Monday, March 31, 2008

A little Mormon humor


You know you're a Utah mormon if you recognize these terms!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lots of activity in one day

For some reason, there's no sound to the video. And we have to get ready for church so I can't figure it out right now. So let me share the essence of what will be shown.

1) Anya lost her first tooth. Unlike Mark, she begged me to pull it out! I'm getting pretty good at pulling teeth.


2) Luke got his first hair cut. He had a wisp of hair that just HAD to be trimmed off. (When I first show him I realized he had a little spittle...so I took him off screen to make him more presentable.)

3) It's James' birthday!!!! He's not shown in the video...he was still eating breakfast. But he yelled it from his chair. He is 5 today.

4) Peter and Mark HAD to be involved...of course. So let's see...Oh. Peter popped his first balloon today. He was quite shocked. And it took a little bit of comforting to be ok with it. And Mark...what could be his first? Hmmm....he played Stratego by himself this morning before the rest of us woke up. He's definitely my son...playing 2-player games by himself.

Love from Virginia!

Here's the visual:



video

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kinda makes our stomach sick

As I was driving to work this morning, I heard that the schools were delayed 2 hours to begin classes. At the first sign of a potential snowflake, they close the schools around here...but there was no snow in the forecast and temperatures were predicted to reach mid 60's so I couldn't figure out why the delay. I finally heard why when I got to work. Needless to say, I didn't take my usual route on HWY 64 to get home tonight. Here's an article:

Sniper in Charlottesville

Crazy rednecks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm a sucker for quizzes

My sister, Laurel, had this quiz on her post.

This is who David is:


Which Peanuts Character Are You?

You are part Sally Brown. You may not be the most ambitious person, but life isn't supposed to be hard! You are relaxed and easy-going, but you can hold your ground when you want, too.
You are part Snoopy. You have a vivid imagination and lead a rich inner life. Everyone likes you, but some don't understand that you may just be of another species.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com


And this is Karen:


Which Peanuts Character Are You?

You are part Charlie Brown. You are always optimistic and persistent, and everyone appreciates your simple sweetness. Sometimes, however, your anxieties get the best of you, and life's mysteries can confuse you.
You are part Sally Brown. You may not be the most ambitious person, but life isn't supposed to be hard! You are relaxed and easy-going, but you can hold your ground when you want, too.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Random Thoughts on Easter Morning


The school that Karen and I have organized for our family is The Garden Academy. As I look at our mission statement on our wall, I'm reminded of the seasons we have been blessed with, the symbolism that each season holds in reference to Gospel truths, and the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1 - To every thing there is a season. I especially love this season that officially began only a few days ago.

A strong influence on the naming of our school were the 3 greatest events in history, which took place in Gardens:

1) The Garden of Eden
2) The Garden of Gethsemane
3) The Garden Tomb

The great prophet Moroni described these events in the most concise, yet profound way: "Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man." (Mormon 9:12)

Ponder what took place in these three Gardens. I would encourage you to take some time to meditate...truly meditate...these holy and sacred events.

And finally the kids. :) They woke up this morning to Easter baskets and eggs hidden throughout the family room. They are so fun to watch. We had three larger sized eggs and Karen knew that would create some whining about who got the bigger eggs. So instead of chocolate, we placed a slip of paper in each. And whoever found the egg got to lead our family in the assignment written on the slip of paper. The tasks were:

1) Go find a tree that is budding
2) Read the Easter story found in John 19:41-42; John 20:1-18
3) Share your testimony

It's been a delightful Sabbath morning of Easter celebration. It was especially tender to read the Easter story (thanks, Dad).

Our family KNOWS that Jesus Christ lives. Reiterating the prophet Lehi: Salvation is free. We are redeemed because of the righteousness of our Redeemer. Amazing Grace, how sweet it is. The Spirit testifies it is true. Our family invites you to receive the same witness. May God bless you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Letting go...

Relationships.

