Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Reason it's a Miracle

I have contemplated how to write this post for several weeks, since a very good friend of mine had to give a talk on the Atonement at church. The problem is, once again this is a topic that I can't possibly give due justice with my mere words. I pray it touches a heart somewhere and makes us think about why we really celebrate this time of year.

Think with me for a minute about the following situation...A young woman, mid-teens to be a little more specific, finds herself pregnant and scared. She's not married, and where she lives this is a BIG deal. When the time comes to have the baby, there is not a comfortable bed for her, no epidural, no sterile hospital room and trained staff. It doesn't sound fun, but it's really is not THAT big a deal. It happens every day in our world. If you don't believe me, visit Africa or perhaps just the streets of downtown where you live.

Now add to that situation the fact that the mother was visited by an angel and told that she would bear the Son of God. Without question, Mary was willing to face the ridicule of her family and friends, to be ostracized and even perhaps bullied, to do the will of her Father in Heaven. How grateful I am that she was willing to do so, and that Joseph was willing to stand by her side, even when it was not the popular thing to do. That is only one piece of the puzzle though. The circumstances of the Savior's humble birth really wouldn't matter THAT much without the reality of His Atonement. Bruce R. McConkie said "His Atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation's dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity."

Read that again, His Atonement not His birth.

One more situation for you to consider for a moment...

Infinite agony, suffered in a garden beyond what any mortal man could bear. Agony that caused blood to leave a body from EVERY pore. Agony that caused even our Savior to wish not to drink that bitter cup. Agony that was willingly born for each of us.

Then, once His body was drained of all energy, He confronted Judas (who was supposed to be His friend, a trusted disciple) and was betrayed by even him. Taken to trial on false accusations and convicted of crimes He did not commit.

They spit on him, they beat him, they caused blood to pour from his head with a crown of thorns, and then they scourged him with forty lashes save one with leather straps that had been woven with metal and flesh piercing bone. Many at the time died from this type of scourging alone, but not Him.

He then rose and carried His own cross until He could go no further and collapsed in agony.

Finally, on Calvary's hill, the Roman soldiers laid Him on the cross and drove large spikes of iron through His hands, wrists, and feet and hung Him on the cross for people to deride and defame, which they did for three more hours.

Then, He hung on the cross for another three hours while the pains of Gethsemane were revisited.

Finally, when all that the Father had asked of Him was fulfilled, He voluntarily gave up His life as only He had the power to do.

But then came the beauty of it all. Three days later the Savior took up His body again and was Resurrected. He overcame physical and spiritual death that we might each do the same, but only through Him. He alone had the power to overcome the world and He did it FOR us. For me, for you, for your neighbor, for your enemy.

THAT is the miracle of this season. If there had not been the miraculous Atonement, the birth really wouldn't be all that spectacular. If there had been no Gethsemane, would we even know of Bethlehem?
I know this to be true. I know that He is the only way. I'm grateful for this time of year when we can celebrate the birth of our Savior and I pray we may truly remember HIM in all we do this holiday season.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I've Learned from the Young Women's Theme

This past Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to speak in church. I realize not everyone views that as an 'opportunity,' but I very much enjoy public speaking most of the time, even if I'm not that great at it. After the meeting, a few people asked for a copy of my talk, as have a few friends that were unfortunately unable to be there for whatever reason. So, I decided I would post it here.

The years from 12-18 are very formative years in the lives of young women. I know they were in my life. It was during those years that I truly had to decide, while going through some of the biggest trials of my life, what standards I wanted to live by and who I wanted to be. For that reason, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has established a wonderful program to guide our youth to form the foundations now that they will need to thrive in an ever changing and troubled world. It it on what the theme for the Young Women's Program has taught me that I wish to focus my message today.

The Young Women's theme begins, "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us and we love Him." The Proclamation on the Family tells us that "Each [of us] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny." I have come to a knowledge in my life that this is very literal. He is truly the Father of our spirits and therefore knows us even better than we know ourselves. Just as a parent often knows their child better than the child realizes, our Heavenly Father knows us better and more personally than we can comprehend. You see, He is perfect, especially when we are not. He then knows perfectly how to succor us in our sorrows, how to celebrate with us in our triumphs and how to love us completely when we need it most.

