Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Talks

Well things are a little better in my calling.  What I mean is, I only freaked out about once this week.  Yesterday I put together the presidency meeting agenda, week three of the personal progress plan, a new opening exercises template, a printout of all announcements, and a talk on the sermon on the mount.  I fought with the printer and got all those things to print including a poster about EFY.  I helped Andrew with his talk as well.  It took me about 10 hours altogether, but it got done, and the printer didn't choke so WHOOT! =)  And also, I didn't have a panic attack.  Admittedly, I was medicated with Valentine's Day chocolate.

Oh yeah, it was Valentine's Day yesterday.  "What did you do for Valentine's Day?"  "I wrote a talk".  Also I ate chocolate.  So there's that.

I will start with Andrew's talk because he did a great job.  Yes, he's only nine, so it was a little unusual to have him speak in Sacrament meeting, but he was fabulous!  He sounded cool, calm, and confident.  =)

Andrew's Talk on Love Thy Neighbour

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters. I have been asked to talk about Love Your Neighbour.

In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

This means that it is important to love your neighbour and your enemies.

Who is your neighbour? When someone asked Jesus this question, he answered by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

So how can we do likewise? What kind of things can we do to show we love our neighbour?

We can be kind. We can bring food or water if they're poor or don't have enough money to buy them. We can help shovel our neighbour's driveway. We can help bring in the shopping. We can help make blankets for those who are cold. We can welcome new people when they come to church.

I know that this church is true, and that we will be blessed if we help other people.


Pretty uplifting, eh? =)

Here's my talk.  The topic was huge and a little overwhelming.  After writing it I was worried it was boring, so I asked Bert to listen to it.  He fell asleep.  Nooooooo!!!!!  =P  I guess I got my answer.  

I thought it would be amusing to count the number of sleeping people by the end of my talk.  Six.  =P  Well, better than the entire congregation!  However Everett Pallin (as well as many other members of his family including his wife, children, and their spouses. I love that family) who is just about the most awesome person I ever met told me that it was a good talk so YAY! =D

As a by-the-by, he randomly pulled out one of his own talks (before knowing what my topic was) just in case he was asked to speak at the last minute if I ran away and didn't turn up.  The talk he selected from his collection?  It was on the Sermon on the Mount.  That man may be rather inspired... =)

So here's the talk.  I'm sorry.  

The Sermon on the Mount. 

Good Morning, Brothers and Sisters. I have been asked to talk about the Sermon on the Mount, a terrifyingly huge topic. I hope and pray the Spirit will be with me as I talk, so that it may touch your hearts and minds with the things the Lord would have you know.

The Sermon on the Mount took place early in the Lord's ministry. It is recorded in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 in Matthew, and also in Luke 6. It is densely packed with doctrine. I could talk every Sunday for an entire year and still not give justice to the sublime message our Saviour delivered. In his message, he takes the teachings of the Old Testament and progresses them further along the path to perfection. He is fulfilling the old covenant, and teaching a new one.

While, to our eyes, his teachings appear gentle, kind, and right, at the time what was he was saying was absolutely radical and shocking. For example, in Matthew 5:41 he says,

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

To put this in historical context, the Herodian dynasty was merged into the Roman Empire when Christ was around 6 years old. As a client kingdom the Jews had had quite a lot of autonomy. However, after becoming an official Roman Province, freedoms were restricted. The fiercely independent Jews hated the Romans. They had to do whatever a Roman said, and it galled them. For example, there was a practice called “impressment”, which allowed a Roman soldier to compel a Jew to carry his equipment for one Roman mile – that is, about 1,000 paces. As a Roman backpack could weigh 100 pounds or more this was not easy. Furthermore, it was a huge interruption in a person's life, and the Jews hated it.

And here is the Saviour, saying, “Hey, if someone makes you carry his stuff for a mile – go two miles.”

Wait, what? Here are these people oppressing us, restricting our religious freedoms, taking our children, beating us, abusing us, forcing us to carry things we can barely manage....and you want us to do WHAT now?”

Please take a moment to ponder on a wrong that has been done to you. We have all been wronged or hurt in some way. It is painful to remember. Perhaps you have been humiliated at school. Perhaps you have been discriminated against because of your race, gender, accent, or religion. Perhaps it has been overt, perhaps it has been secretive. Maybe think about a wrong done to someone you love – somehow that one makes me angrier.

