Friday, May 30, 2008

Well, I cannot figure out how to do the photos on the posts. this really belongs after the concert post, but I couldn't figure it out, and I am too tired to keep trying. get what you get. At least I've got some photos and some explanation. just not in order.

As the kids were getting ready for the concert, I was finishing up a haircut and catching up with an old friend, in town for a few days. Needless to say, I wasn't paying much attention. We'd done this many times, I figured the kids knew the drill. Elijah comes in with jeans and a tee shirt. I tell him he needs nice clothes, so he adds the button up shirt. I tell him nice pants, so he puts on slightly nicer jeans. I didn't notice until we were in the car, on our way.
And, then I notice Kaleb. In carhartt's....The tee shirt is part of the uniform. I ask him about them, and he says the band director only said, 'NO JEANS!" so, carhartts are okay? well, to him they were. I told them they were an embarrassment...I should have noticed earlier. Luckily we live in redneckville, and they weren't the worst dressed kids there.

Now, Kas did me proud. She did her proper amount of primping, and looked cute. But, I couldn't get a real smile out of her. not sure what that is all about.

They all did a great job. and I got them back for embarrassing me with their casual clothes, by making them stand against the wall with each other and their instruments! That's what moms are for. right?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Band Concert

Well, tonight was the BIG BAND CONCERT for the schools. It is a big event for our little community because most families are involved, so everyone who is anyone is there. There is one band director for two grade schools...the other school is about 16 miles away, the jr high and the high school. So, to keep things simple he has two concerts a year. The holiday one and the end of the year concert. For the end of the year concert...which was tonight, we first hear from the beginner and advanced grade school bands. Most kids in third grade take band, and then as the years go by they gradually drop out. Except for the die hard band geeks, like us! Well, Kas is threatening to quit after her first year. but that is a different story.

After the grade school performance we hear the jr high band. The high school performs next. Then the jr High kids join the High School band and they play a few songs. and then the grand finale is all the kids combined together. There are so many kids crammed in the space. not enough chairs, definitely not enough music stands...but they play the last three songs every year, so I think they get those songs down pretty well. It is pretty funny though.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

talk on King Benjamin

I had to give a talk today in Sacrament meeting on King Benjamin's last lecture. Here it is:

Have you heard of the last lecture by Randy Pauch? He was a 47 yr old computer science professor who was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He has three small children, and since he was given 3-6 months to live, he knew he would not be around to raise them. He created a Last Lecture, of the things he wanted them to know about him and his core values. It is amazing what perspective is gained when you know you don’t have much time left….the legacy you want to leave behind all of a sudden becomes very important. Anyways, he gave his lecture to his students, (here it is...not sure if this is the original...…Basically he spoke of how important it is to live well, love greatly and find your own passion…which does not include money or things. He spoke of finding joy and such. It was pretty powerful. In fact, I found it through Elijah, who came home desperate to show it to me after his teacher had shared it with him. The media, Oprah and others heard of it, and he has been able to share this last lecture and others with many more people. A book was even written about it…and even though Randy Pauch is probably appreciating that his message is being heard and respected, it seems his biggest concern is that his children hear his message when they are older and can understand it, and have it influence their lives. By the way, he is on his 9th month….
So, what message would you want to leave behind as your last lecture? There are many instances in the scriptures of last lectures. …Many of the prophets gathered their family together to bless them and remind them of the teachings that influenced them the most. Even Jesus gathered his apostles together during the last supper to give them last minute instructions.
King Benjamin also gave a powerful last Lecture. King Benjamin had been a very successful leader. He was a just king, who was respected by his people. He’d led his people to victory from their enemies, he‘d taught his people to respect God, and his commandments. He had righteous sons, who could follow him as king. After he appointed Mosiah, his son, to be his successor, he had his people gathered together so he could meet with them one last time. Instead of giving a message of glory, for his life well lived, he gave them a message of greater importance. He taught them of their need for their Savior. He’d been shown by an angel, that Christ would come soon. He was taught and shared Christ’s mission while on the earth, and that because of Christ all would be saved through their faith. He taught that even if we lived perfectly, we would still be indebted to God, because He gives us everything, even the air we breathe, and blesses us as soon as we do good. We can never do enough to balance the scales…and that is okay. All he wants of us is to keep his commandments and have faith in him.
Then King Benjamin taught we need to become as LITTLE CHILDREN.
Henry B Eyring says of this:
‘For some, that will not be easy to understand or accept. MOST OF US WANT TO BE STRONG. We may well see being like a child as being weak. Most parents have wanted their children at times to be less childish…
But King Benjamin, who understood as well as any mortal what it meant to be a man of strength and courage, makes it clear that to be like a child is not to be childish. It is to be like the Savior, who prayed to His Father for strength to be able to do His will and then do it. Our NATURES must be changed to become as a child to gain the strength we must have to be safe in the times of moral peril.
Here is King Benjamin’s stirring description of what that change to become like a child is and how it comes to us: this is found in Mosiah 3:19 and I know you all know this scripture:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ, the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
We are safe on the rock -which is the Savior -when we yield in faith in Him, have responded to the Holy Spirit’s direction to keep the commandments long enough and faithfully enough that the power of the Atonement has changed our hearts. When we have, by that experience, become as a child in our capacity to love and obey, we are on the sure foundation.
Elder Eyring teaches the circle of this….if we have faith in the Lord, we will keep His commandments, which will lead us to hear and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost which will help us keep the commandments and learn more which will increase our faith in the Lord..and the cycle continues until we are totally committed. If we falter on keeping the commandments, our circle is blocked, and until we can repent our growth is stopped, or slowed.
The last few years I have been learning about SUBMITTING TO THE LORD, and becoming as a child. Our society teaches that we need to be independent, strong, and self sufficient… The Lord teaches that we need to submit and be humble. I have been through experiences where I’ve felt I had to make things happen, because I thought I knew what was best, and things weren‘t working out the way they should. I have felt the need to work hard towards goals, and dreams….to have them thwarted by others…I have finally recently realized I am my strongest when I put my trust in the Lord, and let things go to Him. He can make things happen, He can take away fear, He can direct my path. I just need to be intune enough to realize what He does want me to do. Since I’ve become more submissive towards God, I have felt great PEACE IN MY LIFE. I still catch myself getting worked up at times, before I remind myself that I don’t need to. I know the Lord will take care of me and mine better than I can. Now…turning my life over to God, doesn’t mean it is going to be a cake walk. I know I will still face trials and hardship. I know I still have lessons to learn…and sometimes I seem to have to learn the hard way. But, because of the Atonement, Christ can take care of my mistakes, and fill in the gaps of my weaknesses.