They can be so difficult. Especially when one of the two is unwilling to let go. Granted...it's only been two months or so, but we made it very clear that the relationship HAD to end. Yes, Karen and I were involved in a relationship. It was good for us. We were given many benefits. It was because of that relationship that we were able to stay in touch with so many of you. But when Karen and I moved from Illinois, we decided it was for the best if we terminated the relationship. And the other party is just unwilling to let go. They continue to correspond with us. And I'm finally putting my foot down. I'm saying, "Enough already!" Let it go!!!

The following is my recent email communication with Frontier...our previous phone/internet/satellite provider:

GO AWAY!!! Your company is being OBNOXIOUS. We moved from Illinois back in December. We have no more affiliation with you (and thank goodness based on the poor customer service we've received since). It's time for your company to leave us alone. We've spoken with several customer service reps. We owe you nothing...we have no more service with you and haven't for over two months. We just got another bill for $56.46 for service dated 03-20-08 to 04-19-08. WE OWE YOU NOTHING!!! Close our account. I'll start to send Frontier a bill of my own through my lawyer if we continue to receive future charges.

Please confirm that our account is closed and that nothing is due.

Thank you.


Karen and I have moved 4 times since we've been married. And the utility companies, by far, are the worst people to work with during a move. I have great sympathy for anyone who has ever tried to carry on a logical conversation with a utility company. Logic and basic common sense are not their strong suits.

To be fair, there are a few exceptions. And I am thankful for those exceptions.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My "What Not to Wear" Intervention

One Sunday morning I was as usual fussing and whining about what to wear. I have over the years and the pregnancies managed to add a few minor 15 pounds or so. David of course gets really tired of my moaning about how nothing fits, so he threatened to withdraw a certain amount of money and make me go shopping. I naturally protested as any neurotic and shopping inhibited mother would. After a few days of considering I agreed.

It started very small. I thought, well I really should get some jeans that a)don't have holes, or almost holes and b)don't create the muffin top look around the waist. Then David added the stipulation. No Goodwill and No Plato's Closet. What?! I mean, Huh?! Where in the world am I supposed to go then? hmmm?? What do you mean a regular store? And what pay $20 for a pair of jeans?! Unreal! Again time passed. More time passed this time.

I finally decided to look at the situation from the vantage point of TLC's "What Not to Wear".

Step one, accept that it is ok to get rid of clothes that do not fit, or only fit kinda ok. I tried on everything in my closet. I left only the things that I knew fit well. I was down to about 2 nice shirts I could wear to church and 6 t shirts. Yikes! Needless to say I took down and rehung everything else several times before I started to really feel ok about the whole thing. Honestly the boxes haven't left the house yet, but I promise that they will. Three boxes of clothes and shoes that I should not be wearing anymore. Then I moved on to . . .

Step two,Ok, so what are the basics of a good, versatile wardrobe. All of my previous shopping expeditions have been more of a what's on the racks that fits and doesn't look too worn. Now I had a new goal: scour the internet for a list of wardrobe basics. I spent an afternoon and found some really interesting websites, but I also found certain items being listed several times. These I compiled into my list of the basics of a good wardrobe. With list in hand I then began searching the internet stores to get basics on prices and figure out which things were a priority on my list. We, or David really, enlisted the advice of the best dressed woman we know, Laurel. She helped me see what things we needed first and mentioned where the best places were to shop.

