Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Grateful Heart

President Thomas S. Monson's The Divine Gift of Gratitude

Almost three weeks ago, Z was driving the car home from work when the engine seized. He had it towed into the mechanic, wherein it was determined that an engine rebuild would be necessary. The mechanic sent the engine into the machine shop and discovered that there was actually a large hole in the wall of the engine. 

Today is Thankful Thursday, and words cannot express the enormous amount of gratitude I feel for everyone who has helped me in any capacity with carting kids around (among other things) these last few weeks. I know that certain people would like to maintain their anonymity in a public venue such as this; and therefore, I won't name any specific names, but I hope that everyone I mention will recognize my gratitude for their willingness to help my family and me in this unfortunate time.

First of all, I'd like to express my gratitude for the wonderful members of my ward with whom we carpool to and from school. I usually drive the kids to school in the mornings, but I have been extremely fortunate in the fact that since my car has been out of commission, one sister offered to drive in the mornings (until our car is out of the shop) AND continue to alternate in the afternoons with our other friend from the ward as well. I am grateful for both of these sisters, and I hope that each of them realizes how much I appreciate their service to my family and me. I am also grateful for the sisters in our ward that have made sure that M was able to get to and from mutual these last three weeks. I am grateful to my visiting teaching companion, as well, for the rides she has given M to mutual and choir, as well as for her willingness to drive me around to visit with our sisters. I am grateful for the sister with whom I taught nursery (who I have come to know and love dearly). She has been so understanding and willing to help as well. She has driven M several times to and from Civil Air Patrol. I am also grateful for the fact that she has a son in the same program, and I hope that it made the process less of an inconvenience. Hehe. Seriously though, I have such an amazing, loving ward, and I am so grateful for its members' willingness to serve us and enrich our lives these past few weeks.

I am grateful for my sister, who has lent me her car on several occasions. It's amazing how inconvenient something as simple as a trip to the grocery store can be when you don't have a vehicle. She even offered to stay at my house with the kids one day while I drove her car to the store by myself. Only a mother who has or ever had small children can understand and appreciate the value of getting out of the house for an hour or two on your own every once in a while - even if it's just for a quick trip to the grocery store. She lent me her car again yesterday too so that I could run the kids to their doctor appointments, and I don't know what I would have done without her generosity. ;)

I am also grateful to my mom for lending me her car this past weekend, AND for watching my kids so that I could attend my book club meeting. It was a luxury that was desperately needed, one that could not have been afforded without her. Also, the opportunity to actually participate in some intellectual, thought-provoking conversation was invaluable. As a stay-at-home-mom, these last few weeks have been challenging in the fact that the babies and I were pretty much stuck at the house. I, personally, was getting a bit stir crazy, and the book club meeting was serious food for my soul. I left feeling thoroughly refreshed and edified. I was also able to FINALLY get a double stroller while I had her car, so now, I can take the babies for walks during the day to get out of the hosue and get some exercise. So, thank you, Mom. 

Thank you, as well, to my awesome husband who stayed up to watch the babies for me this morning (after working a graveyard shift) so that I could take the Tubabus to an appointment that I had scheduled before the car broke down. I would have had to leave exorbitantly early and walk in the cold - with them in the stroller (the bus doesn't have any seat belts for car seats) - had he not been willing to stay up for a few extra hours to help me out.

Last, but not least, I am grateful to the Lord for blessing me with such amazing people in my life that continue to uplift and inspire me when I am faced with adversity. I feel truly blessed, and I know that this recent experience could have been a LOT more painful - not to mention ridiculously hopeless - had so many people not been willing to sacrifice of themselves to provide for my family and me. So, thank you - from the bottom of my heart. I love you all and appreciate you sincerely. <3

Related link:

The Blessing of Scripture

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Praying for Purple!

It's been a little bit of a stressful time for The Purple Lady lately - with the divorce trial earlier this week, and the Judge's decree still in limbo. But since she is so purpliciously fabulous, and because we love and support her unconditionally, I thought it would be prudent to initiate a fast. This Sunday is fast Sunday too, so it's the perfect opportunity to devote our thoughts and prayers to her happiness, comfort, well being - and dare I say, her sanity. Hehe. So, please remember her in your prayers while fasting this weekend.  

