Thursday, February 23, 2017

Feast on the words of Christ... or casually pick at it when I'm spiritually hungry?

So random post. It's been, what, almost a year since my last post? Why not post something totally random and off topic ! At midnight, no less !

I usually struggle to mark the standard "to-do's" off my list. There's always something I should be better at, do more often, blah blah blah. ((Can i get an amen!))

But recently I've tried to take the pressure off myself, and say "hey, you've got two kids, home alone, ALL.DAY.EVERY.DAY. with a husband at training 12hrs a day, and then home to study/prep for tomorrow and sleep, before he hits repeat and does it again!" I know being a single mom is hard, and i'm not "technically" but really, I'm a single mom. ((don't glare at me))

So those days the dishes stack up, I'm ok with it. Those days I'm fishing for ANY sort of clean undergarment, gold star if you made it through the day, Haley!

But one BIG thing that bugs me, constantly, has been scripture study. It's been on my mind a TON lately, especially the last few months, after being called as our Ward (congregation's) Primary President. ((Basically with the help of two amazing counselors, I oversee the children program at my church, 18mos-12 years. Teaching, music, teachers, etc) ((can you say "AHHHH!?")). I feel like with this HUGE responsibility, I definitely need to make sure I'm doing all I can to stay spiritually on the right side and in tune with the Spirit. And scripture study is RIGHT at the top of that list of Holy Ghost magnets. ((can i copyright that? Holy Ghost magnets!? Im seeing an awesome visual lesson for kids! See its working! Inspiration! sorry i digress))

But let's be honest. If I barely squeeze in a shower three times two times a week, when the heck am I supposed to hit the mom pause button to stop and sit still and FOCUS, study and really take in the scriptures?? Without littles wanting my attention!?

So I've been trying to find out how I can feast. In the Book of Mormon (coolest book ever, go check it out), there is a prophet Nephi, and he said, "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all thing what ye should do." LINK

So how can I feast? When I don't have the time for a feast. Think about all the time and prep and savoring that goes into Thanksgiving dinner? Especially versus a normal dinner. Now do that everyday. AH. So I've decided to hit the scripture study, as often as I can. Obviously the goal is everyday. BUT, my goal 2.0 is to FEAST when I actually get the time to. So instead of halfheartedly reading a chapter everyday, between snacks and yelling at kids, so I can check it off, I'll be more aware of how I'm spending my time, and carve out a chunk and actually STUDY during my scripture study time. And sometimes its an hour, sometimes its 15 minutes before a baby cries through that dang monitor. But you know what, its a dang good 15 minutes.

I've gotten a cheap lame little notebook. I made the front cute with my little scripture journal title, and I turn on some awesome instrumental Jesus music. And open my scriptures. I go verse by SINGLE verse. It takes a while. A lonnnnng while. But I can stop and read the cross references. Or think about why they used this specific word or analogy. Or take the time to google the meaning of a word I *think* i know, but in reality i have no idea and just skim over.  I bring up some awesome study guides put out by the LDS church that go right along with the reading ((shout out to institute manuals. i. love. you.)) They break down verses, historical context, definitions, everything ! It's incredible the knowledge that just hits me. And instead of rushing through my chapter so I can go take care of something else, I'm sad when I inevitably have to stop studying and go back to mom mode.

I only want to share this because I've been studying in 2 Nephi (Book of Mormon) where Nephi basically is teaching & quoting Isaiah from the Old Testament. And if you've ever tried to read Isaiah, wow. Go you. I'm pretty sure there's a stigma in the church with "the Isaiah chapters" and books on how to read, understand, apply, survive reading them without dying of confusion. But after I've stopped just rushing through the confusing poetry that is Isaiah, there is SO much good stuff ! I wish I could just keep going on for hours and type out my notes, and sit down with you and read you a verse and go, "see, isn't that SO cool !? Did you know that's what he meant?! AH !"

I feel my heart exploding with love for Isaiah, the incredible responsibility he had in his war stricken time, and the amazing words he recorded for all people. I love Nephi for teaching these scriptures to his family. And I hope he took the time to explain the nitty gritty details I'm uncovering. I'm so thankful for modern prophets that receive revelation and pass them on to us to help us understand the scriptures, the meanings, and how they apply to our lives.

