Monday, September 24, 2007
You would think Jerel would learn. When Tanner was this age, his coach told him that his dad would pay him $1.00 for every goal they scored (without checking with us first). We weren't that worried until Tanner scored 8 goals in one of his first games. I still remember him yelling out what we owed him after each goal, "That's 8 dollars, Dad!"
You can see in the first couple pictures what Trevor does after he scores a goal. He clenches his fists and pumps his arms in a "we are the champion" like move. So cute!
The shower turned out great. Jodi had many friends come and give her some of the cutest gifts possible. Some of the outfits were to die for. And you should have seen the fancy burp rags. One was all trimmed in purple fur. Lindy, another sister-in-law, made a darling blanket and Rinez, Jerel's mom, made a sweet little dress. In fact, many of the gifts were homemade. It just shows you how much these people love Jodi. Megi did a great job with the invitations. (And we can't forget that her husband, Ty, helped make them too--what a guy!) And between the two of us, the decorations turned out pretty good too. Megi put up the cutest little trivia questions around the room about Shad and Jodi. I loved it! What a great idea. She also brought some cute little dolls to set up on a table. (I really struggle with talent in the decorating area, so it was so sweet of my friends to lend me serving dishes and ideas in this area. You know who you are, Jenn, Laura, Glenna, and Pam, so my deepest thanks!) I had a great time planning and making most of the food. Food is one my favorite hobbies--making it and eating it. :) So here's a bunch of pictures so you can get a gist of it all. Double click on the pictures to get a close-up view. You can read the signs better that way. (I'll snapfish more to those interested.)
The picture to the left is before the disaster. And the picture below is what they looked like after I did my quick fix-it job.
Cute handmade card.
I just love the brown skirt that Jodi is holding up--Nya will look darling in it. I'm holding the purple furry burp rag. Megi looking pretty as usual, and I just couldn't resist on cute little Skyler. Also, check out the darling blanket Lindy made.
We had the greatest Stake Conference last week. We were blessed to have a visit from an apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who was accompanied by Elder Wilford W. Andersen from the Seventy. At the Saturday night adult session, Elder Andersen told us that we need to have more humility. He said that humility is not recognition of our weakness; it is an understanding of the true source of our strength or power. He also said that faith without works is dead--and he really means work! He told us that often we want others to do the work. An example of this is when we as members pray that the missionaries will be sent to those souls searching for the true gospel. And the missionaries pray that the members will help them find those souls looking for truth. Both are praying for someone else to do the work. WE need to do the work. We are not supposed to ask Heavenly Father to bless our neighbor who is struggling, but we are to ask Heavenly Father to help us be humble and willing so that He can use us to be a blessing in that person's life. He also told us that because we live the gospel, we are spared a lot of trouble and sadness in our life.
Elder Holland was amazing. He talked about an author, Elie Wiesel, who wrote a book called "Night." The author was a Holocaust survivor and wrote about his experiences. Several years ago when Elder Holland was president of BYU, he invited Mr. Wiesel to speak to the students. Elder Holland related the term "Night" to all of our despair, sadness, trials, etc. He said that "the night will pass because this is a gospel of light." He told us if we are tempted to leave the church in our struggles and want to tell the Lord that we've had it, then we better not dare. In fact he said it in a very strong, forceful, almost yelling voice, "DON'T YOU DARE GIVE UP!" and "DON'T YOU DARE LEAVE THIS CHURCH!" He even was shaking his hand at us. I know it's hard to describe, but it was spoken with such conviction, emotion and testimony that you only felt love and hope as he spoke. He told us that "we will be happy again." He went on to say, "When hard times come, square your shoulders, pull up your socks, and endure. Just face it and you will pull through."
