Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Weekend to Remember

This last weekend Andrea, Abby, and Ethan came over and had a slumber party with us. I LOVE when my sister comes to visit. I wish it happened more often, but between her busy school teaching schedule and my schedule, I'll take what I can get. :) After playing games with the kids, feeding them, and getting them ready for bed, we left Abby in charge and went out on the town. I took her to one of my new favorite "almost as good as Cafe Rio" Mexican restaurants and we ate and talked for a couple hours. Then we roamed Target and finished the night with some delicious hot chocolate from QT (why is that gas station hot chocolate is my favorite?). I love spending time with Andrea. She just gets me (which is kindof scary, right Andrea?). Growing up, I remember a lot of fun times with Andrea. We played a lot of Barbies (well actually I think we spent more time "setting up" than actually playing, rode bikes, did yard work together (only because there was no choice in the matter), and made up dances in our backyard to Andrea's Madonna tape. Wow, those were the good times. But then as we got older, the good times turned into a lot of not so good times with us fighting over anything and everything, especially clothes, friends, and boys. By the time Andrea went away to college, I was SO ready for her to be gone. But then, just as it usually does, as time went by and years passed, I realized that my sister was my best friend. I cannot imagine my life without her. My younger sister, Katie, grew up mostly as an only child because in between me and Katie was my brother Kelly, who died as a baby. So there is 8 or 9 years between Katie and I. It wasn't until Katie got married and started having children that I think we really connected, and I'm so glad we did. Katie is an amazing person with so many admirable qualities that I would love to have. My sisters far exceed me in talents and intelligence, but thankfully, they are patient with me and love me anyways. :) After Andrea and I's slumber party, we all got up really early Sunday morning and met my parents, Katie, Jason, and their girls, Jason's family, and Mike, Nancy and Alyssa at Katie and Jason's sacrament meeting to be part of Clara's baby blessing. It was so awesome to have our family fill two pews. The blessing was beautiful and the testimonies born that day were nice, but my favorite part of the whole experience happened while we were singing the closing hymn, I Know that My Redeemer Lives. I have always loved that song but for some reason it hit me differently this time and I had a really hard time controlling my emotions during most of it. I'm not sure what it was, but I think it was a combination of a couple things. As I sang the following lines, I had all sorts of memories and thoughts come to my mind... "He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart." I thought of both of my sisters and some of the trials that they have, or still are, overcoming in their life. I thought of my mom and dad who have experienced their share of heartache, disappointment, and insecurity. I thought of myself and the specific times in my life where I have felt the Lord's love in personal and incredible ways. Ways and means in which my tears were wiped away and comfort and blessings poured upon me and my aching and trembling heart. I know that in my life and in the life of my sisters and parents, we have each, individually and personally, come to know for ourselves that He lives. Which is why I could hardly get out the last verse as I listened and felt of the power and conviction of the voices singing around me. Voices that I have known for a very long time. Voices that are so familiar to me and bring such joy to my heart when I hear them...the voices of my parents, sisters, and husband. And then there are the sweet little voices that are still learning and who have yet to learn, or remember, that he lives. Voices of my nieces, nephews, cousin, and my own children who will hopefully one day sing with their own conviction the words, "He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!". It is no small thing to stand united as a family in worshipping the Lord. It is an experience that I will never forget and that I know will continue to bring strength and joy to my heart for years to come.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Things I learned in 2014...

*my body can't do quite the things it could do five or ten years ago, but I can still push its limits and be grateful everyday that I can. *disappointments and bad days will always be part of life, but they don't have to define who I am or who someone else is. *People make bad choices, but that doesn't mean they are bad people. *Raising five girls is hard work. Period. *Having regular fun date nights with my husband is necessary for my sanity and marriage. *It doesn't matter how old I am, I still just need a girl friend to shop with, watch girl movies with, cry, vent, laugh cheer, workout, and stuff our face with chocolate and coke zero. *It is important to serve the Lord in my callings, but my family will and must always come first. *Personal daily habits of discipleship and worship are essential to my happiness and endurance. *Personal daily habits of physical exercise are also essential to my happiness and endurance. *Gray hair can always be covered up. *Children grow up way too fast. *The older my oldest gets the more I realize that my role as her mother is not to create her identity for her, but rather, to help her discover and celebrate the identity that is divinely hers and the gifts she was born to share. *I have always wished that I was more organized. I have dreamed and wished for a day when my pantries, shelves, and cupboards would be orderly, alphabetized, and highly functional. That may be a reality for some people, but this year I have learned that for me success in organization means that my time is organized well enough that I make time for all the essentials and still have leftover time to write, play with my kids, talk to a friend, serve, and just savor and enjoy all the moments that pass too quickly. Someday my shelves may be labeled and my towel closet featured in a Home and Garden magazine (or maybe even pinned on Pinterest), but if not, that's okay. As long as I learn to organize my life in order to make time for the things that matter most, then I can deal with the rest. I may continue to cringe when I open my towel closet because it was Makayla's turn to fold and put the towels away, or laugh as I open the silverware drawer because Hailey decided to rearrange everything when she unloaded the dishwasher, but when I lay in bed I will feel peace in knowing that there is a season for everything. :) *Saying "No" is not only okay, but crucial in my life because when I say no to something it is because I need to say yes to something even more important. *The Lord places people in each other's lives at certain times for specific reasons. *Self-discipline is very empowering. Here's to a new year filled with new lessons to learn.

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