I love the Book of Mormon. I've read through it quite a few times and love it more every time. And I want to love EVERY part. I want to dive into it and completely immerse myself in the teachings found there. I hope I can take the time to feast, actually fill my hungered soul, from time to time, as often as motherhood will let me. I hope it's not a casual 'open-the-fridge-door-to-see-what-looks-good' snacking type of relationship.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings...

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17)

Since General Conference (a bi-annual broadcast the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds where we gather to listen to messages prepared from Prophets, Apostles and other general leadership) I've decided every week to listen, read, take notes, review,etc the talks from the latest Conference. It's a goal I usually have every year... but we'll see. Mostly because I get SO excited for Conference. Look forward to it and drink in the messages prepared, and love it. And then don't ever go back and remind myself of those messages. It's sad. It's a waste. So with my new-ish goal in mind, I started last week listening to Cheryl Esplin's, the First Counselor in the General Primary Presidency, talk titled, "He Asks Us to Be His Hands."

I wish I could narrow down some of her great material and share some here. But you'll just have to go over and read/listen to it yourself. It's found here. Wonderful. Beautiful quotes, examples about service and what we should be doing.

I had a very busy week, full of service. Some of the days I was happily serving. Other days, begrudgingly. But, throughout the week I remembered this talk. I'm supposed to be serving. I'm supposed to WANT to be serving. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to find more ways to serve. By the end of the week I was sad I didn't serve in any way how I had "planned" to serve. Instead I kept thinking of all the times someone came and helped me. When someone brought me dinner, took my son for a play date, stopped by for some grown up conversation. I was mad at myself. "Haley, why didn't YOU do any of those things?" 

But then, after I stopped being down on myself, I realized look at how much help you had. Look at the amazing examples of service you have around you. Look at these amazing people placed in your life, bringing Sister Esplin's talk to life. They're living the words shes spoke. 

I may not have gotten around to serving "the way I planned" this past week, however, I was able to stop and see the countless ways others stepped in and provided that same service I wanted to accomplish. With Chris gone for almost a month now, it's getting tough. But you all never cease to amaze me how you jump and step in. I am in awe of your Spirit, your sacrifice and your desire to follow our Savior. Just as the scripture stated in the beginning, you truly are serving God. 

Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Location, location, location

I know you always hear that "location, location, location" and how it makes ALL the difference. In everything it seems. Real estate, jobs, life. Perspective. <-----   I've been thinking a lot lately, since I have some "thinking" time during the cleaning & mickey mouse episodes.

Things have been... rough for our family. I can't say hard, well maybe I can. They have been hard/rough for us. I know there are a BILLION families that deal with harder/tougher/tragic-er (is that a word?) things every day all day. But I'm a firm believer that just because there are children starving in China and that make $0.50 a day doesn't mean you can't also be experiencing tough things in your life.

All this recently came to light in my mind when I got a sweet birthday message from a best-ish friend I haven't talked to in forever, sadly, cause I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people. Ugh I hate it. So he doesn't really know whats going on in life and all the gritty details of the stress and struggle that we are going through. But something he said pierced my heart and at first I rolled my eyes and then really got to thinking. Amid the happy birthday wishes and haven't talk and hope you're well he said "You're accomplishing your dreams." I rolled my eyes. Seriously. Might have even had a little scoff in there when I read that. Im not a jerk (usually) but I'm sorry. Who's freakin' dream is it to be SO uncomfortably pregnant, jobless, husband pretty much jobless, with two degrees, debt, loans, bills, and NO foreseeable reliable income !? I can't sleep, from baby stuff, and then just life. When will Chris get a job? Do I need to get a job? Can I leave TWO kids and go to work? Can I even hack it and stay home with TWO kids ?! When is his next pay check coming in? When will our insurance kick in, since ya know, there's a freaking kid busting outta my gut? And my friend has the NERVE to say I'm accomplishing MY dreams?!

This all passed through my head in the millisecond it took me to continue to the next sentence. And then the next day it kept popping up, "I'm accomplishing my dreams." Really?

Now I don't know what his life situation is save his amazing wife posting adorable pictures and what info I can sherlockianly deduce from said statuses and pictures. So to me he has a new house, a good job, she pins adorable things I'm assuming she's got the money to fund, and they have adorable dates and cute pictures, and and and and.

