Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 28 - May 4, 2014

Monday - Kaylee came today for a new week. Mondays have always been her adjustment day. She has been having fun for a week at Gramma Liz's house, and now she has to adjust to our house. We played in the yard: her favorite place. She walked out and looked at our new "chick-chicks"…they got a wave and a "hi"… My sunflowers planted by Nate and Jess and me are being devoured by a nasty rabbit. I would hunt down that thing…if Kaylee didn't see one in the yard and call it a 'hop hop hop'. The day was lots of work, but lots of laughs. My sister, Sharynn, called and we had a good visit. We went to two Asian markets to get my rice vinegar I will need for the cabbage salads for the wedding.

Tuesday - Kaylee and I walked and saw the goat. He now sticks his head through the fence and he got one and a half granola bars. The horses were out of their stalls grazing in the yard, so Kaylee got to see quite a lot. She braved up a bit and when we had the chicks in an outside pen for a few hours in the yard, she actually would put her finger on one and say, "nice"…Dee has been making many phone calls for the Stake Baptism on Saturday. We have the program ready to print. Nate pulled the engine and transmission on his truck and is getting ready to paint it. I completed reading and cross referencing all the General Conference talks before bedtime.

Wednesday - I picked tomatoes early in the morning. It seems that they become more visible on the vines during the day, as the light changes…we ended up picking 54! Dee had meetings in the morning, so Kaylee and I had the house to ourselves. It was windy outside…the third day of this nasty wind, but we spent time in the sand while it was still cool. She loves just watching the sand fall, and pouring it from bucket to bucket. I made ravioli (not homemade…WinCo bin stuff) and sauce for dinner. Dee had Webelos at our house, and since his co-leader had to be with one of his kids, I kept going in and out, helping as I could.

Thursday- The first day of May...and beginning of wedding month. Kaylee played in the sand, and after Daddy came to get her, while Papa was swimming, she splashed her hand in the cold water. Pool is having a rough time now. With all the wind, it's hard to get it back to sparkling blue without a lot of chemicals. We are trying to patiently brush and skim and use minimal chemicals. Dee and Ethan planned a boat/fishing trip to Lake Pleasant for tomorrow after work.

Friday - Dee took a vacation day from work and spent it at a 7 hour gardening seminar, part of which occurred in Jessica's yard! It's a different gardening method, and Dee is not totally sold on most of it, since it uses a LOT of water, but he is trying to incorporate the fertilizing methods in our garden. I picked 75 tomatoes...almost 13 pounds!...this morning. Kaylee and I strolled and spoiled that goat friend of ours with 2 granola bars. It's getting rather warm to stroll, so Mr. Goat will probably soon not be seeing so much of us. Dad and Ethan didn't have much luck fishing...I guess the picky fish are not interested in anchovies any more. They prefer shad. Snooty fish! I made a couple of possible decorations for the wedding...

They call them kissing balls...

While Kayty, Jessica and Nate watched a movie.

Saturday - We quickly headed out to yard sale, came home and got all fixed up, and headed down to the Glendale North Stake Center to fulfill our first Stake 8 year old baptism calling. We arrived and found 15 men's baptismal suits on the washing machine...not this guy became my friend.

We set up lots and lots of chairs. Seven wards confirming 8 children means 7 rooms have to be prepared with 50 chairs set up in each.
We made copies of the baptismal program we had prepared. We waited...and we had to learn to negotiate with mothers who wanted a piano in their room for the confirmations. Brother Alvin Spencer, the High Councilman in charge of the baptisms, was the greatest! Dee conducted the initial meeting to a full chapel...(they said it was the largest baptism they had had in quite a long time!)...of course, our first one and it's the largest! All went well, and as I try to remember, Do No Harm...and we didn't. It took an hour to clean up, etc. and load the 17 wet baptismal outfits in our jeep (and four loads of laundry to get them clean later) We spent 6 hours doing all this!

We came home, ate, took some tomatoes to a family Dee home teaches,  and I set out to can some of the way too many tomatoes we have.

I washed, cored, and cut (we are not peel picky people, so the skins stay)
I cooked, and boiled jars (so thankful for our new outdoor stove with 3 burners!)
Dee worked on a new garden plot with some of the fertilizers...squash will be planted.

