Monday, January 25, 2010

No Empty Seats




Tonight for FHE we talked about families and what makes up families. We talked about how a family is like a team, much like a sports team. Each person has an important position (or job) and the team functions most affectively when everyone does their job. Families are like teams. I think Ethan really understood that concept. And who is our coach? At first he said "Coach Fox" (who has coached his sports teams in the past). That made us laugh. No, Heavenly Father is our coach. He is pushing us and testing us and rooting for us. He guides us and helps us know what is the right "play" and what will lead us to achieve our greatest happiness. Wow Mom, you are so smart!

We then talked about what Heaven will be like when we are all there together as a family. It will very happy is we are all there together. And what will make it not so happy? If one of us is missing. They did each understand that. Hailey said "I't won't be happy if Daddy isn't there with us." I kind of laughed. "Yes Hailey, it won't be happy if Daddy isn't there with us."

We decided on a family motto, or slogan. I know this is not original and it's been adapted by many families, but that is likely because it's all encompasing. "No empty seats" is what we are using as our motto. I love it.
The kids each drew pictures of what our motto means to them. Priceless.

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa Salad

If you are a fan of Cafe Rio, you will love this. A while back I found a recipe for a copy cat version of their famous pork barbacoa salad with creamy tomatillo dressing. Yesterday I finally made it and all can say is...wow. Holy wow. Oh my. So yummy.

Pork Barbacoa
3 lb pork roast
3 cans Coke or Dr. Pepper
2 C brown sugar
1 (12 oz) jar Victoria's Mild Red Taco Sauce
2 tsp cumin

In a slow cooker, cook roast in 2 cans of soda on low for 6 hours. Flip roast half way through to ensure even cooking in liquid. This can also be cooked in the oven at about 200 degrees. Make sure you cover it in the oven and take it out when it internally reaches about 150 degrees.

Drain off liquid and shred pork. In a pot, combine the 3rd can of soda, sugar, taco sauce, and cumin. Add the pork and simmer on low for about two hours.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
1 C buttermilk
1 C mayonaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
1 package buttermilk ranch dressing mix
4 tomatillos, leafs removed and chopped
1 jalepeno, seeds removed
2 tsp lime juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro

Combine all ingediants in a blender and puree.

Serve pork and dressing with tortillas, rice, pineapple, lettuce, tomatoes, lime, avacados, black or pinto beans, corn chips, feta cheese, or whatever your heart desires!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Blog

I am back, but only for a second or two. I promise I PROMISE I will be updating this blog soon.

I have started yet another blog! Anyone who knows me well knows I am very passionate about attachment parenting and breastfeeding issues. A friend and I have toyed with ideas of how to better educate people on these topics, so we have started a blog. You can visit it at
http://www.attachmentinstincts.blogspot.com/

We are looking for more contirbutors, so if you share my same feelings on such issues I would love you to be an author! You can write in the blog as much or as little as you'd like. Check it out and leave me a comment including your email address if you would like to be an author. Thanks and happy reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Insight

Life has been hard lately. But before I get any further, if you are reading this and have a comment to make telling me that I should let go of certain responsibilities, please don't even say it. To a lot of people I am crazy. I take on too much. This church I belong to dictates my life. I've heard it all from people who are not of my faith.

I was called to be Primary President back in March of 2009 (in a ward of about 170 children under the age of 12). When I was first issued the call, I was scared beyond description. I was overwhelmed, yet excited. I had a surge of what I can only describe as a spiritual adrenaline rush. I had to rely on the Lord a LOT during those first couple of weeks as I painstakingly chose counselors. It was hard and I learned a lot about how the Lord works. I remember that sleepless night after the bishop issued me the call. I remember having a distinct understanding of how much the Lord knew me. He was aware of me and I felt his love. I had an asurity that I would be blessed by accepting the call, so accept the call I did.

I received the calling only one month after discovering I was expecting our fourth child. Those first few weeks in this calling were very difficult ones but I gained a lot of invaluable experience. As I naively awaited the blessings promised to me, it seemed that the opposite began to occur. Rather than seeing blessings come to pass, I received trial after trial. One of the most excruciating trials of my life occurred during that time with the death of my dear brother. I couldn't help but wonder why this was happening.

To make matters worse, our financial situation has gone from bad to worse in the last several months. We continue to pay our tithing and we are doing the things we should be doing. Both Cody and I are faithful and very dedicated in our church callings. We serve others and we are good parents. Why hasn't the Lord blessed us with what we "need" and "deserve"?