The theme then says, "We will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places, as we strive to live the Young Women's values, which are..." This is the very simplest and most basic of our baptismal covenants. Alma taught this principle before he baptized at the Waters of Mormon when he said, "Behold, here are the waters of Mormon, for thus were they called, and now as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light. Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life." (Mosiah 18:9) We promise when we join the church to be there for each other, to love each other, to comfort each other, and in turn others promise to do the same for us. Even more importantly, our perfect Heavenly Father then promises us that we will be redeemed, and have Eternal Life.

Next, the theme lists eight values on which we should build the foundations of our lives. This is where I would like to focus the majority of my talk as there is SO much to learn from them. The Young Women's values are: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue. I wish to discuss each one a little, even though I know it will only be the tip of the iceberg. I feel each is important and could not be separated from the others without losing something of the whole.

The first value is faith. We are told in Alma that "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21) Recently Richard C. Edgely, of the presiding bishopric, spoke about faith and said somethings that hit me very powerfully. In fact, it was just about a week after I began my divorce process and I might have been struggling a little bit. His words strengthened me and I pray they might do the same for you. He said, "Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today's world, I wish to suggest a single choice -- a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith... Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours... So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism." I took that challenge in one of the hardest times of my life. Being a newly single mom, moving across the country, and going back to school was FULL of the unknown. But, I chose faith and it has turned out far better than I can imagine. Brother Edgely also said, "I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed." I can testify with Brother Edgely that I have also seen mountains removed in my life. Things that seemed impossible to me, with the help of my loving Father in Heaven miraculously happened. For that faith I am forever grateful. I also spoke a little about being a woman of faith, but to read my feelings on that just scroll down one post.

The next value is divine nature. Latter day prophets and apostles have often testified of our divine nature. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "You are second to none. You are daughters of God. There has come to you as your birthright something beautiful and sacred and divine. Never forget that. Your Eternal Father is the great Master of the universe. He rules over all, but He also will listen to your prayers as His daughter and hear you as you speak with Him. He will answer your prayers. He will not leave you alone." We as women (and men) must remember what is instilled in our spiritual DNA. We are sons and daughters of divinity, and as such our nature is divine as well. I love the words of Sister Margaret Nadauld of the general Young Women's presidency. She said, "Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity." May we each tap into our divine natures and be the things this world needs more of.

The third value is individual worth. I love this one. As a youth I often struggled with where I belonged. I went to fourteen different schools. I was often the new, fat, smart kid. The trifecta of things for people to pick on and poke fun at. But as I truly came to learn that I was a daughter of a perfect and loving Heavenly Father I realized that I could not possibly be a mistake. Someone who is perfect does not make mistakes. Period. Elder Richard G. Scott said, "Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth." If we understand our worth as a child of God, we will honor and respect ourselves and each other more fully.

Next comes knowledge. We have been told for a long time that we should seek secular as well as spiritual knowledge. It will bless our lives and the lives of our families beyond what we can imagine. Sister Mary Cook of the general Young Women's presidency said, "Take advantage of every opportunity to learn. If we do, the Lord can better use us in many ways to do great things... The reason we need more education is so that the Lord can use us to do His work and bless the lives of others. If we focus on becoming more fit for the kingdom, choosing more education is usually an excellent decision. Even if we do not always see all the possible uses for the things we learn, education is an important way we can prepare ourselves to serve the Lord." The secular knowledge, such as me now working to obtain my nursing degree, is important. But the spiritual knowledge is even more important. Elder Richard G. Scott gave us the perfect guideline for seeking spiritual knowledge. He said, "As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle."

Fifth is Choice & Accountability. This encompasses much of our daily lives. There are choices to be made daily. Some will have no major impact on our lives, while others could make ALL the difference. President Monson said it better than I. "Scarcely an hour of the day goes by but what we are called upon to make choices of one sort or another. Some are trivial, some more far-reaching. Some will make no difference in the eternal scheme of things, and others will make all the difference." The greatest of these choices is the choice between right and wrong, between God and Satan. President Hinckley said, "I repeat, each of us has a choice between right and wrong. But with that choice there inevitably will follow consequences. Those who choose to violate the commandments of God put themselves at great spiritual and physical jeopardy." We DO get to choose what path we will take, but ultimately we do not get to choose the results of our actions. Choose wisely!

