I can do it

Today while we were getting ready to leave my moms house Evaleigh insisted on carrying everything out to the car. Even if there were something in my hands she would ask to carry it and say don't worry I can do it. On the way out she would drop items and then lean down to pick them up without a fuss or frustration. At one point I really wanted to help her but John wisely looked at me and said "let her do it." After she made it to the car with every thing I praised her and said, "wow Evie, good job! You can do hard things!" I hope that is a lesson she will learn in her life. 

On the way home we listened to some old Cirque du Soliel CDs that I found in the basement while cleaning up this afternoon. Evaleigh was loving the music while Avett fell asleep. At one point she asked me, "is this a sad song?" I asked her, "does it make you feel sad?"  She said yes.  Then I told her music can make you feel any emotion happy, sad, excited, relaxed, nostalgic. She asked me "mama, what does nostalgic mean?" Then I told her "do you know how when we are at Momommee's house and you tell me 'this feels like home?' Well we can feel the feeling of being at home."

Then she said in a very matter of fact tone, "yeah, I feel that way."

One the ride home she put her new blush on....about 7 times. Normally I would have squelched such a project but she looked so happy and I decided to embrace her first attempt at makeup by herself, really I just wanted to see where it would go and how far.  She was beaming a pretty little girl smile and was so proud of herself.

I love my Avett.  He was such a happy boy today.  I spent a lot of time swinging him in the swing and he kept asking to go higher up the the sky and up in the tree. I loved watching his sweet little high point to the sky. He is growing up so fast and I am cherishing these last bits of toddlerhood with him.  He is just 2 and a half still and sometimes I expect him to be where Evie is.  I have been finding more joy lately in embracing where he is now and sitting with him longer and playing with the things he is interested in.  We spent about 30 minutes together at our new little sand table yesterday making green sand with food dye. He loves to ask me to "cry mom."  And then he says our happy family word "jigglyjob". We made it up so when we say it no matter what who ever is crying has to stay and smile.  It sounds crazy but it works great and the kids think it's so funny. I love my sweet son and my giving curious daughter. 



After a hard morning full of lots of crying and whining and frustration I decided Avett *had* to have a nap. I tried and tried to get him down for a nap in his room and it was a struggle.  I surrendered my cause and just shut the door to his room to see if he would fuss him self to sleep.  I walked out feeling defeated and drained and looked up through the frizz of my frazzled pony tail only to see my sweet Evie at work in the kitchen.  She had pulled up a dining room chair up to the sink and she was scrubbing and washing and rinsing all of the dirty dishes.  I just about wept right then and there.  I walked closer and she caught me on her view and said, "Oh hey mom! Are you glad and lucky that you have someone to do the dishes for you?" I thanked her over and over for her service and kindness.  I am so proud of the service heart she is developing.  I adore her thoughtfulness and her ability to observe my frustrations and her determination to do something to make me smile. 

So yes Evie, to answer your question, I feel lucky.  I feel lucky in every way because of you my darling girl.


what if their story were my story?

Today I had the incredible opportunity to meet with New American Pathways, an organization that helps to resettle refugees here in Georgia.  

Since my new calling in the Relief Society Presidency I had recently been tasked with finding a service project for our women in the Athens 1st area. 

The following three talks I had heard in the past two weeks lead me to know exactly where I thought we could be of use:

After today I am feeling fueled to help these refugees.  My heart was touched to hear some of the circumstances these people face and the journey it is for them to find freedom and to feel safe.  Although there are nearly 60 million refugees in the world and that can feel overwhelming I know and believe what is in the scriptures, "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."  (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10.) And even if we can help ONE soul, it means everything to that soul and everything to God.  We are all His children.  

I also believe in what Jesus Christ taught and how we can apply this to our brothers and sisters  in Matthew 25, "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in."

I believe in service.  I believe in helping hands.  And I believe that we are God's hands.

The state of Georgia is in the top 5 of the US states that help to resettle refugees.  New American Pathways helps to resettle almost 500 refugees each year.  I want to be on the helping side and I want to make a difference.  

The LDS Relief Society is THE LARGEST WOMENS ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD.  With over 6 million women in 170 different countries.  I am so proud to be a little moving part in that big force.  The RS motto is "Charity never faileth."  If we are giving help and extending kindness and showing love how Jesus Christ does then we cannot and will not fail. 