Also, for those of you who will be visiting the temple this week, please keep her in mind when writing names for the prayer circle. I appreciate everyone's support in this, and I know that Heavenly Father will hear and answer our prayers. <3

((hugs)) <------------------ This is for you, Lar! ;)

Related link:

A Hope of Heaven's Light

All Things Purple: PTGS

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oh Ye, Defenders of Truth!

Wow, I feel extremely empowered. I just sent letters to both of our Senators here in Nevada, as well as to Congresswoman, Dina Titus, regarding the proposed gun ban. I encourage you all to do the same, for there is currently a threat being unleashed on our Constitutional rights. This is for real, people! Albert Einstein said:

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." 

So, if you are wondering how YOU can get involved, to make a change and get your voice heard, THIS is it. 

Here is a video that pretty much spells out a potential letter that you can write. You can change the letter, or voice your opinion in your own words, but the important thing is that you take a stand and DO IT!  Make sure that you follow TNP on YouTube too. This guy is hilarious...AND right on point! Watch the video below and then send your letters asap.

Check out and for contact forms for your own Senators and Congressmen. If you have any questions about the suggested letter in this video, comment below and/or contact me on Twitter. Good luck, and may the force be with you. :-P

P.S. You can also go to for more information on protecting your rights, and for additional ways to contact your legislators. There is a short form letter you can send out simultaneously to all necessary parties. It makes the process super simple, so check it out. :-D

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Blessing of Scripture

Week 4: What is your favorite scripture? Why?
Trying to find an answer to this week's Gem of Reflection was like trying to pick my favorite child. There are seriously so many amazing, uplifting messages in the scriptures. How do you pick just one? Instead, I decided to pick one of my favorites from each of the four gospels; because after all, this is my blog and I can change the rules if I want. Hehe. ;)

So, without further ado...

D&C 112:10 says, "Be though humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers." This is a great scripture not only because it shows the Lord's promise to answer our prayers if we are humble, but because it also testifies of the Lord's direct interest in our salvation. It does not simply say that he will answer our prayers, but rather that he will "lead thee by the hand, and give thee answers." What an amazing thought, huh? To know that the Lord will not only answer our prayers, but will lead us by the hand and give us answers? Oh, how many times this has come true in my life! At times when I feel the burden of worldly sorrow or doubt - when I've struggled with trial and afflictions of the body and mind. Only after humbling myself to the will of the Lord did I feel his comforting arms around me, guiding me to the answers. I have a firm testimony in the power of prayer. I know that the Lord hears and answers our prayers, and that he will answer them according to our faith.

Mosiah 5:15 says, "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation, and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen." I love this scripture because it comes with an amazing promise that if we remain "steadfast and immovable" in the face of adversity, the Lord, who has power above all things, will seal us his, that we will have "everlasting salvation and eternal life." What an amazing promise - and an amazing blessing to look forward to. It definitely gives me hope in my moments of trial, to know that the Lord will bless me if I stand firm in my faith and endure to the end. :)

In Luke 17:15, it says, "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a  loud voice glorified God." This verse references the story of the ten lepers that were healed by the Savior. I love this scripture because it reminds us of the importance of showing gratitude. It always amazes me when I read this scripture - to know that out of ten lepers that were healed, only one of them came back to give thanks to the Lord. In the October, 2010 General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk called "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" wherein he stated, "My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love." I am so grateful for a living prophet, as am I grateful for his wonderful words of wisdom, and for the divine gift of gratitude.

And finally, Moses 1:13 says, "And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?" I saved this scripture for last because it is probably my most favorite of all. I love this scripture because it not only testifies of our divine nature, but it also affirms that as children of our Heavenly Father, we have the power to overcome the temptation of the adversary. Like Moses said, who is Satan that we should follow him? For we are children of our Heavenly Father. We were created in His image, and we possess the potential to do amazing things. Moses's words empower me, and give me the strength necessary to stand firm in the face of temptation.

