Wednesday, May 22, 2013

While They Sleep

Sitting, watching
Sweet babies sleeping
Gazing, admiring
in the silence of hearts beating
Reflecting, realizing
Precious moments fleeting
Wishing, relishing
Memories repeating
Eyes wandering, mind pondering
Happiness repleting
Attentively attending
the sound of restful breathing
Elation overwhelming
Pride inside swelling
Suddenly understanding
time and its meaning
My heart, they are stealing
Can’t help but feeling
humble, yet able - 
and grateful to Thee.

related link:

Baby's Breath

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sudsy and Self-Sufficient

Gems of Reflection - Week 20
I definitely remember having to do chores as a kid. Shoot, my mom had us all doing our own laundry from a very young age, and we each started being required to cook dinner for the family (supervised, at first) from the time we were about 7 years old. It got to the point that each of us was responsible for making dinner for the family one night a week. As we got older (and lazier), we often opted to use our allowance to provide taco bell (usually when my dad was supposed to be cooking) or Whoppers for dinner. Haha. Yeah, I think they knew us by name at Burger King. Hehe.

We had other chores as well. I remember my mother coming into the bathroom to inspect whether or not I had scrubbed behind the toilet (with bleach) sufficiently, and whether the ring around the tub was gone. Of course, she said she always knew when we did a good job because we'd actually seek her out to come inspect our work. I also remember the dreaded dog poop duty that each of us tried to avoid like the plague. I remember my dad used to tease me and call me Shannonella because I swore that I was so picked on for having to do chores. Haha. I have some other funny memories where chores were concerned too.

When I was about 10 years old, we re-modeled the kitchen (thanks to a little fire incident, courtesy of my older brother) and tiled the entire kitchen and dining room so they kind of ran into one big kitchen area. There were several times - when one of us had been assigned to sweep and mop the floor - that we'd move the dining room table and chairs to the carpet area, wet the floor with water and soap (yes, I said soap - usually of the dish variety), then we'd go flying across the floor on our knees or tummies. We usually ended up sloshing soapy water all up onto the carpet, which naturally drove my mother insane, but hey - the kitchen floor was always sparkling clean when we were finished. Haha.

Another memory I have of doing chores growing up is how my mom would always catch me sitting on the bathroom sink acting out commercials in the mirror with cleaning supplies or items from the medicine cabinet - when I was SUPPOSED to be actually cleaning the bathroom. lol. And speaking of "supposed to be cleaning," my mom and I sort of have a running joke now about how I would always disappear into the bathroom for 45 minutes because I suddenly had to pee when I was supposed to be helping with the dishes. To this day, dishes are probably my least favorite chore, and I find it rather ironic how M does the same thing - suddenly has to use the restroom the second I ask her to do the dishes.

But yeah, thems was the good ol' days. Hehe. I must say, though, how grateful I am that my mom taught us to be self sufficient from such a young age - even if I didn't appreciate it at the time. ;)

related link:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Step in the Right Direction

This past Mother's Day weekend was absolutely incredible. Thursday morning, my husband and I took our kids to Salt Lake to visit with his sister (The Purple Lady) and her family - and Friday, she and I attended a writer's conference together in Provo. We attended several writing classes that were given by authors and literary agents, and we were truly treated like royalty. Friday night, they served us an exquisit dinner (we had a choice between chicken or pork) that looked and tasted like it belonged in a fancy shmancy restaurant.

Photo by The Queen of Purple

Dessert was equally divine. I only wish we had thought to take a picture of that as well. You know me...everything has to be about food. Haha.

Anne Perry was the key-note speaker at the Conference, and she also held a master class on Saturday. The Purple Lady was only able to attend the conference with me on Friday, so I attended Saturday on my own. It was truly inspiring to be in an environment with so many talented, published authors and literary agents; though, and I feel like I have been given a rare gift for having been able to attend.

