Monday, February 25, 2008

My 100th post!

I just noticed that this would be my 100th post. I can't believe it. It seems like I just started blogging. Anyway, I probably should be doing a 200th or 300th post, but it's hard to post frequently. So, I was going to just say that we're still trying to recover from the flu, but that seems so lame for a 100th post...


How about 100 of my favorite things? No, too boring...

Okay, it has to be about my family. I just love talking about them. Meet my family (and their favorites)...
Alex- my main guy, which without him, there would not be the next 2 cute boys...

Loves backpacking, geology, M&M cookies, nachos, and cherry-red VW buses. His favorite music is Tom Petty, but currently he is driving me crazy with his twangy country music. If he wasn't a geologist, he'd probably enjoy being a meteorologist, realtor, or waiter in Aspen, CO (dream on!).

Nathan! Nathan! Nathan!

Our little gift from God. Nathan is 4 years old now. He loves Thomas the tank engine, being outside, digging in the dirt, and playing with his friend Garett. His favorite foods: steamed broccoli, tomatoes, and at least 3 apples a day. He has the memory to prove it (apples are supposed to improve your memory- can't remember where I heard that, but then again, I don't eat apples very often). Nathan also loves watching videos and reading books. little "Jare Bear"...

Jared is 21 months old. He sleeps like a champ (we put him down and he sleeps for 12 hours).
Jared loves planes, trucks, balls, fish, and ducks. Loves reading books, esp. about the previous mentioned favs. He carries a giraffe around called "Raffe" (Ra-ra). He follows Nathan around everywhere. Jared also likes steamed broccoli, but he has a major sweet tooth- loves chocolate and ice cream. He generally is not very cuddly- he doesn't like to be held.

In random order...

Alison (hope I get the ages right!) - 23, one of my beautiful sisters

She got back last summer from a mission to Belgium. She continued a semester of fashion design and then took a leap of faith and headed out to Utah, in pursuit of a guy. It did work out, as she got engaged about 1 month later to Micah (see below).
Alison is the "heart-breaker," :) leaving a trail of guys behind in the dust (until now). Alison loves soccer, basketball, football, etc. etc. She also likes singing. She has an eye for design- she's a good seamstress and has a creative mind.

Micah (22-23??) - the soon-to-be brother-in-law. He is one lucky guy and hats off to him for snagging Alison.

Micah loves backpacking (Alex is excited about that...) and climbing trees, apparently. He proposed to Alison when they were in a tree. He seems like a pretty bright guy, studying mechanical engineering. He helps save lives, with a mountain rescue team. He's also good with kids- he spent one whole morning digging in the sand box and playing with Nathan and Jared. Nathan loves "Alison's boy Micah."

Audrey! 25! Another one of my beautiful sisters (and the only one with blond hair).

Audrey is the life of the party- very outgoing. She loves to laugh and keeps things on the light side. She is easy-going, yet adventuresome (she went sky diving!). Audrey loves basketball, soccer, and is the racquetball queen. She went to nationals in racquetball... Audrey also loves to sing- She sang at her high school graduation. Audrey graduated from BYU and now works as an auditor for JC Penney's. She's waiting for her prince charming to come... she's a good catch!

Carrie...30! My gorgeous sister-in-law, with the dark hair and eyelashes that I always wished I had...

Carrie is a wonderful wife and mother. She loves to exercise (there better be a good gym around!) and eat right. She loves to be at the beach or pool, in the water or with a good book. She loves traveling, to places like...oh, Venezuela (that's where she is now). She speaks fluent French and learning Spanish. Carrie is a hard-worker and very bright. She did master's work to become a dietitian, before devoting all her time at home to sweet Nicholas (and Mike and Cheerio, the dog).

