Oh for the love of babies!

Sarah and Alta are starting to practice their mothering skills.  It is so much fun to watch them and envision them with their own little families one day.  A breath of heaven is what babies smell like.

Family Night - Marbles!

Crazy hair day for school

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Spongebob Square Pants !

For my birthday this year I wanted to take the kids to the movies! We almost didn't make it... I sent Darrel ahead with the kids to get tickets and good seating. I waited for daycare to go home and I was able to grab the snacks and be in my seat just as the show started! One of the new songs was TEAM Work- which was kind of funny because earlier in the day Darrel and I were talking about some of the choices we have made - the mistakes and how we needed to work better as a team - you'll love this song! Check it out 

 Darrel had to work on his birthday so we surprised him with cake and presents when he got home. On his first day off we invited his parents to go to lunch with us.  We ate at the Prime Rib and it was so enjoyable to spend time together.  We usually have the kids so it was nice to relax and be in each others company.

Dear Missionary Eternal Life

Dear Missionary,

February is a crazy month in our house.  My birthday is the first week, Valentine’s Day is the second week, and my husband’s birthday is the 3rd week.  Since my birthday comes first I am always hoping that my husband will read my mind and plan something fun or meaningful.  Then it’s followed by expectations of a romantic holiday and then celebrating his birthday.  If you know anything about women – it’s that no matter what the man does – or does not do… it’s followed by disappointment because it’s typical that women do not come out and say what they want. 

This year I decided to do something completely different.  I told my better half exactly what I wanted and it was simple and carried out smoothly.  On Valentine’s Day my husband made preparations and bought cards and candy for the family –how sweet!  Husbands LOVE to be recognized for their efforts.  You can bet that I made sure that he had a good birthday!  

Marriage is like flowers, children and pets.  Without proper attending to – it withers.  We have decided to care for our marriage in everyday living.  We are crossing off a list of responsible things to do in preparation for the future which includes picking out our plots for burial.  I’ve thought a lot about my time here on the earth and what I want to accomplish before I die.   What are your dreams?  What are your hopes?  Who are you becoming?

Today a sister gave a talk in church and asked;  What are we doing today to prepare for eternal life?  How do you compare to where you were one year ago?  Eternal life is a gift to every one made possible by the Saviors atonement.  We will pass away and leave our mortal bodies but be reunited with them on resurrection day.  So no matter how good or how bad you are in this life – that’s the Saviors gift to us.  Depending on your good works and service you will rise to a certain degree of glory and happiness.  Are you creating good habits?  Good thinking patterns and thoughts?  Learning and living the gospel?

There are five missionaries that I write to and are due to come home in the next few weeks.  Have you thought about what you are going to do when you get home?  Are you worried about the transition?  What can you do to help prepare yourself from the shock of serving hourly and daily to restarting your life where you left off….  Have you changed in appearance?  Has your heart changed?  Have your goals been modified or made more certain?   Will you continue to make prayer and scripture reading a priority?  Will you forget the lessons you’ve learned on your mission?  Prepare and decide now which good habits you will be keeping and which one you will not return to when you get home.

This life is a preparation to return to live again with God.  Henry B Eyring said “Oh remember that of all the service you give none is greater than to help people qualify for eternal life”.

Dear Missionary Motherhood

One beautiful starry night, on a faraway island many miles out at sea, a little girl knelt to say her prayers.  When she had finished giving thanks for all her blessings, she climbed into her big cozy bed beside the open window. And looking up at the brightest star in the sky, she said,

I wish I were
as pretty as a princess,
as rich as a king,
as special as a flower
on the first day of Spring
She was a dreamer as little girls often are at that age.

When the little girl grew to be a teenager, she would walk home from the library on crisp fall evenings.  She would hear the leaves crackle beneath her feet.  And looking up at the brightest star in the sky, she would say,

I wish I were
as pretty as a princess,
as rich as a king,
as special as a flower
on the first day of Spring

She had been told not to be such a dreamer, but she was bored and restless,
as girls often are at that age.

When the young girl grew up to be a woman, she married and had a little son.  She became very busy taking care of her family. She forgot all about her own dreams, as women often do at that age.
One day her little boy came home from school with an essay he had written called "My favorite person".  As she read his words, happy tears filled her eyes, because it was about her that he had written... how wonderful he thought she was - and how pretty.

She realized that the little wish she had long ago forgotten had been granted.   
That night the woman went in to give her sleeping boy a kiss.  As she passed his open window, she looked up at the brightest star in the sky and said to herself:

My son thinks I'm a pretty princess.
My life is as rich as a king's
And I really do feel as special
As a flower on the first day of Spring

Many years later when she was an old, old woman, she would sit on her porch watching the ocean waves in the moonlight.  And looking up at the brightest star in the sky, she felt peaceful.  She smiled.
The tapestry of her being had been woven with fibers of kindness and compassion and honor.
And she encouraged others to dream, as people often do at that age.  One day the angels called her to them.  Those who had been a part of her life came together and carved a stone to remember her.
On the stone, these words were chiseled;

Her heart made her a pretty princess.
She was as special as a flower in Spring,
And anyone who knew her is richer than a King.   

