Thursday, March 31, 2011
We all drive different cars—some are older models and some are brand new, some are faster and some are slower, some are bigger and some are smaller. Our cars are a variety of different makes, different models, different years, different colors, with different features and options. In life, we are like the cars, and just like our cars, we come in all shapes, all sizes, all ages, and all colors, with different individual gifts and strengths. When we go on road trips, we all have a destination that we are driving to. And in order to reach that destination, we have to take different highways. When we arrive there, and see what we want to see, then we turn around and head back toward home. When we chose to come to earth, we all took a roadtrip of sorts, a journey to come to life on earth, and our destination is now to return and make it back to our home in heaven. Before going on a roadtrip, I consult a map to decide which route is best. Our map in life’s journey is the scriptures; they help us to know which pathway is best for us to reach our destination.
As we drive on the highways, the road signs let us know how fast to go, when to slow down, where the curves in the road are, and when to stop. On the highway of life, the prophet and the apostles give us warnings and cautions and counsel us to help us know what to do.
Occasionally, even after consulting maps and trying to obey signs we get lost. We took a wrong exit or took the wrong turn at an intersection. If that happens, it's best to stop and get directions to get back to where we need to be. And so it is with life--sometimes we get off the path for a little bit, and we lose our way, but if we pray to our Heavenly Father and follow the Savior, we can quickly find our way back.
Some highways are rough, some are under construction, and some are newly paved. Some of us go through rough periods, with lots of bumps and breaks and there’s no shoulder to stop and take a rest, so we have to keep going forward. Some of us go through changes in our lives, and we’re forced to go through construction because there’s no detour to go around it. And some of us experience a rebirth and we’re like new again after changes take place.
Some highways have no intersections for miles, and there are no other cars on the road but ours for many miles. Some highways have lots of intersections within a few miles of each other, and we are joined by lots of other cars alongside ours. Sometimes we feel alone during times of our lives, and sometimes we cross paths with several others and we are surrounded by friends, either for a short time or for forever.
Some highways twist and turn around mountains, and some highways go straight through valleys. Sometimes in our lives, it seems that we go around and around, and it feels as though we’re going nowhere, but when we come out of all the twists and turns, we find ourselves on top and we can see below us and realize that all those twists and turns brought us to where we are now. Sometimes in our lives, our pathway seems easy, and all we have to do is go straight forward, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to relax and enjoy.
Some highways have bridges in order to connect two high spots or to bypass an area with structures or to go around another road. We also need support in our lives, some times more so than others.
Some highways are two lanes, and some are four or six or eight. Sometimes our choices in life are few, and other times, the choices are many.
Some highways seem endless, and some highways are short. Just like our lives: some are longer than others.
Sometimes on road trips, cars break down or get overheated or need tire changes. In that case, we know that we can go no further until we get the problem fixed. Even though it may cost us, it is essential to making it to the destination. The same is true in our lives: when we experience problems, we know we need to take care of ourselves and fix the problem and repent in order to get back on the road to eternity.
Ultimately, no matter the type of highway, or the type of car that we drive, the goal is to make it to the destination. And what a feat it is after we’ve returned from a long road trip: we are grateful for the experiences, we are happy for what we were able to see, but we are most happy to be home, and to sleep in our own beds again!! Just like how happy we will be to welcomed back home by our Heavenly Father and to be in his arms once again!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
3 weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, we were watching TV and Kanyon got super mad about something or other. He started screaming and crying and banging his head in the living room. I put him in time-out in his bedroom to cool down and have some quiet time alone. Usually after 10 or 20 minutes, he calms himself down and comes out. But after 45 minutes, he was still mad and was still screaming and banging his head. And while he was in his room, he broke his window.
When we asked him how it happened, his reply was "Mommy made me mad". He was so mad about being put in time-out that he not only banged his head on the floor and on the bed, but he also banged it on the window. And he did it hard enough to break it. Unbelievable.
Kanyon has developed a very strong head from years of banging it on hard surfaces. Breaking the window didn't hurt him one bit. I wish I could say the same for the window. Thankfully, the window is double-paned, so the cold air isn't coming through to his bedroom because we had to special order a new piece of glass for it and it still hasn't arrived.
It's rather disturbing to think that my 4-year-old can be so destructive with his head. I'm worried that the older he gets, and the stronger he gets, the more things will get destroyed...
Saturday, March 19, 2011
As far as months go, I think it's ugly, boring, fickle, and I feel like it's somewhat of a liar, too.
