Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!

Several years ago, while Dave was in Iraq, I was Elastagirl for Halloween. Oh, to be like Elastagirl for real! Do you ever have those days where you feel like no matter what you do accomplish, no matter how hard you try, there just is NOT enough of you to go around and there is still so much left undone??? I've had a few of those lately!

Sometimes I look around at others and think, "Gee, so-and-so has got it ALL together. I wish I could be more like so-and-so!" You know what I'm talking about- the person that has an immaculately clean house with a gorgeous well kept yard, a darling and talented brood of perfectly behaved children, money out their ears, and tons of time to serve others. I'm soooo not that girl and sometimes looking at the parts of other people's lives that are readily available to SEE, it can become easy to get down on ourselves and all that we aren't instead of focusing on all that we are and all that we are doing RIGHT!

TOTAL CHANGE OF SUBJECT- (but not, all at the same time, because this has EVERYTHING to do with what I am talking about!) I have an amazing friend that passed away last month. She took her own life. I spoke to her on the phone a few weeks before she died. One of the things that she shared with me was that she had recently started running. RUNNING? Really? Well I was impressed and I still am! In fact, I am inspired.

One of the other things this wonderful friend did often was blog. She had an amazing way with words and they ALWAYS inspired me. She talked a lot about things that were important to her, ways that she is involved in the community, her hopes, her fears, and her children. Something I found out about this friend over the years that I knew her was that she had a very difficult time being honest. You never knew if some of the things that she said were truth or fiction, and, I believe, SHE didn't even know half of the time because she lied SOOO much that she believed her own lies. Yet even that inspired me. Still does. Maybe the reason for her lies was because no matter what she did, she felt she wasn't enough.

And so these days I find myself doing something I never thought that I would do. I have ALWAYS said that you don't have to run to get to heaven. THAT is the TRUTH! Yet I look at my friend who was FAR from being a person you would imagine being a runner and I see the impact that it made in her life, even though it certainly didn't change whether she was happy and still does not change the fact that SOME parts of life were soooooo unbearable that she couldn't face them, not for even one more day, and I say to myself, "If she could do it, I can too."

Now I know what some of you are asking yourselves. How do I know if she was telling the truth? I don't, for sure, but it doesn't matter! She still inspires me! So in honor of Lisa, I've been hitting the treadmill 3 days a week and even though I am a pathetic anemic weakling child, I am running. I am up to a mile without feeling like I am going to DIE- but I'm going to do a 5K sometime soon because I am determined! I'm going to keep running!

Last year I wrote a post that sort of summed up what my life is like. You can find it here! And while my life has changed a little, it's pretty much just as crazy, as I imagine most of your lives are. Days like THAT are EVERY DAY around here. But I do it day in and day out because #1 I thrive on chaos and #2 I don't have a choice and #3 being here with the craZiness is what allows me to be with all of my favorite favorites- my kiddos!

So while there are days that I feel like I get nothing accomplished and when I wonder where my super suit is, it is ALL worth doing! I MIGHT lose my mind somewhere along the way, but perhaps it wasn't worth keeping, anyhow! And I'm going to remember that
While we may not have it all together, together we have it all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Recipe- YUM!

I know, I know... When you are in the middle of getting the guts out of a pumpkin, eating ANYTHING isn't exactly on your mind. But if you've ever tasted roasted pumpkin seeds, somehow you'll find a way to try this recipe!

Recipe is a LOOSE term... This is one of those things where you actually don't measure, you just do! It's sort of hard to screw up if you've spent much time in your kitchen, even if it is just eating... I think you'll all do fine, let me know-

We carved five pumpkins tonight, so there were PLENTY of seeds amongst all the guts! I found out the easiest way to collect them was out of the clean garbage bag we were using to put the guts in. I would grab a handful of guts and shake it gently, then scoop up the loose seeds that were left behind.

Then I threw them in a colander and rinsed them in warm water, picking out whatever stringies I could find as I went. I then put the seeds in some salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. When that was done I drained them and then spread them out on a tin-foil lined baking sheet. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and spread them out so that none are on top of each other. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. While they were still warm, I added a cinnamon and sugar mixture and a little more olive oil, (just to help the cinnamon stick) and stirred them around to coat. Mmmmm- hope you ENJOY as much as I did!

PS- pumpkin seeds are VERY good for you! (olive oil and sugar probably aren't, let's call it a trade-off!)

Little Stay-Cation From The Norm!

Even when there is no school for Dave or the kids, daycare and church responsibilities make it hard for our family to get away for very long. This was the case again when school was out last Thursday and Friday for UEA. That was okay with us, though, because none of us were interested in spending hours in the car or the work of packing and unpacking. In fact, to look at my house today, one can deduct that we weren't much interested in any kind of work at all! Family, Fun, and a bit of a break was all we had on our minds!