And here's Christ saying, “Hey, how about you be nice to those people. Not only nice, but EXTRA nice.”

That takes a level of faith, hope, and trust in God that is unprecedented. To truly forgive, and to give up your anger and hurt, and be kind to those who have abused you takes great inner strength.

This was all pretty radical stuff. In Matthew 7:28 it states, “...the people were astonished at his doctrine.” Christ even seems to be reassuring those who are listening: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Matthew chapter 5 begins with the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

It is clear in these verses, that the Saviour is teaching kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, and meekness. He acknowledges that in this life we have suffering and pain, and reassures us that if not in this life, then certainly in the one to come, we will be comforted and uplifted. He encourages us to not just do good, but to hunger and thirst after it. He encourages us to make doing good and being good one of the strongest desires of our hearts. He encourages us to be kind, and lets us know that what goes around comes around. If you are kind to others, it comes back to you. He encourages us to be patient if lies are spread about us, or if we are judged unrighteously, or even if we are persecuted. Be patient and trust in the Lord. Eventually, all will be well.

The injunction to bear with unrighteous judgement brings me to Matthew 7:1-5:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”

The interesting thing about that last verse is once you acknowledge the beam in your own eye, and work with diligence to remove it, when it is gone you are so much less likely to complain to your brother about his mote. In fact, once that beam is removed from your eye and you notice the mote in another's eye, the overwhelming feeling is one of compassion, and a desire to love and support.

Removing the metaphor from this teaching, what I mean to say is, once you have recognized you are sinning in a certain way, and strive with all diligence to repent and do it no more, you have no desire at all to condemn another for that same sin, because you feel empathy and compassion. You know how much it hurts to sin that way, and how difficult it is to repent of it. You feel more love for those around you, and wish to lift them, not complain or gossip about them.

To give you a real world story, when I was younger I seemed to know everything, and to my deep shame, judged. About ten years ago my daughter had a leader. It was one of my favourite stories to tell of this woman and the shocking things she did and said that I, in my wisdom, did not consider appropriate. It was shocking! I was shocked! How could she do those things? The Spirit would quietly tell me to stop talking about it. It took years, but I finally listened. I am now deeply ashamed and wish I could take back all the times I talked about her. I wish I could erase those words I said.

In the subsequent years I have felt judged by others in ways I considered deeply unfair and hurtful. Those people do not know my life. They have not experienced the things I have experienced. They do not see the thoughts, intents, and desires of my heart. They have not seen my struggles. The judgement I judged and the measure I meted came back to me.

In Matthew 7:12, the Lord says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

I invite you to think back to a time where you felt someone was judging you. Remember how it felt. It was awful, wasn't it? It was painful and unfair. If ever you look at a person, at what they have done or what they have said, or if you have opinions on the way people's children are acting, or on the decisions others make, and you look at them and think things like, “What the heck?! What is that person doing?!” I invite you to listen to the still small voice, and to President Uchtdorf's words - “Stop it!” Remember how it felt when you were judged. Remember that horrible feeling, and do not inflict it on others.

I do not speak, of course, of the righteous judgements those in authority must make, but of those unrighteous judgements we make. The ones in which we look down on others and disparage them. The ones that make us, in our secret hearts, feel superior in some way. “That person is doing this awful thing and I'm not therefore I'm better.” Life is not about feeling superior to other people. Life is not a fight where we must beat everyone else up in order to come out the victor. We are the victor when we love, lift, help, and serve others. We are the victor when we suppress our desires to feel better than everyone else, and when we are kind to others rather than judging them and putting them down, even in our own minds.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

In this passage, Christ teaches us to be patient with our afflictions. He reminds us that our Father in Heaven loves all His children, so should we not do the same? Christ points out that it's easy to be kind and loving to those who are kind and loving to us. However, we are taught to love those who are mean to us, and who hate us and abuse us. The scripture ends with this terrifying injunction: “Be ye therefore perfect.” Be perfect? How can we possibly be perfect when we are so flawed and sin so easily?