Another thing society teaches us is how important it is to develop self esteem. King Benjamin taught the opposite. It is dangerous for us to think too much of ourselves. He even taught that leaders, and kings were no better than anyone else. We all depend on God for everything. Even our talents and abilities. While I was learning the lessons of submitting to the Lord…I also realized that the Lord gave me my talents, and my weaknesses. I have a situation in my life that has been very difficult for me. It has shown me my weaknesses in many ways. Other people and circumstances seem to halt any improvements in this situation. One day I was very discouraged because things had been at a standstill for too long. I started to really get down on myself….if I was better at this and that, I could make things happen….I was relying on other people whose strengths were my WEAKNESSES…and I felt like if I could just overcome my weaknesses, I could get things done…because those people weren’t working on my timetable. This was all happening about the time I was preparing my lesson for Sunday school on King Benjamin….and I was reminded, by the Spirit, that I didn’t really have to rely on my own strengths…I needed to rely on the Lords. He could work it all out better than any of us. I’d known from the beginning, that what I was doing was acceptable to the Lord…so I could trust in him…not my own strength or the strengths of others…to succeed. So, instead of trying to make things happen, I FOCUSED ALL MY ENERGY on PRAYING for a solution. I also did get a little more persistant with the things I could do. Right away I got results. I also got answers of why I was having so many problems…and they were things pretty much out of my control…that I couldn’t have known without extra help. Quickly things fell into place for us to make the next step in our process. This was such a great lesson for me. This situation had nothing to do with my spirituality or eternal welfare. It would benefit my family in the long run…but wasn’t necessarily high on the scale of important things. But it was important to me and my family…and the Lord was there for me when I was ready to ask for assistance. The Lord knew all the circumstances regarding my situation and the problems involved. He knows where the answers were we were seeking, and exactly the people who could help us…and He cares enough about me….and all of us…to help us through whatever situation we face. Just because we are faithful and righteous we do not have the easy road…but we can find peace and forgiveness and answers because of the atonement.
Elder Bruce C Hafen had a great talk on this subject….of excellence and success. He stressed that even in the gospel sometimes we wonder why we are having problems when we are doing all we can to keep the commandments and live the gospel. Sometimes we think the gospel is going to relieve all our trials, and take away our pain. He told of two examples:
I recently talked with a young woman who had unselfishly worked hard at being a good wife and mother through several difficult years of marriage. But now the marriage was breaking down. Her husband had developed emotional problems that seriously threatened the spiritual and at times even physical survival of the woman and her children. Surrounded by many questions, she asked the one that haunted her the most: “How could this have happened when I have tried so hard to do everything the church has taught me to do?
Then I talked to a man who had recently joined the church and found shortly after his conversion that he had a terminal Illness. He too had done everything within his power to live as he should, making many sacrifices because of his whole hearted acceptance of the gospel. With his newly found hopes for life now cut so bluntly short, he could not make sense of it. He wondered aloud, “what have I done wrong?’To these people the high-sounding goal of excellence is not so much a source of motivation as it is a source of frustration and discouragement. They have worked as hard as their circumstances allowed, but the rewards they thought were supposed to accompany great effort somehow eluded them. Not only were they confused about not being rewarded; their failure to achieve had produced feelings of total personal failure.
I think many of us have had similar situations….maybe with marriages failed, or children falling away, or ill health…
He goes on to say:
I cannot help wondering what we are doing to each other in the Church these days, as we subtly but continually reinforce in one another the assumption that tangible and visible rewards and success are promised those who do what is right or even those who work their hardest. Where does that assumption come from? It certainly is not taught in the gospel.
On the contrary, the gospel teaches that the lone and dreary world of mortality is soaked through with adversity and trouble---not to torture us, but to teach us.
The gospel promises rewards, but not worldly ones. Instead of seeking personal achievements and goals, we need to find the experiences God wants to bless us with and learn from them…..
Elder Boyd K Packer says:
It is the misapprehension of most people that if you are good, really good at what you do, you will eventually be widely known and well compensated…the world seems to work on that premise. The premise is false. It is not true. The Lord taught otherwise. You need not be either rich or hold high position to be completely successful and truly happy….we want our children and their children to know that the choice of life is not between fame and obscurity, nor is the choice between wealth and poverty. The choice is between good and evil. That is a very different matter indeed.
Ultimately, our success in life is going to be determined by our relationship to our Savior, our love and devotion to Him…and it is likely no one else will know the greatness of that but our Savior the great judge….and each of us, individually. And if we love him everything in our lives will work towards our good…not the best it can be.. But the best for our eternal salvations.
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold our faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. Mosiah 2:41
I do believe that even though things aren’t always great, and we will come across trials, we will recognize the great blessings in our lives. Through some of my greatest trials I have received my greatest blessings. I do know the Lord is constantly blessing us for the good we do.

