Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Guess Ask For What You Really Need!

Since I don't post to this blog a huge amount, I sometimes forget what I've posted about so sorry if any of this is redundant.

We've had a difficult past little while financially which is probably no news to anyone because why would we be different? Everyone's having a rough time unless for some reason you're in a recession proof job (incidentally I personally am in a recession proof industry but I'm not the primary bread-winner) and so we are at the whim of my husband's profession which unfortunately for us, is construction. He's done ok but for a while it was very rocky and this was right around the time that I had the baby and wanted desperately, for the first time ever, to just be home full-time with my girls. It didn't work out that way though.

At that time, my husband sold out of his company and left his truck with the other owners as partial payment of the % of debt that was his. And consequently we were down to one car. He bought a work-truck of sorts so that he'd have something to drive as he tried to start his own company. So we have our Jeep which is my primary car, and the work truck which is big, dirty and not very suitable for driving kids around when I've got the car and he's with them.

This whole situation is very new to us and we're having a hard time getting used to it. We live in a 2 car (at least) country right? Since I've been an adult, I've not ever had to share my car! And now, I have to always be conscious of the fact that if I take the car, I've left him home basically without a way to go do anything unless he drove the beast. I work a lot of Saturdays, evenings and often he'll come home early and I go to work. Plus, I'm at church every Sunday and he'd like to go to the hardware store or whatever. I'm often told to "hurry" or "just remember I'm stranded", or "you're really going to be gone all day?" And then I feel guilty...FOR WORKING! It's like the worst disparity of all time!

There's no way we could afford a new car. And I recently did our budget and we have a ton of debt. I diligently worked up a budget using Dave Ramsey's baby step program and worked out that in 9 years of perseverance, I can pay off all of our debt including our home. But that's not incurring any new debt! But how would we get another car and not incur new debt? The baby step program didn't include any extra savings plan or any way you can get big ticket items - there's virtually nothing left!

So I started praying. I was doing the right things. Doing my part, I mean. I didn't just throw it up to him and expect a miracle. I did ask for one though. I know people who have been given cars and I didn't think it unreasonable for me to ask for that! We deserve it!

Well, we were driving home from his parent's house yesterday after our Easter visit and he told me his dad has a little extended cab truck out in the back that has an engine block that needs replaced. His mom told him that we could have it if he wants to replace that engine. Todd looked it up online and said he could probably replace the engine for less than $1000. We can do that! What we can't do is serve up $10,000 for a used car and make payments!

I was shocked when he told me this. And I am usually extremely hesitant when I tell him spiritual things but I told him I'd prayed that we would be given a car. He was less than impressed, at least that's how he acted but really...that blows my mind! I mean, can you get a more direct answer to a prayer? And I'm sure that affected him - how could it not?

You guys, I'm stunned, humbled, so undeserving and grateful. Not for the car - I mean, ya I'm grateful and stunned and humbled for the car...but more to the Lord. He's paying attention to the things I'm doing. The efforts I'm making, the strides I'm taking to be responsible and to heed his words (get out of debt). And he wants to help ME! He put the answer right in my lap. What more proof does a person need that He is there and that He loves us and He wants us to be happy. Wow.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Bishop's Call

The Bishop called me this afternoon. He said he'd been thinking a lot about my calling change and hadn't really felt right about it. Funny, that's sort of the way that I felt about it.

We talked for a while about it and he decided that perhaps moving me wasn't what he wanted to do after all. So, I'll be announced AGAIN in sacrament this Sunday and all I asked was that it wouldn't make me look like a petulant child since I really hadn't asked to be re-instated. I didn't make a big deal out of it. I didn't call a single soul and discuss it. I only felt bad inside about it.

Anyway, that's the deal...I'm happy about it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Need To Write More Frequently

Ahhhh. I'm sorry it's been so long since I've written. I've had some weird thought processes that continue to plague me. I know there are plenty of people that read this blog and I should be keeping it more updated. It might also help me get through my "issues".

