Friday, May 9, 2014

Missionary Moment!

This week I had the opportunity of really experiencing my greatest missionary moment to date.  It isn't that I convinced someone to join the church, or even to come to church, or anything like that - but rather I shared a part of the gospel that I hold very sacred to me and offered to a friend so that they could share and feel the same spirit and it was accepted and I got to see firsthand someone else's life blessed because of the gospel.  This, to me, is the best experience and one I will forever treasure.  I got a glimpse of what the missionaries in the field must feel like as they share the gospel, and the spiritual high I received I still feel when I think about it.

I have a friend out here who is a very close friend - she has 3 boys that are all friends with my kids, one in Cash's class at school, and we go to karate twice a week together and have play dates often and I have the pleasure of interacting with them daily.  She is an example to me of a spiritual and just a REALLY GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMAN!  They are catholic, and go to church each week and have the same family values as I have.  We have shared many conversations about the gospel and talked on numerous different occasions about our religions to each other.  She is always very respectful in asking questions, and always answers my questions about her church nice too.  It has been great to learn more about her church and what they do and I have really enjoyed our conversations.

She has been going through a rough time this past week as she found out at her Dr. apt. that they couldn't find a heartbeat and her baby had stopped growing and living.  This is the third time it has happened this way and she expressed her sadness and frustrations and questions as to why this happened.  She had been quite sick with this one, which she wasn't with her 3 boys, and so we thought maybe it was a girl and were so excited for her and hoping that it wouldn't end like this.  When she told me that, in fact, it really was the case and she had to go in for surgery yesterday to have it taken out I felt so devastated and, in fact, a little fraction of the loss she must be feeling for her.  It is hard to want something so bad and then have the answer be yes for a moment and then feel like it is taken away.  My heart went out to her and I wanted to do something for her, but nothing really seemed adequate.  A gift seemed to impersonal, words couldn't really express how I felt or knew she must be feelings, and I was at a loss of what to do.  

She expressed how she always gets nervous to be put under with anesthesia and that it is scary and just her hopes it would go well.  I knew then what I wanted to offer but was so scared.  I really wanted to offer her to have a priesthood blessing before she went in for her surgery.  I knew this was something that would bring peace and comfort, and that would be the best thing I could offer, but I was also scared because I know she is religious and this was different then what they do in her church, and I didn't want to come across preachy or like I was trying to convert her or change her or anything.  But I also knew without any doubt that this would bring peace and comfort because it has for me so many times.

As we sat at karate on Tuesday we got talking and she brought up religion and we were talking about my brothers and missions and my brother who is out here visiting and I knew the opportunity was presenting itself to bring it up without sounding weird or anything.  I was pretty much shaking inside as I told her that I wasn't sure what her religion felt about this but in mine my husband has what we called the priesthood and has the ability to give blessings which are messages from our Heavenly Father to the individual which bring great peace and comfort.  I told her that I have them whenever going in for surgery, or having a baby, or being sick in my pregnancy, or feeling anxiety over my role as a mom or a bunch of other things and how they always bring me great peace and comfort, and then offered if she would like to come over my brother or my husband would be happy to give her one before she had her surgery yesterday.  She was really sweet and said thank you for offering and that was nice, but then we moved on to other topics and I didn't really think she was interested or would want it.

She later told me she was going to ask her priest for words of comfort and to help her find closure because he always knows what to say and so I thought that meant she was just going that route.  And I was fine and we carried on with other conversations and just as normal.  

That night I received a text from her, however, saying how she was grateful for the offer of prayer and blessing and that if Chip were up for it she would love to stop by the next day (the night before she was going in) for a blessing.  I can NOT tell you my excitement and how happy this made me.  I literally felt my heart would burst!!!  I was so happy because I know that this would bring peace and comfort to her and that she would feel the spirit.

All day I prayed that the blessing would go well and that she would feel something and be able to feel peace and calm from it.  I just wanted her to feel of our Heavenly Father's love for her that I know he has.  She texted me at 8:15 and said her husband was home and that they were coming over in 15 minutes.  