Next is Good Works. Again there is much to be said, but time is short (and I'm sure you're getting tired of reading if you even made it this far). We are taught all our lives to serve and help our fellow men, without thought to reward or recognition. I'm here to tell you that when you truly do that, the rewards are priceless and can not be measured. Brother Stapley said something back in 1974 something that still rings true. He said, "Let us dare to be different from the ways of the world when its ways are not the ways of God. In a world troubled with selfish greed, dishonesty, and dishonor, let us set ourselves on a higher path, striving to develop and strengthen the qualities of unselfish service with wholehearted effort, dependability, honesty, morality, and every other good attribute that would lead us to integrity of character. We begin then with our thoughts and end with our eternal destiny. Our destiny is determined by our character, and our character is the sum and expression of our habits. Character is won by hard work." We are often told that we are what we repeatedly do, I would recommend then, that we make acts of service, even small ones, a daily event in our lives.

My favorite value growing up was the next one, Integrity. Integrity is having the moral courage to make our actions consistent with our knowledge of right and wrong. We all know what is write, and what is wrong and often what is popular is not on the side we should choose. Being able to make that right choice takes courage. President Hinckley said, "In all this world there is no substitute for personal integrity. It includes honor. It includes performance. It includes keeping one's word. It includes doing what is right regardless of the circumstances." It takes practice, it takes having a little bit of a tough skin and being able to stand up for what you believe when your choice is not the most popular one. But it does get easier. Sister Carol Thomas said, "An honest effort to improve our integrity allows God to increase our power to do it." I testify that he will do just that. I said no to so many different things so many times, that eventually people stopped asking.

Just a few years ago, the value of virtue was added, and what a beautiful addition it is. Bishop H. David Burton said, "The spelling in English of many individual virtues concludes with the letters ity: integrity, humility, spirituality, accountability, civility, fidelity, and the list goes on and on... Relying on literary license, I refer to the virtues ending in ity as the 'ity' virtues. 'Ity' is a suffix that means quality, state, or degree of being...We need only look around us to see what is taking place in our communities to realize that personal traits of virtue are in steep decline... We need to stand tall and be firmly fixed in perpetuating Christlike virtues, even the 'it' virtues, in our everyday lives... I testify and declare that our Heavenly Father expects His children to exercise integrity, civility, fidelity, charity, generosity, morality, and all the 'ity' virtues. May we have the humility to take the opportunity to act upon our responsibility to demonstrate our ability to do so." I love this! It takes humility, spirituality, civility and so many more 'ity' virtues to maintain a happy life. Perhaps with the exception of stupidity... And Sister Cook put it perfectly when she said, "Virtue brings peace, strength of character, and happiness in this life. Our Heavenly Father knew that we would be face with many choices and challenges, and virtuous living would prepare us to succeed." There is no greater promise than the help of our Heavenly Father.

The theme continues, "We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values," as in apply them in our daily lives, "We will be prepared to strengthen home and family". The Family Proclamation says, "The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." We can all do something to strengthen our family, and all families need strengthening, no matter how strong they seem. There are many things we can do to strengthen our families. We can pray for them, love them unconditionally, and set a great example for them by doing the things we know we should. Along with strengthening home and family, we believe those values will help us be prepared to "make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinance of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation." These last three all go together in my mind. Making covenants leads us to the temple and the temple leads us to exaltation.

As a young woman, I chose to apply these values and principles to my life. That did not mean that I didn't make mistakes, nor does it mean that today. But it did mean, and continues to do so, that I know how to fix the mistakes and put my life back on the path my Heavenly Father would like me to be on. I know He lives. I know He loves us perfectly and unconditionally. I know the Atonement is real. I have felt its power in my life. I know families are forever, and I'm so very grateful for the one I was blessed with. May we each know the joy of a firm foundation based upon the Savior is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Woman I Want to Be

I'm not sure I can adequately do this topic justice, so please read it in the spirit it was intended, and read between the lines. Unfortunately I was unable to attend my church meetings this morning. You see, my great grandma is at our house on hospice and my grandparents are on their way to North Carolina to see my Aunt and her family before they move to Sicily. So, I had some quality time with one of the most influential women in my life, and then I decided to work some on my personal progress for Young Women's. My girls are kicking my butt and I am supposed to be the example. I have SO much to learn and I'm learning a lot of it from these wonderful Young Women.