As it is, I was released from my Personal Progress calling today after being in it for little less than a year. All being said, I think I gave it 75% effort and is that good? With what goes on in my life every time I try to participate wholly in a calling, I'd say yes, it is good. I was in charge of Young Women in Excellence and New Beginnings, as well as several mutual activities - all activities that required that I be away from home. It was not cool according to Todd. I put up with a lot of criticism for being away those evenings.

It seemed for awhile that Todd was easing up and becoming more comfortable with the idea of me participating more in church activities but it turns out that it was not. We had it out several weeks ago when he felt that I was spending more time on church stuff than on our marriage. Again, he felt "betrayed". I don't get that but whatever. Whatever. I wish I could get that better but for now, it escapes me.

So, I was taken out of that calling. Am I the only person who feels a distinct sense of rejection when being released from a calling? Did I do something wrong? It's true that the New Beginning's program, which by the way was LAST SUNDAY, (yeah, pretty clear message: New Beginnings Sunday...not even a week goes by and I am released - Bishop even stopped by my house on Thursday so he was serious) was not exactly how I had pictured it and went very long but I thought it was alright. And whether or not it was my perseverance or someone else's, I've had 4 girls finish their personal progress in 9 months. I'd call that success in something but I was released anyway.

What was I called to? Young Women transition specialist. You know, helping the Laurels transition to Relief Society when they turn 18. The bishop specifically mentioned that it should be more lax in time requirements and not require me to participate in meetings and activities as much. Was this especially a problem that no one mentioned to me? Why am I feeling defensive about a volunteer position? I'm being a little irrational... Yeah, I nearly cried.

On another note, a good friend of mine asked me a question last week that's kept my mind reeling all week long. She's been struggling with her spirituality and her testimony for as long as I've known her and sh.e asked me if I truly have a testimony that our church is "true". Truth be told, I actually really dislike that saying..."I know this church is true". I actually believe that a lot of churches are true. As to the most complete, then yes, this is how I would rather describe it. So she asked me this and we have a pact to always tell the truth to each other regardless of the repercussions. So I said I said I do and she asked why. It was hard for me...and that's hard to admit because we Mormons want to be perfect and never admit to another that our testimonies ever quaver because that would admit that we falter here and there. But I'm not perfect and my testimony wavers. I told her I'd have to think about it. And I have.

And I didn't really like what I came up with. I have a strong testimony of the gospel, yes this is true. But why. I decided that I'm a really black and white person and I like the boundaries that the gospel provides in my life. I decided a long time ago that I have specific ideas about how I want to lead my life. I want to be a good person. But it's a pretty nebulous term and lots of stuff could go wrong if you don't know exactly how to accomplish your goals. The gospel lays it out pretty specifically and that's what I really like about it.

But what about all the rest of what the gospel has to offer? I feel like I'm missing a huge boat here. Like my relationship with Christ. Like my covenants. Like the temple. Like the atonement. So much needs to be resolved here. And I'm feeling very uncomfortable with all of this like perhaps I'm really there for all of the wrong reasons. And if that's the case, why am I putting myself through all of this hell at home just for some boundaries that I'm sure I could establish on my own - and teach my children about without alienating my husband and creating the strife I have.

Anyway, I'm not about to give up - I've invested too much already and it would be very premature. But I've got some big things to think about. I know I'm being tempted. First that conversation with my friend and then being released from my calling.

I feel like I don't want to go to church tomorrow but how lame will that be. I'm sure I'll be called during Sacrament to my new calling and what better way to announce to the entire congregation that I am not there is to not be there when I'm announced to a new calling. Ahhhh.

