Almost a year ago, we moved to Texas. We left behind one of the best wards we have ever lived in and some of my most favorite people in the whole world. It was a really hard move. It has taken me quite awhile to love Texas again (I grew up here). But, the love is starting to come back. This last weekend we went back to Chattanooga for Cory to finish up some dental work (our dentist was in our ward and he is TOTALLY worth driving 12 hours to go back to, especially for a great excuse to see friends). We stayed with the Griner family so that I could spend as much time with Jenae as I possibly could. :) She is 34 weeks pregnant and yet still let our family of six stay at her home. We had such a great time!!! There were SO MANY people that I wanted to see while I was there, but there is just not enough time in a day (especially while sharing a car and working around nap time) to visit everyone. There were some people that I was really hoping to see but didn't get a chance to. I guess we'll just have to make some more trips out there. :) As we were driving home, I sat and reminisced in my head about all the people that touched my life in some way while we lived there. I grew so much as a person and was taught so many important and invaluable lessons. I have loved everywhere that I have lived, but Chattanooga will always and forever have a special place in my heart. The pictures above were actually taken a year ago. Right before we moved to Texas, our friends put together a good-bye party for our family. I can't believe that I've never posted any of the pictures from it. So here they are now. The people that I miss terribly each and every day.
I have never been a huge fan of daffodils until this year. I'm not exactly sure why I never really cared about them before. I think it was because I was always waiting for the bulbs that would follow...tulips. I LOVE tulips!!! So daffodils were just a reminder of my favorite flower and that was the extent of my appreciation for them.
I first really noticed them a couple of weeks ago. The thought that came to my head was "wow, the daffodils are coming up really early this year." But then as I noticed them more and more each time I drove, ran, or biked in and out of our neighborhood, I had some different thoughts come to my mind.
One day as I was driving out I couldn't help but notice the stark difference between the gray cloudy sky, lifeless barren trees, and dead dry grass compared to the vibrant golden yellow color of the daffodils. It was beautiful. So I pulled over and tried to capture it with my phone. As I was taking pictures, I was thinking about how these bright and beautiful daffodils standing tall and confident in the bleak and dark world around them was so very symbolic.
I can't believe that I have never seen the symbolism before. The first thing that I noticed was their golden color... the color of virtue. The more I have come to understand what virtue means, the more I yearn to be more virtuous; to be cleaner and purer in my thoughts, actions, motives, and behavior. As a young women leader and a mother of four girls, I feel an even greater urgency and desire to make a stand for virtue. About a month ago, I invited the laurels to all come over on a Friday night for a movie night (Cory was out of town). I pulled out all my chick flicks and let the girls choose one. They chose The Wedding Planner....one of my favorites. As we watched the movie, a certain inappropriate part came on. I was mortified and totally embarrassed that I had forgotten about that part of the movie. I tried to talk over the movie and distract the girls until it was over. After the girls left that night, I was absolutely sick inside. Why did I not watch the movie beforehand? Why didn't I just turn it off? I felt HORRIBLE!! I got on my knees and pled for forgiveness. The next day at church I asked the girls for their forgiveness as well. I just felt so sick inside. How can I sit and teach them about virtue and then turn around and watch something that teaches something else? Then at the same time, why would I be okay with watching that when I am all alone? I have a long ways to go. But, I am determined to do and be better.
The darker and more morally polluted the world becomes, the easier it is to just adjust our eyes to the darkness and blend in. It's easier to just sit through the inappropriate part of a movie instead of walking out, or just turning your head at an immoral and basically pornographic magazine at the check out aisle instead of picking it up and turning it around, or asking the manager to remove it. As a 16 year old girl, I remember being on a date with a guy from my stake to watch Austin Powers in the movie theatre. I hated it. I have always hated crude humor and I was totally uncomfortable. But, instead of walking out and risk offending him (since he had paid for my ticket), I decided instead to just sing hymns in my head. It made me feel more comfortable, but think of the greater impact it would've had on me, and those whom I was with, if I had just walked out. We must be bold. We must stand for virtue and righteousness because that is what we, as baptized members of Christ's church, have covenanted to do. The winter of the world is cold. The winds are fierce and the nights are long. But spring will come. Hope lies in those beautiful bright daffodils as they rise up in their glory and power to stand and bear witness of He who is the gardener.
Wow, talk about falling off the blogging wagon. I have been horrible about posting this year. I have got to do better. Have I ever written about how much I LOVE Valentine's Day? Well, I do. I really think it is one of my very favorite holidays. I love all the loving that goes on. I love the simplicity of it. I love the colors pink, red, black, and white. I love that it is a day focused on showing and sharing our love for others. This year I decided to start a new tradition. Since February 1st, I have put a new heart on each of my girls' doors (and our bedroom door for Cory) that says one that I love about them. It has been really fun and I think they may like it as much as I do. :) Also, we wanted to do a Valentine's service project for family night this week. We decided on making cookies for our neighbors around us and delivering them last night. It was really fun, especially eating the leftovers because I think that I seriously found the BEST chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe EVER!!!!! It's the one on Our Best Bites. They are magical, and that is saying something because I'm kindof a cookie snob. I also made a fun little love banner that I hung in our kitchen (I actually made it for a YW activity, but it always has a dual purpose) I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to do for the sisters I visit teach. There are SO many cute ideas on Pinterest....too many!! It's pretty overwhelming actually. I look on there and realize what a pathetic mom I am because this weekend I bought my girls a box of valentines, with a sucker to attached to it, to pass out at school. And, I bought a store-bought chocolate apple to give to their teachers. How pathetic am I?! Someday I will be more creative but in this stage of my life, I just don't want to spend that much time on homemade cuteness for 40 kids who won't appreciate it anyway. But, I do have some other cute ideas in store for the rest of the week, but I'll wait and post pictures later. Oh, and the quote at the very top....one of my favorites. I went to a "pinterest party" this past weekend and I put the quote on a canvas with modge podge for a gift exchange. I am going to make one for my home as well. I did choose my love, and I thank God everyday that he was the choice I made.