Elder Joseph B.Wirthlin said, “In both his old and new world ministries, the Saviour commanded, "Be ye therefore perfect". A footnote explains that the Greek word translated as perfect means "complete, finished, fully developed". Our Heavenly Father wants us to use this mortal probation to fully develop ourselves to make the most the most of our talents and abilities. If we do so, when final judgement comes we will experience the joy of standing before our Father in Heaven in the final judgement as complete and finished sons and daughters polished by obedience and worthy of the inheritance that he has promised to the faithful.”

Elder Russell M.Nelson also had some insight into this overwhelming concept:
“Scriptures have described Noah, Seth, and Job as perfect men. No doubt the same term might apply to a large number of faithful disciples in various dispensations” but “does not mean that these people never made mistakes or never had need of correction.” Rather, the process of “mortal perfection can be achieved as we try to perform every duty, keep every law, and strive to be as perfect in our sphere as our Heavenly Father is in his.”

This is comforting as Elder Nelson says “as we try to perform every duty.” That does not mean that we are perfect in what we are trying to do, simply that our desire is to be perfect, and we strive for that, repenting when we fall short.

Frank L. Judd, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU continues, “Modern scripture states that “Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God” (Moses 8:13) Thus Noah and his children demonstrated their perfection or complete integrity by means of their loyal obedience to the Lord.”

Thus, we are perfect when we strive to be obedient. Again, it is the true desires of our hearts that determine whether we are perfect.

Elder Mark E. Peterson taught, “A certain degree of perfection is attainable in this life. I believe that we can be one hundred percent perfect, for instance, in abstaining from the use of tea and coffee. We can be one hundred percent perfect in abstaining from liquor and tobacco. We can be one hundred percent perfect in paying a full and honest tithing. We can be one hundred percent perfect in abstaining from eating two meals on fast day and giving to the bishop as fast offering the value of those two meals. We can be one hundred percent perfect in keeping the commandment which says that we shall not profane the name of God. We can be perfect in keeping the commandment which says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” We can be perfect in keeping the commandment which says, “Thou shalt not steal”. We can become perfect in keeping various others of the commandments that the Lord has given us.”

When we read, then, “Be ye therefore perfect”, we can ask ourselves, “Am I completely keeping the commandments I can keep? Am I earnestly striving to keep those I have difficulty with?” If the answer to both those questions is “Yes”, then we are obeying the Lord's injunction to be perfect.

In Matthew 6, the Saviour talks about the various ways we can do righteous things, but for the wrong reasons. We may fast - but tell everyone about it so that they think we're amazingly righteous. I must add I think this is different than saying to your spouse on the way home, "My gosh I'm starving". That's a statement of fact rather than a wish to be thought of as a saint. You may argue that I am not, in fact, starving. I counter with "Well it sure feels like it."

The Saviour mentions paying tithing, praying, and helping others. He encourages us to do those things quietly, without fanfare, and without calling attention to ourselves. Speaking about those who do draw attention to themselves in this matter he says, "Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

Those who serve, who pay tithing, who pray, who fast, those who follow the Lord's commandments without fanfare, simply striving to do the best they can, they are those whom the Lord delights to bless. Those who ostentatiously do those things receive the reward they desire - the attention of others. They receive no other reward.

Those, however, whose hearts are set upon the things of the Lord, who quietly strive to follow Him and do His will, also receive the reward they desire - the approbation of their Father in Heaven, who blesses them abundantly.

There are many here who serve quietly, without telling anyone. Your Father in Heaven sees, and delights to bless you.
“Ask,”, says the Saviour, “and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

Our Father in Heaven loves us more than we can, at this moment, imagine. The love is intense, and were we to feel it in our mortal state it may consume us. Think of your children, and how much you love to give them things. How fervently you desire that they make right choices so that you can help them. Our Heavenly Father also fervently desires that we make right choices so that He may bless us in abundance. If we even think about making a right choice he will bless us. If our desires are righteous, we will receive the desires of our hearts.

Sometimes, if our desires are unrighteous, we receive those also, but that is a curse rather than a blessing. “Be careful what you wish for”, the proverb says, “because you just might get it.”

If we wish, then, for righteous things, Our Father in Heaven will open the windows of heaven and pour out such a blessing that there is not room enough to receive it. The trick is to make sure your heart and mind are aligned with the Lord's. Follow His will, and you will be blessed.

