Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lessons from Nature

As I was bike riding the other day, I passed this tree that was totally being overtaken by the purple wisteria vine growing next to it. I remember the very first time I saw a purple wisteria vine in North Carolina. I remember thinking how beautiful it was and how southern it looked. But then I did some research to find out what it was called and learned about how deadly these vines can be. They wrap themselves around other trees and eventually take over and kill the tree. What starts out as a beautiful harmless purple-flowering vine can end up deadly. Isn't this so symbollic of sin? I often wonder what little seemingly harmless sins are beginning to wrap themselves around my heart, sins of omission or comission that are needing to be cut down and eliminated from my life. I think the purple wisteria vine is the most symbollic of pride. Pride is such a universal sin and is found everywhere and is at the root of most sins. I frequently have to repent of pride in my life. I hate it. I hate it when I recognize it in myself and feel so ashamed by thoughts or actions that are driven from pride. Just like the wisteria vine, we must daily cut ourselves free of the sins that if left alone, will eventually destroy us.

Falling in Love All Over Again

Have you ever heard the quote that goes something like this, "A good marriage is about falling in love over and over again with the same person." I think I totally butchered that but I saw it on pinterest or facebook awhile back and LOVED it because I have told Cory for years that there are certain things that he does that make me fall in love with him all over again. One of those things is when he swims the butterfly stroke across a pool...HOLY COW does my heart melt!!! But, the other week I think he topped it. I walked into our bedroom to find him riding the trainer (for his daily second workout) while he was reading his scriptures on his ipad. Yep, the sparks of love where flying everywhere! :)

Daddy's Girls

Why do we only have girls? Ummm, it's because my husband is the best father of daughters EVER!!!!!


Did I ever post about how we got a dog last November? Well, our dog days have come to an end. A couple of weeks ago while we were at the park, she somehow got out of our locked fence and ran away. My girls are all broken-hearted and ask about her every single day. I hope that she is safe and being taken care of, but honestly, not having a dog is amazing! That sounds so horrible! I guess I'm just not really a dog person. She was a lot of fun but SO MUCH WORK and more mess than I wanted to clean up. So, it's sad, but also okay. I hope my girls never read this confession. They would never forgive me for saying such a horrible thing. :)

Spring Soccer

We decided to do another soccer season since we had so much fun last fall. Cory is coaching the team again and they are actually a lot better this time around, but we are still waiting to actually win a game. :) Cory loves the time he spends with the girls going to and from practice twice a week plus games on Saturdays, but it is definitely a sacrifice for him. Also for me since I really hardly get to watch the games because I'm chasing a 3 year old and 1 year old around EVERYWHERE the ENTIRE TIME! Man, the things we do for our children, right?! :)

Mud Run

A couple of Saturdays ago, I ran in a 5K Mud Run/Obstacle Course Race. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! I did it with my good friend Amanda. She lives on the street behind us and her daughter and Cloey are inseperable. The funny thing is that Amanda and I were in YWs together until I moved when I was 14, pretty crazy, right?! Ya, she's one of my closest friends here and I love her like crazy!! I also LOVED being covered head to toe in mud. I think it was actually one of those things that I have always secretly wanted to experience. I will definitely have to do another one someday.

Growing Up

This year has been a great year for Katelund. She has grown up so much!! She's developing so many talents and skills and loving every second of it. Some of the things she's been involved with are....piano lessons (which she actually LOVES, unlike her sister), announcements at school, safety patrol, all district honor choir (she tried out and was one of about 14 kids who made it from her school), art exhibit at the high school (she has always been my little artist), and soccer. She also has really loved school this year. Her teacher has A LOT to do with that. He has been perfect for her!! The picture on the top was one she showed me about a month ago. She had been waiting in the office for me to pick her up after safety patrol. While she was in there, a certain boy, who she apparently has a big crush on, came in to wait for his mother as well. So, she did what any 4th grade girl would do, took out her itouch and discreetly take a picture!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?!? I laughed so hard when she showed me the picture and told me the story. My daughter is a STALKER!!! Just kidding. But, a little scary, right?!

Park Pics

Cousin Fun

A couple of weeks ago, I was so blessed to see four of my neices and nephews in one day. Katie came down and spent the day with us and then later that afternoon, Brittney brought Landon and Kylin over to spend the weekend with us. My girls were in heaven!!!! Hailey is STILL talking about Kylin every single day! :) She thought she was the coolest thing ever!! It was really funny how she followed her around everywhere she went. She also loves Callie. It us seriously the best thing ever to live so close to family.