I want a job (for me or hubby), I want income, I want a house, I want want want etc etc. I'm starting to see a grass is greener thing...

They've been married for some time, and while this is TOTALLY my own conclusion and my insane thinking and what if's, but I love him and he can forgive me if I'm way off base, but what if there is a struggle for family happening? That I don't see? I have ALWAYS dreamed of being a mom. And now I have an amazing little princess coming in the next 6 weeks (EEK!). That gives us two awesome little babies. So he may see the pictures on Facebook of my pretty awesome little guy and think man.. I can't wait till I have one of those, whether from their personal choices or otherwise. So maybe from his *location* I AM accomplishing my dreams. And from my location he's accomplishing his and mine. I want what he's got and all the while I've got stuff too.

"The things you take for granted someone else is praying for."

I'm not saying this friend is praying for what I've got but someone somewhere is. Whether it be an awesome husband, an adorable son, my incredible family, church, faith, health, a house, a dishwasher... whatever it is.

I've watched from a distance as friends struggle with infertility, infidelity, divorce, addiction...

"Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else's fairytale."

Remember perspective people. From where you're standing things might look pretty terrible, but... change your point of view. Change your location. Its all about location location location.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My two cents no one asked for...

This should come as no surprise to you reading this, seeing as it's mostly all anyone can talk about right now. I usually always refrain from commenting on controversial issues on Facebook, or posting my own thoughts, or whatever the case may be. Heck, sometimes I am even so scared to LIKE someone else's status, picture, comment so someone will see it roll their eyes at me and go off on some tirade against my opinion.

However, this is something that has been on my mind A LOT the past day or two. Something I have written and rewritten in my head. I've hit the internet to read, to "research" if you can. I've read statuses, discussion, blog posts, on either side of the spectrum. And usually that's where I leave it.

Except I can't.

Some thing I remember from the past few conferences give by my church, some of the addresses said things like:

  •  pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel
  • are called upon to boldly defend
  •  will speak boldly, hoping to edify and not to offend.
  • This desire to share the gospel with others and the confidence to testify boldly.
Bold. Be bold. 

So this is me being bold. Like above, I do not wish to offend. I only wish to express my opinions, as I've seen so many do the past two days. I am not a writer; it will be a feeble attempt at best and I will warn you, I'm sure I will word something wrong, or something will be misunderstood or twisted to seem a certain way. Bear with me. Cut me a break. Think back to how many times you've seen me go on some tirade on your status I didn't agree on. Oh, I haven't? Please remember that.

I will start this saying I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon, LDS, whatever you know us as. If anyone who knows me personally know this is a very HUGE part of who I am, of the decisions I make, big and small, in life. How I talk, how I act, even down to what movies I see. We are Christians, we strive to follow Christ, in the best way we know how. We try. We fail. We get up and try again.  I am not perfect, no one is. 

It should come as no shock then that with Bruce Jenner coming out as Caitlyn would be something I don't agree with. Something I can't support. [Here's where I will become weak in my words, if I've even been strong at all previously.]

In my church we believe that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." (See The Family)  God created man and woman. We are his precious creations. To avoid the cliche I've seen all over the internet, God makes no mistakes.  So for Bruce/Caitlyn to look at what God gave him and decide our Heavenly Father messed up and he can fix it, just isn't right. That gender extends beyond this earthly life. It was who we were before we came and it will be who we are in the next life. 

I make no assumption at understanding what it's like AT ALL to be so uncomfortable in ones body, to feel like you are wrong and living a lie every day. I am not transgender, gay, lesbian. I have had my demons in the past and made my mistakes but I make no comparison at all between anything I've struggled with and what so many people deal with daily.  

I cannot speak for God in saying why these things happen, why He created someone a certain way, or "let" these things happen. I'm not God. I'm not all-knowing. But I believe through study and prayer I can try to understand His way and what the Truth and Right is. 

In MY opinion (I do not speak for the Church or any other members), I believe we are sent here to this life to overcome trials and obstacles. Through this process we learn, we grow and we ultimately strive to return to live with our Heavenly Father after we've proven we are worthy. Maybe you roll your eyes when I say this, but maybe Bruce/Caitlyn's trial in this life was to overcome those feelings. To embrace God and His plan for Bruce/Caitlyn's life and find happiness in the only way possible: through Christ, His Atonement and obedience. 