Life has been hard. Money is unexplaiably tight as of late and there are days when neither of us know how we will make it until the next pay period. Unexpected expenses seem to hit us from every angle lately. As I've struggled to come up with a solution, I decided to start teaching piano lessons to bring in a little extra money. Piano playing is one of the few lucrative skills I do have (conducive to being a stay at home mom) so I needed to capitalize on it. So now the precious few hours I have a day to get anything done or spend quality time with my children are now taken up with teaching piano lessons to 17 students.

This weekend was stressful and last night I felt I couldn't take any more. I tossed and turned most of the night and I realized that SOMETHING has to give. I toyed with the idea of telling the bishop I needed to be released as the Primary President. This morning I could barely drag myself out of bed to get ready for church. I did not have it in me. It was my turn to do Sharing Time and I dreaded getting up in front of the kids, teaching a lesson without my heart in it.

This morning I unintentionally exploded all over Cody. I cried and cried and he listened to me. I told him how I was contemplating asking to be released, and he discouraged me. I was a little surprised. He gave me a few words of encouragement and then I got ready for church. I did not have it in me this morning to get anyone else ready for church so Cody stayed home with the older three kids.

During Sharing Time we did an activity that included some songs. While I led the children in "A Child's Prayer" my eyes filled with tears and I lost my voice.

Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far away,
but I feel it close around me as I pray.

I knew at that moment that Heavenly Father still knew me like He did months ago when I had my answer to accept my calling. He had not forgotten me. He has seen me hurt and struggle over the year. He knows my pain and the desires of my heart.

I decided to talk to the bishop. Our bishop is an amazing man. He is my age and definitely the youngest bishop I've ever known. He is so full of insight and wise beyond his years. More than anything, I just needed to vent to a "neutral" party. I cried in his office and he just listened. I poured out my heart. It felt good to have someone listen. I told him how stressful my calling is and how it is affecting my life. I told him of the many trials I've encountered since I accepted it last March. I told him how instead of life getting better for us, it seems to have gotten harder and harder. Why? What was I doing wrong? I was doing everything I could, yet it wasn't enough. Why?

Then he opened the scriptures to me. He read from D&C section 122-


"If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;....And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

We talked about Joseph Smith. He had done EVERYTHING the Lord asked of him. He did everything right. He gave everything he had. And he suffered immensely. It's the refiner's fire.

Bishop pointed out some very interesting wording in that section- "If thou art called to pass through tribulation". How stressed how interesting it is that it says "called". He said that The Lord has chosen me to test me. In a way it should be an honor that I was called like this. It is very hard at times, but the Lord picked ME!!!

Right then I knew it would be okay. The bishop and I talked for a long time and gave me some very inspired counsel. I walked out of there with a terrible crying hangover, but I felt rejuvenated. I am so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows me personally. He knows of my trials and my heartache. The blessings will come. I know that times won't always be hard like they are now. Life won't always seem so out of control. For now it is very hard, but it won't always be. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to burden me so.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If I Had Time...

If I had time, I would journal about-

-Christmas!!

-My awesome family's visit from the Texas

-Sledding

-The lights at Temple Square

-Devin's blessing day

-"Meet Your New Teacher" PJ breakfast (which was wildly successful, if I do say so myself!)

-The first Sunday of the new year (we survived it nicely)

-Teaching piano lessons

-Devin turning 3 months old


Maybe one of these days I will have a few minutes to catch up!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Love This Kid

We finally got Ethan's school pictures back. Oh how I love this kid! I love everything about him. I love how his left ear sticks out slightly more than his right ear. I love how he is thinking all of the time. I love that he knows when to give me a hug at just the right time when I am feeling down. I love that he was sent to us as the oldest in our family, because he is a wonderful example to his younger siblings. I love that he cries during movies when there is a sad part, like the part in "Homeward Bound" when Shadow falls in the hole and breaks his leg. I love that he always reminds us to say our prayers. I love that he lets Hailey sleep in his bed almost every night when she is scared. I love that his sisters run to him for comfort when Mommy is "mean" to them. He is an incredible kid and I can not believe how fast he is growing up! He will be six in a few weeks. Sometimes I wish time would stand still.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Movin' On Up

The first day of the new year! What a day. More journaling to come, so stay tuned!

















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