It promises the hope of spring. It opens the door to spring, but only ever so slowly. It cracks a little, letting a bit of sunshine through, and then it swings open a little wider to let even warmer and brighter sunshine in, and I'm fooled into believing that it's open wide enough to enter into. But just when I take a step towards spring, believing that it's inviting me in, it turns bitter and cold and windy. It gets me every time.
And when the snow started melting, I was so excited for what was coming. I could imagine green grass and growing flowers and blooming trees. But when the snow finally all disappeared, all that was left was yucky brown and yellow grass, which unforunately this year is COVERED in deer droppings and mouse burrows. The lawn is super ugly, and now I don't know why I was so excited for what was beneath the snow. I think I preferred the snow-covered look to what's staring at me through my window now.
And since there's nothing besides St. Patrick's day to celebrate in March, there's nothing to look forward to. There's nothing to plan, nothing to do, nothing to really even decorate the house with. It's just super boring. For several years, we did our family goals on March 4th, because it is an action day (you know, as in "March Forth"). But this year, we did them in January instead of March. sigh.
Thankfully, this year, there was just one thing that saved the whole month of March from being black-listed in my mind. And that one special thing starts today. It's a gift to myself that I've been planning since November: today I'm going on vacation!
So here's to you, March! Even though you came in like a lion, and even though you've been uglier than I ever remember you being, and even though I don't like you, today is your chance to redeem yourself. Today I am going to go somewhere to soak up those rays of sunshine that you've been letting in, and I just hope that you'll be a good month and let me have my sunshine that I so desperately need, so that I can let you finish out what's left of your time in peace. Oh, and here's a little tip: going out like a lamb is SO in style right now!
Friday, March 18, 2011
I'm a competitor, and once I knew about the school's box tops contests, I started preparing for the coming year's contests. I started collecting Box Tops year-round, and I asked grandparents and babysitters to clip and save their box tops for us as well. And for the next four years, Ammon was always one of the top 3 students in the whole school with the highest amount of box tops turned in.
Through the school's box tops contests that Ammon participated in, I became very passionate about Box Tops myself. For those of you who may not be aware, every box top turned in equals 10 cents for our school. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but with the three contests that our elementary school does each year, the yearly earnings total nearly $1000 every year. It is such an easy way to earn money for our schools! All you have to do is cut out the little pink square before throwing a product away that displays it. I became the Box Tops Coordinator for the PTO program in our school when Ammon was in first grade, and I ran the contests for several years. In the past five years, I've counted thousands and thousands of box tops. One year, my friend Gina helped me with the contests and she counted them all for me. And the following year, she ran the contests completely by herself while I was in charge of other activities as the PTO President. This year, I'm in charge of the Box Tops contests again, and so far, we've had two contests. The big Box Tops contest, the one that determines the individual with the most turned in, was in January. Since Ammon now goes to the middle school, I divided all the box tops I had (500 total) between Jonah and Micah to turn in for the competition. And for the first time, Jonah and Micah were now one of the top 3 winners in the school. At the school's assembly at the beginning of March, I announced the winners. Jonah and Micah tied for 3rd place and were awarded each with a $5 gift certificate to the school's book fair. They were so happy!!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
"All women compare lives. We are aware of whose husband works more, whose helps more around the house, whose makes more money, whose is more romantic. We compare our children, taking note of who is sleeping through the night, eating their vegetables, minding their manners, getting better grades in school. We know who keeps the best house, throws the best parties, cooks the best meals, has the best tennis game. We know who among us is the smartest, has the fewest lines around her eyes, has the best figure. We are aware of who works full-time, who stays at home with the kids, who manages to do it all and make it look easy, who shops and lunches while the nanny does it all. We digest it all and then discuss it with our friends. Comparing and then confiding; this is what women do. The difference lies in why we do it. Are we doing it to gauge our own life and reassure ourselves that we fall within the realm of normal? Or are we being competitive, relishing others' shortcomings so that we can win, if only by default?"
At the time that I read this, I was a stay-at-home mom, and I felt that I could relate to the paragraph. It's true that women are very aware of others' lives, and most compare their lives with that of others. I know that a lot of women compare and confide details of others' lives with one another. It's one reason that I don't like being around groups of women anymore--the gossip passes around and is like poison. After being the subject of community gossip myself a few years ago, I stay away from participating in it now. But even though I don't participate in the gossip circle anymore, I still feel like I am aware of others' lives and I compare my own life to that of others. As I read through the comparisons in the paragraph, I had names of different women pop into my mind for "who keeps the best house", and "who has the best figure", and "who throws the best parties", and "who cooks the best food", and "who is the smartest". And of course, none of those names were mine. So, the questions at the end really struck me. Why do I compare myself and my life to that of others? Is it so that I feel normal about who I am? Or is it so that I can feel that I'm better in certain areas because of the shortcomings of others in those same areas?