I know, how dare I say something so insensitive? But I believe so many people (straight, gay, trans, whatever) seek for "happiness" in this life in such worldly ways: drinking, sex, lying, money, food, whatever floats your boat. But we were sent here to be obedient to God's commandments, follow Christ's example and return to Heavenly Father someday. What if instead of paying money and altering the body and soul God gave you, you instead turned to Christ who suffered in a garden and on the cross and FELT every single thing you deal with every day, and let that healing act wash over you and help you accept the cross you've been asked to bear in this life? Why? Why do you have that cross? I don't know. Why are some born disabled, why are some born with mental disorders? I don't know. I don't think trading in happiness in the next life is worth the temporary happiness you'll feel here, however "long" this life may feel. It's tiny in the vastness of the eternity you're trading. 

I hope I am not mistaken for judging. I agree that God and Christ are the only ones capable of judging. I make no assumption at knowing what God thinks, says or will do when Bruce/Caitlyn passes through this life into the next. Honestly, I think they'll both be there with arms WIDE open, with love, compassion and caring. Just as we should be. Loving. Compassionate. Caring. But that doesn't mean there won't be consequences for his actions that he will have to face when he comes to stand before his maker. 

A friend had a perfect quote when she expressed her views (and she did it SO well, so read her blog post if you want a better articulated presentation of my feelings) when she said: The fact that most people believe giving in is the only way to true happiness in this life just goes to show how much we’ve lost the concept of faith. (Her amazing blog!)

Where is the faith that once we make it through the trial in this life, we will be rewarded in the next? That faith that God is there to reassure, to help, aid, guide? The same faith we exercise when we turn to our Savior for comfort and support in our trials? 

Just as an alcoholic must wake up everyday and look in the mirror and say No, today I will not drink. Unfortunately, you may have to wake up everyday and look in the mirror at a body that feels wrong and say God I trust you, I know you have a greater plan for me, help me get through today as the man/woman you made me to be. 

I do not wish to judge. I do NOT wish to bully. My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with this daily. I can't even imagine how hard it is to get out of bed each morning feeling alien in your own body. 

And lastly, I found this beautiful testimony of a transgender person who instead of changing his body God gave him, sought help through Christ and was able to live a full life, married, with a child, and have happiness. His testimony is what really struck me and I hope you've made it this far and will go just a little further and read his words. 

"I also suffer from GID [gender identity disorder].  As I child who did not grow up in the Church, I remember praying to God wishing that He would transform me so that I could stop feeling wrong and live my life the way I felt it was supposed to be. He did transform me, but not in the way that I expected. At the age of 17, I was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This put me on a difficult path but on a path that was more than worth it. After graduating high school, I moved out West and attended BYU-Idaho before going on a mission. My mission was very hard for me; it was not what I expected it would be. However, my experiences, though difficult, helped change my life. After my mission, I married a wonderful young woman (who is taller than me and knows about my problems) and we just had our first baby boy. Throughout my whole life and up to this point, I have suffered from GID, but I have not let that change my life or who I am. I am a son of God, sealed to an amazing woman, father of an angelic child, and He has a plan for me. I know that because I have tried to live the commandments of the Lord, our Heavenly Father has blessed me with strength that is not my own. My internal problems have not vanished; nor do they feel bottled up deep inside. I feel that I have become at peace with my feelings. I imagine that my feelings are locked up in a cage deep inside me; she, not at peace, might rattle a cup against the bars from time to time or even scream bloody murder (which makes it harder to ignore), but that does not mean I need to open the cage and let those feelings out. Many of us with these feelings tend to believe that no one else knows what it is like to suffer this way. That is a mistake. While our problem may not come from our own personal actions or the problems of others may not be as life-changing, I believe it is insulting to degrade the inner feelings of others by saying that ours is a harder lot. I have seen good people struggle on problems that would seem infantile to others, yet I know that what they are feeling is just as real and just as painful. We cannot let our temptations lead us down the easy path away from our Heavenly Father. Although the path is hard and I cannot live the way that I would wish, I know that the path that Heavenly Father has chosen for me is a better one. Already I have experienced and grown a hundred times more than if I had chosen to follow those feelings. Every day for the rest of my life I will have to wake up and look at the small, effeminate body I was given in the mirror and prepare for the fight of that day. I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and take on that challenge. We, as a people, have so much to gain from taking the hard path. Our lot is a hard one, but that just means that when we overcome it, we will be that much stronger. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are many General and Auxiliary Authorities who suffer from our temptations; it would have to take a challenge of that magnitude to produce such strong men and women of faith. Finally, I would hope members would not make excuses for us. Yes, we need all of the love and support you can offer us; that is not the problem I speak of. There are other members who are praised by the world for their “open-minded-ness.” I have been given excuses from this people my whole life. “You’re just a new convert,” they would say, “You don’t have to serve a mission, that does not apply to you. That would be too hard.” If I had listened to that, I would have never grown, met my wife, had my child; I would have had none of that. We cannot listen to the easy words of members who tell us that we can live our lives the way we want that that everything will be okay. That will just rob us of the blessings that our Father is waiting to bestow upon us. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, but He also has a Plan for the whole human race. I applaud members of the Church who suffer from GID or same sex attraction who still enter the Temple and are sealed for eternity with their spouses, have children and who choose the plan God has for them and not follow the temptations or selfish thoughts that plague them and us each day. We need to have them as our examples so that we may follow the hard path and know that it might not get easier, but it sure as hell will get better. Not just better, but the best our lives could ever be. 
~ Nate"