I love the scriptures and I am so grateful for the knowledge and wisdom they impart. In his April, 2010 General Conference talk, The Blessing of Scripture, D. Todd Christofferson of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "Through the scriptures, God does indeed 'show forth his power' to save and exalt His children. By His word, he enlarges our memory, sheds light on falsehood and error, and brings us to repentance and to rejoice in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer." It is so comforting to know that through the pages of the scriptures, we have the ability to access the word of God on a daily basis. The scriptures guide us through our trials and strengthen our faith. They are like a sort of road map back to our Heavenly Father's presence. They are such a treasure, and I thank Heavenly Father for the blessing of the scriptures in my life. <3

Related link:

52 Gems of Reflection

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Willingness to Forgive

Week 3: What is the biggest lesson in life you have found to be true?
One of the biggest lessons in life that I have found to be true is the fact that forgiveness is the true key to happiness. I think that a person can truly be defined by their ability to forgive; not just with people they are close to and care about, but also with people who we feel may not be deserving of our forgiveness.

In D&C 64:10, it says, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." To forgive is to show compassion - to see others through the eyes of Christ and to understand that we, as humans, are capable of making mistakes, but are also capable of feeling true remorse and experiencing the desire to change. Only the Lord truly knows what is in our hearts, and therefore, it is not our place to judge the actions of others. I believe it is our responsibility to forgive those who have wronged us whether or not they've asked for our forgiveness, and whether or not they even deserve it. The Lord did not command us to forgive those who are worthy of our forgiveness. Nor did he say to forgive only those who request it. He said we must forgive all men. And honestly, I think it was as much for our benefit as for the person's who is in need of our mercy.

Holding a grudge not only harbors pride and resentment, but it takes the space of love and understanding in your heart, without which relationships fester and die. My 12-year-old daughter and I had a conversation the other night, wherein she explained to me how sad she thought it was that so many people in the world allow an argument to destroy their relationship with a loved one, perhaps to the point that they go years without speaking. She said how she hoped that that would never happen to us. I assured her in that moment that it never would - that because of my unconditional love for her, there would always be forgiveness. I only pray that the conversation helped her to understand the value of my relationship with her, along with the importance of forgiveness in her own life. I am sorry, but no argument or misunderstanding is worth losing the ones you love.

Mark Twain said that "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."  This has always been one of my favorite quotes. It is a beautiful expression, which exemplifies what an amazing, loving gift that forgiveness can be!

Related link:

52 Gems of Reflection

Monday, January 7, 2013

52 Gems of Reflection

Debby's jar of journal prompts - A true treasure from heaven!
A while back, I found this jar of journal prompts in my bedroom, and soon learned from my husband that it belonged to his mother, Debby. My sister-in-law, The Purple Lady, later informed me that it was something her mother had done at a Relief Society meeting that she had taken her to when she was young. 

Anyway, for those of you who don't know, my mother-in-law passed away before my husband and I met, so I was never given the opportunity to get to know her. All I have at my disposal are the few pictures of her that I've seen, and the memories of others. When I found this jar; though, I thought it might be fun to use the journal prompts as a blog project in order to kind of feel connected to her - and since this year marks the 10-year anniversary of her passing, I figured what better way to celebrate her memory than in a year-long project, which was born by the fruits of her labor! 

I ran the idea by The Purple Lady for some feedback, and we put our heads together. I took some pictures of the jar, she did some editing - and this is what we came up with:
52 Gems of Reflection
So, for the next 52 weeks, we will be dedicating Mondays to this fun, little project - wherein a journal prompt will be randomly selected, and its picture will be posted to my blog. I would like to encourage all who knew Debby - or even those who didn't, but still want to join in on the shenanigans - to check in every Monday for the weekly Gem of Reflection. Then, use said reflection as a prompt for a blog post of your own - or if you want to make things super simple, just leave a simple Facebook/Twitter post. Either way, please remember to leave a link to your blog post in the comments section below so that we can all stay connected through these reflections, and can appreciate what everyone has to say. 