Anyway, I was working on one of the value experiences for faith and it includes reading two conference talks on the topic of faith. Both that I picked touched me deeply. The first was about choosing faith over all the fear and unknown in our lives. I remember when that talk was first given, I was just beginning my divorce process and had a lot of fear and uncertainty. BUT, I was very quickly reminded that I was in good hands, and I knew where my strength would come from. I chose faith, and it has turned out fabulously. I must continue to choose that faith!

The talk that I REALLY wanted to focus on though is entitled "A Woman of Faith." It was first given in October of 2002. I remember this one too and have always wanted to be the kind of woman that Sister Nadauld spoke of. She said, "A woman of faith trusts God -- She knows of His interest in her life. She knows that He knows her. She loves His words and drinks deeply of that living water." She then went on to list three specific ways that we can be women of faith.

First, she said, "A woman of faith trusts God and faces adversity with hope." Those of you who know me well know that I am no stranger to adversity. But I have always taken the attitude that it makes me stronger and more able to help other people in that situation. For example, I lost my mom at seventeen and it was one of the hardest times in my life. I often wondered exactly WHY a loving Heavenly Father would take someone from me that was SO integral to my life. Fast forward several years to an amazing family that I married into. Sadly, we found out that the matriarch of that sweet family had lung cancer. When she lost her battle, my sisters were seventeen and fourteen. How amazing it was for me to be there for them and be able to understand the impact of losing such an amazing woman at such a young age. I am fully aware that losing a parent is different for everyone, but I have always felt that I was better prepared to love and nurture them because of my own life experiences. I hope they still know how VERY MUCH I love and respect them. They have become INCREDIBLE women and I'm proud to know them and have them in my life.

Second, Sister Naduald tells us that, "A woman of faith is confident because she understands the divine plan of our Heavenly Father and her role to bless lives. She is confident that any sacrifice she makes is worth something in an eternal sense. She knows about sacrifice from knowing about the life of the Savior. She knows that her sacrifices may be small by comparison, but she knows that Heavenly Father understands and values what she does to strengthen her home and family and the world in which she lives. Her confidence grows because she is virtuous and lovely and gracious, which is even better than beautiful." This confidence has always been a struggle for me. I have never felt like the most beautiful girl, the most popular, the smartest, whatever... However, I have always tried to be a virtuous and gracious person. More importantly, I DO know that I was put on this earth for a purpose. There are lives that I know only I can impact, mostly that of my children and I truly would sacrifice anything asked of me for them!

Finally, we are told that "A woman of faith is fearless...A fearless woman of faith has the courage to talk with her children about practices which would destroy them. They not only hear her discuss her commitment, but they SEE her commitment in her daily living -- in the way she dresses, what she reads and watches, how she spends her leisure time, what she loves and laughs at, whom she attracts, and how she acts at all times, in all things, and in all places. She has a certain style of her own that is attractive and joyful and bright and good. Our little girls and our young women can safely trust in her example." This one is incredibly important to me as I am raising three beautiful little girls, and the young women's president in my branch right now. There is nothing more important to me than being a good example to all six of these amazing girls entrusted to my care. I love them all dearly and pray I can do what Heavenly Father would have me do to benefit their lives.

Sister Nadauld closed by saying, "A woman of faith loves the Lord. She wants Him to know it by the life she lives, by the words she speaks, by the service she renders to His children, by her every action. She knows that He loves her even though she is imperfect and still trying to be better. She knows that when she does her very best, that is enough." I readily admit that I have a long way to go. This is the kind of woman I want to be. For now, I will continue to do my best and remember that that IS enough! May we all love our Savior the very best that we can is my hope and prayer.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time Flies When We're Having Fun

This summer has been flying by and I'm honestly not really sure where it went. Hailey starts first grade in two weeks and I start nursing school next month, so I figure an update is in order....I'll do my best.

I have participated in several festivals and fairs this year selling my bows and other girly accessories and it has been a great help to my budget. In fact, just last week a cheerleading team ordered three sets of bows for this coming season and that was pretty exciting....definitely the kind of contacts that are good to have with a small business.