I hope I have made an appropriate stance. I have to be bold. I have to declare what I know is true. In this world of corroding morals and values, I can't expect to teach my children right and wrong if I'm afraid to open my mouth on these issues. I love ALL of you. All shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, religions, beliefs etc etc. This truly comes from a place of love. Please ask questions, ask to clarify. Please be respectful. Please be 
patient with my shortcomings. 

In the end, I'm Haley. And I'm a Mormon.

Want more information on my beliefs, church, or anything else?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lesson(s) learned?

Oh the things that have happened the last 4 months since I updated. Its been too long. Sorry. I don't even know what's been going on.  But I needed to get on here and vent. Or whatever the positive version of this is.

Twice in two months I've had expensive things taken from my car. I'm partly at fault, since the first time I would bet $1 million that my car was locked, last night it wasn't. But really.. the year and a half we've lived here and NOW someone is being a jerk and taking things, consistently. I digress.

So, since the first time when my beautiful DSLR camera, lenses, memory cards, bag, etc were all stolen, I tried to be forgiving to the evil thief that felt the need to take it. And felt like I did. Mostly because my husband caved and bought me a new one, and yeah. It sucks. But, whatever.

Now this one. Seriously? My wallet, my empty of cash or anything valuable wallet. Cards, yes. Cancelled cards now, yes. My ID, which I'll have to replace for the 5th time (I'm serious). Annnd thats all that MIGHT have been valuable. Chris' brand new iPhone 6 that was damaged and in a fed ex box ready to ship to Apple. $750 phone. In an unmarked box. What. The. Heck. And then my tablet. My nexus tablet I wasn't even happy to get, but I've loved it. I find myself looking for it now. Ugh. Dependence. $1000 worth of stuff was taken. Again. AGAIN.


I try to be optimistic. I try to realize I can learn something. Why did this happen? Again? Why, why, why? My brain comes back to learning to lock my car. HEY Haley ! Lock YOUR freaking CAR ! But really? That's my take-away. That's what God wants me to learn? Really?

Then maybe it's so these lowlifes have their agency and choices to make bad decisions they'll be judged for later. So, how can bad people be bad if they don't have a way to be bad. Ugh. Pick someone else. Pick another car to steal from that hasn't had to deal with it yet.

Or am I too distracted by electronics & materialistic things? Is this another material thing disappearing to see how I respond to "things" being taken? Is that it?

I was reading an article tonight that was about bad things happening to good people. And obviously that article can apply to WAY worse things good people deal with, abuse, health issues, death, murder, accidents, fires, etc etc. Some things that I've had to deal with in life have been way worse than having things taken. But really, that doesn't diminish what we're dealing with. It's only compounded by all this other crap going on too.

But one of the "reasons" the article said was "to prove we can let go, and let God."

"When we are blessed with trials, sometimes they affect our lives with an inability to eat properly or sleep soundly. That is the time to pray and turn it over to him. Ask him to take over just for the night, allow you to get a solid night's sleep, and then assure him that you will take back over in the morning and sort things out."