Mike...30! My one and only brother. I grew up watching Mike's every move (and not repeating his mistakes!) ;)

Mike will tell you his greatest accomplishment was snagging Carrie... (he's right!). They're a good match- both very intelligent. Mike did an MBA at Duke and then went to work for Chevron-Texaco in CA. Mike loves being a dad to his little "nickle man." Mike also has a good singing voice, and he grew up playing basketball and soccer. He likes exercising, working on his computer, watching OU games, and hanging out with Carrie, Nicholas, and Cheerio.

Nicholas! The cutest 9-month old around...

Nicholas is a very happy kid. He likes being outside and watching what's going on. He likes to stick his tongue out. He got nicknamed "Nickel man", which went to "Pickle"- Mike and Carrie's little "pickle." He likes to hear his dad sing, "My little nickel man, my little nickel, nickel, pickle man..."
I hear he's a good sleeper as well. And he loves the water just like his mom.

Ashley... 21! My youngest sister, a little "hottie"! (sorry Ashley, but you know you are...)

Ashley is a wonderful and courageous mom to Jaden. Jaden is Ashley's world... Ashley has always had a very compassionate personality. And she is a hard-worker- she has a job, goes to school, and takes care of Jaden. She grew up doing gymnastics, soccer, and volleyball. She can "dig" with the best of them... Sweet Ashley also has a bit of a wild side to her- she went skydiving with Audrey! Ashley is a little bit taken though... she may not be single very much longer...

Jaden! The cutest 3 year old around!

Jaden has a wonderful smile and loves keeping Ashley on her toes. Jaden loves to go to primary and loves his friends at daycare. He's a happy, out-going boy and loves hanging out with his mom and Aunts Audrey and Alison. He likes to play with cars, and he loves stickers. He loves to drive his mom crazy at the store...especially if he wants stickers.

Mom... (we won't tell her age!)

Spends all of her time in her store, The Silver Hanger. She loves helping women find the perfect MODEST dress. She's a very talented seamstress and artist. She also has a very creative mind. When she's not at the store, she likes to hang out with her husband and her mom. She loves to spend time with family and is always spoiling her kids and grandkids. She is always serving.


Dad can't resist a game of basketball (or flag football or volleyball), despite a bad knee. He's got a stubborn, competitive side to him. He's a hard-worker. He works as a geologist for Phillips Petroleum Company. He likes playing board games and card games with his kids. And he loves singing and spending time with family.

Fay... my sweet mother-in-law

Fay loves her red-headed grandkids! She loves to spend time with and take pictures of her kids and grandkids. She is very intelligent and tender-hearted. She enjoyed working in the NSU library and teaching paleontology. She loves snakes, lizards, and other animals. She enjoys going on walks. Fay is enjoying retirement, at their new house in New Mexico.

John... my stalwart father-in-law.

John loves model trains, ships, and has a thing for railroad collectibles. He especially loves it when he can get out the trains and boats to show the grandkids. He loves watching "Master and Commander" with Nathan. He loves teaching geology, although he is enjoying retirement. John also likes to practice on the shooting range. He's a proud and concerned father, who likes bragging about his kids.

Jim! Saved the best for last... my brother-in-law and Alex's best friend.

Jim, along with Alex, is one of the brightest guys I know. He can out debate anyone. He loves sports, economics, politics, and law. He's a lawyer now... good to have a lawyer in the family. Jim is about as down-to-earth as it gets. He's easy-going and could care less about what anyone else thinks of him. He likes watching TV, hanging out with friends, going to games, and going back to his hometown- Tahlequah (the "Quah").

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When Mom is sick...

Well, I'm sick. Probably the flu -at least it's not the stomach flu though. I've been sick in bed since Monday. I was just talking to my parents on Sunday- the question came up, "Are you healthy?" "Yep, we're healthy." Well, the very next day, I woke up and my throat was scratchy. By 1:30 in the afternoon, I had a fever, my chest was burning, and my body was achy. I had to go to bed. I've pretty much been in bed since then, except to feed the boys breakfast and lunch and change Jared's diaper a few times (he has a rash now). So what happens when Mom is sick? Well, then there's very minimal supervision. The 4-year old is looking after the 21 month old. They actually didn't do too bad. I had to take a picture of what it looked like Tuesday afternoon. There were grapes and cheerios all over the floor and they turned the living room into a playground. Oh well. Dad came home from work and cleaned it up. I didn't have any energy to deal with it. Notice the boys are still in their pajamas...