Before King Benjamin left his people, the greatest gift he felt he could give them was his own testimony of the Savior, their great need for Him, and the blessings He would bring to their lives…if they were faithful. I know King Benjamin’s message left a big impact on his people, because we learn that three years later, when AMMON and his brothers find Lemhi and his people, one of the first things he tells them is about King Benjamin’s last lecture. It is the greatest news we can receive. I know Our Savior lives, and that through him we will find our greatest joys, and comfort. I know He has saved us all and is working towards each of our eternal success…if we let Him in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We were able to go to a Mariners game in April, thanks to Bayview Redimix! this was the first game for the boys. We have awesome seats. Elijah was most excited about getting a stadium hotdog....and he really enjoyed it! We also had to get garlic fries. they are heavenly...if you ReaLLy like garlic!!!
Anyways, we had a great time....even though we are not huge baseball fans. It was a great game, and Jessie and Jonathan even were there. We just saw them for a few minutes afterwards..they were too busy schmoozing their neighbors...:) nice bonus!

My cutie surf rescuer in training.

Kaleb in Track

Kaleb took track this year. shotput, discus and 100meter run and relay. He did great, and even though I practically forced him to join, I think he had a great time! and isn't he cute!!
When I have an extra minute I am going to add photos of our happenings before I got the blog thing figured out. We'll see if I ever find the extra minute.....and if I can get it all figured out.

field trip

I went on a field trip with Jyj and his class to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Fortunately the weather was great....we were counting on rain. and We had a great time. Another mother and I had 9 boys to contend with, but for the most part they were great....except that 5th grade humor is a killer. Some of them think the dumbest things are funny...and they would try to be crude...they think it makes them cool. It was just a few though. The rest were great. I am glad Jyj has good friends, and still likes to be around him mom!

The kids have had some killer field trips this year though. Jyj will have three 12 hour field trips, and Kas has one. and a few others for both. I know Jyj's teacher works a lot to get good trips for her kids. The rumor is maybe no field trips next year because of the fuel prices. We will see what happens. I am glad they can go and wish I could have gone to more this year, but they are a bit of a hassle...getting them to school early and all. Kas had to be at school at 5:45am...luckily J doesn't mind getting up early.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

14 year anniversary on the 14th. J was on duty so we didn't do anything special for it. my former self would have been bugged by it...but not now.. thank goodness. we bought ourselves a nice tv for our room as a present. We usually don't watch while we are in there...I like it on in the morning while I get ready. but lately we have, because it is the nicest tv in our house now. We tend to spend our $$$ on outside toys, not inside.