I'm not sure if I'm losing sleep about this. Probably because it hasn't even been 24 hours. I can tell you, I do have to make myself eat. This just adds another thing on the list of things I'm already stressed about. Now it's what if, what else can these bad people do? What are the chances it would happen to me twice, what are the chances something worse will happen? That's a great way to think. And that's why the paragraph above made such an impact on me. Turn it over. I need to check my faith. I need to count the blessings, instead of count the ways things can (and probably will) go wrong. And to the point. I, for me, not you, need to make a list and SEE what else could have gone wrong or still can, but didn't. I need to count my blessings.

My car could have been broken/damaged in some way. It was luckily just trashed.
My house was unlocked. Oh the possibilities.
My family was safe, IS safe.
My camera was NOT left in the car. That thing follows me like a shadow (see I am learning!)
I don't carry cash in my wallet. Zero. Zip. My photoshoot money was.. in my pocket.
They didn't rip out my radio/head unit. (Material I know but a pain to replace or not have)
They cleaned out my purse for me. (except I put it all right back)
I still have my phone (sorry chris)
He still has his iPad.
I'm pretty sure that little voice that said "get your purse, get the iphone box, get your tablet" wasn't idle silly thoughts. LISTEN to those. (Is that the take-away?)
I do have an extra license floating around my house somewhere..
I get to buy a new wallet that I like and isn't stupid and cheap.
I get to get ANOTHER Temple Recommend. Maybe I need a refresher, 3rd times the charm in such a short time right?
Maybe I need to relax on the connected-ness of my life.

Maybe I should print this and over the course of the next days, weeks, whatever, look over it and remind myself what could have happened. What I need to remember. What I need to be thankful for. Maybe that's the take-away.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Is anyone there?

Hello world. I know, I know. You've missed me. What the heck ! It's been forever. I guess you could say life got busy. But that's a little of an understatement. Life has been insane ! Ridiculous, whatever you want to say.

Ever since Chris left, its been one thing after the next and just so much to do and only one me to do it! Logan obviously keeps me busy anyways, but having to juggle him, work, home, errands, calling, any type of social life, AH. I sing your praises all you single working moms who do this ALL. THE. TIME. ::bowing to the floor:: "I am not worthy!" You're awesome.

Logan and I have had 3 plane trips the last 2 months (less than!?). 13 flights (from take off to landing). I need to add up the miles. He really is the best traveler. So good. Even if he's a little fussy, he's not the crying kid for 3 hours. He lets me throw him in his stroller and run across the airport. Speaking of that, don't fly into Atlanta. I officially hate that airport, and the people hate me. Or at least aren't personable and don't care if I say anything. Rude.

Ok, so first off. We've adjusted ok to Chris being gone. Logan has the best baby sitter who just jumps right in and takes care of him. We love Abby. And work is work. Same old. Still having stupid hiccups in cells growing, as usual, but nothing earth shattering. We did get published again. Woot!

We went to Utah for my moms wedding. That was a roller coaster of a week. It was really great to be around family, and see everyone, and mostly everyone to see Logan. I love the traditions we have with my mom's side of the family and I really want for my kids to experience those. So it's a huge blessing to be able to go out. Not sure how much more we're going to be able to seeing as tickets are ridiculous and he will start needing his own next year. But we got to run around and see friends, and SLC, and temples and eat yummy food. I was able to go to the new Brigham City Temple and recharge, and even church on Sunday gave me a little boost. Life gets tough sometimes, and especially when I'm out of my environment. But I survived. It was a good trip.

Came home, back to work for a week, a whole week ! And then we were off again to go see Chris. I had to get down to see him. It had been a month. I was going crazy. I decided it would be cute to be down there over Father's Day. The trip was good, in the idea that I got to see Chris, and spend a little bit of time with him, but with him working, and weird hours, and then even Tuesday when he took off of work, we didn't do anything, but sleep, and lounge, which is nice. It's nice to just have him there next to me. But I wish it was longer, I wish we could have spent more time together. Logan was just warming up to him after the first 2 days, and then we left 2 days later. Poor kid. Chris had a blast watching him though. I guess he does all kinds of crazy things now, which I don't realize when they started so they aren't new to me. But he loves it.  He really is such a fun kid, and so funny. Makes me laugh all the time.