A long time ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine who was on a daily work-out regime and on a strict diet. He had a photo of a body-builder guy that he wanted his own body to look just like. He often looked at the photo because it helped him focus as he worked and worked to obtain his goal. One time he asked me if there was a woman I wished that I could look just like. I told him no, because for me, it's not one woman I want to look like, it's several. I want the face of one, the butt of another, the smile of one, the hair of another, the tummy of one, the legs of another. There's also several woman that I want to emulate and be like: I want the cooking abilities of one, the hostessing abilities of another, the poise of one, the talent of another, the beauty of one, the kindness of another. My friend was dumb-founded at my response, because my answer to him was of course impossible to obtain.
I realized after reading the paragraph in this book and after questioning myself, that I compare myself to others to see where I rate: inferior or superior. I know the areas of my personal life that are lacking, and I can recognize in others the areas in which they are superior to me. Thus, when my friend asked me who I wanted to look just like, I could pull the index out of my brain to say whose face I wanted and whose smile I wanted and whose body parts I wanted. Because I don't want to be just like one person, I want to have the BEST parts of lots of people.
To some extent, this can be acceptable behavior. In comparing myself to others, I see the strengths in others and I admire them greatly, whether they be talents, abilities, or physical features. Heavenly Father has blessed us all with unique gifts, and I can recognize and appreciate those gifts in so many people.
But, this behavior can also have a very negative impact. When others compare and confide, AKA gossip, they acknowledge the shortcomings of others and they make themselves feel superior. In essence, they are hurting others in order to feel supreme, which has a harmful effect on themselves as well. Even though I've stopped participating in this, I still compare. And when I compare and rate myself to others, I am often the person that has the shortcomings against the superiorities of others. Because I mostly rate inferior, focusing on my own inadequacies makes me feel like lesser of a person, and is self-depricating and is also very hurtful to my self-esteem.
At Family Home Evening a few weeks ago, I asked the boys what gifts they feel like they were blessed with. Ammon said he's good at reading and golf. Jonah and Micah said they are fast runners. Kanyon said he's happy. I was glad my sons could recognize certain abilities they had, and I was grateful that they felt confident in their abilities. I told them that I felt like I was good at singing--more specifically harmonizing; it's something I've loved doing since jr. high. I also feel that one of my strengths is organizing, whether it be items in a physical space or details in a conceived project; organizing makes me happy, and I've known that about myself since I was a kid. I also know that I am good at complimenting others, which I didn't even realize was a talent until just this year when it was pointed out to me. I love my eyes, and I feel like they are the best physical feature that I have. I love my ability to laugh, and laughing often brightens many dark moments for me. But those are just a few strengths--I have so many more weaknesses.
At church last Sunday, our previous Stake President bore his testimony to the fact of making our weaknesses become our strengths. He has dyslexia, which I never knew. He has struggled with it for years and years, but he was determined when he was first diagnosed with it to not let it bring him down. I was in awe of all that he's been able to accomplish with this learning disability, especially since I was never made aware that he even had one. In the Book of Mormon, the scripture Ether 12:27 states "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
One of my major weaknesses is that I let my comparisons to others bring me down. I don't think I can completely stop comparing myself to others, but I want to change the way I view myself in comparison to others. I want to be able to recognize the strengths that others have without feeling and allowing negative criticism towards myself for the weaknesses I have in those same areas. I want to be able to get to the point where I can recognize my own strengths and acknowledge the strengths of others, and realize and understand that Heavenly Father intended for each of us to have certain strengths and certain weaknesses. Because if I didn't have any weaknesses, I wouldn't need the help of others who had certain strengths that are unlike mine. Because if I truly had the BEST parts of all those people, I would have no need or desire for change or improvement. Because without my weaknesses, I would have no reason to feel humble. And without the need or desire to change and improve my life, then the relationship with my Heavenly Father would also be adversely affected.
So, now that I've confided my comparison weakness to you, my goal is to change my bad habit of its negative impact of it on my life and turn it into a positive one.
