Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sis. Julie B. Beck

On Saturday, September 19th, I had a unique opportunity to hear Sister Julie B. Beck speak in person. Sister Beck is the President of the Relief Society, the world wide women's organization for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The building was packed! There were women that had driven over four hours to be there. A huge gathering of Christian women there to be edified and grow spiritually. It was beautiful. Sis. Beck shared many sweet, sometimes funny and often poignant stories. The meeting was a question and answer format. One question was, How can we avoid burnout and encourage those who are feeling that way? One of her many comments: "We as women impose things on ourselves that the Lord would never require of us." Also, we need to understand that we cannot do it all. There are times when we are faced with the difficult realization we need to choose between two worthy ways in which to spend our time. We were encourage to become 'experts' in personal revelation. So that when we pray to God, we can ask for help deciding how best to spend our time, and that we will be able to feel and know His desires for us. She reminded us that we should be an example of joyful gospel living. Living a Christian life brings joy. If we begin to feel overwhelmed, one idea she suggested was making three columns for our 'to do lists'. Essential (things we need to do for eternal life), i.e. prayer, reading scriptures, perhaps service or temple work, this lift should be short. Should Do: Go to work, feed family, housework, etc. , Nice to Do: hobbies, etc. Accomplishing the Essentials gives us strength to accomplish the Shoulds. Prioritizing has always been a challenge for me. Perhaps this will help me. One sister asked about feelings guilt in our lives. The response: The feelings of "I'm not good enough" are damaging, feelings of "You can do better, and I will help you." are from the Lord and are pushing us to grow.

One of my favorite moments was when we were reminded that the Savior leads by influence not force. I thought this was an appropriate reminder for me as a mother. We are all much more likely to Choose the right paths in our lives if we are guided not forced. Of course, my kids still have to go to bed on time, but I am resolving to use influence whenever practical. He truly is our perfect example.


During the meeting, Sis Beck shared a story when she was with two other women at a restaurant and the waitress asked them if they were "Nuns or something", surprised, they said no, but asked why she thought that as they weren't wearing any religious items. The waitress said, "I don't know, you just look spiritual or something." After the meeting, I went to dinner with two of my friends, as the three of us walked up to the restaurant, we joked that perhaps someone might ask if we were nuns (we were dressed in our Sunday best). Instead, as we walked in, the waitress exclaimed, "So you would like to sit at the bar?!" Well to say we were surprised, was an understatement. We managed to ask for a booth instead and laughed constantly for the next 15 minutes. Our poor waitress probably thought we must have already visited a bar elsewhere. We could barely talk we were laughing so hard. I guess we need to work on looking more spiritual. I am thinking of writing Sis. Beck to share our version of the story. Nuns? I guess not.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

11 Months on the 11th!

You have to admit, he is yummy!

My sweet pea is almost one! This next month better go by slowly. He loves to climb the stairs (and fall down them). Fortunately, his sisters, especially Mackenzie, keep a close eye on him as he bee lines it for the stairs. Mack calls out "Mom! Dad! Nate's in trouble!" Nathan is now crawling on his hands and knees and he still continues to army crawl. He is climbing on anything he can and is very impatient to grow, grow, grow! He is a sweetheart and finally started saying Mama! I think Nathan's favorite new skill however, is screaming. He especially loves to screech in the car. Let's just say it is a talent to reach the notes he does. :-) I love my Little Boy Blue.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It was just yesterday...