Thursday we slept in a little and stayed in our jammies for a bit. We only had 3 daycare kids so the day was very low key. Dave and I tidied our bedroom a bit and I started on a project for our room that I've been wanting to do for months. Sadly, it still isn't finished but I'm hoping to get to it today. Dave being home made it easier for me to make some Relief Society visits, but we only found one of the sisters on our list at home. We made pizza for dinner and the kids all had gymnastics that evening.

Friday began with some cute kids from the ward arriving- their daddy had surgery just the day before and wasn't doing so well. My kids thought it was great because they each had a playmate for the day! They went home shortly after lunch as did the 2 daycare kids I was watching. We headed out for a little family fun!

We started at the pumpkin patch! Our own garden only produced one pumpkin this year. Kamden was the driving force behind this visit- he's really wanting to decorate for fall! The kids enjoyed searching for the perfect pumpkins and pulling Paxton around the patch in a wagon. We all climbed back on the car and headed off too the next adventure- the zip line at Miller Motorsports Park!

Not much was going on that day- the go-cart track was full, but that's about it. A PERFECT day for us to be there! We went to the cart center and paid for the zip line. Kenz tried and tried to think tall thoughts, but she just wasn't 42 inches! Good thing we brought Grandma to hang out with Kenzington and Paxton. Too bad Grandma couldn't be convinced to join in the fun!

The zip line starts right where it ends! You sit in a ski lift type of chair and wait to be harnessed in behind you. Before you know it you are high in the air looking out over all of Miller Motorsports Park! Almost as quickly as you arrive at the top, you're on your way down at about 40 mph where you safely bounce backward a time or two and you're done! We all enjoyed it, but we all wished it weren't over so quickly! The kids enjoyed the playground for a little while and then we headed off to our next adventure: DI!

Deseret Industries is one of our family's favorite places to be. It's always adventurous to look for a treasure. Everyone seemed to find something they thought was cool- now THIS is the reason my house is always such a wreck! Actually, we rent from DI- it all ends up back there eventually and they have no late fees! ;)

We went to dinner at Apollo Burger where we visited with some friends who happened to come in. Then we stopped on the way home to rent a RedBox movie and headed home to enjoy!

Saturday we had a few loose ends we needed to tie up at home by noon we were headed into Salt Lake to run a few errands and punker around. We parked at the Gateway and meandered through, stopping, of course, at Old Navy and the splash pad. The real goal here was for Paxton to be able to ride Trax which is Salt Lake City's light rail system. Paxton is OBSESSED with trains! We needed to pick up some prints at Costco in West Valley City, so we decided that Dave would drive the car there and the rest of us would take the train. The kids thought it was so much fun! We've ridden Trax lots of times before, but because of where we were going it traveled a bit faster and went up over viaducts and through the "Spaghetti Bowl." None of the kids would stay sitting in one spot! They visited with other passengers and traded seats each time the train slowed down or stopped. Kamden insisted on hanging from the subway handles, even though he wasn't tall enough to reach them! I think other passengers just wished we would get off!

We met up in WVC and went to Costco to pick up our prints. My mom finished her shift at the temple and met us there as well. We did some quick Costco shopping and then headed to one of our favorites for dinner: Bajio! We've missed Bajio since the one in Tooele closed down. My mom headed to Bobby's and we headed on back to Tooele- we had one more fun adventure planned: The stargazing party at Stansbury Park observatory.

We'd never been to the observatory before and came a little unprepared- we thought it would be indoors and it was not. We were cold! We stayed for a little while and then headed to the car to get warm. The kids had entered a drawing for a chance to win a telescope, but they wouldn't be drawing for another half hour. We went to the new grocery store in Stansbury and looked around for a bit. Then we headed back to the observatory for the drawing. I stayed in the car with Paxton and Kenzi and Dave took the bigger kids over. Well it wasn't long before they were headed back to the car carrying not one, but TWO TELESCOPES! I guess it's a good thing we came back!

Our late night still wasn't done- a quick stop at WalMart for donuts (our favorite Sunday Breakfast) and choosing Halloween costumes, then home to tuck the turkeys in bed and finally relax! Although it was late, Dave and I watched "The Switch" with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman that Dave had rented the night before. Cute movie!

Thank GOODNESS that Sunday is a day of rest! Dave spoke in church and did an excellent job. While sometimes Sundays are runaround days for me, this one was actually spent mostly at home with one meeting in the morning and a few quick visits right after church. We had a good UEA weekend and now I'm ready for real life and routines to start again! Onward, ever onward!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Temple Experiences

Yesterday I had the most amazing experience. My mom, who is a worker in the Salt Lake Temple, took me with her to the temple worker's devotional that is held annually in the upper room of the temple. President Henry B. Eyring spoke to us there. The Spirit was SOOOOO strong! I know he is a servant of our Father in Heaven and I enjoyed every minute of listening to him speak.