On one other note, I went to a family history fair today. I really love doing family history. And, if I lose faith then there's really no purpose in doing family history other than as some hobby like other non-LDS genealogists. I loved being there and learning the things I did. I love the puzzle and the challenge and uncovering information no one else has ever uncovered before. It's incredibly awesome. I am inspired. Perhaps this is what will get me through this rough spell. Someone told me that I need to read the Book of Mormon. Maybe I need to do that too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Testimony About Fasting

Fasting, for many people, is a difficult and arduous thing. Fast Sunday...a day to "get through".

I beg to differ however and this is why...

After I went through the temple, and Todd was having such a hard time with my decision, I decided I would fast every single Sunday until things changed. And I did. I fasted every Sunday for about 7 months. At first it was difficult. I would dread them and barely get through. But as time went on, I learned much about my own spirituality, my tolerance and the power of fasting.

Each time I would fast, I swear something monumental would happen. Something that could not be explained just by coincidence or by the passage of time. Todd and I would have an enlightening conversation...he would confess he believed...he forgave me...our fights became returned more quickly than anticipated... and all of these things may sound trite and inconsequential but they're not. If you were living my life, you'd understand that each and every occurrence was a miracle for me. And my testimony and spirituality grew leaps and bounds in those months. I felt so close to the Lord and his Will. It's as if it flowed through me and I walked on air.

About a year later, I happened to stop by a girlfriend's house who evidently was having a bad day. She was very frustrated about her child and his behaviors and didn't know what to do. I recommended that she spend a day and fast about the resolution. I told her how I felt about fasting and she said it was really hard for her but she might do it anyway. And she did. Later, she told me that she received an answer to her prayers from the fast and she was going to visit her pediatrician, which she did. Her pediatrician told her that she needed to be referred to an occupational therapist. And so she called me...because that's what I am! I saw her son, developed a treatment plan for him which she complied with very carefully and she reported back a few months later that he was doing great. This was the answer to her fast. I felt very humbled because not only did I counsel her to fast, I was able to help her in another way too.

I believe fasting can bring about miracles. I believe it can expedite the answers you need from your prayers. I believe that fasting can help you become closer to the Lord than you ever hoped to be. I believe it is one of the most wonderful tools that He has given to us.

I wrote this tonight because I had forgotten how much I loved it and I haven't been able to fast since I was pregnant and then nursing. But I'm finished nursing now and now can fast again. I am very excited because I have much to fast for.

If you are needing answers in a big way and feel that some extra effort is needed on your part, fast. Fast with your soul. Fast for 24 hours. Start and end with a prayer. Have a purpose to your fast and state it to the Lord. Pray often during your fast especially when you can't stop thinking about food. Read your scriptures and church magazines. These are the guidelines for fasting. He will respond...he covenanted with us that he would.

My Newest Calling

I got a new calling a couple of months ago but forgot to blog about it. We had a change in the presidency of the Young Women and I was kept in but shifted to the Personal Progress Specialist, a calling that will enable me to be much more one on one with the girls than the Secretary could be.

So far, I've been able to visit with most of the girls about where they are with their PP and our bishop has encouraged us to make good use of the summertime to get as much done as possible. I plan to host an activity that will enable some girls to pass off one of their Value experiences, or at least part of it. I have yet to think of the right thing.

I'm also in charge of Young Women in Excellence in November. If anyone has any great ideas for this, I'm open to anything. It is my first experience with this program since I was a Young Woman myself and I never finished my PP anyway. I think I'll finish it when my daughters go through the program.

In my interviews with the girls, I've come across a couple of lost souls, so to speak. Both get themselves in a lot of trouble and I am doing my best to be available to them and help them through these rough times.