I admit (sorry Laurel) I was skeptical. Eddie Bauer and Macy's. Well, Macy's is an hour away and I am just not ready for that, nursing mother and all, so I planned for Target, Old Navy, and Eddie Bauer. I thought for sure with all the advertising by Old Navy about their different jean fits that one would work. Nope! Nada! Apparently, in Old Navy land there is one body type supermodel. i.e. a girl with no pooch. That would not be me! Their shirts were almost as bad. Too tight up top and so long they hit my thighs. hmm. Not the best way to begin a shopping trip. Alas, I persevered. Target. I had a pair of jeans from Target that I had purchased second hand and they fit ok, except for being a lower rise than a woman of my, umm, shape should wear. I have learned my lesson. Target's pants were made for small people. Really, really small people. Happily, after that things improved. Skirts are much more forgiving than jeans. Shirts are also a great deal there, especially when you get the right size! I once was a small . . . . not anymore. O happy day I left there with 5 tee shirts, some short and some long sleeved in basic black and white and an A line black skirt. On to Eddie Bauer. I Found Jeans! They cover my fat roll!!! YEA!!! And the cherry on top was that the jeans were on sale! Downside, they were on sale to move the merchandise to make room for the slightly altered line of jeans. I only could find one pair that fit. Then I looked at my list, a denim jacket. Really? Can I?

(Sidenote, me being the tomboy type nerd that I have been most of my life, I have always wanted a denim jacket, but never got one. For me it is something of a cool person status symbol. Pathetic I know, but it is an integral part of the story.)

I pick up a large since, well the Relief Society waggle has made its appearance. I am in the dressing room when David calls to let me know that the baby is screaming and refuses to take a bottle, so can I please wrap up and come home. Duh! What do I do? I begin to berate myself for having spent so much time worrying about me and neglecting my child, somebody call Child Services! I think well the jacket isn't too tight, so I hurry to desk and check out. A jacket, a pair of jeans and a nice reversible belt (from the women's section no less!) $$$$. Ok, no time to stress about that now I gotta get home. I perused the receipt on my drive home while my hands begin to shake because I have been so focused that I forgot to eat for umm, 8 hours or so. I nearly faint. I spent how much on a belt!!!! 40! That is just not right. Even if the belt is reversible. That is still 20 bucks per side and more than I think a belt should cost. No matter, drive now, stress later.

I arrived home assuaged the hunger pains and shyly showed my purchases to David. He naturally liked them all, though he mentioned that the jean jacket made my shoulders look boxy. The really funny part of the jean jacket story is that I thought it would be ok for me to wear the jacket with the jeans. ok, 90's! It is a sad day when your husband has a better sense of women's fashion than you do. I was sure I was right so we consulted the fashion guru. umm, no you cannot wear a denim jacket with jeans unless you're refilming an exact copy of Saturday's Warrior, particularly the Zero Population song. Wasn't that guy soo cool! hehe. Now I am depressed. I thought I was learning something about fashion here. Obviously not. Well, since all I have is jeans, the jacket had to go back with the outrageous belt. And it did. But I am not there yet.

It had now been a few days and i needed to "finish" my shopping. Yeah, now I realize I will never really finish, will I? I went to Target again to hunt for shirt I could wear to church and managed to find a white tailored button down, short sleeved, for spring and a pink v neck thin cable sweater. Very good! Interchangeable with my new skirt as well as the three others that I am keeping since I can breath when I wear them. On to Eddie Bauer, again. I returned the offensively priced belt and the beloved jacket and then began to look around. I tried to find another pair of jeans. no luck. I tried to get myself to try on a skirt. no luck. (I cannot yet pay 70 for a skirt) I found some Khaki's on sale. cute, casual, but not so casual that I couldn't wear them to a nice dinner. This is good. Now I think, well if I have khakis now, does that mean I could rationalize the jean jacket back into my closet. And hey, what if I needed a smaller size. It was worth a shot. It really is amazing how much better the right size looks. I smiled and turn red when I go to the desk, having to face the guy that rang up my refund not 10 minutes before with the very same item he just hung back on the rack. "umm, it turns out I needed a smaller size." I know I am an awkward person. But that's ok, because I am cool and have a denim jacket.

I have more items on my list and never fear there will be more adventures. I haven't tackled the buying shoes from a store instead of working with my sisters' trade-ins from my mom's basement. Soon. Very soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Great Escape

You can't go to Dallas and not have a steak. It would be like going to Vegas and not pulling the lever just once on a slot machine (Laurel). Or like visiting Salt Lake City and not going to Temple Square. Or like going to California and not seeing a beach. Agreed?