We have done some driving and had lots of visitors this summer. My great-grandma has not been doing very well health wise and so most of the family has come to see her at some point or another. I have seen cousins, aunts, uncles and wonderful people that it had been FAR too long since seeing last. That has probably been the highlight of my summer (other than the reasons behind the visits).

Hailey has loved the summer time, and especially playing in the water, but tells me almost everyday how excited she is for school to start again. She loves to learn and loves to be around other kids her age. She's a beautiful and smart little girl and I can't believe she turned six last week. Hailey played on a t-ball team this summer and is VERY excited to start soccer this fall.

Alyssa is hyper as ever and goofy as can be. She can always make everyone laugh and is becoming quite the little talker, even if it's not always easy to understand yet. She will be four in two weeks and is also very much looking forward to playing soccer this fall and going back to school (daycare, but she calls it school). She loves her friends there and has fabulous teachers and I feel so blessed that that is the case.

Kimber turned two last spring and her personality is starting to flourish. She is sweet and loving, crazy and outgoing, loud and proud, and all around a great kid. She's very two, but we are working on that and I have to remind myself sometimes that she will grow out of it long before I am ready for her to grow up. Kimber would be very excited to tell you that the girls got a new puppy a week or two ago. She is a black lab and they named her Shadow. Very sweet dog! =)

Church is fantastic and I love my Young Women more than ever. I got the wonderful opportunity in the middle of July to go up to camp with young women from all over the stake. It was up near Kirtland, Ohio which is one of the early historical sites for the church. It was an incredible experience, especially when I realized that I was walking the same fields a prophet of God had walked.

In other BIG news...I'm planning a vacation this winter to UTAH!!! I'm SO excited to see some wonderful friends and family. I can't wait....134 days and counting! Not that I'm excited or anything....Rocky Mountains here we come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Keeps Getting Better

I'm not really one to want any particular calling at church. However, if there is one I have ALWAYS wanted, it would be anything involved with the Young Women's Program. There's a back story to it though. When I was a Young Woman I had FANTASTIC leaders in my life who were AMAZING examples to me and made my teen years a lot more fun in many ways. When my mom passed away, I moved into a very small branch and there just wasn't enough membership to have a Young Women's Program. I was the only teenage girl, and close to 18 (where you head to Relief Society anyway) so the decision was made to just finish my personal progress on my own, but attend Relief Society for that hour of meetings. Honestly, I always felt kind of cheated. I LOVE Relief Society, but as a teenager I didn't want to learn about being a wife and mom yet.

Fast forward about 12 years. I'm back in that little branch. It's a little bigger now, we are even getting a building soon! There are enough teenagers that we DO have a Young Women's program and last week I was called as the Young Women's President. I'm beyond excited, and yet overwhelmed and scared at the same time. I desperately want to be the kind of example these girls need at this fundamental stage in their life. I get to work on my personal progress stuff all over again right along side my girls. I get to love and be inspired by these AMAZING young women and I just continue to feel seriously so blessed! I know that I will learn far more from my girls than they can possibly learn from me. I love them already and am so excited to take on this new challenge in my life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So, I think most of you that read my blog already know this, but since my goal is to eventually put my blog in book form and chronicle the life of my sweet little family I MUST record yesterday's event....


I was not expecting letters to even go out until the end of April. So, when I got home and found a letter in the mailbox from my college I just figured it had to do with financial aid or something like that. I opened it up and started reading. It said the nursing committee was done ranking applicants and reviewing them and the were pleased to offer me a seat in the nursing program for this coming fall. The waterworks turned on immediately! I was SO happy I was shaking. I came up to the house and told my grandparents, still crying.

Then, last night I had like three nightmares that I had checked the box on the return letter to decline my seat for fall. Instead of sending my paper back in, I hand delivered it to the nursing department, and while laughing, told the director about my bad dreams. She opened it and verified that I had checked the accept box, congratulated me once again, and I went on my way. I'm still not sure it has sunk in. I have a lot to do between now and August. I have to have to get some vaccinations, an in depth health assessment, and my CPR certification for healthcare providers, but I couldn't be happier! Life is headed exactly where I want it to and I feel SO BLESSED!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where Does Time Go?