The whole experience kind of gave me my first taste of what to expect with the industry too. I submitted my writing for a first-chapter contest back in February, and since this was my first time really putting my stuff out there professionally, I felt a bit vulnerable. Still, I tried not to to allow myself to get my expectations up too high. There were sure to be a lot of entrants into the contest, and only a few winners would be chosen from each category - with one grand prize winner. My main attraction to this contest, though, was the fact that every entrant would receive a critique of their work by judges who had been chosen from the industry. The judges were anonymous, so I didn't know if they were authors or agents, but I did know that their critique would be gold, and I was anxious to hear what they had to say.

As expected, I didn't place in the contest, and the critiques came back evidencing that I still have a lot of work to do before I am anywhere near ready to publish. I feel like I really learned a lot at the conference; though, and now that I am over the initial shock of my first professional rejection (haha), I feel truly blessed to have the valuable critiques of the contest judges so that I can begin to make the necessary improvements to my work to prepare for publication. Many writers submit to publishers and get rejected without the slightest idea as to how they can improve their writing. But now, I at least have some direction as to where I need to go from here, and what I have to do to prepare for next year. I am feeling extremely motivated and inspired, and who knows - maybe I'll even be brave enough to sign up for a pitch session next time. ;)

Anyway, Zachary took The Purple Lady and me out to dinner on Saturday night for Mother's Day. He had already done so much for me in watching the kids for two days while I attended the conference, but the Teppanyaki was delicious - and we awesome ladies even caught shrimp in our mouths. Hehe. It was so much fun.

Sunday, we attended church with my sister-in-law, where her son gave a fabulous talk in sacrament. The Relief Society was later treated to a special surprise for Mother's Day too. The icing on the cake, however, was a turkey dinner we had back at the house afterward with my husband's siblings and their families. It was truly a perfect weekend, and I am feeling completely and utterly blessed. :)

Source: via The Purple on Pinterest

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Testimony of Prayer

Gems of Reflection - Week 19
There is not a day goes by that I don't receive answers to prayers on one level or another. As a mother, I am constantly praying for guidance and direction with regards to rearing my children. I know that I've received an answer when a problem arises and the words needed to invite the spirit and teach a valuable lesson enter my mind as though the Spirit whispered them into my ear directly. Every day that my husband and children return home unharmed, I know that a prayer has been answered - for I pray for their safety daily. In times of struggle, I recognize the hand of the Lord when I feel his comforting arms around me.

There are also many epic moments in my life that were grand answers to prayers  When I found out that I was pregnant with our son, that was an answer to our prayers. The day I was sealed to my husband and our daughter was able to be sealed to us, that was an answer to a prayer, as was the day our baby girl (who just turned one in April...crazy!) was born. We were able to bring her into this world via a v-bac, avoiding another c-section, and my testimony of prayer was strengthened tremendously that day, as we had been praying for such a result for months.

I feel so blessed to be able to see the hand of the Lord in my life on a daily basis. It is a constant reflection of His love for us, and I have a firm testimony that He truly does hear and answer our prayers.

Related Link:

Gems of Reflection

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To My Mother

On this glorious Mother's Day, I wanted to share this beautiful message of love and appreciation for Mothers. It touched my heart and reminded me of the kind of mother that I want to be.
"There is nothing in this world as personal as nurturing, or as life-changing as the influence of a righteous woman." -M. Russel Ballard
So, to the woman who gave me life, who kissed away my sorrows, and taught me to be a righteous, loving example of the Savior, Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Taste of Flight

Gems of Reflection - Week 18: If you could be an animal, which would you choose and why?
If I could be any animal, I would choose to be an eagle. From the time that I was little and first started fantasizing about make-believe abilities and magical powers, I've always desired to possess the gift of flight. It actually manifests quite frequently in my dreams (even still), wherein I suddenly find myself lifting off the ground and flying through the sky, free as a bird - but then I am quite disappointed upon waking to find that it was all just a dream.
"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." -Leonardo da Vinci
Not only would I choose to be an eagle for the gift of flight, but eagles are also fierce, brave creatures that rule the skies and fear nothing. What amazing qualities to possess! J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, said:
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
As a daughter of God, I am cognizant of my divine potential, and I strive each day to possess these same qualities - to walk upright before the Lord and soar through life in faith.  I only pray that my faith will give me the wings to be a righteous mother, a devoted wife, and a loving daughter of our Heavenly Father.

Related link:

Gems of Reflection