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Strength.

I have seen and heard similar sentiments to this lately in many places. Tonight as I came across this one my thoughts said “but I don’t want to be stronger” mostly rooted in the fact that my current trials aren’t mine as much as they are watching and helping those I love the most in this world go through things much harder and definitely more unfair than anyone should have to go through.   The trial being easier means it would be easier for them. 
I’ve been thinking about Gethsemane frequently unable to comprehend the magnitude of what happened there, this passage specifically. 
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
 (Luke 22:42-43)
Somehow I doubt there was as much foot dragging and reluctant “I guess if I have to” as I’ve done lately. When I compare trials to things I’ve experienced I think of my freshman year of volleyball. I decided to try out at the last minute, having no clue what the first weeks of conditioning would be like and after the second day I laid on the front lawn knowing I wouldn’t quit, quitting just isn’t me, but if I was cut from the team I’d be okay with that. I could barely walk that weekend, but I grew stronger, more endurance, and greater jumping strength. I never was even slightly fond of ladders but I got better there too. At the end of season a conditioning workout was significantly harder than those first days in the gym but I enjoyed them, mostly, and I never again wondered if walking without pain was possible. I could do hard things, and grow stronger from them. 
As much as I don’t want to admit it, the same applies here so I will lace up my sneakers, drink extra water, and start jogging some laps. 
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Dear Sweet Bonnie

For a week I’ve been thinking about Bonnie from many directions and knowing I wanted to write this post but not sure how to find the words to express my love and admiration.  Today was her funeral and it still seems a bit surreal, part of me still doesn’t believe she’s gone.  Here is my attempt, hoping that writing this post makes everything feel a little more real instead of like a nightmare I keep expecting to wake up from.

I trusted Bonnie completely.  Sitting in her car I’ve told her things very few others know.  She’s heard my insecurities, my fears, my failings, my struggles and each time been able to lift me up.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter how rotten things seemed Bonnie’s smile would bring some light into my world and leave me refreshed and ready to go forward even just one more day.  She had a way about her that made everyone feel special, cared for, and loved.  Her eyes always sparkled, full of love for those around her and she absolutely glowed when she’d tell stories about her family.  As they walked into the chapel today I could tell who some of them were that I’ve never met from the stories she’s told me.  Bonnie didn’t just love her family though, she loved everyone and showed that love through friendship and service.

I’ve been on the receiving end of some great visiting teachers, but I never felt like I was that visiting teacher that made much of a difference until I went with Bonnie.  Visiting Teaching wasn’t just a monthly chore, it was a calling she took very serious.  I visited her in the hospital over a year ago and she was so worried about Visiting Teaching.  She’d missed one of our ladies before she left town for the month, had only talked to another one twice, and was worried that we’d missed an appointment with someone new who was assigned to us.  It was still the middle of the month.  She didn’t just visit and take a message around she loved, cared for, and worried about the families we were assigned to go see.  I know my crazy schedule made it harder for her, but I am so grateful that she took the time to show me how to be a Visiting Teacher, not just do your visiting teaching.  As she wasn’t able to leave her house she still spent time worrying about and loving others.  ‘

I called to check on her one day and no sooner had I said “Hi, Bonnie it’s Heather” than she was checking on me.  How are the kids doing?  She’s been worrying about us after all.  Then came what I think is a classic Bonnie conversation.  I had some rolls baking and wanted to bring some by.  I knew she wasn’t eating, but certainly something as simple as a plate of rolls could help her family out at least a little.  She wanted none of that.  I had too much going on, too much to worry about, too busy with the kids to bother making rolls for her.  Really, I don’t know if she doesn’t realize what she’s taught me or what, but getting Bonnie to be on the receiving end of even simple acts of service wasn’t easy.  I pulled out what I thought my trump card would be.  “Bonnie, remember how I told you the last time I saw the Bishop he counseled me to find ways to serve others?  Are you denying me an opportunity to follow Bishop’s counsel by not letting me bring rolls by?”  I thought I had a valid point that she’d agree to, but I was wrong.  Certainly there is someone else who could benefit from the rolls isn’t there?  Someone new in the neighborhood?  Someone else somewhere?  Some point in the conversation she agreed to let me bring the rolls, but just a few — Craig doesn’t eat much you know.  I sat down in Bonnie’s front room and visited with her, second to the last time, and I think I left part of me there that visit next to her fireplace.  We couldn’t talk about how she was doing, she needed updates on the kids and listened to stories she had missed out on.  Shared with me her concerns and worries — not about her, but about the ladies we go Visiting Teaching to because Mary really needs a visit leaving out the part where she called her frequently to check on her hoping for some opportunity to do some service, even as weak as she was.  She talked about our first Sunday in the ward and how Charlet walking into the Primary room looking for the Sunbeams made her day because of Charlet’s smile and beautiful eyes and how much she loved my kids.  I stopped by one more time after that, Kaede had heard me wonder out loud if Bonnie would be able to drink some Ensure and Kaede was determined to take her some for Christmas.  After a brief visit and a quick hug I knew that was going to be goodbye.  I didn’t know if I’d be blessed to see her again or not, but there was a change that visit — one I recognized from my years working 3 West — a greater peace, calm and a house overfilling with love.

