would no longer have her as a daughter. She chose to leave. She cut off all of her hair in order to pay for the expense of crossing the Atlantic. When she boarded the boat, her brothers came aboard looking for her in order to make her go back home. With the approval of the captain, she found a big kettle in the kitchen and hid in it the whole way to America so that nobody would find her or stop her from making it to Zion. She eventually made it to Salt Lake City, but her parents kept their word and never corresponded with her again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pioneers: Day Two

Joseph Smith Black was the son of Jane Johnston and William Young Black. He was baptized in Nauvoo when he was 8 years old by George Q. Adams, who added the Smith to his name when he was in the water. While living in Nauvoo, he went to Warsaw to go and help another family move. While he was there he remembers boys and old men hooting and yelling at him and some of them threatening to kill him because he was a Mormon.

He arrived in Salt Lake City when he was 14 years old. Later on in his life, he moved to Deseret where he became a bishop of that ward. In his obituary, the following was said about him;

"During the dam-building age to Deseret's checkered history the people were very, very poor. Bishop Black ran a large mercantile business and varied his dam building enterprise with the equally disastrous task of attempting to feed the poorer ones of his spiritual flock, and it can be truthfully said of him that no needy person ever applied to Bishop Black for aid or credit at his store and was refused. His big generous hand was ever extended to those less fortunate than himself. His confidence in the honesty of his fellowmen was unbounded. If one of his clerks in the store robbed him he forgave him and continued to treat him as a brother and a friend.

Joseph S. Black was a pioneer in all that the word, in it best sense, conveys. His career is ended, and whatever the future holds for those who have done their duty in this life, as God gave them ability and strength to do it, he will receive its fullness."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pioneers: Day One

When I used to teach music in Primary (my favorite calling of all time), I loved to teach the pioneer songs. I loved to dress up like a pioneer and I loved to tell the stories! It is probably one of my favorite holidays because it just means so much to me, maybe because I marvel at the sacrifices that were part of everday life for them, or maybe it is because I find my faith increased after I read of theirs. Whatever the reason, I stand in awe of them and the legacy that they have left behind. To me, they are the ultimate example of a people who humbly and willingly gave up everything in order to find freedom from persecution and obey the will of God. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to live back then.

Pioneer Day is on the 24th of July. This morning as I was thinking about what I was going to do to celebrate them, I decided to write about a pioneer everyday this week. To start off, I am going to write about my 4th great grandparents...Jane Johnston Black and William Young Black. Both of them were born in Ireland. After all of their parents had died, they moved to Manchester, England. {They actually have quite an amazing love story, but in order to not drag this post on forever, I have chosen to just include some selected parts}.

The following is in Jane's own words:

"We did go in what was called Paul Harris Cellar. William Clayton and Joseph Fielding addressed us. It was glad tidings and great joy to my husband and me. We both believed and on about January 14, 1839 we were baptized by Elder Clayton. In the year 1840, the chilldren and I [William was serving a mission in England] traveled to Nauvoo and saw and heard the Prophet Joseph Smith and I can testify the he truly was a Prophet of God.

We then moved to Nauvoo and lived there until the Saints were driven from their homes and across the Mississippi River....We had nothing to eat except on half bushel of corn meal and a half dozen cucumbers that were given to me. There were a great many sick among us and nothing to comfort them and nourish them but cornmeal until the Lord sent quail amongst us which supplied our needs. They were so tame some of them would light on the beds of the sick and they could reach out their hands and catch them. We had nothing to sweeten anything until the Lord sent honey dew, which we gathered from the bushes until we had all we could use. How grateful we were for these blessings.

The Saints moved on to Winter Quarters and we went with them. We stayed there about a year and then started across the plains on our journey to the Salt Lake Valley. We often walked from fifteen to twenty miles per day, but many times the going was very slow and hard. We walked to ease the load our team had to haul. After a weary and toilsome journey of more than a thousand miles we arrived in Salt Lake City in the Fall of 1850.

{So I just told this story to Katelund and Cloey and when I got to the part about them not having hardly any food and all of the people that were sick, Cloey stopped me. She had tears all in her eyes and said, "Mommy, can we please go and take them some food and drive them to our house so we can take care of them?"}

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I can't figure out how to post this video, so here is the link.....Mormon Message.