J also got the bike he's been drooling over for the last two years or so. He is such a lucky guy. He will be able to work it it is doable. and it practically fell into his lap, after he'd resigned himself to the fact that it wouldn't be happening for a few more years....since he wants to get his medic in the near future...which will be a $$ cruncher bigtime! I am happy for him. A little nervous about the safety of it...but it seems his whole life revolves around dangerous situations...what's another one, anyway! thankfully I have a pretty good perception of life and death...and someones time to go.

I have been slowly but surely eliminating clutter and junk in the house and organizing what I am keeping. It feels good...but never seems like enough. I have such a hard time letting go of junk. but I also hate that my house is ALWAYS cluttered. I am so worried that I will throw something valuable away. Sometimes I want to throw everything out and then start from scratch. not practical though! I will let a pile sit forever because I don't know what to do with it. and then when I finally make myself deal with it...I kick myself for taking so long to do it. oh well. such is life.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

trip attempt

We planned a trip to Utah, via Idaho this weekend. I wanted to go down for the Preliminary hearing scheduled for monday, and to lend support. I hadn't been since Kristy's funeral. Right before we left, I heard the hearing was going to be postponed, hopefully for a good reason, which we half expected would happen.I decided to go anyways. The kids were looking forward to the trip, and it would still be good to see everyone. But, my car had other plans for us. We didn't even make it three hours into the drive and I was having problems. It wasn't dead, but we were going to have to do an awful lot of driving and it was giving me problems. I did not want to end up with three kids on the side of the freeway in the middle of nowhere with a dud car. We said a prayer and took a vote. The kids wanted to continue on, I was too scared. I won out. I was hoping I wasn't letting my anxiety rule my life. We stayed that night at a hotel near Portland. In the morning I took the kids to the Portland Temple. We walked around the grounds. It was beautiful. I couldn't believe how gorgeous the flowers were. We took pictures and talked about how great the temple is. The younger kids spoke of their interest in going in someday. I hope this is a memory they will always remember.....well, not the part about their chicken mom!

We took our time traveling home. All the way home, I wondered how I could skip church, cause I'd made arrangements for someone to teach my RS lesson. It is a once a month deal, and I felt guilty showing up and not doing it, but also I didn't think it would be cool to call with such short notice and tell the sub I didn't need her. I figured that was all pride talking and I just needed to chill out....but, Kas ended up being too sick to attend church so I got to miss anyways. I did feel guilty that I was a little relieved.

Even though, this was not at all what I planned, we did have a great Mother's Day. J was extra sweet...making me breakfast, and helping the kids make dinner....Ultimately I do feel very blessed. We made it home, safely. J thinks the fuel pump is the culprit...and I know the radiator is leaking...Hopefully it won't take much to fix. I am glad we weren't so far away, when I noticed the problems. I know I will see family soon...and can still possibly make the trip later. The kids think they should be able to miss school for the days we had planned...maybe they feel the same I did about church...I think they will take any opportunity to skip!

I wonder why I had such good feelings about going when the trip didn't work out. My dad didn't want me to go, and there were things happening that made it more difficult, so I really tried to follow my gut, or the spirit, and felt like I was doing the right thing. and it still didn't work out. I wondered as I was driving back, what had happened. was I being stubborn? I don't think so....mistaken? didn't feel like it? and then I wondered if it was just the way life is, or something I needed to experience? I did try to make the most of a bad situation. I am not sure if my kids will look back at it in a positive light, or not. Not sure if they will think I gave up too easily. I guess we always wonder if we did the best we could at every given time. Oh well, I am home, and feeling blessed. I guess that is the most important.
I have been wanting to start a blog for awhile since I live away from most of my friends and my family but haven't done it...until today. I titled it...WE AIN'T REDNECKS because this seems to be a constant struggle with my kids, especially my oldest...One day we were riding around in Jeremys truck...and I was complaining about all the junk on his dashboard...there was even a fork up there! and Kaleb said..."mom, you just have to accept the fact that we are rednecks!"....NOOOOOO! now, I will accept the fact that we love the outdoors, and we live in a trailer from the 70's....I am pretty sure it is older than Jeremy! It is ugly! (but, we tolerate it because of the land it comes with) and we usually drive muddy trucks with big tires.....and we'd rather wear jeans, tee shirts, and no shoes (well, that's me), the boys in my family hate to read, and we just got chickens. I know not very convincing. I like to think of it all as country charm! We do not have upholstered furniture on our porch, or drink beer for every meal..or any meal for that matter, or ..what else do rednecks do??? Anyways, we are more country than most of you. But, we do like it that way! hope you enjoy visiting with us here now and then. It does seem like we have some adventure going all the time.