Monday, April 19, 2021

Autumn's First Talk in Church


Isn't it amazing that our Church it taught by the membership?  And that by invitation, regular members are asked to deliver messages called "talks" to the entire congregation on Sunday  mornings??

I mean, it really does amaze me.  We can be taught by the young and the old, the new members and the long-timers, the learned and wise, and everything in between.

This past Sunday, my daughter Autumn (age 12) was given the chance to speak in Sacrament meeting for the first time.

I was really impressed by how composed she was, and she wrote her own thoughts, her entire talk by herself.  Now, she's kind of a quieter girl.  Because of this her composure while delivering her talk impressed me even more.

I am so grateful I was able to watch my girl shine brightly as she testified of her faith in Jesus Christ and the blessings of making righteous choices.  I hope she will always have the glow that I saw on her today:

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Farewell to Elders


I really don't get too attached to missionaries.  I always thought it was odd when people got too personal with a particular elder and they really became attached. Yet, over the years of living in Pennsylvania, there have sure been some missionaries whom I've come to respect and have been strengthened by.

Today, we said good-bye to one of them.  I really haven't spent a ton of time with him, but we've been bringing dinners to them for months and they've come over and taught us.  I also convinced these two to do a FB live for our stake FB page (which you can view here!) and they did a phenomenal job of bearing testimony of Christ.  They really blew me away.

They also really brought me hope in the future and the future generation.  All I see is my oldest son who is setting a terrible example for me of what this generation can do.  And while it makes me a wee bit sad to think I might have to wait 10 years until I send an Elder out into this world...I can wait if my little ones can turn out anything like these missionaries I have worked with recently.

I have hope.

While we sat through sacrament today, Coy Boone, my 3-year old kept pointing to the elder passing the sacrament, because he recognized him as the one who came over and played bubbles with us in the yard the other week!  I wanted to make sure they got a photo together so I can post it somewhere so that maybe he'll remember this time when he looked up to the elders too and aspired to be like them....although right now, my two little boys swear they're never leaving home! :)

Farewell, Elder Moody!  I know you'll continue to make your family and your Heavenly Father proud. Now get out there and catch some really big fish!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Love song for Val


My boy Val Oaks turns 5 years old today.

I call him my good luck charm, because he's been by my side bringing me so much love and sunshine through the last 5 years.

At first, he brought me joy just by the fact that he was a boy.  We hadn't had a baby boy in our family in ten years!  So his "manly" presence was so exciting to us all!  His big sisters especially fawned over him!

Then, he was just so handsome and smiley as a baby.  We had fun dressing him up in little boy clothes.

When he was 3 months old, we went on a 4 week road trip across the country.  I loved snuggling with him in the back of the car.  He was a magnificent traveler and a great comfort to me.

Right before our trip, we found out that we'd be moving and leaving the home that we knew and loved.  Val became my bright ray of hope that I was going to be ok.  He smiled so much and his smile filled up his whole face.  This always reminded me to be happy and encouraged me to find joy myself.

Another thing that I loved about Val was how blue his eyes were.  I crocheted him a blanket and when it was finished I realized that it matched his eyes.  He always sleeps with this blanket, even though his little brother likes to rip holes in it!

As a toddler and now preschooler, he is adventurous, but he is also so affectionate towards me, which I really have needed in the last year.  He often stops what he is doing to tell me that he loves me.  He usually hugs me or kisses my arm. :)

Another thing about Val that brings me joy is that he loves exploring nature and digging in the dirt.  And when his younger brother hits him, Val doesn't react or hit back.  I just admire that about him so much.  He is an awesome example to us all and a fantastic brother.  Very curious and very kind.

I am absolutely so grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending me a son like Val at this time in my life.  

And although he swears that he doesn't want to grow up and that he doesn't want to have any more birthdays, because he wants to stay a kid, I hope some day when he is grown up he will read this and know what joy he brought into my life.  Love you forever, Val!

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Monday, April 5, 2021

The Greatness of General Conference


This was an absolutely amazing General Conference for me.  The messages seemed so simple and spot-on and timely and streamlined.

I was simpler too in how I approached it.  I didn't print out any packets.  I made extremely simple meals or we ate out.  I didn't even ask many questions beforehand.  I just came with an open heart and mind.

With the last 12 months being extremely challenging for me, I just came to listen.  And I received all the healing words with an open heart.  And it was just so nice and sweet and calming.

Probably my favorite aspect of the Conference was the international flair on Sunday morning!  I felt that the Lord must've been extremely pleased with the way so many of his children were included and represented.  It felt so right, so much more down-to-earth and natural.  I felt myself getting emotional during each choir performance on Sunday morning.  I guess because the smaller choirs are more like what I've experienced in church than the big professional choirs....just a few voices who sing from their testimonies touches me much more.

The one activity that I did have for my kids was a pack of Wikki Stix...which are waxy sticks you can bend to create things (and take apart to make new things later).  Honor created this "girl in prayer" which I thought was really sweet.  It kept the kids hands busy while they listened.  And that's basically all we had extra to do.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Love of Christ on Easter


One of my favorite lines from General Conference yesterday was that unlike social media, Jesus Christ knows all of our flaws and loves us still. Knowing this makes me happy.

Every sacrifice I have ever made to follow Him has been worth it, because He is the only truly fair, constant, reliable, and just thing in this life.

His sacrifice was made for each of us. He lives and loves us and sees what we can become. He inspires me to be a better person and gives me (and each of us) the power to do so.

That is why, for me, it truly is a Happy Easter! Enjoy this day, friends!

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Don't Forget the Friend


Most nights around 6pm, my little boys get really rambunctious!  The other night, I decided instead of trying to talk them down, I'd sit down and read The Friend with them cover to cover.

My 3, 4, and 8 year olds really loved it.  They wanted me to read them every story.  As we read it, I felt myself getting choked up multiple times and I thought, "What is going on here?"  I realized how easily the spirit was able to reach me while I was reading The Friend, and I just wanted to remind us all that this resource is here for us whenever we need it!

The photo at the top of this post was particularly sweet to me as my sister is going through a divorce.  What a tender illustration and testimony that we can pray and God will comfort us and bring us peace.  I am grateful for a Church that ministers to children in such a kind and loving way.

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