Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ryan loves to listen to music with Jessica.

Deborah just loves everything!

Friday, September 25, 2009

After a decade, the trauma has settled enough that I was willing to risk it again. The Sea Monkeys are back!

Oh, you don't know about the trauma? About 10 years ago, my sweet little Jacob dumped a container full of those little "monkeys" on my bed. Ewwww.... I had dreams for several nights ... bad dreams ... about those creepy looking little critters crawling all over me. Still gives me the creeps.

Kind of odd that Sea Monkeys would give me the creeps. When I was a little girl, I loved Sea Monkeys. Didn't every kid? Do you remember the ads? The little critters swimming through rings, happily sitting around a dinner table, kissing, tossing balls back and forth, smiling, and waving. I remember seeing those ads and thinking that if I could ever get things just right then they'd look like the happy little monkeys in the pictures.

In buying them for Johnathon, a part of me still hoped that they would look like the cute little pictures of smiling people like critters. I anxiously waited with Johnathon for a couple of days as we watched every few hours to see the sea monkeys hatching. In the name of helping Johnathon, I have protected the sea monkeys from hands that might destroy the chances of the Sea Monkeys growing up to smile and wave at us as they swim through their aquarium.

But, tonight as I looked at the 1/8 inch creature swimming around, reality struck. My cute little Sea Monkeys really look like this:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trials and Inspirations

Many of you know that we have had a few challenges over the past year or so. Some of you may also be aware that recently I have personally struggled with a few challenges (unrelated to Ryan) that I thought were over and resolved a long time ago. What most of you may know not (I hope) is that these challenges have really shaken my foundation. For the first time, I felt angry and betrayed. (It's not the first time I've ever been angry, but it was the first time I've ever felt anger about this particular issue.) Anyway ... my anger was really directed at God. I felt so child like. "Why? Why is this haunting me now? I've worked so hard! I've tried so hard! Why?"

In retrospect, even though it hasn't been long, I suspect my anger at God was really displaced feelings of anger toward those who had really betrayed me. Unfortunately, this anger caused me to pull far away from all the things that I know to be true and all the things that I know ... from experimentation ... to bring me peace.

As a parent, one is not given the luxury of dropping out, even for a time, and must always recognize that every move is being watched by impressionable eyes. So, Sunday I went to church. For those of you who don't know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which I attend has a lay ministry. Instead of a preacher or pastor who teaches, our members give talks during our Sacrament meeting. Three talks were given on Sunday ... all of which seemed written just to me. One young man, who must just be 16-18 years of age, bore such a strong testimony of the love our Father in Heaven has for us that it softened my heart.

One of the songs that we sang was "I Need Thee Every Hour." (You can read the words to this beautiful hymn, just clink on the link.) I was listening to the words and felt a surge of emotions when I read "Oh make me thine indeed, Thou Blessed Son!" Really that's what I really want! I want to be His. I want to reflect the light that He gives to me, and I have missed feeling that light and love. I do need Him. Don't we all?

At the bottom of the hymn, it listed a couple of scriptures that reflect the same message as the hymn. I turned to 2 Nephi 4:16-35, which is found in the Book of Mormon. In case you don't know, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ. Like the Bible tells of accounts of Jesus in the European countries, the Book of Mormon tells of accounts of Jesus in the Americas. I've read this passage, 2 Nephi 4:16-35, lots of times. But on Sunday I applied the scripture to me. I thought of how it could be me stating the words:

I know in whom I have trusted, my God hath been my support. He hath filled me with His love. He hath heard my cry by day and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night time. Angels came down and ministered unto me. Upon the wings of His spirit hath my body been carried away. And my eyes have beheld great things.

Why [then] should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, ... and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? Why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul! Do not anger again. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, I have trusted in Thee, and I will trust in Thee forever.

I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. My God will give me, if I ask not amiss. I will lift up my voice unto Thee. I will cry unto thee, my God! My voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock, and mine Everlasting God.

Pretty powerful, right? As I was recording my thoughts on this scripture, I also found a previous note that I had made: "Cease to focus on the tempest and turn our focus to Him." I had stopped focusing on Him and only focused on me. I was so busy asking "Why?" that I failed to recall all of the many miracles that I have seen. I failed to remember the many blessings that have come from the challenges I have faced. I failed to recall how loved I have felt by the Lord.

I have experienced some really difficult challenges in my life. I have seen some of the worst things imaginable to humans. But in those times of challenges, I have also seen the tender mercies of the Lord, and many miraculous events.

For a time, I allowed myself to forget all the glorious things I have seen and focus on all the wrong things. I felt darkness and discouragement trying to overcome me. But I also felt the sweet promptings of the Spirit calling me back to the Light.

Do you remember the story in the 2nd Book of Kings? The King of Syria was warring with Israel. At night the city was encircled by horses and chariots. It seemed the battle would be lost. When the servant asked Elisha, the Prophet, "How shall we do?" The Prophet answered, "Fear not, for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them." The Lord opened the servant's eyes and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire.

Don't you love that story? I do. It reminds me that although the adversary is always fighting for us, the Lord and his host of angels are always pulling for us. The Lord wants to bless us. He loves us!

So I will be more faithful. I will remember the many blessings I have been given and I will assist in my fight. I will turn again to the scriptures and to prayer to bring me peace.

I appreciate my many friends and family who bless my life. I especially appreciate my good friend who gave me such wise counsel. You know who you are. Thank you for drawing on your professional and spiritual knowledge to help me. And, I appreciate my good friend who has not allowed me to just brush this under the carpet. I love you all and pray God's sweetest blessings on all of my friends. He does love each of us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Deborah is 3!

Can you believe that 3 years ago today we had the little itty bitty Deborah join our family?

Unfortunately, she has been sick this weekend and so we kept the celebrations pretty tame. We'll make up for it later when she's feeling better. The most disappointing part for her was that she didn't get to go to her Sunday School Nursery class. She said, "But, my teacher will miss me."

Jessica did a great job making Deborah's birthday cake. Deborah likes Ni Hao Kai Lan. (Well, she likes the idea of liking the show. She always says the show is "too sad" and never finishes an episode.)

The boys also really enjoyed helping with the celebration: wrapping gifts, blowing up balloons and decorating the house. Oh, and playing with Deborah's new toys. :)