So they both came, and it was such a cool experience.  We talked about mostly other things, but my favorite part was that when Chip asked her if she had ever heard a blessing before she said (giggling in giddyness) how she had never heard a Mormon prayer before but she had woken up SO excited and just giddy that she was going to come have a blessing.  She was so sweet and excited how could we all not be excited.  She then felt really bad and apologized if that seemed disrespectful or irreverent and was worried she had offended us - ARE YOU KIDDING?!!!!!  She was so sweet and excited and I found myself wishing I felt that same way every time I was going to get a blessing - was I that excited or anxious to have it and her example was so perfect to help me see how truly blessed I am to have the opportunity to have this anytime I am in need.  We said we weren't offended at all and she went on to say how she loves prayer and just to have someone offer to pray for her is so awesome and she is so grateful.  I realized again how lucky I am to have so many people praying for me and my family at all times and how buoyed up we are in the church from other people's prayers in our behalf.   I love this and my testimony of this grew so much right then.

So then Chip gave her the blessing and it was beautiful and brought such a great spirit into the house.  I hope she felt that way and it helped her feel calm.  We then talked about other things and visited and just had a great time with them and I am so blessed to have them as friends and examples in my life of just being great people.  They are some of the nicest people on this earth.  

It was so great to share something close to my heart and have someone else appreciate and want it and I will forever hold this experience close to my heart.  In a week of a lot of bad news in a lot of different things this definitely was the highlight and made me grateful once again to have the spirit in my life.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have to share this with others!

Monday, May 5, 2014

8 Years Come and Gone!

Well our 8th anniversary wasn't really one for the books - at least not the actual day. It was pretty boring, depressing from the housing perspective, and just filled with kids activities, baseball games, and bed before 9 pm for both of us - so not much to speak of.  However, the year has been great, and I am more in love with this guy then ever, so that's what's important right?!

Since our kids rule our lives thought we should share what has been going on as of late - Daddy says he isn't too creative - but I came down one sunday after a little nap and he had made these cool snakes with the boys - a hanger, a tie, some jelly beans, felt tongues - i think WAY creative!  So cool!

Ivy has more shoes then ever - and she LOVES her shoes and picking out which ones to wear each day - she is a little more opinionated then I would like but what can I say - she's a little fashionista!

We went to Cash's baseball game on our anniversary and he did great - 2 awesome hits!

The ONLY picture we have of us on our 8th Anniversary - taken by Griffin at Cash's game!!!  

On Sunday we went to the Seaside Heroes Park in Torrance that honored 3 soldiers killed in the Iraq war!  It was so fun to read and walk around and try out the obstacle course - Chip set the record with 14 seconds, then mom at 17 seconds, then Cash at 40 seconds. All had fun!

I started up running again and this morning went with my friend Jen - if my hips would stop hurting it would be a lot more fun - x-rays tomorrow!!! (the end of the run!)

Beach days have been a LOT of fun as of late and here Ivy is hanging with the big girls - Emma and her friend Brooke!  So fun!

We have had Bebo come play and hang with us a bunch and here they made a cool train track together!

When the boys went to their overnight campout Ivy was so sad she couldn't go with daddy so we had to do something fun - she LOVES the swings so it was fun to take her and let her enjoy! I got the great idea to ride the bike there with her - with my hurt hip not such a good idea, and since it is so hilly we ended up walking up 2 hills on the way there - luckily I made it home up the very long steep big hill!

After I asked what she wanted for dinner to which she said "sona and chicky nuggies!" So Chic-file it was and she downed her entire meal almost all by herself! (too bad for me)  She was so cute and then she wanted to watch Frozen so we cuddled on the couch and watched til her bedtime.  it was SO MUCH FUN to have time with just her!  Great weekend!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers....

So it seems when it rains it pours, and that there is supposed to be this lovely rainbow at the end of the storm, and that after the rain flowers do come - meaning something better after the storm.

