It was such a nice weekend. I got to catch up with dear friends.
Weekend Part I
On Saturday one of my best friends from college had a housewarming party, as she and her husband have finally settled in Utah after a decade of med school and training all over the country.
Jen and Laurel
I can't tell you how great it was to see her. It had been about 7 years since we'd visited each other. She has a great family and is just about the happiest person I know. She is so accepting and and never judges. I love that she lets her heart lead her and doesn't care what others think. What a great quality.
We used to do some crazy things together with LeAnn, the third member of our trio. Hey, it was BYU. You had to make your own fun.
Jen, LeAnn, Laurel
LeAnn, Jen, Laurel (LeAnn was my maid of honor, Laurel was serving a mission on Temple Square)
Being with her made me think of LeAnn (who lives in NY) all day and I miss her very much.
Today the three of us have 13 kids all together. How cool!
Weekend, part II
On Sunday our family got to spend a great night with some friends who were neighbors of ours but moved away several years ago. We had a fun night with games and good food.
Kristy means so much to me. She taught me how to can food, tried (unsuccessfully) to teach me to crochet, and is the master example of budgeting and frugality. We have much in common, not the least of which is having our sisters live farther away from us than we want them to. I admire her patience and the constant smile she wears. She is always willing to learn new things and I love that about her. She makes me want to be better.
We have 9 kids between us and they're all about a year apart. I thought my girls would never leave her house!
What struck me over the last two days is that even though years may pass, friendships don't die. They may fade into the background at certain times but true friends are always there and a reunion just gives you a chance to pick up where you left off. It's amazing how that works.
I'm so blessed to know great women who are such good examples of being the wife/mother/sister/daughter I want to be.
I noticed my lovely daffodil tips showing the other day. Next to our driveway we have a not very sunny, not very grassy, forgotten strip of property. But I planted bulbs in there many years ago. Every March now, for about 3 weeks' time, it's a pretty cheery yellow path. We usually get enough for me to cut some for the kitchen table as well.
It doesn't look like much in this photo above, but...
...here you can see what I noticed this year for the first time. Each clump of bulbs makes a mound as it grows. The plants literally move the earth as they make their way up to the light.
You see the turf lifted right up? Amazing. I never thought of a few daffodil shoots as being so strong, did you?
I'm not sure what I thought happened to spring bulbs Did I think there was a ready made hole in the dirt for them to tunnel through? Surely they wouldn't have to pave a new course every single year, right? Or wrong?
I am going through a few life changes at the moment. (No, not that change) All at once I am
choosing to be educated and choosing to be healthier
all the while being "on the front lines" (as my friend once described this very busy stage of life with kids).
You know my path to going back to school. Hardest decision ever. Still hard, even though I've begun.
A few things prompting my healthy-ish decision.
First of all, my sister's mother-in-law made similar changes. I admire and respect her, and I started to wonder if I could do it.
Second, my son Bugs started doing the Wii Fit daily and I was so proud of him that I wondered if I should join in.
Third, my post-gall-bladder-removal body was starting to have more annoying degestion side effects than normal (not fun). I thought making a few changes could only help.
Now please don't think I'm going all crazy fitness or anything. I don't want to mislead anybody. I'm merely being more careful and moving my body every day.
Some of it has been harder than expected.
*When I sit down to read or study, everyone needs me. Simultaneously.
*I got 4/5 on my first quiz in Anthropology. I expected 5/5.
*I still don't drink enough water.
*I hate exercising. Does that part ever get better? But I'm afraid if I miss a day then I will find it easy to miss another. And another.
*I never knew how much mental energy it took to make better food choices. I feel like I spend half my day thinking about food.
*I love to bake. Sadly, I don't want too much stuff around here so I haven't made any goodies for 2 weeks. My family isn't thrilled.
*What was I thinking trying to do all this at once in the middle of kids in lots of sports and hubby coaching two teams and church duties and all? Not to mention, I just bought girl scout cookies!