Young Women Fun

Can I just say how much I LOVE my laurels???!!!! They are so much fun!!!! Being a laurel advisor over these eight girls has got to be the BEST calling in the whole ward. Five of them will be moving on this summer to college and/or missions. I will miss them TERRIBLY!!!! We have had such a blast with all of the activities we've done over the last year. I have served with the youth for the last eight years (except for one year in there when I was the visiting teaching coordinator...which I LOVED!!). I have grown and learned so much from them. I am constantly amazed by their strength, determination, and desire to live righteously and to be different from the trends of the world. I know that at some point I will serve elsewhere, but for now, I am soaking it all in and loving every minute of it. Maybe, just maybe, it will help me with the four teenage girls I will be raising in the near future. Oh, the top pictures are from New Beginnings a couple months back. I was in charge of decorating (which I LOVED doing). I actually ended up putting pom poms all along the front of the stage as well, it ended up looking way better than these pics, but these pics are all I took. The theme was "Putting Our Soles in Holy Places". We had eight girls be models for the eight values. Each model would wear shoes that were the color of the value. As they walked down the runway, another young women was her MC. She had prepared a little speech to explain how that particular young women stood for her value in her life. The girls did such a GREAT job!!!! It was a great night!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My thoughts while running on the morning after the Boston Marathon bombing....

This morning I ran hard. I ran faster than I've ran in a long time. I ran and I cried as I thought of those who were effected by the bombs at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Really, we should all be effected. Why someone would feel that it is a good idea to kill and injure innocent people, is beyond me. But then again, isn't it us a society who pays millions of dollars each year to make and watch more and more movies, video games, and television shows that are consumed with violence? How can we be so shaken when we are really the ones doing it to ourselves? I cried as I thought about the wickedness that surrounds us and about the injustice, intolerance, and indecency that is taking over our world. I thought of my experience in the store last night where two adult men had a conversation in the checkout line filled with vulgarity and foul language right in front of me and another woman. I felt so disrespected and so upset. I literally had to bite my tongue to keep myself from being rude and yet, this morning, I wish I had just opened my mouth and let it come out. Our society wants women to be treated fairly and to be guaranteed their "rights" of insignificant things like wearing pants to church and and yet we are okay with the disrespect that is shown all around us as women appear practically naked on the covers of magazines in the check out lines? Why do so many women want to be like men anyways? If I had to work I would, not because of a need to be important or successful but because it would be a necessity in order to help provide for my family. I'm so grateful I don't have to work so that I can stay at home with my little ones. I feel so blessed to live in the bubble world that I create within the walls of my home. Sometimes as Cory leaves for work in the morning I feel a little envious as I look around at the disaster that is mine to clean and the children who are crying for food and attention, but then I remember. I remember that this is my work to do and my part to play. I wouldn't want it any other way. I am a partner with my husband in raising a righteous family and creating a Christ-centered home. There are no "rights" that I feel I deserve or are entitled to because we are a team and we each do the best at the parts we have been born to do. As I ran this morning and thought of these things, I also thought of the blessing and gift of a healthy fully functioning body. I felt invigorated as I ran even harder and felt so much gratitude for such a priceless and merciful gift. It is so sad to me to see people who abuse, neglect, or treat their bodies as a canvas to be put on display for all to see. Part of the reason I run, is to show gratitude and care to the body I have been blessed with. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But someday it will be and until then I feel it is my responsibility to keep it as pure and undefiled as I can. Near the end of my run, a song came on that almost brought me to my knees. I have been going through all the conference talks again over the last week's worth of running and bike riding. I usually skip through the songs but this time I didn't. I listened and I ran even harder. As a ran, the saltiness of my tears and sweat ran down my cheeks and into my mouth. My crying turned into sobs as the words spoke directly to my soul. The message in this beautiful hymn became a balm for my bleeding heart. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Exactly what the Lord knew I needed to hear as my thoughts of sadness, despair, and frustration turned to hope, peace, and joy. Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day. Tis better far for us to strive Our useless cares from us to drive; Do this, and joy your hearts will swell - All is well! All is well! Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake; And soon we'll have this tale to tell- All is well! All is well! And should we die before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well! We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; With the just we shall dwell! But if our lives are spared again To see the Saints their rest obtain, Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell- All is well! All is well! So today, I will gird up my loins and fresh courage take as I continue on in the fight for good. Someday we will all have a tale to tell and whether that tale ends triumphantly or not, depends on what we do today. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, but if I live the very best I can today, than I need not fear because I know that my God, our God, will "never us forsake" and eventually all will be well because good will always prevail.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The email I just sent to the store Spencer's

This morning I drove by your store at our local outdoor mall. I could not believe the pictures that were being displayed through the windows. They are completely inappropriate. Two doors down from your store is a Justice, which is where my 7 and 9 year old like to shop. I definitely do not want them, or any other pre-teen for that matter, to see the pornographic pictures on your store as they innocently walk by. In fact, I don't want my husband to see those pictures either, or myself for that matter. I understand that you have the choice about what you choose to sell in your store (although I think that it is absolutely disgusting and perverted the way that you choose to sell sex through your items), but I have the choice to not purchase from your store or even step foot in the door. But, on the other hand, I do not feel that it is okay or acceptable for you to post such immodest and inappropriate pictures of women for any and all passersby to see. All that I'm asking is for a little more respect for those who still believe and value virtue. I would appreciate your consideration of my concerns and for less revealing pictures in the windows of your store. Thank you, Melissa

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