Saturday, August 30, 2014

2 Birthday Videos & Sidenotes :-)


My Birthday Gift

It was my birthday last week and my husband's birthday was just a few days ago.  We were separated for our special days, so my adorable husband and his music group made a GREAT 40 second video for me.

I believe you should be able to just click on the link below to view it. :-)  It's from Facebook but made public, so I don't think you'll even need to login to your Facebook account.  ENJOY!!  It will DEFINITELY make you smile.  (We watched it about 100 times.)

After last week's football games, my in-laws surprised me with GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE!

And my wonderful neighbors… WOW!   Their kindness is a story for another day. :-)

That night my kids threw a late-night surprise party for me with just the kids upstairs in the toy room.  (Jayden was sleeping.) Unbeknownst to me, the kids had decorated the room earlier in the day while I was cleaning up and cooking.

This is the DJ's spot… 

 They blindfolded me and blasted my favorite music.  I entered the room, and then we jammed!!  After several wild songs, they sat me down on the couch while they read me sweet letters and sang special songs for me.  

Crazy, wonderful kids…

I forgot to add that my parents bought the little red wagon for my birthday and Abe's birthday for us to use on our beach trips.  

Several months ago I wrote about how badly I had been wanting one, and the Lord helped me to find a temporary solution… until now!!  Hooray!! I now have a real red wagon:-)

Abe's Birthday Gift

As a thank you for my wonderful birthday video, my children, my niece, and I made a minute and a half long video for my husband's birthday with instruments, dancing, and rapping.  It's a ton of fun to watch!  ENJOY! :-)

Just click on the link below to watch it:-)

Sidenotes & Updates

I'm trying really hard to get my life in order!

We spent 12 hours with football and cheerleading today- HONESTLY!

It's a new school year; and since I'm the teacher, we've been working really hard on an efficient after summer schedule.  Beyond our regular school subjects, that includes packing 7 kids into our van every morning at 5:30am for seminary, marching band until after midnight at times, a college course 25 minutes away, football, and of course beach time for my aspiring surfers. :-)

Our dear friend from Bolivia and my spunky niece returned last week- they wanted to rejoin our crazy crew for a little while longer!  (They had come with another cute, teenage friend of ours in the beginning of August.)

They are truly a joy to have here.  We all cried when our friend returned to Bolivia a few days ago.  (I still need to write about how he ended up at our house!!  TRULY AWESOME!)  We get to keep our niece until the middle of September.

My husband has only been home for 2 days since July 28th… and of course I was in South America before that… so I miss him… and I'm tired, but I keep praying about how to organize my time better.

I feel a need to return to writing with more depth, and I know the Lord will open a way very soon… until then I appreciate you checking in on me. :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mascara for Church

This may seem like a silly post to some, but it was DEFINITELY a test of my faith and a little, daily miracle in my life.

Last Sunday I was driving all the kids to church and doing my make-up at the stoplights along the way.

All of a sudden I realized my mascara was not in my make-up bag!  I looked at my face and grumbled. I remembered not putting it back into my bag when I was done with it the last time, but I couldn't remember where I had haphazardly placed it... where could it be??

I could have gone without any other portion of my make-up… but not my mascara!!

We live 30 minutes from the church, and we were already running late.  It would have taken too long to return to the house.  This was a dilemma… It was not life-threatening, but it was definitely a difficult choice for me.

I have always been taught not to buy things on Sunday unless it is an emergency.  One of those reasons for not buying things on Sunday is that when we do we cause others to work for us on the Lord's Sabbath day.  (To me, it felt like a true emergency to not have to go to church looking like a zombie. My eyelashes are pretty blonde, so when I don't have mascara people look at me strangely and as politely as possible express how "different" I look.  It never fails- everyone notices.  I was also functioning on 3 hours of sleep, so I needed all the help I could get from the make-up department.)

I studied my face for a moment and told my children, "Don't judge me guys, but I have to stop by the store to buy some mascara!"

Immediately my children started shouting from the back of our van, "No you don't Mom! You look beautiful just the way you are!!  Don't buy it!!  You don't need it!!"

I sat silently for a while longer while we drove… I looked in the mirror at my barren eyes… I smiled extra big to see if it would draw attention away from my eyes.  Nothing worked- I still looked like a zombie.  I honestly did not want all kinds of attention drawn to me for how "different" I looked.

I pondered some more about the things I had been taught, and I thought about my cute children in the back; I mustered up my courage and said a prayer.

I said, "Heavenly Father, this is hard, but I am NOT going to stop at the store to buy the mascara… but will you PLEASE make me look as good as you can without it?"

Immediately after I said that prayer I felt something poking me on my seat.  I reached underneath me, and my mascara was right there!  I had been sitting on it the whole time!!

Would God still have loved me and thought I was a wonderful daughter of HIS even if I would have decided to buy the mascara on Sunday?  OF COURSE!

Would my kids have eventually understood their mother's weakness and forgiven me?  OF COURSE!!

However, I can't deny the fact that I had been looking for my mascara in the car for about 15 minutes while I drove, and it wasn't until AFTER I promised God that I would make a better choice to not buy new mascara on Sunday that it "suddenly" appeared. :-)

Was that a miracle?  ABSOLUTELY!