So...a co-worker (Kama) and I were determined to find a decent steakhouse...at a decent price (you know the whole "expense management" concept). My philosophy is if I were in Dallas on my own expense, would I do it? I would definitely patron a recommended steakhouse. Sorry for digressing.

We drove around and finally stopped outside an establishment to ask locals for their recommendation. We were clear about our price range and were soon en route to the local steak house.


Hindsight is 20/20...these should have been our clues:
1) The parking lot was filled with Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Bentley type automobiles.
2) Optional valet parking.
3) Well-dressed men who opened the two large, heavy, solid wood doors for us.
4) Four well-dressed women waiting at a "podium" with a little reading lamp who asked if we had a reservation. 5) Personal conversation with the hostess about our travels as they located a suitable table for us.
6) The leather sofas in the waiting area.

I could go on. But I think that sets the tone.

Our waiter approached us and handed us a one-sided menu and proceeded to tell us the specials. I think I began sweating at about the time he got to the part where the lobster tail was "nicely" priced at $119.00. I think he mentioned a few more items after that...but I was in a state of shock. He asked if we were ready to order and we asked for a few minutes.

Kama and I just stared at each other. Wide-eyed. And with a slight grin on each of our faces...the kind when you know what you just heard is ridiculous and you're trying to figure out how to get yourself out of the predicament. We scanned the menu insisting there had to be something reasonably priced.

Side salad: $10
Baked potato: $14.50

Tempting.

We didn't dare drink our water. And the loaf of bread with butter on the side remained untouched.

The cheapest steak was $38 I believe. And that was only a 4oz piece of meat. What were we going to do?

My forehead was sweating...literally. We giggled out loud a couple of times. We ran through a few scenarios of how we could leave without making a scene. Kama came up with the brilliant plan of pretending to get an emergency phone call on her cell phone and having to rush out. What an original idea! We thought of how we could honestly approach our waiter and just excuse ourselves.

We knew none of these people. They would certainly never see us again. Why was this so hard?

Our waiter came by again and we asked for a few more minutes. I was hot and uncomfortable. And I was hungry. We had to make a decision. I teased Kama telling her I was going to pretend to go to the bathroom and then just leave. She said, "Don't you dare" in quite a serious tone that convinced me it wouldn't be funny.

We decided to be civil about the situation and I rehearsed how I could politely share with the waiter that we weren't expecting these kinds of prices and would need to excuse ourselves. I prepped myself for the next time he approached our table. But then the planets must have aligned for we found a perfect opportunity for our "civil" exit.

Our waiter turned his back and headed towards the kitchen while a large crowd entered the front doors and distracted all four women at the podium. I whispered "Let's go" in a commanding voice. We stood up and rushed out the door. And we proceeded with a "mall walk" all the way to our car. I had an absurd fear that our waiter would come running after us...so I locked the doors as soon as we got in. As we pulled out, a Jaguar took our parking space.

==================

Seriously, is it just me or would that have been a dilemma for you as well? Do I have issues or would you have struggled with that decision given similar circumstances? Can anyone help me understand why this was such a huge internal conflict for me?!? Why do I care what other people think when they don't know me and I'll never see them again?!?! I could have screamed while we ran out just to make it a better story. I'm so weird!!! :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Isn't it ironic

We've come so far...yet you'd have no idea based on our current political environment.

We have black voters.
We have white female voters.
We have young voters.
We have evangelical republicans...that one really gets me. Does anyone else think it's odd that evangelical christians have segregated themselves? They're not christian christians...they're evangelical christians. I don't recall Jesus using that phrase.

Politically speaking, I'm a proud conservative. I believe the conservative movement is one of the few political groups that does not distinguish its constituents by faith, gender, age, race, etc. All are welcome! One of my cousins is a Libertarian...or has promoted their political views. I like what I've read so far. There's a conservative PAC in Virigina...I'm researching how to register as a conservative. The Republican and Democrat parties have become obnoxious.

