Monday, August 3, 2015

Service, Service everywhere.

What a whirlwind of a week!  Life has been super crazy at our house.  I thought it was busy with the wedding/reception, and it was, but it was also structured and orderly.  This week, we have been cleaning up the stuff around our house, organizing our time and family business things.  Drew's boss's last day was Friday, so there has been a bit of emotional drama there.  His interim boss arrives on the job today.

Dani broke her ankle on Monday.  We have not had much to do to help up to this point, but Richard returns to work today and Dani is in a cast up to her mid-thigh.  She sees her doctors today with family, but tomorrow and the rest of the week, she will probably hang out here while Richard is working.  I feel so bad for her!!  Married four days when she broke her ankle!  Ugh!  Oh the great learning experiences start so soon sometimes.
copyright: Karen Larsen photography

Yesterday I got to teach Sunbeams for the third week in a row.  I wasn't suppose to teach yesterday but their teacher was sick, so after Sacrament meeting the Primary President said, "Could you?" and of course, I could, just maybe didn't want to.  But it turned out alright and it was fun, not stressful.  This week I am teaching Relief Society and on Saturday, last week, we had a four hour training meeting for Seminary which will be starting in three weeks.  So ya, life is a little crazy right now.  Not to mention that school is also beginning within the next two to four weeks for all of my kiddos.  I used to look forward to August as a kind of quiet month to get things prepared for the school year.  This year, I think it is more stressful, probably because of the work necessary for seminary.  Plus Spike got sick this week and then gave it to me.  Three days of feeling nasty with a head cold.  Lovely.

That is part of the reason there was no post on Friday.  Crazy, crazy!

So, how do I keep my sanity during these times?  Prayer and Scripture Study.  It is the only way!  I get up early, say my prayers, read my scriptures and spend some quiet time pondering about life.  I am convinced that if I did not have that as a regular part of my daily routine, there is no way I could be as effective as I am or as sane in what is accomplished.  That morning ritual gives me clarity.  It helps me to know what is important for me to focus on that day and I usually include in my morning prayers, that I will see and do what the Lord needs me to and be able to set aside my own agenda.

Because we will be studying the Old Testament this year, I have been trying to get a handle on the timeline in the OT and understanding some of the history, geography and words of the prophets then.   Yesterday I read the words of Isaiah, specifically chapters 42-49, I think.  In these chapters, the Lord pleads with Israel and Judah to acknowledge him as God.  He tells them the gifts and blessings he will give them.  He offers them comfort and compares His ability and willingness to shelter and love them to the inability their wood idols have to do those things.  In one verse, he specifically states that these idols increase their burdens, they do not lessen them, like He can.

As I was reading these chapters and feeling the sorrow these words evoked, I realized that it is that way today as well.  We may not have idols of wood or stone, (or maybe some of us do) but we do have idols of wealth, popularity, position, prestige, health, etc...There are many things that we feel are important and we put our time and money into hoping that whatever we are pursuing will make our lives easier, more enjoyable, and bring us happiness.  We allow these things to consume our time and our resources, but they do not always relieve our burdens, sometimes they increase our burdens. 
copyright: Karen Larsen photography

Then, this morning, I read this article:  Sustained by God's Love.  Only her relationship with our Savior sustained her through this trial.  Yes, the love of others helped her, but why did they assist and serve and love her?  Because of their relationship with Him.  Our modern idols would have done nothing to comfort her heart and heal her grief.  But the Savior not only has felt her grief, he also knows how to succor her grief.  Turning to Him is what allowed for her healing and understanding.

This is kind of a rambling post.  But I know the Savior lives.  I know He loves me and is aware of me, my efforts to live consistently with my beliefs, and knows the burdens I face.  He perfectly knows how to nurture me, comfort me, guide me and direct me.  He can do more with my life than I can.  And when I reach out to Him daily, through prayer and scripture study, He sustains me and helps me to manage the responsibilities I have before me, and can tell me where to put in my time and energy--where it will matter the most.

Have a great day!!  This week is also crazy, but I will try to keep blogging.  No promises :-)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The only photos from Girls' Camp!

I already reported to you that I didn't have my cell phone the week of camp.  Here are the only photos we took!  I am a little sad for that part, but it sure was nice being unconnected for a week.  I checked my phone three times during the week.  Once Sport called me to find out how long to cook baked potatoes.  I got the message the night after he was cooking.  I guess he figured it out.  There were a few messages for the bishop, which I just deferred and told them I was at camp, they would have to call the house.

All in all, it was a wonderful week!!

Here is my cabin:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reception Day!!

We spent most of the entire day between the wedding and the reception decorating.  Someone was there from 10 a.m. until five.  We had the family dinner at 6.  Dinner was great!  Super enjoyable!  It was fun to see and meet everyone on both sides of the family.  Because it was so crazy, I didn't even get any photos of the set-up.  But here are a few from the evening.  First the ones Spike took of our table.  Not too bad for a four-year old.