In life this analogy is often used and I believe it to be true.  I love the quote that Pres. Uctdorf said in General Conference - which was "How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"  

I love this and I have found myself saying this quote to myself as I am trying to get through things and move on and get the rainbow to come.  It is amazing that we look back sometimes and then realize how good we had it, when it seems all we really want is to cross that finish line, that next hurdle, get to the next phase of life, and yet how much are we really missing out on?!  Why don't we just jump in the puddles, enjoy the rain at the moment, live life to its fullest, instead of always wanting more, the next thing, etc etc

I think it is human to be this way, and yet I am trying to change my paradigm view and just enjoy.  I find myself at a similar crossroads these days to one before - not knowing the future of where we will be for the next few years, not knowing where we will live or what we will for sure do, the schools my kids will go to or friends I will have, etc etc.  It is scary, overwhelming, stressful, hard, and sometimes gets me really down!  However, as I have been there in the past I do know it always works out and we just have to trust in the Lord and move forward with faith and do the best we can.  It might be hard, but there are lessons to be learned and puddles to jump in along the way.

About 1 month ago our landlord decided to sell the house.  I wasn't too worried about it, they told us we could stay until it sold and then they would ask us how many days of escrow we wanted when it did sell and give us 60 or 90 days to be out.  We didn't really want the house, but we offered a lower price that if we could get it at we would be fine staying for the moment, and they came back with a counter offer and we declined and decided to just move on with a different path.

Well, to make the story short the house went up on a Thursday on the MLS, and by Sunday it was sold and they had 3 other signed offers on it as well.  Really things were done Saturday, meaning the house sold in less than 48 hours from when it went up on the listings.  CRAZY!!!!  Well, as there is NOTHING much out there in the housing market these days as we are now finding I am not surprised it sold due to the fact it is a big house (for the area) and has a fantastic kitchen and 4 huge bedrooms and great layout.  Comparatively, it is like a mansion in other states with all the upgrades, altho really there is plenty that needs to be upgraded in the house itself.  Well, at first we didn't mind much, altho the 60 day notice of when we will have to be out seems a little too soon for comfort at this point.....and we were ready to move on and get out and find our next place of residency.

However, in searching all we are now doing is wishing we had just bought our house ourselves and moved forward.  There is NOTHING out there on the market, nothing for rent that is less than $4500/month and that is for places that are much smaller and not as nice as our house here.  Nothing in our school boundaries and ward and that is frustrating, and just hardly any new listings from day to day.  It is very competitive too so when houses do come up they are snatched up immediately, sometimes in minutes of being put on the market.  So it has been hard.

To top it off last weekend I thought I had found our dream home, a 3500 sq. foot (unheard of out here for the most part) 5 BR, 4.5 bath home with granite kitchen and big island and a HUGE yard - both in front and back (also not heard of) and only $3900 a month.  It wasn't in our ward or school boundaries but for the price and the house I was willing to move forward.  I cancelled 2 other appointments for other homes to go see this one and we even got there 15 minutes early and then it happened - the guy didn't show up to show the house so I finally called him 10 minutes later - and found that he had given me his personal address instead of the address to the rental he was showing, that he was at the rental, and that the house I had looked at and been so excited for on Zillow was actually not for sale at all!  Talk about being devastated.  That was last week, on my 8th anniversary, and pretty much set me up for depression the rest of the day (yea not the best anniversary present!)

So it has been hard, frustrating, and very emotionally challenging.  I have found myself asking "why me" numerous times and feeling sorry and bugged at the situation.  I wondered and asked Chip if maybe our pride got in the way of us not buying our house because we were bugged with certain things such as the realtor or landlord and so didn't and then in fact it made us lose the sale that we now think was a great deal - considering what else is out there?!  Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda you might say!

Well, then last Tuesday came, and Chip went to dinner with some people from his PE firm in Cville and a couple other job opportunities presented themselves.  So once again different options are in the mix, presenting more decisions and options, and I am left to wonder what the Lord has in store for us and if I will see why things are unfolding the way they are or not and how I don't know my path as good as he does.  

I guess what I am saying is I am trying now to just dance in the rain and enjoy the puddles and things I can see, since the rainbow might or might not be far off in coming and I don't want to waste any more time just standing here only sticking my toe in.  I want to really enjoy and taste the rain and squeeze every last drop into something wonderful.  So I am going to (try at least!)

After all, I LOVE the rain!  
Hopefully if you are reading this you can find joy in the rain too!