I'm ready to share a funny story. Non-political...non-religious. Just plain funny. I'll call it quits for tonight and save the story for tomorrow.

God BLESS America

I heard something very disturbing today. Twice.

I was surprised at my reaction.

At the conclusion of what I listened to the first time my eyes were watery and I was shocked. The second time I heard the same message my eyes began to water...and the Spirit of God comforted me and rested upon me, blocking out what I was hearing...and it was reaffirmed to me what a blessed country we live in.

I just deleted a rather lengthy paragraph, where this paragraph now stands, about a pastor currently being debated in the media. But as I was writing I was becoming less and less inspired. What the pastor is "preaching" is not even worth repeating. It deserves no analysis. Its rhetoric is inspired of the devil.

Whoever might stumble across this particular entry of our blog, know this: America is blessed. And God will continue to bless this nation provided there are righteous men and women striving to live according to His ways. This great nation was founded on righteous principles based on freedom. God inspired the great Founding Fathers of this nation. And His hand is over us today. Not because we are better...but because of the good He knows America can be for the rest of the world. God watches over all of His children. America is simply a tool at God's disposal for the blessing of all nations.

I have hope. I have hope because of the righteousness of my Redeemer. My hope is sure. I hope for a better world. And until that day comes, may God continue to bless America.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The significance of Butterflies

George Washington Carver stated that "Science is simply a study of God's creations."


All things testify that there is a God...even caterpillars.


I learned something very interesting on my way into work yesterday. If only scientists knew what they were proving.


There was a study done recently at Georgetown University to see if butterfiles could remember what they learned as caterpillars.


The experiment: scientists would shock older caterpillars whenever it approached an area with a certain gas (I can't remember the gas they used). They did this something like 8 times a day over a period of time. The caterpillars learned not to go near the gas.


During metamorphosis, the caterpillar literally turns to mush as it transforms. Everything about the caterpillar changes as it becomes a butterfly. In addition to the obvious physical change, its diet changes and its sensory cues change.


Outcome: the butterfly is then given an opportunity to go into a container with fresh air or with the gas used in the experiment. The butterfly wants nothing to do with the gas container.


It remembers.


And so can we...


I know that we lived with our Heavenly Parents before our mortal bodies were conceived. I know that our intelligence is eternal...that our spirits were formed...and that we were taught incredible lessons in our First Home. I know that our minds and spirits, despite the trauma of a physical birth, have the ability to remember those things we were taught. I know that as we strive to live heavenly standards, those lessons will come to our remembrance and we will be strengthened in this life and our experiences here on earth will be enhanced.


We truly are immortal spiritual beings having a mortal experience. What an exciting time for us! We have these senses we've never had, we have a physical body to learn to take care of, and we have so much in this life that reminds us of our heavenly home and testifies there is a God. And He loves us.


Thank you scientists at Georgetown who have given me one more reason to believe in God and the eternal principles I have been taught.

Friday, March 7, 2008

First Class, baby!

They confiscated my deodorant. Those darn security people. But I made it home today.

I made it through the checkpoint on 3 separate occassions...and the final time, after sitting on a plane for 2.5 hours, having the flight cancelled, crazily getting a rental car and hotel room (it really was kinda fun...especially since it will all be expensed to my company)...the final time I went through security, someone finally noticed my deodorant was 4 ounces. I acted surprised, but I knew. I think what made me mad was that I had gotten away with it 3 other times. Why was this time different? :) And it was so funny to me how this woman interpretted my 4 ounces of deodorant as a serious breach to our national security. Perhaps I'm not giving my deodorant the respect it deserves. (I'll stop now.)

I was extra nice to AA employees...mostly because the majority of them had their...I shouldn't say it. Let's just say some of the AA employees made me roll my eyes because they were so blatantly rude and unkind. Whatever happened to the, "I'm sorry our company has inconvienced you. We'll do our best to make things better" kind of service? So many adults these days are immature. I can only imagine what the rising generation will be like after witnessing "adult" behavior these days.

