Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Light or Darkness

It is amazing to me that no matter how many times I read the scriptures, I continually find things I'd never before read.  Of course it was there all the time, but this particular time, it jumped off the page, as it were.  My older two kids are studying the Old Testament in Seminary, so I'm trying to read along with them.  I recently read these verses:

19 ¶And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to the Egyptians,but it gave light by night to the Israelites: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
Exodus 14:19-20
The exact same entity was darkness to the Egyptians, 
but light to the Israelites.

It got me to thinking.  How do I make sure that I am seeing doctrine and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ as something that enlightens and not something that confuses?  When I learn something new, what is it that helps me respond in faith instead of letting it become a stumbling block in my testimony?

I found a poignant answer in a talk from Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy in the most recent conference.  He said:

Our time is a dangerous time—a time of great evil and temptation, a time of confusion and commotion. In these perilous times, the Lord’s prophet on the earth, President Thomas S. Monson, has called us to rescue the wounded in spirit,12 to stand for truth with courage,13 and to build the kingdom of God.14 Whatever level of spirituality or faith or obedience we now have, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead. We need greater spiritual light and power. We need eyes to see more clearly the Savior working in our lives and ears to hear His voice more deeply in our hearts.
This marvelous blessing comes when we open our hearts and receive,15 truly receive, the Lord Jesus Christ, His doctrine, and His Church into our lives. We do not have to be perfect, but we need to be good and getting better. We need to strive to live the plain and simple truths of the gospel. If we take upon us the name of Christ, act with faith in Him to repent of our sins, keep His commandments, and always remember Him, we will receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. 
Kim B. Clark, "Eyes to See and Ears to Hear", General Conference, October 2015 . Emphasis added.

It always comes back to our Savior, Jesus Christ, doesn't it?  That and our faith in Him. He doesn't only ask us to follow Him because He wants us to be like Him, He also asks us to follow because 
He is the light of the world! 
Stepping in His sure tread, we will not be caught up in the confusion and darkness that saturates our world, like the Egyptians of old,  
we will be surrounded by light!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pink, Pink, Pink!

I can't get enough of it.
I mean, I've always liked pink, but it has never been my favorite, first choice type of color.  The last couple of weeks, however, it has sucked me in.  
Is it because there is a girl swimming around inside of me?  Very possible!

We have had a thick blanket of snow for several weeks now which, don't get me wrong, I LOVE.
We needed water in our area and the snow is absolutely beautiful.

This is a shot from my bedroom window.
Sometimes while I am putting me a young one down for a nap
or am busy reading and think I hear someone drive up,
I'll hold my phone up the window above my head to snap a picture.
This is one such display captured by my laziness.
Give me a break.  I'm 39 and am carrying my 8th baby. I'm TIRED.

But, endless snow can be colorless!  I think that's the reason Valentine's colors are so bright and cheery.
I had plans to decorate my mantle in a "winter" theme for the month of January, but winter colors aren't filled with color--and I have been craving color.
Especially PINK.

And so, while I have gotten used to the fact that I can't go spend a million dollars on every holiday to make or buy the decor I have constructed and arranged in my head, I'm thrilled with what my pink "grandma candy" in a jar with candles, some thrift store deals, a deck of cards strung on a string, a birthday gift, and my "It's a girl!" carnations have done for our house. 

It'll cure what ails you!
Or me.
It did it for me.

That and a nap.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Bubble Gum

My seven year old loves to watch this guy on YouTube.  He has fun cooking tutorials, but the best part is at the end when he tastes his creations.  Hilarious!  Some time ago, he did a make-you-own bubble gum tutorial.  My girl has been begging to make bubble gum ever since.  She even saved her money to buy the kit!
It came!  It came!  Time to make bubble gum!

It wasn't difficult and she was able to make it on her own.

The finished product!  Homemade gum!
Which was three times as expensive as Hubba Bubba at the grocery store.
I suppose the experience was worth the expense, right?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Costs

We found out today that our coming baby is a
I wasn't surprised.  When I first found out I was expecting, I thought "boy" mostly because my last was a boy and boy was on my mind.  (It also would have been convenient because, with similar birthdays, the clothes would have fit.)  But the last month or so, I changed my mind.  The baby moves so gently.  Lots of movements, mind you, but not jolting or forceful.  I tried to chalk it up to her being small yet, 
but I had a feeling.

I was at the doctor today and we were discussing the financial impact of children.  
We've paid out tens of thousands of dollars in doctor and hospital fees just to have the children.
With only the first two, we've paid over $15 thousand in oral surgery and orthodontia.
Our not-quite-paid-for Suburban will soon be too small to fit the entire family.
Any time we travel, we have to either rent a house or two hotel rooms.
Piano, dance, soccer and other extracurricular lessons add up.
We built a house with more bedrooms, we can't make do with one couch, don't get me started on groceries or gas bills, and even a visit to the dentist with not a cavity amongst the scores of examined teeth is $200.

A close friend is going to Florida next month for two weeks.  She went to Mexico last month.
Another friend is taking her family on a 10 week sabbatical to France and Mexico.
A cousin took her family to Dubai, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Yet another went to the Bahamas to swim with the freaking dolphins.

It is hard for me to not be jealous of these grand adventures, even as I am happy for them.  
I want to see the world!  I want to show it to my children!
I want a bigger TV than the 19" screen we've been watching for practically my entire adult life.
I want a nice car that fits in regular parking spaces.

And then I look down at the sleeping boy in my arms

and I feel the gentle bumps and pushes of the babe within my womb

and I watch my boy dance

and I listen to my daughter play the piano

and I see the beautiful picture my child painted

and I watch a daughter make a meal for her family

and I hear the girls laughing together when they are supposed to be falling asleep

and I see my boys vigorously dueling with their light sabers in the living room

and I see one child tenderly care for another

and I understand.

I may never see the white sands of the Cook Islands.
I may never take my children to the Pyramids of Giza.
My cars will always be old, my TV small, my house unfinished.

But, honestly, how could I ever find treasures greater than these?

Holding my sick baby last week.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Temple

Saturday was Camilla's first visit to the temple.
I was a cold, cold January morning.
0°F, with lots of snow.

I have been working hard on genealogy lately, though a lot of it is attaching sources such as a census, birth or death record, military or Native American ID cards, and cemetery records.  I'm a total newbie and I know I make mistakes, but I do enjoy it!

Camilla has been interested in my work as well.  She asks questions and wants to know more about these names who represent actual people.  It was wonderful to enter the temple with her, knowing that many of those relatives, some close, most distant, were invited to attend that day as well; their first time in the temple, too!

We didn't get a picture because it was so dang cold, but we had lots of family there.  Isaac and Eliza joined Camilla and their dad and I, my sister and several of her people and my parents were all able to participate in the session.

A direction-setting way to start the new year!