I love all of the Mormon Messages, but this one has to be my very favorite!!! I hope that you will watch it, especially if you are not a Mormon (it's a great way to find out what we believe).

Note to Self:

Don't EVER do the following things...

*go on a walk (without keys) and then leave all of your doors locked.

*tell your children that they will have to stay in the room until it is clean, even if that means all day.

*answer the phone when you are really emotional and have been husbandless for four very long days because you will just fall apart and cry.

*go to a swim meet and let your daughter stand in the chair while she "fixes your hair" and then let her try to get down on her own, lose her balance, and fall on her head straight back on the cement.

*buy blue slushies at Sonic and then let your children drink them in the van.

*leave your keys in your locked car at the gas station while you run into the store real quick with your children and then have to wait at the gas station while your husband (who is driving home from a business trip) calls a policeman in our ward to come break into the car.

*never repeat a day like yesterday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My New Favorite Website

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe website! Everything that I have made and everything that my sister has made off of here is FABULOUS!!!! Seriously. This week I haven't been feeling so well, but last week....I was a changed woman. My family thought that something crazy had happened because all of the sudden I was cooking new and exciting meals every single night. Not just meals, meals that have fresh ingredients and lots of spices. Three of my favorite meals that I have made from here are the Asian BBQ chicken, the chicken taquitos, and the French dip sandwiches. Let me know if you find any other favorites.

Click here for the link.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Each Life that Touches Ours for Good"

This was the view out my front window yesterday afternoon. I thought it was so sweet!! They really are the best of friends.
Yesterday, I had one of my friends from the ward come over and make cards with me. We had such a great time and I actually finished about 8 cards. It was not only great to have a friend over, it was so great to have her over. She has such a pure heart and is a great example of endurance, love, and faith in the Lord. She has a brain tumor that is basically uncurable. She is on and off of chemo all of the time, she has a seizure almost every single day, and she struggles with memory loss. But, although she deals with all of these things, she is so happy and has such a positive attitude. She talks about everyone as if they were the most amazing person in the world. I love people like that!!!
I am so thankful that the Lord places certain people in our lifes at certain times to teach us specific things. I could go on and on listing the things that I have learned over the last twenty eight years from the friends and people in my life at certain times. Each person, each of you who read this, have left an impression upon my heart and have taught me something that nobody else could have taught me in quite the same way. That is one of the great advantages of living in so many different places....more people to learn from. Really in the end, I think we are not only a compilation of the experiences and choices we make, but also lifes that have touched ours, the people we have learned from and loved.
And just to prove my point, PLEASE leave a comment about someone recently who has touched your life and then beneath your comment I would like to tell you something that you have taught me (unless I don't know you, of course :) ).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dear Body,

I know that this is my fourth pregnancy, but STILL!! What is the deal? Is it just that you are so excited and ready for this baby that you feel like you have to make room for him/her in a hurry? I am not complaining about your enthusiasm but I'm pretty sure that by 2 months I should be looking the same. I don't think that this little pooch is supposed to be there yet. At this rate, I'm going to be in maternity clothes by next month, and really I would normally be okay with that, BUT did you forget about the little black dress that I am supposed to be wearing to Stefani's wedding? I don't think there is any room in there for a pooch, and think about how I will be feeling standing next to all of my supermodel size 2 sister-in-laws. Okay, okay....I guess I should just be grateful that you know what you are doing, but don't you remember how everything worked out just fine with the first pregnancy when you didn't start showing until month 6? Or even pregnancy number 2 when it wasn't until month 4-5? I'm just saying...I'm okay with you slowing down a little bit.....unless this is just what you do when I'm having a BOY??? If that's the case, then bring on the maternity clothes!!

Respectfully Yours,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chocolate, Slides, and Zip Lines

Remember how I was craving chocolate? After reading my blog, my sweet friend Kristi came by the next day and brought me over the most delicious chocolate brownie EVER!!! Totally made my day!
We went to a SWEET park this week. It had a zip line....