The Purple Lady will also be posting the weekly prompts on Pinterest - so if you plan to participate, you can get the challenge photo (as shown above), along with the weekly photograph prompts via a pin that she will post each Monday under Blogs and other Writing Adventures.

So, without further delay, I bring you week 1 of 52:

Week 1: Thinking back, was there a teacher(s) or class that had a great influence on you?
Reflecting back on my experiences in high school and college, it seemed like the classes that kicked my behind the most - requiring me to really think and work my tail off - were the ones from which I benefited most profoundly. There were a few classes, in particular, that had a huge impact on my life, and on my ability as a writer - and go figure, most of them were English classes. 

The most influential class; however, was one I took my freshman year of college. It was a World Lit course, and I will never forget our eccentric, little professor, Dr. Rey. She had to have been in her late 60's, yet she had short, flaming red hair, wore mini skirts and knee-high boots, and always wore a ton of makeup, including bright red lipstick. It was an interesting environment, to say the least - but this woman had an incredibly insightful mind. The work load was absolutely ridiculous, too (or so we thought as 18 and 19-year-old kids). We were assigned a particular work of literature to study over the course of a two-week period, at the end of which we had a five to seven page paper due. This was basically what we did over the course of the entire semester. Every two weeks, there was a new work of literature assigned, and a new paper to write. 

I'll never forget the day that Dr. Rey handed back the first set of papers that we wrote for her class. She began class that day by passing out a two-sided sheet of paper that listed all of the gramatical issues she would be taking into consideration when grading our papers throughout the semester, then began to express her disappointment in all of our papers as a whole. She then continued to rant about how bored she had been while reading them (she actually said she'd had to pour herself a glass of wine just to get through the pile. lol), and how disgusted she was that so many college-level students were incapable of forming complete sentences. Burn! English and writing had always come quite easily to me, but I realized in that moment that this class was no joke. She had some seriously high expectations, and I was going to have to up my game significantly in order to succeed in her class.

After berating us on how completely incompetent we were as writers, she said that one paper, in particular, had stuck out above the others, and that she was going to read it aloud so the rest of us would know what a "real" paper is supposed to look like. Immediately, I started to think, "Great, some punk know-it-all in the class is making us all look bad." But then, when she started to read from the pages in her hand, I suddenly felt my eyes widen in embarrassment as my face went white. She was reading MY paper. I immediately sunk into my chair and could feel the weight of everyone's stares in the room. I kept telling myself to play it cool, to try and act normal, but it took every ounce of self control not to shift uncomfortably in my chair. It did me no good though. When she finished reading my paper, she walked over and handed it to me, so everyone knew who it belonged to. I seriously could have died (I know, so dramatic. Hehe). 

Now that the initial humiliation has worn off, I can say that it was the first time I really remember feeling legitimized as a writer. I mean, all my life, I had been praised by family members for my writing, but this somehow seemed different. Maybe because she had had such high expectations for us as college students? I guess it's like receiving a compliment from someone that you know doesn't usually throw them away at the drop of a hat. It means more coming from that person because you know they are sincere - and not just blowing smoke up your rear. hehe. 

I am not going to lie, the class seriously kicked my trash - and I wasn't the only one, apparently. By the end of the semester, there were only about six students (including me) still enrolled in the course. I seriously learned so much from that class though. Not only did I acquire an adoration for classic works of literature (Inferno, The Illiad, Beowulf, Oedipus, the King, etc.), but I also came to love certain characters, such as Hector (from The Illiad). Heck, I'll even go so far as to say that I even gained a true appreciation for the art of writing term papers. That doesn't mean that I want to write one EVER again after all that (although, I am sure I will, as I plan on going back to school to finish my degree at some point), but still. ;)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Text Messaging

Excuse the typo on "messaged" above.
Gotta love auto-correct, ;)
Today is the first Thankful Thursday of the new year, and because {M} has been visiting her dad in Oklahoma for the past week, I have to express my gratitude for text messaging. She took her phone with her to Oklahoma, and though we have been able to chat on the phone a few times, there have been several other times that we've missed each other's phone calls, and text messaging has been my saving grace - the one thing that has allowed me to close the gap in the distance between us. 