And then we're here now. Just more work. Busy getting stuff planned and re planned and unplanned for Madison. She gets home today and it so exciting! A year and half went by SO fast. It's mind boggling. But she'll be here tonight. And then starts the whirlwind of three weeks until the wedding. I'm excited about doing their pictures. I think they're going to be really cute and fun to capture. I feel like couples would be anyways because they're so in love, and these two are cute and goofy and just SO excited to be back together. I'm excited for them. It's all going to come together, and whatever doesn't, doesn't matter. What matters are two people, who have served the Lord for 2 years, and remained worthy to go to the Temple and be sealed for eternity. Nothing else matters. I hope everyone remembers that.

So work. Normal life. Youth stuff. Which just seems to keep getting worse. One day we'll have a break. I just keep thinking every diligent thing is another drop in my lamp of preparation, another lesson, another activity, another drop. Blessing in Heaven. Motivation.  Just keeping busy until the NEXT trip in 3 weeks, nope 2 1/2 weeks. UGH. Luckily this one is driving, which I don't know if that's better or worse. Whatever. DC, NJ, NY. Woo. Weddings. Sealings. Beach. Friends. So excited. So proud.

OH and ya know, somewhere in the mix Chris and I reached 4 years. Happy anniversary to us. June 11. Good times. We didn't do anything obviously. His mom dropped off flowers for me because Chris is too sweet. I went and flew to see him, so he can just be happy with that ! But, now I guess I gotta update the banner for the blog again. Now we're 4 years down, eternity to go. Weird. Had this blog for three years. Fun fun !

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

It's been a while since I've posted. This last... month and a half have been super busy and chaotic and every time I think I'm at the end of it, I'm clearly not. So apologies my avid readers ;]

I had this next post all planned out in my head, and i was going to rattle off all the insane things that have been going on, that have been happening to me and around me, all the busy-ness (business, busy-ness, interesting). And mostly in my head it would be "oh poor Haley, look at all this she's had to deal with, poor her, waaaah" and that's not what I want. So instead, last night another post popped into my head. I'm going to go through the same insane activities and occurances but list the blessings. List the happy things.

April consisted of SO many church activities. SO many. But looking back at my calendar, all in one week, I learned a wonderful lesson on Easter at enrichment. I got to hear a different perspective to the same story. I also go to share with the young women at their meeting Wednesday night, Mutual, some of that same activity, but also my deep testimony of the Atonement and how much the Savior's life and death mean to me personally. It's been a while. It was nice to see that in check.

We also had Stake Conference with an Area Seventy (a higher up position, it's almost like a celebrity has come to church, well and LDS one at least) and he was wonderful. I got to share my testimony again through song accompanying the incredible Robert Harrison.

"He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
'I know that my Redeemer lives!'"

Then baby showers. I love seeing the women come together to shower someone with love. We love babies. We love that renewal of life, that chance to have something straight from Heaven, the pure, the innocent. I bet Heaven's like that. We need to be good and get there.

We also had a Temple Fireside for the youth I planned. It was hectic. People didn't show up. People didn't tell me they weren't showing up. But it all worked out. I thought it went wonderfully. The spirit was incredible. The youth were able to listen to "stories" from people through recent history and who were waiting for their temple work to be done. And the youth were able to participate in their saving ordinances by having done their temple work with the card they were handed out. I might post more details of this later. But it was really great. So many people stepped up to help me in a ward where I'm getting tired of the lack of participation. Thank you for proving me wrong and helping bear testimony to our youth of the importance of find their ancestors and taking their names to the Temple !

Then came preparing a talk. For Easter. Bring out the big guns. AH! I'm too little to have that pressure. As the closing speaker. AH. And musical numbers we have to get together. It was a little crazy. I got to speak after Sis. Shehl and she's incredible. I almost wanted to say ditto, amen. And sit down. But I was challenged in finding a different way to present the Easter story. I didn't want it to be the same "He died, three days passed, He rose" thing we hear every year. But I was able to read a LOT about the culture, and trial, the manipulation and I gained such a deep appreciation for all our Savior suffered. Not just the obvious in the Garden and on the Cross. There was so much that went into those last few days of His life. Go study. It's incredible. And studying what the Apostles and Prophets have said concerned the resurrection and Christ's death, and life. Their amazing testimonies. I could have read those for days !