But the rude old women with frown wrinkles all over their faces and the consfiscated deodorant episode all but vanished...

As I sat in First Class on my 2 hour 14 minute flight home to Virginia.

I didn't even mind waiting 45 minutes on the tarmac as they de-iced our plane. I enjoyed it. I wasn't fighting for elbow space. I had my legs crossed (the "masculine" way) as I read the newspaper. I had a pleasant conversation with the passenger next to me. And it will be hard not to fly first class from now on!

The funny part is that I had no idea I had a seat in first class. I saw "FIRST" in bold print on my ticket when I checked in at the kiosk...but I figured that they bumped me to the first boarding group. I waited as they called first class passengers to board. I waited as they called for their premier members to board. I happily joined "group one" for boarding. I got on the plane. 6E...6E...where is 6E? I went right passed first class and saw 7 as the first row of seats in the main cabin.

I was confused.

I kept walking but knew the numbers only went up as you went further back on the plane. I held up the line and then had to crawl over people to get back to first class. I just smiled. And I texted Laurel to tell her I was in first class. I certainly couldn't call her to share my excitement. I didn't want the nicely-dressed lady next to me and the man in the expensive suit to my other side across the aisle to know I was a rookie. :) So I quietly expressed my excitement in text form.

Over 500 flights were cancelled last night out of Dallas. I wonder how many rookies were in first class on their flight home today?

James

I know this post is way long but I have to share one more thing.

I bought all of my kids little gifts in Texas. I remember my dad always bringing something home from his business trips and how excited I was as a kid.

So I handed the gifts out. I got James a baseball cap with Texas on it (not affiliated with any sports teams). James loves hats and he looks adorable in them. I handed the baseball cap to him. He literally threw it do the floor, told me he didn't want it, and ran upstairs crying.

James is 4. It hurt a little, but I'm a big boy and got over it. I figured it was just an age thing.

But tonight as I tucked them in to bed, James was wearing his hat. And he told me, "I like my hat. It makes me think of you when you're not here."

I like James. It's good to be home.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Howdy from Dallas

It's Thursday night...and I'm not home. :(

Of all the times for Dallas to get snow, today should not have been the day. And the snowfall set records all over the area. Downtown Dallas only saw 1 inch of snow (which was a record) but surrounding areas received up to 9.5 inches. So I'm here one more night...hopefully no more.

I got out of my meetings early today so I rushed to the airport and got confirmed seating on an earlier flight. Yea! The flight was scheduled to depart at 1:50. We began boarding at 2:30 (not bad). At 3:30 our crew finally made it to our plane. At 4:00 they began to bring the beverage cart down the aisle. At 4:30 our pilot commented that today was a day we would need to exercise some patience. Finally, at 5:00 (keep in mind we had been in the plane since 2:30 without leaving the gate) our flight was cancelled. There was significant snow fall, freezing temperatures, and the Dallas-Fort Worth airport only has ONE de-icer. We were number 49 in line and the wait was over 4 hours. So we were invited off the plane and then the real fun began of racing all the other travelers to the rental car area and frantically calling hotels for a room!

I was ok staying one more night until Karen told me about Peter. He was sitting on Karen's lap tonight...no desire to eat...and repeating over and over, "Dadda hmmm...Dadda hmmm." Hmmm is his way of saying home. Each time he said that, Karen said his bottom lip stuck out and started to quiver.

HOW SAD IS THAT?!?

So now I really want to get home. Fifteen minutes ago I didn't have a confirmed seat until Saturday morning. I've been calling the 1-800 number relentlessly and now have a confirmed seat tomorrow morning. But I just heard on the news that the airport has cancelled 60 flights tomorrow morning. So I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I miss my family.

What was your worst travel experience ever? Share with us! :)

Three, Two, One . . .