This past week in the midst of long difficult days, feeling guilty for neglecting home life, and not being able to see an end to anything I’ve wanted to pick up the phone and call Bonnie to check on her, knowing full well that when I checked on Bonnie it was the other way around.  She made me believe in myself, gave me strength and courage, and has celebrated with me.  I am better because of Bonnie and selfishly I can’t imagine how life is going to be without her phone calls and support.  I told our Relief Society president that yes I’d like a new partner, but going out in February isn’t going to be the same at all.   She will be missed.  I love you Bonnie, thank you for your years of friendship and support.  I don’t know if you ever really knew how much of an impact you had on my life.

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Sunday

Kids are with their Dad this weekend so my Sunday morning?  Cinnamon roll and milk for breakfast, in bed no less. My heated throw keeping me feeling warm and comfortable.  I‘ve got Hillary Weeks playing in the background and watching the kittens try to figure out how to get to the empty milk glass. It’s quiet, peaceful and perfect as I’m waiting to hear from Charlet if they are going to church with me today or not. I hope so, I’d like them there when I’m set apart today but doing much more than offering backfires on me. 

I hope and pray that everyone is able to find a moment or two of peace today






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Homemade Ice Cream

I don’t know that a food can be a tradition, but if it can ice cream is one of ours. Grandpa Len always had ice cream (maple nut specifically) and much to Grandma’s head shaking you didn’t need to finish your dinner to get some. After all, ice cream just fills in the cracks after you’re full. Terry and Becky got Lindsey the cutest vinyl design they are putting on a mirror for her. I will see if she will send me a picture. {Yay!  She did!}

 On his birthday all of us were too full for dinner and we still went out for ice cream, it was only right after all. 

Saturday I wasn’t even thinking about FHE when I said aloud, to no one “we need to make ice cream and talk about family. Call Alisha and see if you can borrow her ice cream maker”  Me being me, I had to ignore that but when I thought the same thing as the Sacrament was being passed I decided to listen and see if I could borrow their ice cream maker.  Being as awesome as she is we made arrangements to pick it up Monday.

Before I dumped in all the ingredients (well, except for the egg because I forgot it — oops) I had the kids taste them individually.  With the exception of sweetened condensed milk there wasn’t anything that would get listed as wonderful.  Even the SCM wasn’t wonderful, just better than the rest.  At the same time nothing was horrible by itself either, no tongues had to be cut off from disguistingness, and only a few sour faces at the vanilla extract.  After all the ingredients were mixed together we tasted it again.  Nothing overly exciting, taste had improved some but no one wanted to do more than stick their finger in and lick it.

The ingredients are us, individual family members.  Alone we are not nearly as exciting as we could be, we have not met our potential.  Even when we’re together as a family all in the same house (or ice cream tin) things are just kind of ‘meh at best.  It isn’t until you pour the ice and rock salt around the outside and start it churning that the concoction turns into something amazing and desirable.  The sweet liquid has turned into a family!  As the ice cream was freezing and we had dinner I wanted everyone to think of what could be our ice and salt.  It was important to me that we focus on things to do instead of not to do and I wanted everyone’s input.

We decided that as a family we will:

  • Compromise {Charlet’s example was if I say her curfew is 9 and she wants it to be 10 that she can stay out until 9:30.  *sigh*} 
  • Do everything. That may seem overwhelming, Kaede had a hard time finding the words for what she wanted to say but she mentioned “do everything” in supporting each others activities, doing all of the chores they’re suppose to and I decided that “do everything” was pretty accurate.
  • Laugh.
  • Read the Scriptures and have family prayer daily.  
The last one was my contribution.  I had looked for a quote that lists out promises that come from daily scripture study as a family and I couldn’t find the one I was looking but I did find this quote from L. Tom Perry in October 1993 General Conference.