Then another youth activity I planned. A service scavenger hunt. And it was hard to find homes willing to allow a bunch of rowdy youth to come "clean" and do service. But we had more than enough service opportunities. And they had fun. I heard all laughing and stories when they got back. I'm glad they had a chance to help members in our area.

I then had the work trip to San Diego. Awesome. Long. Tiring. But it was beautiful. It was so fun to spend time with family and have a blast with them. I miss them all the time. And especially to attend church if even for 15 mins to take Sacrament in a Spanish branch. That was such a sweet experience to me. Not really knowing what people were saying but a few words here and there, but knowing that same Spirit. Such tender mercies. Logan is such an incredible traveler too. He really is the best kid ever.

Then we had his birthday, which I had to scramble to get done. But even though I was finishing stuff as people were showing up, and I didn't get to shower, we felt of the love of so many that came and adore my little boy. We're so spoiled to have so many close family and friends to love and squeeze him. He doesn't know how lucky he has it. It was the cutest party, if I say so myself. And once again, so grateful for so many who came over and helped out. It would not have happened.

Then Chris graduated. So happy that's over. I'm so excited to move forward to our next step. I'm so grateful for how hard he worked and was able to finish in 4 years with 2 minors. He's a rockstar. With graduation though came him leaving as well. It was the hardest to say goodbye, and watch him say goodbye to Logan who has no idea what's going on. But we've prayed a lot and asking for protection and I know we will be. I know everything will be ok. Given that..

Logan had a seizure Thursday night after Chris' graduation party. Most likely was febrile from a fever he had from shots the day before, even though I don't think he had a fever and at the ER in triage he was only comin up at 100.5 but what do I know... I did't go to med school or anything type of doctor/nurse school. But that was heart wrenching. And the incredible blessing from that scary (the scariest) moment was our family coming together. Chris and I talked a lot about our testimony and faith, the covenants we made in the Temple that include Logan. We are sealed for time and ALL eternity. No matter what happens to us in this life. Even if for any horrible reason, Logan is ripped from us, it's only for a moment and I will get my little boy again. And it really made us stop and think what's important and what we're spending time on. I love my family. I'm so thankful for the Temple, for the sealing I had there, and the power of the Priesthood that has been restored and makes it all possible. Families ARE forever.

And then right before Chris took off, I apparently had an ovarian cyst rupture. Oh goodie. We had no idea what it was at first. I would have swore I was having a 20min contraction. And then the next day or two I was so sore all over my abdomen, and bloated and in pain. Finally got an ultrasound at my OB and then sent me to Cabell for a CT to rule out appendicitis. Really? 48hrs after Chris leaves and surgery is on the table? Awesome. Luckily the CT ruled out appendicitis and the fluid seen on the ultrasound was blood and explains the bloated soreness. And it was just a cyst that ruptured. So no surgery. Just pain. And time to reabsorb the fluid and antibiotics so I don't die. From this I'm so thankful I don't have to have surgery. How easily it could have been so much worse. Without my husband. And again how grateful I am for so many who stepped up and offered help, who just stopped by. The wonderful Priesthood holders we have close to give me and my crying baby a blessing while Chris is away. Poor Logan has had a fever for a few days and been forced to take Advil and Tylenol, which he hates. But I'm so afraid of another seizure. But, thank goodness, I discovered to little molars poking through the back of his mouth. Now I know why he's miserable; it's not some unknown disease that will give him fevers and seizures and there's no way to fix it.

I can't even list all the blessings we've been given these last few weeks. Even at some points the only blessings are peace and comfort, but oh how those can mean more than mountains of money, or whatever things you think you need.

I'm so thankful for my Savior. For all the went through and suffered so I can go to Him in times like now, when I feel alone, and hurting, and need comfort. And He comes through. In the Book of Mormon, in Alma chapter 7, verse 11 it says:  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

I know this to be true. All I've been going through, the good and the bad, has been to learn more about Him, about me, about His ways, about this amazing Gospel.

Even in the midst of trial I can finally say just as Paul did: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation [2 Cor 7:4].

So before you (or maybe it's just me) start to list out your trials and tribulations and seek comfort from those around you in pity and sympathy, instead count your blessings, and receive the only comfort that is true and real. I listened to this hymn this morning and it's helped pick me up today. Go enjoy a listen :] Count Your Blessings. You won't be sorry.
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