Today was a different story. The morning went okay. They watched about 5 videos in a row. Nathan figured out how to work the DVD player. I was able to rest here and there, only having to get up and break up a few skirmishes. By lunchtime, everyone was cranky. I yelled at Nathan for not being able to figure out how to put Jared's diaper in the trash. And then he didn't want what I gave him for lunch. (You don't mess with a sick Mom...) I sent him to time-out, but didn't have the energy to stand at the door and make sure he couldn't get out. So he came out crying, "I don't want to be in time-out!" And I was thinking, "I do want to be in time-out! So I shut myself in my room. Anyway, Nathan was crying, I was crying, and so I called Alex home from work. He helped them finish lunch and put them down for a nap, allowing me to get some undistracted rest. And when I woke up in the afternoon, I felt pretty good.
Anyway, it's not fun for anyone when Mom is sick.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

ye shall not fear?

This morning at church, Nathan got to give a scripture in primary for the 1st time. We practiced it alot the day before, and I felt like he was ready. But when he got up there in front of everyone, he just wanted to hide behind me. I don't blame him. It can be scary in front of a group. I got my own taste of that today as well. I recently got a new "calling" or position in the church. I'm a counselor in the Relief Society, the women's organization of the church. I am mainly in charge of the instructors who teach the lessons on Sunday in Relief Society (the 3rd hour), just helping them in any way. Well, when they're not there, that means I get to teach.

We have not been meeting in our own building. We've been meeting in the community center until our new building is finished. Today we had special circumstances- when we got to church, we found out we couldn't meet as a congregation the 1st hour (sacrament meeting), like we usually do, so we went to the 2nd and 3rd hours. Except the normal 3rd hour was the 2nd hour today. Anyway, the instructor showed up only to teach during the 3rd hour, so she missed the time she was supposed to teach. That meant that I got to teach the lesson, unprepared.

I always think of the scripture that says, "...if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." Well, I wasn't prepared, so I was afraid! I felt a little bit like Nathan, except I didn't have anyone to hide behind. But I took comfort in that I did at least read the lesson yesterday, and the lesson was on "Jesus Christ, the Divine Redeemer of the World." I can teach and testify about Jesus Christ. (At least it wasn't on the law of chastity- Alex got to give an impromtu lesson on that a few weeks ago in Sunday School...) Anyway, it went well, because I really just had to facilitate the discussion. This is Relief Society - women love to talk.

I ended up using the scripture that Nathan shared today in part of my lesson. The primary's theme for the month is "The scriptures teach me about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and how to return to them." So I picked a simple scripture in John 20:31. It says, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

It's interesting the lead-up to that scripture. The Risen Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene and his disciples. Except Thomas hadn't seen the Risen Lord yet. He said he would not believe until he saw the prints of the nails. (You're familiar with the term "doubting Thomas"). Soon, Thomas was also able to see Jesus Christ for himself. The Lord tells him, " not faithless, but believing....because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." And then we have the scripture in verse 31 that Nathan shared.

So would it make a difference if you actually saw the Savior? You bet it would. But we don't have to see him to believe, to have that witness. We can read about Jesus in the scriptures. We can read about and hear the testimony of prophets and those who have actually seen the Savior. This is where faith comes in, which is so lacking in the world today (see my previous post). Many say, as Thomas did, I will not believe until I see. But that's where we go wrong. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. We receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.

What now?