...and a CRAZY fast slide. I went down it with the girls and was actually kinda scared that I was going to have a crash landing because we were not slowing down. It was SO MUCH fun!! This park is on my top 5 list of ALL time best parks! It is totally worth coming out to Chattanooga to visit it (and me...hint, hint to all of my friends and family who have no idea where I live and who I wish would just come and visit).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Today's Check List

Breakdown before doctor's appointment....check
Impressed with new doctor....check
Breakdown in doctor's office...check (I had to tell all of the details of my last pregnancy)
Baby inside...check
Heartbeat good...check
Breakdown when I heard the heartbeat...check
Prescription for nausea...check
Relieved and excited...check, check, check!!!
Totally craving a chocolate cake to celebrate all my checks....check

It's a good day.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Faith and Fear

I have always tried to be really honest on my blog. I write this for me and my family, so when I feel like being cheesy, I am. When I feel like venting, I do. When I feel like being setimental, I am. I am who I am, and I am not going to change my blog to create somebody or try to portray myself as somebody I am not (although my blog would be a lot more exciting) :) . So the point in me telling you all of this, is because I don't want you (whoever reads this) to think that I am ever writing for a reaction or writing to receive certain types of responses. Many times I read my post to my children because I want them to know how I feel or what I strongly believe. I think it is important. I also have found it very interesting to read what I felt at this time last year or the year before, or even the year before that. I don't use my blog to merely post pictures for grandparents, update friends and families with our current events, or even to just write about how my children are growing. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing a blog just for one of those reasons, they are just not my sole reasons to blog. I want to remember how I feel, what is important to me, and how the moments that matter in my life make me who I am.

With that being said....

Lately I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety. I am having trouble sleeping at night, I find myself scared to go to the bathroom because I am afraid that I will see blood, and I am scared to death to go the doctor tomorrow for my first appointment because what if I am really not pregnant? I know that all of these things seem illogical, but I am really struggling with them. I am getting a blessing tonight and I know I just have to let go of these fears and replace them with faith, but I am just so afraid of repeating the past. I have learned and grown so much in the last year, but that doesn't mean I am ready to repeat it. The other day I was telling Katelund that my stomach was hurting. She then said to me, "is it because the baby has died inside of you?" I was caught so off guard, I just started sobbing uncontrollably. She voiced what I have been fearing deep down inside. It is time to just let these feelings go, because they are only weighing me down and I know that they are not from the Lord. For how can faith and fear co-exist? They can't.

Yesterday my friend Destinee, sent me some pictures of Clairisa that she had done some work with on Photoshop. She also made an incredible slideshow with the pictures and music. Cory and I watched it and cried together. It was perfect, Destinee! Although I am scared and anxious, I feel so incredibly grateful and blessed to be pregnant right now. To be pregnant during a month where my thoughts are turned to last year. Two days from today, last year, I was being admitted to the hospital while bleeding uncontrollably. It seems like just yesterday. I was so thankful for these pictures from Destinee, because it helped ease my mind as I realized that although there are many hard and painful memories from this time last year, there are also a lot of sweet unforgettable ones that have changed my life forever. Thank you Destinee for reminding me of those very moments.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What I wish I'd said.

Last night we had a suprise visit by a 19 year old young man who we knew from Fayetteville. Cory was his YM leader at church. He comes from a wonderful family (I totally love his mom) and he is a really good boy. He was stopping by for the night on his way to California. As Cory and I sat and talked with him for awhile, I couldn't help but feel excitement and nervousness for this boy. He is like most of us were at 19; yearning for independance, trying to figure out what comes next, learning who we are without our parents, and thinking that we've got life pretty much figured out. At least that is how I was at 19. I was in college thinking that I was pretty darn smart, I was completely smitten by Cory and ready to begin my perfect fairy tale life with him, and I was so excited and ready to show my parents how independant I had become.

As I listened to this boy, I could relate in so many ways to where I was at his age, and yet there were so many things that I just wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him that my parents really did try there very best, and I only pray that I can be the same kind of parent to my teenage daughters. I wanted to tell him that independance is not really what it is cracked up to be, life is hard and it hardly ever goes the way you think it will. I wanted to explain to him that as smart as he thinks he is now, just wait...he'll realize how little he really knows when real life gets a hold of him. I'd tell him to prepare himself for marriage because it is not a perfect fairy tale, it is hard work. I'd tell him to study diligently, pray feverently, work hard, and be grateful because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

I hope life will be good to him, but most likely it will be filled with moments of refinement, trials of intensity, and seasons of disappointment and sorrow. But hopefully, all these things will work together for his good and become course corrections in his life. I hope that he'll find his way back to that narrow road where faith will become his anchor, hope his guiding star, and eternal happiness his destiny.

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