God could have shown me the mascara right at my moment of panic and at times HE does, but the divine timing of finding my mascara just after I had prayed with faith was a beautiful moment for me… I felt God's presence and concern over my simple decisions.

I believe HE wanted me to know that I had made a good choice… and what a BONUS!!!  I didn't even have to endure the experience of going to church without the mascara like I promised HIM I would if need be.

My children were thrilled to experience the little miracle on the way to church, and I felt much happier I was able to set an example for them even though their faith is what strengthened me.  The Lord loves us and is ready to be a part of every last detail of our lives!!  This I KNOW to be true!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Video #1 from Bolivia

I am making two videos of the photos from our time in Bolivia.  This is more about the service portion. The other video will have more pictures from the excursions and time with the local youth.

My children loved all the pictures and want to go to Bolivia now with H.E.F.Y. :-)

Just click on the link, and you will be directed to the video.  It is 11 minutes long. Enjoy!!
(Sorry it took so long to share this Mom. :-))

Let me know if this link doesn't work for you.  You may have to go to an actual computer to view it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mariah's Precious Heart

With permission, I am sharing Mariah's journal entry… it is a miracle to me to be able to see a little piece into the heart of a precious 6-year old…   
(The translation is written below. :-))  
God bless you and have a beautiful day… Jesus loves you.

"Why I believe in Jesus is he is nice.
He does not lie or tease- he helps
you and teaches you stuff you never 
know.  He teaches you honesty and charity
and saves us and teaches us to pray 
and read the scriptures and go to 
church and the temple and I love 
to pray.  I love the scriptures.
I love everyone soooooooooooo
much even God and Jesus too and the 
Holy Ghost too and I'm soooooo
happy soooooooooooo happy he is 
my Savior.  Jesus is amazing-
soooo amazing.  I hope I'll see Him
some day and I'll always stay 

Monday, August 18, 2014

But… HE'S ONLY 12!!

Hello All!  I posted a story yesterday that was very dear to my heart.  I apologize to those of you who did not get a chance to read it… I decided it was too personal and dear to my heart to share so publicly.

I am still alive, and I am currently working on some pictures from Bolivia set to music!  I had some troubles last night getting it to upload, but I think I'm figuring it out now!  Thanks for your patience with me!

Today was a GREAT day!!  Let me tell you why!! :-)

For a long time Jackson has been telling me he wished he could attend seminary.  (Seminary is a scripture study class offered by our church for students in high school- but Jackson is only 12-years old.)  Along with his request to attend seminary, Jackson has also been telling me he wanted to do band at the public school again.

Every time I considered sending him to the middle school I felt a strong hesitation.  I wasn't sure what it was, but I had the feeling that there was another option for him.  I continued to ask him if he was sure about band at the public school.  I told him he had the option to further his musical education in the home.  He insisted he really wanted to do it, and I didn't know why I was feeling such a strong hesitation.

I felt like I needed to kneel down and have a deeply sincere prayer about where I should send him.  However, I kept putting that prayer to the side.  Because I have been so busy with life, I didn't take the time to deeply pray about that particular decision until last week!

Once I knelt down and offered up a serious prayer, all of a sudden a thought came to me to check the high school.  But… (I protested in my mind)… he's only 12… I can't have a child in high school!!

The thought returned to my mind several more times, so I made the phone call to the high school.  Within a day, Jackson had auditioned and received permission to participate in the marching band.  He would be on the drum-line and take an intense percussion class.  They practice every day, but on Thursdays they practice from 2pm-8:45pm!!  Jackson attended last Thursday and LOVED it.

I felt God's hand direct the entire process of enrolling Jackson.  There was a ton of paperwork involved and lots of logistics.  Every time I felt worried about how it would all come together, the thought came very strongly into my mind, "You don't need to stress about this.  This was all inspired by ME (God) to begin with."

The realization continued to return:  This wasn't my doing.  This was God's idea, and HE wants the best for us!!

We were excited all weekend about Jackson's opportunity to excel in music.  It wasn't until Sunday that I realized that since he was an official high school student, he would be allowed to attend seminary!!

This morning was his first day of seminary and of high school.  I had gone to sleep at 3am, but there Jackson was at my bedside at 5:15am this morning… ready to go and VERY excited.  Abe is still gone for a couple more weeks, so all 6 children and I loaded up into the van by 5:30am for our 30-minute drive to seminary!

I'm a night owl, so 5:15am comes VERY early to my body.  Needless to say, we're praying for strength around here!! :-)  It is soooo worth it though!  What a great day it was to see my son run into seminary this morning!  His whole body beamed with excitement!!

I know that God is working out the details in all of our lives… sometimes we just need to take a moment to ponder and pray about the small details in our lives in order to discover the wonderful life experiences God is willing to provide.

Last weekend I awoke to a wonderful aroma… WAFFLES!!  Jackson had two waffle makers running, so the whole family could eat. He even cleaned up the mess when he was done!!  Yep!  He's ready for high school and seminary. :-)