He then told us emphatically again, "DON'T YOU DARE tell yourself that God doesn't love you." He said that when we cry, God cries. He told us that every single prophet in history, including the Savior, had to deal with very hard times but they endured. He asked us if we think that God didn't love Joseph Smith. We all, of course, know that He did. Look at all the trials that Joseph Smith went through. He lost children, was tarred and feathered, was sick, and was ultimately killed. Do we even think for a second that Heavenly Father didn't love him? Elder Holland then repeated the comparison that if God loves his prophets, and they go through so much, then how can we say he doesn't love us when we go through trials. He shared that President Hinckley is very sick, tired, lonely, etc. and yet do we even believe for a second that he is not loved by God. Of course, not. We know the truth. I just know he spoke truth and comfort. He then related the story of Jesus calming the stormy seas and quoted the scripture, "Peace be still." That has always been one of my favorites. I even have a picture of it in my music room.
Elder Holland finished by saying that "when we are in stormy weather, we need the man who can control the winds and the waves. Who is this man--indeed!" He mentioned that his favorite name for Jesus is in Revelations 22:16 where He is called "the bright and morning star" (which is the sun). This was then related back to our "nights" that affect us. And what better way to fight "the night" than "the sun." They changed the closing song to "Behold Tis Eventide." The words of that song "Oh, Savior stay this night with me. . ." just were so beautiful after his talk on our own "nights."
And here's the best part of Stake Conference. Okay, on Sunday morning Jordan was determined to shake Elder Holland's hand. So we got up and left for stake conference at 6:45 arriving at about 7:05 a.m. It didn't even start until 10:00. We were able to get seats in the chapel. As Elder Holland spoke to the youth he said that the youth need to pay a tithing of sorts with their lives. He just wants 10 years (whether it be ages 12-22 or 14-24) of their lives to be devoted to the gospel. He wanted them to devote these years to listening to their leaders and parents and do the things they ask of them and teach them to do. The gist was basically "Adults know better!" He then finished off by saying, (now this is the best part):
"We've been your age. You haven't been ours. We know more. We have more experience. You're just not smart enough to make some decisions on your own. . . so there!!" Everyone laughed, but we knew he meant business by what he said. He, like President Hinckley, has a great sense of humor. He had a great way of connecting with the youth. I noticed all of my kids perk up and listen intently as he was speaking, even though we had been there for 5 hours. In fact, all the youth around me were listening intently to what he had to say.
He ended his talk with a blessing on all of us. It was very touching, and I don't know if there was a dry eye among all who were there. Oh, I wish you all could have been there, it was so beautiful. Jordan said it best, "You could feel the Spirit so strong as he spoke."
Well, Jordan was up on that stand shaking Elder Holland's hand as soon as the Amen was said on the closing prayer. (Tanner and Trevor followed their brother's example and quickly went up on the stand to shake hands also.) I love that he dreams of shaking an Apostle's hand and not some movie star's. Chase also got to shake his hand since he was sitting in the foyer with friends when Elder Holland walked into the building. He shook every youth's hand that was there. And one more cute side note story. Trevor obviously was feeling the spirit too, because in the middle of Elder Holland's talk, he came up to me and fervently expressed that he needed to go up and "bear his testimonies" too. So he bore his testimony to me and then went down the row and told Jerel too. There was also some other drama that Trevor went through, but you'll have to ask me about that one. It's not fit for a blog. lol
Sunday, September 23, 2007
President Cowan, a counselor in the Stake Presidency, explained the reason why they decided to have Standards Night for the adults this year. He shared an experience from the summer. As the mother's were dropping off their girls at the stake center for girl's camp, he and the Stake Young Women's President noticed what the mothers were wearing. They were appalled. It was decided that if we as parents and adults are not setting a good example for our youth, then it won't matter how many times they are taught what is right.
We heard from several speakers which included members of our Stake Presidency and the Bishop of our stake's singles ward. They talked about the woes of pornography. The Bishop of the singles ward said about 25% of his members are under disciplinary action, most of it stemming from pornography. President Cowan (who works for the school board) quoted results from a survey that showed a high percentage of young adults don't have any interpersonal skills; skills that will be needed on their missions, jobs, etc. Experts have speculated that this is partially a result of the amount of texting that goes on between people nowadays. The survey also showed a high percentage of kids have never worked and saved money for a major purchase, have never made their beds or mowed a lawn. So I guess it's okay to have a chore chart--even though my kids complain that none of their friends have to do jobs.