I guess I should have posted everyday and reassured everyone as to my daily survival, but I got distracted. I deal with high stress, like David being gone, by serious overindulgence. I mean serious. Lots of oreos, chocolate milk, game cube, that kind of thing. This time I got the kids in on it. I assigned nights and Mark, Anya, and James each got to stay up late and keep mom company. We played game cube, board games and had late night cookies and milk. They each lasted until 12! Then we would all sleep in until 10. It really is a terrible schedule, but David will be home tonight and we will get back to normal. I actually had a really great time hanging out with each kid individually and focusing on just them. But midnight three nights in a row, I am a little over tired. I am going to bed much earlier tonight (I hope) so I can begin the second step of my own What Not to Wear Intervention, more on that on a later date.

In short, we are all doing just fine. Thanks to everyone for their concern and comments.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Huh?

I am lost. It's true. It may be considered a little sad by some, but there it is. David left this morning for a business trip to Dallas for four days. Yes, I know some wives don't see their husbands for months at a time, but obviously the Lord knew I was not a girl who could do that. I got teary-eyed when he left, which is a great leap forward from the balling, heaving, sobbing that would ensue every Sunday evening in the fall of 99. For crying out loud I was in tears at the end of our second date when I realized I was leaving this guy for Provo in about a month. Silly isn't it?! Well, think what you must of me, but I doubt it will change. We did almost nothing today. Some laundry, some cleaning and a whole afternoon of game cube with the kids, slide in a short nap on my bed in the middle and that was my day. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is very unusual for me. Tomorrow will be better. It is now 6 pm and we are just now getting to our cereal dinner, and something for "half-family home evening." The kids refuse to call it regular FHE since the whole family is not together. They are cute and dealing well. David spent a good fifteen minutes on hugs and kisses this morning. They all had to hug and kiss him upstairs, and downstairs and in the garage, and then stand in the garage while he backed out, only to run in to the front windows to watch him drive down the street. So, who is more attached to him, them or me? I'd say it's a toss up. One day down, three to go!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stateside vs. Abroad


¿Cree usted en Dios?

Sí.

¡Que bueno! Nosotros tambien. Sabemos que Dios es nuestro padre celestial. Somos son sus hijos. El nos ama.

There was something about speaking eternal truths in Spanish that made me very comfortable. I could share the gospel freely in Spanish. I recall a time during my mission when I reflected upon the words I was speaking. There was an American family we found...and I had to translate our message into English. It was fun...and HARD after speaking Spanish practically 24/7 for the past 14 months. But I thought about the words...and how I could not say the same thing in English to a stranger on a bus or in a store or at their doorstep. But it was comfortable in Spanish.

We had the Elders over last night for a quick message. They struggled with the English language. :) There were a few awkward moments. (i.e.: One Elder, upon learning we recently moved from Illinois, told us he has a sister in Indiana in the such and such stake. He asked if we knew the stake...he must be from Utah.) Their message revolved around the fact that missionaries aren't familiar with the area or people. That people don't trust the missionaries as much as they do their neighbors and friends. They shared the story of Alma and Amulek. And how so many were baptized once Amulek spoke because he was from around there and the people knew him. Then they posed the question how we could invite people into our home to receive missionary lessons.

We moved to Virginia in January...of this year. We don't know anyone. No one "trusts" us. The story of Amulek, while a great message, doesn't quite apply to our situation.

God bless these Elders. They're being obedient which isn't always easy to do.

I couldn't have done in Venezuela what these missionaries are doing in Virginia. I needed the language barrier...I needed the culture barrier...I needed it so different that fear would be the last thing from my mind. It was like an "out of body" experience. I was in a strange land speaking a strange language. Something high school the year before certainly didn't prepare me for.

Last night I was focusing on the fact that these Elders didn't "adapt" their message to meet our needs. My thoughts were focused on the fact that we just moved here.

Now, while writing this, I realize I am in a new "country" again and do not speak their "language." I certainly don't have the accent of the locals. And the culture is a bit different than the one I'm most familiar with in the midwest. So perhaps I can share the restored gospel here...and now.

God bless Elders Moa and Setser in the Rivanna Ward.