One of the things that made the experience neat for me was that we went up one of the not often seen spiral staircases. Another thing that made the experience neat was that they opened the round windows which run along the top center of the temple. The music from both the choir and congregation was amazing and I think it would have been neat to be outside the temple and hear that music coming from within.

Often times it is difficult from inside the temple to envision where you are in comparison to the outside of the temple, but those windows made it easy for us and we could still see them open as we drove away. Then we rushed home to get the kids ready for church because Dave was at guard and we knew we would only have a few hours to do that in.

Just the day before, on Saturday, I spent the day thinking about the temple in a different way. I did a Super Saturday temple picture project with a ward in Spanish Fork. My brother Brian came and helped with the projects, which was neat for many of the ladies because he is also the photographer! His other amazing photos can be seen here! We managed to help finish 42 framed photos of the temple that day! I LOVE knowing that there will be 42 more walls with a really neat picture of the temple hanging on them!

This weekend underlined something else for me: I have an amazing daughter and an amazing husband! Dave and I somehow managed to overbook things- he had guard and I had the temple pictures and the devotional. Dave worked hard to help make sure I had everything ready for Saturday and Boston babysat all weekend long. I'm so proud of her!

Now if only we all had a weekend to recuperate from the business of the weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Never Ceases to Amaze Me!

There are lots of times, with my calling, when I wonder about all the stuff I don't manage to take care of. About all the stuff I don't know about and about all the ways I could have done more if only I had more time.

There are days when I think they got the wrong girl. There are LOTS of ladies in my ward that have more talents, more abilities, and more time available to serve others than I do. And then I remember that when hands were laid upon my head and I was set apart as the Relief Society President of my ward that promises were made. I was promised that if I did my best I would be made equal to what was required of me. If I do my best, that's enough!

It seems that often when preparing for a lesson or a talk that I find myself wishing I had more time to prepare. I've had the topic on my mind all week and have been seeking help and guidance from the Lord about the matter, but time to sit still and listen and study and prepare has not really been something I've found.

But I've found myself in this situation often enough that I have learned to trust the Lord and the Spirit to make up the difference. And they do. And I am grateful.

I Stand All Amazed!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Highlights From General Conference

I LOVE General Conference. Usually. This year, the first session found me a bit grumpy for no really good reason, but grumpy all the same. I think if I'd not had a late night the night before I may have done better. Goodness! I repented before the second session and got a lot more out of it. Today I find myself going back through and listening to some of my favorites all over again.

In the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Ian S. Ardern spoke to us on using our time wisely. There were some obvious puns at those addicted to social media and video games, including some specifics directed at "Facebook" and "Angry Birds." Ultimately, the overall point was that our time should be spent best caring for and serving one another and serving the Lord, not going from one time wasting activity to another. What a great talk! Well worth listening to. And I LOVED that it felt so relevant to TODAY!

Elder Robert D. Hales spoke to us from his chair, apparently recovering from some health problems. He looked so different! That kind gentle voice and sweet smile shown through an obviously older and very different looking face. I'm not sure what health problems he's been encountering, but I appreciated his talk about waiting upon the Lord. He spoke of trials, especially trials of the righteous, being a test of our hope and trust in the Lord. He said that if we will continue forward in patience until we are perfected, our afflictions will work together for our good. I dare say he knows a thing or two about what he was speaking on! My favorite quote from this talk was, "Often we pray to have patience, but we want it right now." Yes, the irony of it all!

Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson spoke to us many times throughout this conference- arriving late to the Saturday morning session and speaking to us only briefly with high security ever near him. He announced several new temples to be built, including one in Paris France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Columbia, Star Valley Wyoming, and for the Provo Tabernacle which burnt down last year to be restored and to become an additional temple in Provo Utah! How Exciting! Our prophet joked and smiled with conference goers throughout his talks- we got to see a bit of his fun personality. He is so neat!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke to us Sunday afternoon on the importance of knowing Christ and doing his will, not merely doing things in his name. I found myself vowing to do better at knowing Christ and what Christ would have me do to serve my family and those around me. I have often forgotten to seek revelation when acting in Christ's name as I serve in my calling. I'm going to do better!

My favorite talk was given by Matthew O. Richardson on being REAL parents, leaders, teachers, and missionaries by teaching BY the Spirit, not in front of or behind the Spirit, but BY the Spirit. I had never thought of the word BY to mean next to, but Elder Richardson helped me think of it in that way. This talk helped me to realize that we are NEVER effective teachers, even when it is not a gospel topic, if we do not seek the guidance of the Spirit to know what to say and do to teach. I am especially excited to implement what I learned from this talk to the challenges and teaching moments I encounter as a parent. I'm so grateful for the insights gained from this talk!

I'm grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I'm grateful to be able to hear from the living prophet of the Lord and know of the Lord's will for HIS church and His children. And now on to LIVING it!