Lately I have been feeling I was too strict on what I let my kids watch on TV and at the movies. Many of my kids' friends come from good, strong, religious families, and they are allowed to see some movies that my kids are not allowed to. I was starting to feel like I needed to lighten up. But now I feel like we are doing okay. They are not going to die if they don't see a certain movie. But I also learned that I need to let my kids fail more. Life is about learning from our struggles and mistakes. If I shelter them and save them all the time, then they never have the chance to learn and grow.
So basically, we as adults were put on notice to model the behavior we expect in our children, to not be afraid to let our kids fail, and to be more aware of what our kids are doing. Sage and timely advice in this troubled world that we are required to live in but not of.
And here's Chase. Look how expensive, I mean great, his teeth look now. He now wears a retainer all day and night. He has actually been really good at wearing it. The orthodontist gave him some balloons and a bag of candy/food that is now "legal" for him to eat, such as popcorn, skittles, snickers, etc.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
About 10:30 pm Chase gets a text message telling him to come over to Sarah's (another neighbor girl.) Chase texted back and said he needed to get up early to go to the BYU game and was going to bed. The girls texted back, "Never mind." As Chase is telling me this I mention, "They're probably toilet papering our house right now and that's their way to get you to come out and notice." Sure enough--I was right. Chase walked out and caught them. But it was a toilet papering job unlike any other we've had before. In addition to the toilet paper, they covered our lawn in tons of notes all folded up in fancy ways like girls do. The girls wanted Chase to open them all up and read them right then and there. Here's a few pictures of some of them. These girls are so funny.
Well, Saturday morning was an early start for all of us. Jordan had to leave for his football game at 6:00 am, and Jerel, Chase and Tanner left shortly after that to head to the BYU/UCLA game. I figured I would pick up all the toilet paper when we got back from Jordan's game. When we got home, the yard was all cleaned up. I said to the boys, "I wonder who cleaned up our yard?" Trevor then said, "I know, maybe Heavenly Father did it!" Sounds good to me! :)
Thursday, September 6, 2007
A few months ago all 4 of my boys got up to bear their testimonies. A gentleman was visiting our ward for a baby blessing and was very touched by this. He came up and commented on what good boys we have and was very impressed by this. We do have great boys!
But the thing that prompted me the most to right this post was last Sunday. Jordan got up and bore one of the sweetest testimonies that I have ever heard from him. He testified of his love for the Savior and how he felt about the atonement. He was very emotional as he spoke about the suffering that Jesus went through for us in the Garden of Gethsemane and how he bled from very pore. He truly felt the Spirit that day--as did the rest of us. I had many people come up to me and tell me that Jordan's testimony touched them.
I am going to follow my sons' examples and bear testimony of the gospel more often.
FHE can get crazy at times, but it's worth it--at least I think so!
Tanner wanted to help Jerel fix our leaking shower head this weekend. As you can see from the pictures, he really got into it. I love the picture where he has one eye closed and is making sure Jerel has everything all matched up correctly.
This story reminded my mom of when Chase was about 2 or 3. Jerel was putting together a new kitchen table, and Chase ran to his Fisher Price Toolbench and got his "tools" to help. He was so cute with his big plastic screwdrivers. This is one of her favorite memories.
I am so grateful that Jerel is such a good handyman. He saves us so much money by doing these little home repairs himself. And if he doesn't know how to do something, he isn't afraid to learn and try it anyway. I think he gets this great quality from his dad.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I'm getting better at fondant and these two cakes turned out looking pretty smooth. I also love the ruffle border. It may be my new favorite border. This was also my first attempt at a tiered cake.