A Dreamers Heart http://www.amazon.ca/A-Dreamers-Heart-Frances-Scarcille/dp/0965900827

There are so many different phases in a woman's life and on so many different levels.  Being a mother is one of them.  I think that becoming a mother is a process.  I had many experiences that molded my journey to becoming a mother. 

When I was a little girl I would sing this song .  When I grow up I want to be a mommy and have a family one little two little three little babies of my own.  My mother was very diligent in teaching me that I was a daughter of God and that one day I would grow up and get married and have children of my own.  That is all I could think about.  It shouldn't have been a surprise to her when at age 14 I left home to be a nanny. I loved it so much that I continued being a nanny for several different families for the next 12 years.  I often wrote home telling my family how much I was enjoying the MTC (Motherhood Training Center). 

It wasn't until I became a mother that I fully understood Heavenly Fathers Plan for the role of womanhood.

When Jon was born I realized something was wrong.  His head began to grow big and we were told that he had water on the brain.  I prayed Please God, let me keep this baby.  Then when he started getting headaches it was Please God, don't let this baby be in pain like this.  He is so innocent - please take away his pain.  As Jon has grown he has become very active and again my prayers changed to a different level.  Please God, don't let other people judge my son.  They don't understand him like his parents do.  If people knew him like I know him they would love him too.

On Jons 3rd birthday, he took the dishwasher rack out and ran down the hall with it.  He tripped and fell face first into the prongs.  My heart sank and my stomach tightened when he turned to face me.  His eyes were full of blood and I couldn't tell how bad the damage was.  I called 911 and an ambulance took us to the ER.  Dad and Grandpa came and gave him a blessing.  The prongs had gone through his eyelids and left gashes.  They sent us by ambulance to Rapid City, two hours away.  Dad rode with Jon and I followed in the truck.  It was extremely windy and I could barely keep the truck on the road.  I gripped the wheel so tightly that every muscle in my body hurt.  I was glad that Darrel was with Jon because I could barely hold back the tears.  I prayed nearly the entire time.  Please God, let everything be alright.  Please God, let him keep his eyesight.  Please God, help me keep the truck on the road and clear a path for us to get there in safety.  Please God, give me the strength to keep going.  I'm so tired but I love this little boy so much. 

When I think of our savior and the prayers that Mary must have prayed, they may have been similar to mine.  She must have prayed for her sons safety, for his happiness, for the strength to go on.  She may have cried when he was made fun of or when he was misunderstood.  I can't imagine her sorrow when she knelt at his cross and watched him suffer.  Motherhood is next to divinity.. .  It is a sacred trust.  It is an approach to the divine - a God given privilege that, with its never-ending responsibilities, brings rich and lasting rewards.

A sea turtle lives in the ocean and then after mating will crawl up onto the land to bury its eggs in the sand.  After accomplishing this task it will return to the ocean and shortly after die.  The eggs, left to defend themselves -if not eaten by other animals will face finding their way back to the ocean. We also must learn and grow and stretch beyond our limits.But Heavenly father has not left us to our own devices.  In his glorious plan he has provided a way for children to be nurtured by a father and mother.  In the proclamation to the world it states that it is the mothers primarily responsibility to nurture her children.

Mothers and fathers, teach your children who they are.  They are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.  Teach your children Joy. Teach your children Responsibility. Teach your children Service.

Motherhood has been my greatest blessing. No words can describe the wonder and miracle of a brand new life coming into the world. No words can describe the joys of tending to Gods sons and daughters.  What joy it is to watch a child grow.  Their first smile, first tooth, first step, first word.  I am sure that God looks upon his children with hopes and dreams.  I am sure he wants to give them everything to help them reach their full potential.  The role of mother is a sacred responsibility.

I think of you serving your mission and the life lessons you are learning – the gospel you are sharing.  In your preparation to become like God I pray for your success.

Dear Missionary Happy Valentines Day

Four types of love in the Bible

1. EROS - Pronunciation: AIR-ose
Definition: Eros is the physical, sensual love between a husband and wife.
Although this Greek term does not appear in the Bible, eros, or erotic love, is portrayed in the Old Testament book, The Song of Solomon. God is very clear in his Word. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden
The Apostle Paul noted that it is wise for people to marry to fulfill their godly desire for this type of love:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.
But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, NIV)

2. Philia - Pronunciation: FILL-ee-uh.
Definition: Philia means close friendship or brotherly love in Greek.
Christians are frequently exhorted to love their fellow Christians: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 ESV)

3. Storge - Pronunciation: STOR-jay
Definition: Storge is family love, the bond among mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.
The strong love the sisters Martha and Mary in the gospels had for their brother Lazarus and in the daughter-in-law Ruth loyalty to Naomi.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12, NIV)

4. Agape - Pronunciation: uh-GAH-pay.
Definition: Agape is selfless, sacrificial, seeking the other persons highest good, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.
Agape perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for his Father and for his followers. Jesus lived out agape by sacrificing himself for the sins of the world. other examples are:
1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

By Jack Zavada Christianity Expert