I am waiting on my back ground check to come back clear and then we can get to work! 


crumbs and chats

We spent the whole day at Stock Gap yesterday.  It was good for my heart.  Yesterday would have been my parents 31st anniversary.  I don't know that anyone thought of it except that I mentioned it to my sister in a whisper.  I don't suppose it should have even been mentioned anyway but still...it was interesting.  I feel so at peace and even happy for how things turned out for my parents.  I feel at peace with their new lives and how we all fit together in one crazy blended family now.  They are both remarried to great matches and my sister and I have come to accept and love them as have our husbands and children, although they never knew anything different. 

After the divorce some relationship dynamics changed for a while and I'm coming to terms with the fact that that's ok.  It's hard for families to split apart and then to find how they fit back together and where everyone lands and how.  I suppose it's like shaking up a bottle of soda, everything bubbles and is crazy for a bit and then it eventually settles down and you can see clearly again.

I've been praying for that clarity so often and I'm so grateful for the bits that come to me in time.

Yesterday after a big meal everyone scattered to do different things while mom and I had some time to ourselves to clean the kitchen.  I don't know why in sharing that mundane task and exchanging conversation amidst it all I felt like a piece of my heart flew back and a crack was filled.  After I mentioned that we won't all fit around the dining room table much longer I was listening to her tell me about how a long time ago Grandmother Virginia Shepherd offered her a huge table that sat 14 or 16 and that she is now sad she didn't take it. I felt happy hearing her share that simple story.  I walked around collecting crumbs and and clearing the table and it just felt good to be two women at work.  A mother and a daughter doing something that mothers and daughters have done millions of times together.  I'm not quite sure why yet, but I cherished it.  I'm grateful for her wisdom and her experience and I want to learn from it.  

The rest of our time was filled with crying babies, happy messy dirty children, and sporadic conversation mingled with requests from toddlers and kids.  It was good for me, so good.

Goodbye Seminary // Armor of God challenge part two

I recently realized that I never got around to posting part two of The Armor of God Challenge.  To be honest I don't even remember what I wrote for part one and I'm a little too lazy right now to even figure it out.  But suffice it to say that today I came across all of the old pictures from the whole process on my iPad and I felt home sick for all of it.  Actually I felt homesick for seminary in general.

I was recently released from my early morning seminary calling.  To say that I was blindsided and heartbroken pretty much covers it.  I cried quite a bit.  It's just that I grew in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined and learned so much about my self, others, and the gospel.  I feel like I learned a sliver of what Christ-like love feels like.  I came to cherish and care for those teenagers, kids who weren't mine, and it was a love unlike anything I've experienced.  I prayed for those teenagers and worried about them and their struggles, I was so proud of their joys and accomplishments and I poured every bit I could in to the lessons I prepared for them.  I took very seriously the stewardship I had over that little flock of emotional, fickle, smelly, chatty, spiritual, teenagers. My little flock, I can name them each and every one by name....well the Lord's flock really.

I prayed so many times to have the right words to say and that the spirit would always be with us as we met together those early mornings to discuss the scriptures and things of the gospel. I sought help from my Heavenly Father to understand the hearts of those teenagers and the things that would help them the most.

I loved those early mornings driving in the darkness to the church when so much of the world wasn't even awake yet.  I loved pulling in to an empty parking lot and unlocking the door to the quiet empty church.  I loved seeing those sleepy eyed devoted students saunter in.  I loved the Friday breakfast, the games, the memorable lessons, the surprising comments, the spirit, the sharing, the testifying, the growing.

I loved the productivity I felt when by 7am I had already gotten up, gotten dressed, and really studied and talked about the scriptures.  I loved the students who would stay behind to tell me things and share with me the details of their lives.  I loved how fulfilled I felt and how I felt that I was truly using some of the talents that God gave me for good.  I felt that I was making a difference. I hope I did. 

I miss it.  I'll always miss it.  There will always be a special place in my heart for that year and a half.

Monroe Ward
Serves the lord
Fight with might
To shine your light
Together we stand
Strong and tall
Do good
Be good
Hoo ha-ha


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