This morning, I woke up to a text message from her saying that she'd had a nightmare, and it made her miss me because she needed a comforting hug. Unfortunately, she had sent the text at 1:11 a.m. my time, so I didn't read it until several hours later, and it broke my heart a little to know that I wasn't there to console her. I somehow still felt comfort; though, in knowing that she felt connected to me through that text message.

I texted her back immediately, and only hope that she was able to calm down enough after her bad dream to fall back asleep. I know she has had trouble sleeping as it is since she's been away from home. She is 12 now, and tries to play the whole "I'm a big kid now and I'm so tough" card, but I know that deep down, she is still her mama's girl. ;)

related link:

Thirty Days of Gratitude - Day 17: My Daughter

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in a Nutshell: Blues Clues, Tubas, and Babies, Oh My!

Wow - 2013! I can't even begin to express how quickly this last year has flown by. So many amazing things happened though. Our oldest daughter turned 12 and started the Young Women's program. She also started middle school (I am sure you remember all of her interesting 6th grade drama. Haha), began playing the tuba, and also joined the Civil Air Patrol. She has become quite the busy, little gal. Our two-year-old son started speech therapy and has been increasing his vocabulary and interacting skills by leaps and bounds. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this past year. Our beautiful baby girl is now 8 months old and is already pulling herself up to her feet, trying to walk along the couch. I seriously feel sometimes like you blink and time just flies right on by. They are all growing up way too quickly.

My husband opened up The Smith Center with The Las Vegas Philharmonic to Mahler 2 back in March, 2012. He also successfully coached another student through the audition process of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. Said student was his first tuba student to audition and be selected for the program. He continues to attend classes at UNLV, and plans to graduate with a Bachelor Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in the spring of 2013.

Aside from giving birth to my third child (a Vbac, I might add - it was absolutely amazing) back in April 2012, and doing the whole mom thing - all while trying to adjust to how different life can be with three kids, I have spent these past several months of 2012 building my baby - The Luckiest. Though my blog is still in its infancy, I have had such a stellar time learning the ropes, sharing in some incredible blogging experiences (the Thirty Days of Gratitude ChallengeSlice of Life, etc...), and exploring the inner most reaches of my soul in order to share my thoughts, dreams and aspirations with my readers. It has been an amazing journey thus far, and I look forward to all that 2013 has in store for my writing ventures, ;)

Blues Clues...Yay! :-P
Unfortunately; however, New Year's Eve 2013 was not all that exciting around our house. My husband worked a 12 hour shift at his "day" job, and I was home sick (with walking pneumonia) with both of the babies. {M} is in Oklahoma visiting her dad, so the babies and I basically just lounged out in the living room all night, flipping back and forth between episodes of Blues Clues and Army Wives on Netflix. Haha. {L Bear}, my two-year-old and I had an understanding - an episode for an episode. That's how we roll. hehe. He's hard core too, I tell you. The minute the credits start rolling on my show, he jumps up and down, popping his fingers open and closed shouting, "Blue Blue." For a kid who doesn't talk a whole lot, he sure knows how to get what he wants. His cuteness factor plays a huge roll in that too, I am sure. ;)

I hadn't even planned on staying up to ring in the new year, but because of a late nap (L Bear didn't wake up until 8pm yesterday evening), he was still wired at 11:30 p.m. when I was starting to crash out. I ended up just turning off all the lights, bringing him into bed with me, handing him my iphone, and crashing at about 11:40 p.m. lol. I have no idea what time he finally went to sleep, but he was quite the party animal, and partied on way past midnight without me. :-P

Anyway, there are some fun and exciting things to look forward to here on the blog in this new year. I hope everyone had a safe and awesome New Year's Eve, and I wish you all a happy 2013! :)