Meanwhile, during hit 100 degrees outside! first time this year!

I ended up with 7 quarts of canned tomatoes for future meals.
I also ended up exhausted.

Some neighbors came by for a visit...talked garden.

I finished folding baptismal outfits...they are ready to return to church.

I collapsed into bed...

Sunday...May the Fourth Be With You. Kayty plans to get married on May the 4th...the year is still undetermined. ;)

Today, 40 years ago, I was baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Best decision...ever!

We had a wonderful Fast and Testimony Meeting today. I am so thankful for our new edition of the Thunderbird Hills Ward. We have the most inspiring meetings every month! A sister had just returned from BYU Women's Conference and had heard an especially inspiring speaker. It was the mother of Emelie, one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School in 2012. She spoke about how when she finally found out that Emelie had been killed, she and her husband knew all their physical needs would be met, and help poured in, but that the emotional and spiritual needs, well, that  is where the Atonement of Christ helped her. She turned to Him, to forgive and to endure. Many testimonies were shared of the challenges people face and how to rely on the Savior to help us endure that burden...take His yoke upon us and He will help us.

I found this actual account from this dear sister on her blog. In her own words:
"... Alyssa Parker, Emilie's mom, came out onto the stage. She was greeted by a standing ovation from the 15,000 women who were in attendance. After she gained her composure, she spent the next several minutes telling us about her experience. She told us about the call that forever changed her life - the call that sent her to the firehouse, where she spent the next six hours waiting to hear what had happened, and if her daughter would be coming home with them that day. She told us about her fears being confirmed, and the confusion that set in when she and her husband waded through the photographers to get to their car. When they got there, they prayed together, and immediately felt like everything that they needed to get through this tragedy would be provided. People came out of the woodwork to help with their physical needs, but she did not understand how her greatest need would be met - the healing of her broken heart. As she came to the Lord in prayer, putting everything that she had in God's hands, her heart began to heal. The emptiness and grief that was all-consuming began to turn into peace, hope, and gratitude. She was filled with gratitude for the time that she did have to spend with this sweet little girl, and for all of the things that she learned from her. She was grateful for her knowledge of a bigger plan - a plan that included life beyond mortality and her family being together again after death. She was grateful for the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that had carried her through darkness and despair into the brightness of hope.
As I sat there listening to her story, I realized that this remarkable story was made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. That single act of love, performed by the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, not only covered our sins and weaknesses, making it possible for us to repent, but also covered all of the pain in our lives.
In Alma 7:11-12 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. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
Because Christ has already felt our pain, he knows exactly how we feel in our darkest hours. He knows how to help us through every kind of pain, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. If He was able to turn tragedy into peace, hope, and gratitude for Alyssa Parker, I know that He can do the same thing for me, and for you, if we will come unto Him. He will not force His way into our lives. We must decide to let Him in. In doing so, He will help us to shoulder our heavy burdens. He will give us strength to overcome even our darkest hours. He will be there to carry us when we are too weak to go on, while strengthening us until we are strong enough to walk on our own. He may not remove the mountains, for there is much to be learned by climbing them. But, He will help us to climb when the road is steep and the fall treacherous. He has the power to mend broken hearts, heal unseen wounds, and strengthen feeble knees, but we need to trust Him. We must trust that He knows how we feel and how to help us because He has FELT the same pain himself - trust that He KNOWS and LOVES each one of us - trust that He will send aid - trust that His atonement is a living, breathing thing, and we can access its healing power by following HIM.

We had a nice afternoon, made a new baked fajita dish that was way too spicy. Kayty went to game night and celebrated May the 4th...

 We returned the washed, dried and folded baptismal clothing to the closets at the Stake Center. Dee got to sneak some ice cream from the Young Singles get together, and we returned home.

It was been quite a week. I have learned many things. I am so thankful for the Lord constantly teaching me, making me more aware of the things I need to be. I am thankful for talks, for covenants, and for my greater understanding of covenants. I am thankful for the Savior's comfort when the work I gave my life for doesn't always turn out the way I had hoped, when people I have sacrificed much for say and do things that bring me to my knees...though it is on my knees that I truly feel the arms of my Savior wrapped around me. We are here to experience...and that is what I continue to do. Never give up...

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