One girl in particular I've tried to take in under my wing. She's been in a lot of legal trouble and also thinks currently that she might be pregnant. I can relate to this girl in many ways. Although her difficulties far out-spanned the ones I caused for myself, I can still understand her feelings of being misunderstood, lonely, confused etc. I've had her over to my house making jewelry, hanging out, going for drives, and generally trying to be a friend. But not the kind of friends she's used to. Her friends get her into bad situations like robbing homes and stuff like that. I, on the other hand try to just listen to her, not judge her and give her gentle guidance. She's asked me to help her break the news to her parents if she finds out that she really is pregnant. I took her to the store and bought her some pregnancy tests because she was afraid to ask her mom to. I know her mom would be grateful that I did this if she knew but I won't tell her yet. I think that it is up to this girl to be honest with her mother. Her mom does like me a lot and thanks me frequently for doing what I can. Honestly, I'm just grateful that I can give back to girl that was like me (remember my letter to my Young Women's leader?) I want to be that leader that really makes a difference and with this girl, I might just do that. Hopefully the Lord will help me know what I need to do to make the most difference.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Temple Recommend Interview

Wow! Time has passed so quickly! I had to get my temple recommend re-instated for the first time already. Has it really already been 2 years? That's insane!

My sister-in-law is going through the temple on Saturday for the first time and I am so proud of her. It's been a long time in the making and I've encouraged her many times to go even if her husband wasn't ready. And she knows I speak from experience! I'm so honored that she invited me to go with her! I'm not her escort but still - that's very nice. I didn't invite ANYONE to go with me the first time. It was too nerve-wracking.

Anyway, when my recommend expired at the end of December, I had the bishop issue me another one but never had the stake president sign it and wasn't too worried about it because I knew with an infant, that my chances of getting to the temple in the first 6 months were pretty nil. But this new development necessitated that I get it signed...pronto!

So I sat in the stake president's office again tonight and went through the interview. I cringed over some questions and figure that if I don't feel an element of guilt during that interview over some of the questions then I am not being humble enough. That's alright. I can deal with that.

However, for the fourth time during a temple recommend interview (with bishops and stake presidents, etc.) I've had to explain my battle with decaf! Oh my gosh people! I LOVE COFFEE okay? I've given up the caffeinated stuff but decaf has been just so hard. When I am really feeling picked upon or extra cold or just need a treat, I get a decaf latte at the drive-through coffee shop - and I absolutely RELISH it. It's far better to me than any dessert I could possibly have. Isn't that stupid?

And for the fourth time, I've had them tell me that I need to just stay away from it. Easier said than done, I say! This time though, my stake president said, "you should avoid it - the price is just too high!" I was intrigued by what he said. "the price is just too high". It's true. I asked him what the deal was with decaf and why some people say it's okay. He said of course it's between me and the Lord, and where I'm at in my spiritual progress but that the Word of Wisdom is an obedience law - not necessarily a health law although he can't be entirely sure that tea and coffee aren't bad for our health on a large scale. Anyway, he said it's just better to be obedient than to have to pay the price later.

I'm tired of having to have this discussion time after time over a stupid drink. I'm going to make it a priority that in my next temple interview, I will not have to bring it up again. It's not like there aren't alternatives.

I also felt mildly bad about my "addiction" which is actually not coffee. But, I am dealing with it a day at a time and it's going well I think. Satan definitely has his claws in me on this one but I can tell you...I'm going to win :).


Monday, January 26, 2009

Family Home Evening

I've felt prompted so much lately to have a consistent FHE with my daughter. She's only four but I can understand why the prompting is there when I have the lessons with her. She's at such a wonderful age and loves all of the cheesy activities I concoct and loves to learn so much! I can just see her little sponge brain sucking up all of the things I'm telling her and I know it's getting through. I know that I am contributing to a large extent to her foundation of knowledge and hope that I can continue teaching her while this stage is still here. I know this is where the testimony starts - at this age and I'm doing my part to help establish that. I'm so grateful that the prophets have instructed us to have FHE because I really feel like I'm doing something that will really benefit her.

Did you realize how many great FHE resource web-sites there are out there? Just doing a very cursory search brought up so many hits with lessons practically planned for you - all you need to do is personalize them and add a snack to them. They're great!