Did I think there was already an easy path to the light? Do I have to make my own tunnels? Yes! Pushing up through the soil is TOUGH!
Some of it has been better than I could imagine.
*I feel the spirit strongly when I study.
*I am always getting encouraging comments from my sisters to keep me going.
*I look forward to time with my books.
*I am more confident.
*Most of my cravings were only tough for the first week; the second week I could actually take a couple bites of a dessert and not want more.
*I can tell when my body is actually hungry.
*Food tastes SO much better when your taste buds aren't all messed up.
*I feel physically strong - and it's only been 2 weeks.
*My endurance has already increased.
*My back pain is gone.
*I sleep more soundly.
*My digestion issues have settled down.
*I still had a Shamrock Shake last week (and it was worth it).
And most importantly to me at this time, my mind is clearer. I can focus more easily. After a long winter slumber I am beginning to feel the warmth of the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom more fully.
I'm beginning to understand what I have read many times in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
”And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
President Ezra Taft Benson helps us see an even bigger picture.
"The temporal promise for obedience is: They “shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; … [they] shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” (D&C 89:18, 20.)
I have always felt, however, that the greater blessing of obedience to the Word of Wisdom and all other commandments is spiritual.
Listen to the spiritual promise: “All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, … shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” (D&C 89:18, 19; italics added.)
Some have thought this promise was contingent on just keeping the provisions of the Word of Wisdom. But you will notice we must walk in obedience to all the commandments. Then we shall receive specific spiritual promises. This means we must obey the law of tithing, keep the Sabbath day holy, keep morally clean and chaste, and obey all other commandments.
When we do all this, the promise is: They “shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” (D&C 89:19.)
What father and mother would not want the inspiration of the Lord in rearing their children? I testify these blessings can be yours. Surely parents would not want, through disobedience, to prevent their children from receiving the Lord’s blessings. All fathers and mothers in Israel should qualify themselves for this promise.
Living the commandments of God is a condition of worthiness for entrance into the House of the Lord. There wisdom and “great treasures of knowledge” are given that relate to our happiness in this life and joy throughout eternity."
So you see, the timing of these changes is the biggest blessing I could have right now - at the moment I need it most. My Father in Heaven gave me promptings to change and strength to do so just when I need the greater mental capacity. When I need the increased physical capacity. When I need the heightened spiritual capacity.
Thanks for listening to my newly exposed vulnerability. I wanted to get my feelings recorded so they will eventually become a source of strength. I'm thankful for the multitude of blessings I get to enjoy and for my family I get to enjoy them with.
I am so grateful for these fleeting days at home with my baby girl. I know that time passes quickly. She makes me smile everyday, and is a true joy to raise. When all the other kids are being a challenge she reminds me I am still succeeding at something.
As I was running errands today, I realized at one moment that I could see 5 flags all at once. Five American flags at five businesses, waving in the wind.
I was immediately grateful for this symbol of freedom and for the freedoms I enjoy in many ways.
I am blessed with political freedom. I have opinions and that's good.
I am blessed with religious freedom. I can worship where and how I choose.
My days are blessed with freedom. I set my schedule. I do things around here the way I want to.
We are only in debt for house and school loans - that brings financial freedom.
I am blessed with freedom that comes from using a budget. Strider is so good about helping us with this one. (I get so happy when it's grocery envelope payday).
I am blessed with a cell phone that gives me freedom to roam and know that my kids or family can still reach me.
I enjoy freedom in my marriage to be an equal partner with my husband. He is not a dictator, but instead lovingly cares for me and is aware of my needs.
I am blessed with a reliable car that gives me the freedom to run this household with peace of mind.
I am also blessed with freedom to make choices every day - good and bad. I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who made agency a priority in His plan. I am still working on so many self improvements, but He lets me choose every day. And sometimes I fail, and it's okay.