So I don't know what to think now that Mitt Romney is out of the race. It took me by surprise when he announced he was stepping aside. Some of you didn't even get a chance to vote yet (like Texas) so I feel bad that part of the country "lost" their voice (at least those in support of Romney). I was counting on Romney becoming the nominee - I don't know what to do now. I guess I could vote for McCain, as a vote against Hillary or Obama...

I'm sad that Romney is out. I think he would make a great leader. I do have to admit that part of my vote for Romney was because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Being one myself, I know what it means to be a "Mormon." I know what standards we live by - we don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, don't use the Lord's name in vain. We still maintain strict chastity- no sex before marriage and complete fidelity in the marriage. We go to church every Sunday and we honor it as a day of rest. We take the sacrament (communion) every Sunday in remembrance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We serve in church positions, with no paid clergy- even the Bishop. We serve those around us and we pay our tithes and offerings to support the poor. We send out missionaries, on their own will and without pay, to spread the gospel. We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that by following His teachings, we can return to live with God again, in eternal families. We believe that God is our Father and we can pray to Him anytime, anywhere. We believe in faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe we are saved by grace. We believe God has provided us with prophets today, as He did in biblical times, to guide us in these troubling times. Don't we need a prophet more than ever today? We need God's will revealed to us, and he does that through prophets (Amos 3:7). We need a prophet to proclaim that marriage is ordained of God between a man and a woman and that the family is central to God's plan. We need a prophet to teach honesty, chastity, work. We need a prophet guiding us as the world changes around us. What is so scary about the things that Mormons believe?

Well, what about Joseph Smith, you wonder? So the story is hard to believe... Even Joseph Smith said if he had not seen what he did, he would not have believed it. But he could not deny what he had seen. Joseph Smith was the 1st prophet of the restoration. While he was searching for which church to join, he came across the scripture in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." He took this very literally and went to the woods to pray. While doing so, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. In answer to his prayer, he was told to join none of them. God's church needed to be restored to the earth- the authority to act in God's name was lost (apostasy- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Amos 8:11-12). Joseph became the 1st prophet of the restoration of the gospel. The priesthood authority was later given to Joseph Smith, and he was to organize the Lord's church on the earth again. He later translated the Book of Mormon, from gold plates, that had been sealed and hidden in the earth (about A.D. 421) by the prophet Moroni, whose father was Mormon (hence the term "Mormon").

What is the Book of Mormon?

"The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel. The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians. The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come." (from the Introduction to the Book of Mormon).

Hard to believe? Search it out for yourself. "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). Read and pray about it and see the fruits of your faith. I think another thing that is lacking in this world today is faith. Not a faith (a religion), but faith as in a belief in things not seen, which are true. It takes faith and courage to seek the truth, to accept something that we cannot see. It is easier to see the results of faith- the consequences of action. Try out the principles of the restored gospel. How does that make you feel? Evil cannot bring forth righteous fruits- only good can produce good fruit. (This is symbolic of course.)

Anyway, I've gotten carried away, but there has been alot of negative things said about the church lately. During Romney's campaign, his religion was scrutinized and criticized. I've heard some good things, but I've also heard several false statements from the media and other on-line outlets. I'm offended by some of the things I've heard. This has little to do with Romney, and everything to do with defending my religion. I can't just "sit on the bench" - my faith moves me such that I will not be still.

With that said, I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true, I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I can say these things with all conviction of heart because I have had the truth confirmed to me by the power of the spirit. I've seen the fruits of the restored gospel- the blessings of priesthood authority in my home, the blessings of a living prophet, the blessings of additional scripture, the blessings of a marriage sealed for eternity in a temple of the Lord. I've experienced the happiness and freedom that comes from living the law of chastity and of staying away from alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances. I've seen how the principles of the gospel has changed me and brought happiness in family life. And I know who I am (a daughter of God), why I'm here on earth (to gain a physical body, have joy, learn and become like God), and where I'm going after this life (return to live with God, with our families). This is all made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This knowledge rings true for me. And no one can dispute that.