Okay, it has been over two months since I have posted. I feel like a total SLACKER! But, I swear I'm not. I have been very busy, but all with good things. Let me see if I can catch you up to speed (I act like there are actually people reading this, but humor me....) School, kids, bows, family, dating, cleaning. There, I think you are caught up. He he!

This quarter turned out great! I really enjoyed my classes. I got a 98% in my Anatomy class and therefore didn't have to take the final. I learned a lot and really enjoyed my teacher. I have him again next quarter for A&P 3. We discussed the nervous system, senses, circulatory system, and immune system. In the process we dissected a brain, an eye, and a heart....all VERY cool!!! Wish I had pictures to post, but I don't. I know you're all very disappointed. I'll take some next quarter when we do the cat.
My English class went better than I could have even asked for. I REALLY liked my teacher. She let us revise papers for better grades if we weren't happy with it and I ended up with a 100% in the class. I got that to start with on my final two papers and didn't have to revise them at all. We wrote four papers this quarter. My first was a narrative about the night I lost my mom. Next was a descriptive essay about Monterey, California which I happen to think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Third was a compare and contrast essay where I compared Mormons with mainstream Christianity, and finally an argument that I wrote about how vital nursing care is in relation to pediatric oncology. I had actually written that paper for my Allied Health class, but my English teacher was all about us using other classes papers for her too. Her motto was, "work smart, not hard." Oh how I wish she was teaching 102 next quarter.
Finally my Allied Health class. I actually got more out of it than I was expecting. It was more along the lines of how to succeed in college and life kind of course. I gained a lot in the way of self esteem to be honest. It was pretty much shot for many of the last several years. But in some of the exercises we had to do, I was reminded of all the things I am proud of in my life, and the kind of woman I am. I am happier now than I have been in a long time. My teacher even said she had noticed as the quarter went on a physical change as well. I started doing my hair and makeup more and wearing brighter colors and she said she could definitely tell there was something different. It was a great compliment to me.
Next quarter shouldn't be too bad, except that it starts WAY too early in the morning. I only have school MWF, from 8:00-12:30. I will also have one online class, and tutor in the library when needed. I'm excited. I can't think of a better schedule for Spring than to be done early and head home to play outside with my girls. I LOVE SPRING!!!

The girls are growing leaps and bounds. Hailey is doing fabulously in school and her teacher says she is already ready for first grade. She is reading quite a bit and has even read some to her sisters when they will sit still enough. I am so proud of her. She loves school and I really hope that continues throughout her life. Alyssa is still a little fireball. She is working on the potty training thing. Right now we have a fishbowl full of candy and when she goes potty she gets a piece of candy. When the candy is gone she will get a fish. I am hoping and praying it works as I REALLY need her potty trained before my next quarter starts so she can go to the daycare there at school. Kimber is getting WAY too big. She is talking more and more and will be two next month....Where, O Where does the time go? I swear it was just yesterday I had her. I had some pictures done of them last weekend and they are precious! I adore my girls and am so blessed to have them in my life. I don't know where I would be without them.

I am working on building up my stock of bows. My friend Erica and I are planning to do a booth at a flea market this spring and then a booth at a craft fair as well. If I find more craft fairs I will consider doing those too. I enjoy making the bows, but it can be time consuming at times too.

As to family, my great grandma was not doing well for quite some time and is now at our house on hospice. So I was helping as much as I could with her care. She is actually doing much better and can get around some on her own. She even made it to the bathroom today with her walker. This is BIG progress people! I love having her so close that I can go in and see her anytime I want. I love that my girls go in and entertain her at times. Alyssa even got a Mr. Potato Head all goofy and took it in to sit on grandma's end table so that it would make her smile. I love how thoughtful my kids can be at times!

I have been dating a little. Not really sure how much I can/should talk about here. Suffice it to say my wonderful cousin got me Rascal Flatts tickets back in January. She was going to go with me, but decided to send a friend of hers instead. We talked a little before hand, then he took me to dinner before the concert. We had a wonderful time and the concert was fantastic! We have seen each other several times since and I just really enjoy spending time with him. He makes me laugh, my kids love him, and he treats me and the people I love with the utmost respect. We'll leave it at that for now.

Cleaning is not interesting enough to blog about, but it takes up more of my time than I would like. The whole point of this post really is just that