Then the few I took:

This last photo is super significant!!  Richard's mother and sister have been at odds for several years.  Somehow, as both of them put aside their differences for Richard, they healed their relationship enough to speak to one another and share some time together.  Hopefully it is the beginning of better times for them!  Way to go Richard!!  Special blessings for working and praying so hard!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wedding Day!!

Dani and Richard were married last week.  The bigger boys, Slim and Spanky, and Tammy all came home from Utah for the wedding.  Slim was Richard's best man.  We got up super early that morning 4:30 a.m., left by 5:30 and headed up to the temple.  We were suppose to arrive at the temple by 11:15.  We stopped at the storehouse to pick up wheat.  Our storehouse wheat is cheaper than anything else we have in town, including renting a car and paying for the gas to drive four hours away.  Things are a little pricier here.

There was a little drama with the storehouse.   They aren't usually open on the day we could come.  The manager agreed to meet us early, before we needed to be at the temple.  Then when we arrived, she was at the doctor and unavailable until we needed to be at the temple.  We were able to work it out to meet with her after the sealing, but it was a little sketchy at the beginning.

For those of you who are not aware, members of the church go to the temple to have their marriage sealed for time and for all eternity.  In the temples, the Priesthood authority can bind marriages not only for time but forever, as long as the parties to the covenant keep the promises they have made.  That is why it is so significant to us to have our marriages performed in the temple.  In order that temples remain a place where God can dwell, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for men and women to be worthy to enter.  Thus each of us who is able to go into the temples and participate in the ordinances therein has met with a member of our bishopric and a member of our stake presidency answering specific questions about the way we live our lives.  If we are found worthy, we receive a temple recommend which allows us to enter and participate in temple worship. 

My parents were not able to attend our sealing.  Dani's parents were not able to attend hers either.  Only Richard's mother on his side was able to be there.  It is hard for us to not have our families there.  I know it is difficult for the family members also.  On such a special and sacred day, we want our family members, those we love, to be there with us.  Although that is our desire, being sealed by the authority of God having our marriage solemnized for eternity outweighs the sad feelings we have that those we love cannot participate with us at that particular time.

Dani's father even came up to the temple with her.  He waited outside, but we made sure he was the first to see her and her husband as they exited the temple.  It was really sweet to see his love for his daughter.  Because I was helping Dani with her dress, etc....I didn't take any photos outside the temple.  I will have Scuff send me a couple.  But here are the ones I took before they went in and after she was in her dress.

After the sealing, we went to eat at Red Robbin, with a party of 20.  It was totally fun and we were totally starving!  I don't think I have ever eaten so many fries!!  Delicious!

On the way home, we let the boys travel with their dad and Tams and I took the other car.  That way we could have some girl time.  We stopped at the beach on the way home, just because the big kids have been in Utah, land locked and beach deprived.  Here they are playing.

Then we finished the drive home.  By the time we arrived, we were all wiped out.  We got home about 9:30p.m., to bed by 10:30 p.m.  Then the big boys wanted to talk.  They came up to our bedroom and jumped into our bed and talked for another hour.  Slim tried to sleep in between Drew and I.  I kicked him out so we could sleep.

The next morning started bright and early, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday!!

Spike Spike turned four the day Dani and Richard were married.  We celebrated his birthday the day before so he didn't feel forgotten.  In our house, we open birthday presents first thing in the morning and sing 'Happy Birthday' before everyone leaves for work and/or school.  So in these photos with the presents, everyone has bed head because they literally just got out of bed.  We sang, opened presents, said family prayers, and those who needed to leave did.  The rest of us listened to Spike play his beautiful music. 

Here are the photos:

As a side note, Spike has been asking for a "Dog Guitar" since we went to playgroup a few weeks ago and one of the kids brought it.  He didn't get a chance to play with it because the one who was playing with it wouldn't share it.......because she really like it too.  So he was pretty excited to have one.  Now he plays it every day, sleeps with it at night, and talks about taking it to play group.  I don't know if I will let him do that, but it is what he wants.

I don't have any idea where he saw the tongue thing but I do it when I shoot baskets and Slim does it all the time too.  It might just be in our genes......?

Later that night, we had cake.  Spike, because of his allergies, had to have special hot dogs, special bread, special powdered sugar (for frosting), special cake, and special ice cream.  When I called Drew to tell him that Spike's birthday dinner (birthday person chooses the menu) was going to be $50 for hot dogs, cake and ice cream, he had a heart attack.  He asked me if we couldn't pare that down.  So I figured out that it was cheaper to buy another cake and frosting, than to buy enough powdered sugar that Spike could eat for all of us to have his cake.  So we made two.  And we decided to just do without the ice cream.  That cut it down $20.  Seriously.  And we had the missionaries stop by!!  They brought him presents and that made him feel super special, and we obviously had plenty of cake.

Happy Birthday Spike Spike!!  I cannot believe you are four!!  The cake with the strawberries?  That is the special one...the powdered sugar for that cake? $6........just for enough to sort of cover one cake!  Sheesh!