Eight years ago today, I woke to an absolutely beautiful clear morning in New Rochelle, NY. I'd actually had a fairly good night's sleep. Katryn was 6 months old and finally getting some sleep. My parents had left the day before. They had come to New York for Katryn's baby blessing and we had had a wonderful visit. I was sitting on the couch nursing Katryn and watching the "Today Show". I had just said to myself how nice it was they were doing a follow up show to see how people had bettered their lives since they had last done a particular story on them. Then "Breaking News". I said give me a break. Rarely did I think breaking news was really worthy of "breaking in". Wait. I see a horrible picture: the World Trade Center was on fire, there had been a horrible accident. A small plane had inadvertently crashed into the South Tower. I sadly continued to watch, thankful it was still a bit early and knowing it could have been so much worse. Then the unthinkable, in horror I watch a second plane crash into the other tower! I screamed. We were under attack?! Katryn started to cry. I put her down and ran to the phone. I frantically call Eric, he had left only 30 minutes before. He needed to get off the train. I was sure Grand Central or the Empire State Building was next. I dropped to my knees when his cell phone started ringing next to me. Eric NEVER forgot his phone. Why today?! I left a message at his office. What now? I called my neighbor upstairs. We cried. We sat in silence on the phone watching the horror unfold. The Pentagon, Flight 93, and incredulously, the collapse of the towers. Rapid fire thoughts were streaming through my head. We had celebrated our anniversary the year before at the Windows on the World, the restaurant on the top of the North tower. Eric called, he was safe. Everyone was crowded into the conference rooms with the view and also watching the television in the break rooms. When Eric was interviewing for positions in NYC, one firm he was very interested in was located in the WTC. I said no way. Those thoughts kept running through my mind. My daughter still had her father, I had my husband, my in-laws still had their son. Why? The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. Phone calls to and from loved ones. Yes, we were safe. Phone calls to our friends and neighbors, everyone was safe and accounted for, everyone we knew anyway. Went to my neighbors to take turns watching the news and our children. What could I do? Would 'they' let me donate blood? I was still nursing. What could I do to help? I prayed. I paced. I rocked my baby. I cried. When would the miraculous rescues be reported. Of course there would be scores rescued....Who would......Why would they.....

They didn't count on the fact that this is America, home of the brave, land of the free. These are not words of rhetoric, they are words of fact. We always get back up and brush ourselves off. We have heroes, most of which are unsung, unknown, still they are my heroes. Our military, police and fire services are amazing. Thank you for your service. We will stand. We will remember. I remember.

God Bless the USA.

The Sphere by Fritz Koenig, meant to be a symbol of peace. Once found in the WTC Plaza now found in Battery Park

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lindsay's First Day of Kindergarten!

Yes, I cried. Several times. Repeatedly. My little Lindsay was off to Kindergarten today. She took the bus with me following close behind. ;-) Her teacher is Mrs. Blomquist. Lindsay was so excited, I am almost certain she had no qualms. A parent was allowed to ride the bus today with their child. Since Eric had to go to work early, I just followed with all our kids in tow :-). As I followed, I was surprised to see how many old friends from the last two preschool classes were on our route. As everyone got off the bus, I was snapping pictures and a sweet woman came up to me, introduced herself and asked if I were Lindsay's mom. Surprised, I said I was and then one of the other moms I knew broke in laughing and said all the kids got on the bus and excitedly said "Lindsay! or HI LINDSAY!" (she was sitting up front), all but one that is. Then the other mom said yes that was my son! We didn't want to be left out so we had to meet Lindsay and her mom!

I interviewed Linds when she got home. Favorite part of the day: Playing outside. What she learned: How to use the bathroom sign, red means someone is inside and green means you can go in. Most surprising thing: Another girl named Isabella (we have a neighbor with the same name). How was your day?: I loved it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Katryn's 1st Day of Third Grade

My sweet Katryn had a great first day of school. Katryn got a new haircut to start off the new year (too cute). She has five kids in her class from last year and her teacher is very nice. Cursive instruction started and Katryn was thrilled. At her school, the kids cannot do cursive without a 'license' and she is so excited to learn it. It is going to be an exciting year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letter vs. Spirit...

I came running into the room as I heard shrieks of "Stop squishing me!" I arrived in time to hear my very smart and creative 2 year old sweetly explain, "I am not squishing you anymore. I am not even touching you." She was being truthful. Sort of. Poor Lindsay.

Why? Because I said so?

I have a button. (In addition to the one on my 'belly') This button is ridiculous. It is pressed by a very little word/question. Why. Why? Add a whine to the why, then you have found my button. Mack discovered it and is enjoying this kryptonite. Don't get me wrong...I love curiosity, I love questions. This is neither. It is a ploy to make my hair turn gray more quickly.
Mom: Mack, after you finish your lunch it is time for your nap
Mack: Why?
Mom: Because you are tired
Mack: Why?
Mom: Because you stayed up late and woke up early
Mack: Why?
Mom: Because we were out late back to school shopping
Mack: Why?
Mom: School is starting soon and the girls need some clothes
Mack: Why?
Mom: The weather is getting cooler and they have outgrown their pants
Mack: Why?
Mom: Just because. Time for your nap.
Mack: Why?

Mom: Why do I love you? Let me count the ways... :-)