I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come.

“I promise” coming from a General Authority during Conference isn’t simply a word choice, it is a phrase that grabs my attention and makes me listen. my word shall not pass away, but shall all be  fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the  same. Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 Promises that come from the Lord usually (always?) have 2 parts.  The part we do (or don’t do) and then the blessings or consequences.  From Moses’s time, look at the serpent (do) and be healed (blessing). They are throughout the scriptures as well as my life.  After reading the do part which as usual is fairly straight forward, until it gets hard and even then it’s still fairly straight forward (daily prayer and scripture study) and realizing the blessings are tailored to exactly what my family needs are how could I add anything else onto the list?

It also doesn’t specify anything about “immediate family” only, so we’re inviting other family to join us across the miles.  Started reading the Book of Mormon out loud, dividing the verses between all of us, one chapter a night beginning January 20, 2014.  Days the kids are at Paul’s that night they usually end up over here for part of the day anyways so we will read then, making up days that they don’t make it over the next night.

There will be times that things seem too busy, our lives are “too full” but just like Grandpa always said “there’s always room for ice cream” and to make our ice cream we have a guideline that has been given to us to follow.

~Heather

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Priesthood Blessings

The Bishop came over tonight to give Kaede a blessing, he gave Charlet one as well. I have thoughts going in so many directions, this post is likely going to be a little on the rambling side. 

I wish more than anything that there was a worthy priesthood holder in the house. I know it’s only a phone call away no matter the time but I still find myself waiting until whatever it is has grown big enough to justify a blessing. If anything I feel more comfortable now asking than I have in a really, really long time. 
In the past year I’ve had some amazing blessings, one in particular that I wish I had transcribed. Almost immediately after I forgot what words were said but I will never forget how I felt that night or in the coming days. Some blessings I’ve known that while things won’t be easy they will be how they are suppose to be and all will be well. Others have given me the strength to get up just one more day and to get through just a little longer. A few I’ve known I’m not as alone as I’d previously felt and could feel my Heavenly Father’s love for me. 
Tonight I hope and pray that girls feel the strength and power in the Priesthood that I have. Tonight I realized that the transcript of the blessing isn’t as important as the feelings, the strength.  The part of a blessing that amazes me is the silence. The long breath between sentences where words aren’t spoken but the Spirit is strong.  There is no way to transcribe the silence. 
Tonight however there is one sentence that keeps echoing in my soul, unsure of it was meant for Charlet or for me. 

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Wide awake

I’m feeling unsettled and restless, with the feeling there is something I should be writing. I just don’t know what and definitely not why. I’ve opened the app a few times but my head isn’t sure what to say and my heart isn’t giving me any words. 

I’m so unsure of so much right now, so much that doesn’t even fit into words. I did find ‘the’ recipe for popcorn that makes me happy, thanks to Bishop Marchant. 
Surely popcorn isn’t that important though, even if I turn it into a Heather Parable about the required heat and churning to make each kernel pop. Yeah, it’s lame and a big stretch. 
ShaLiece and I went to see Saratov Project tonight, excellent and yes one I will likely buy in the future but it doesn’t seem like I’d be laying awake at night for commentary on someone else’s story. 
Life is once again in a state of flux where it seems there is little solid to stand on, but honestly that has been how things have been for the last 6 years or so. Maybe change and struggle is my solid ground?  Difficulty sleeping at night has at least become my standard, my normal and I don’t like it at all. In anyway. 
I hope you have a good night (or morning?). I’m going to find a slightly different Pandora station and see if change will help my heart settle a little. 

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Most of my NY resolutions follow the “better today than yesterday” mindset. One that doesn’t really is being a better friend and neighbor, doing a little more to make someone else’s day a little brighter, let others know how much I appreciate them. 

Now, there are lots of things going around. Paying for another’s meal or gas anonymously etc. I don’t have funds for things like that though, does anyone have any ideas of ways to pay it forward?  I’m trying to consciously do something specific each week. I know I’m writing this like I get more than a couple of hits per post that I don’t share on FB but if you happen across this and have an idea for me I’d love it if you’d share. 

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