Monday, March 7, 2011
twins with matching clothes in 2004:Jonah and Micah have worn matching clothes since they were infants. They don't wear identical outfits as much anymore, but I have lots of photos of them together when they did! I searched for this specific photo because of the baby tees that they are wearing. They were given these t-shirts from the Primary Children's Life Flight crew when they were moved from PCMC in Salt Lake back to EIRMC in Idaho Falls when they were one month old.
In the last two weeks at school, Jonah and Micah's class have been talking and learning about family histories. The students were each asked to bring to school one item that was important to their individual history or to their family history to display and discuss with the class. Micah chose to bring a baby blanket. Jonah chose to bring one of the shirts that they're wearing in this photo. Speaking of individual history items...
sisters with matching clothes in 1994:When I was a teenager, my mom made me and two of my sisters matching dresses. I used to love that dress: I loved the color, I loved that my mom hand-made it, and I loved wearing it because it fit me so well! My mom also made little dolls for us out of extra fabric from our dresses. She gave us the dolls in some popsicle-stick cradles that my Great-Grandpa Sorenson had made years prior. The cradle and matching doll are very dear to me, and I'm grateful that since we have more space in our house now, those special items are finally out of storage boxes and are on display on a shelf in my bedroom!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
That red trike has been well-loved and is now well-worn: the once-red paint is now faded pink, the front tire is almost always flat, and the frame is dented. We purchased the trike when Ammon was a baby; Josh's parents wanted a tricycle at their house for the grandkids to ride, and they definitely have done just that! The older three boys now ride 2-wheelers, and I will be sad when the day comes that Kanyon also no longer rides the treasured trike!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Day 33: Going out for lunch with Josh and Kanyon
Day 34: Watching Jonah and Micah parade down the halls of their school with dragon decorations they'd made with their class in honor of the Chinese New Year, and going on a date with Josh to the movie theater.
Day 35: Sleeping in with my husband by my side.
Day 36: Chatting & watching "Mamma Mia" with Amanda and John.
Day 37: Teaching my Sunday School class about divine potential, and hosting a superbowl party with Amanda's and David & Gina's families attending.
Day 38: Teaching music to the elementary school kids. I loved singing and dancing and playing instruments with them, and I smiled every time I overheard them say to each other how much they liked having me as their teacher!
Day 39: Dancing and singing with the 5th graders to the Beach Boys' song "Surfin' USA".
Day 40: Eating lunch with Jonah and Micah at school.
Day 41: Coming home after working all day to discover Josh had made a delicious dinner for our family, and spending a quiet evening at home with our family.
Day 42: Spent a relaxing day at home, got a lot accomplished, and enjoyed the sun shining!
Day 43: Went on a nice & peaceful date with Josh. We drove down river, had a nice chat on the drive, and ate a delicious hamburger dinner!
Day 44: A surprise visit from the Hobbs family--they brought delicious cookies, we enjoyed hanging out together, and we played a competitive game of Blokus!
Day 45: Celebrating Valentines Day with my boys for Family Home Evening, and receiving beautiful flowers and Lindt chocolates and a new hairdryer from Josh for the special occasion!
Day 46: Eating the yummy dinner that Josh prepared!
Day 47: Teaching Ammon's piano lesson today--he did a great job! And listening to Jonah and Micah excitedly talk about how cool George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are! And getting a hug from Kanyon when I got home from work! And laughing with Josh about the back door not opening!
Day 48: Watching "Glee" with a friend.
Day 49: Trying two new recipes: Pumpkin Chili and Scored Potatoes. It was the first time I'd ever even cooked homemade chili! I was pleased with how both foods turned out!
Day 50: Hanging out at home and relaxing all day in my pajamas.
Day 51: Teaching my Sunday School class about our loving Heavenly Father, playing wii Just Dance with my boys, and watching Josh get his hair cut by Amanda in the faux-hawk style that I requested!
Day 52: Playing Super Mario Bros. on the wii with Kanyon as his reward for pooping in the toilet. Kanyon even beat the bowser in the castle after I died! He did a great job, and it was so much fun playing with him!
Day 53: Spending the whole evening at home with my children. I was so happy that there was nothing scheduled on the calendar--I didn't have to go anywhere so I could just spend time with my family!
Day 54: Playing the wii with my boys and laughing so hard that I couldn't even breathe!
Day 55: Going to John's house to de-stress. We ate simple food and watched TV and I felt so much better!
Day 56: Hanging out in my PJ's all morning--I didn't take a shower until almost noon!
Day 57: Watching a movie in the theater and going karaoking after with a friend.
Day 58: Attending a fireside, and visiting with members of the ward after it concluded.
Day 59: Playing "Pictureka" with the family during Family Home Evening.