I hope and pray that this talk brought peace to your mind and heart, and that you heard something that you needed to hear. For those who found it boring, for whom it went in one ear and out the other, I would like to offer the TL;DR version: Be kind. Don't judge. Serve others. Strive to keep the commandments. Have faith. Read your scriptures, pray, fast, pay your tithing. As Jacob said, “O be wise; what can I say more?”


If you made it to the end after actually reading the whole thing, I owe you brownies, man.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I am afraid

It's 2015! Happy New Year!  Remember when we thought we'd be flying around in cars by now?  I wish.

My goals from last year:
Blog more than last year - COMPLETED!
Finish the TARDIS cross-stitch - Nope
Keep up on the dishes and house - Sorta
Read scriptures and pray more - Sorta
Exercise as much as my body allows - COMPLETED!
Lose 10lbs - Nope.

Pretty good overall. =)

My goals this year.
Continue blogging.
Finish TARDIS cross-stitch
Keep up on dishes and house
Read scriptures daily and pray at least twice daily
Lose somewhere around 13lbs.

Yes, they look the same.  Which means I am consistent, persistent, and awesome.

But that's not what this blog post is about.  Noooo.  That was just the preliminary, "Hey, how are you? Wonderful weather we're having" beginning.

THIS is what the post is really all about:

I am afraid.

My calling took a long time coming, but when I was finally called I was absolutely totally and completely delighted.  I was Sunday School teacher to the 16-17 year olds.  Most of them were boys...there was one girl.  I enjoy teaching, and I immediately and completely totally loved all the youth in that class.  Loved them like I've never loved a bunch of youth before.  I worked hard to make sure the lessons were really what the Lord wanted me to say - including one week, the day before class, working for ages to try to sort out the lesson and not getting it and finally leaving it alone for a while, then later in the day coming back and writing a lesson that had nothing to do with the lesson plan.  It was the right lesson, though, and it felt *so* good to give it.

Every week I hand-wrote a little card to all the students who didn't come.  There were about ten a week.  It took a long time, but it felt good to do it.

I LOVED that calling.

Then the Bishop called me into his office, asked me how my calling was going, asked how my Spirituality was, then called me to be Young Women President.

I would like to be quite unequivocal here.  I am not a leader. I am not natural at it.  What I'm natural at doing is staying in my home and trying to talk to as few people as possible, the interwebs notwithstanding.  I am extremely introverted and going out and doing things takes rather a lot of mental preparation prior and quite a bit of alone time after.  I like teaching.  It's just me, the Lord, the manual, and the youth.  It's regular, routine, and somewhat predictable.  Perfect.

However, as I am being unequivocal here, I would also like to say that as soon as I was called I *knew* that this calling was for me.  I immediately knew who I would call as one of my counselors - so much so that I started bawling right there in the office.  I have a sure, strong testimony that I am meant to be Young Women President.

But that does not make the calling easy for me.  Quite frankly, I am terrified.  I have regular moments at home where I cry and eat chocolate.  I am overwhelmed.  I feel deeply, deeply inadequate.  Did I mention I am terrified?

I am terrified of doing a terrible job.
I am terrified that I won't get to know the girls.
I am terrified that I won't reach them or touch them or help them feel the Spirit.
I am terrified that they don't want to be there.
I am terrified because I have absolutely no earthly idea what I'm doing.
I'm terrified because I have anxiety attacks thinking about each Sunday and Tuesday.
I am terrified because New Beginnings is coming up and I'm just sitting here with a glazed look in my eyes with No. Idea. At. All. how to run it.
I am terrified because I'm meant to be planning things and I don't even know what they are yet.
I'm terrified because I'm meant to know how to organize and all I want to do is run and hide.
I'm terrified of failing the girls, their parents, the ward, and myself.

Every time an email comes in from a Stake or Ward leader my heart rate skyrockets and I want to run away and hide.

The weight of expectations is killing me.

The thought keeps wandering through my head, "I am not a leader".  Lately, however,  it's been replaced lately by a voice that says, "Yes you are. You're a really good one. You just don't know it yet.  Growth hurts. Keep doing your best with calmness and faith.  It will all work out."  And we all know where *that* voice comes from, right?

I woke up this morning, and while lying in bed was pondering how this is really not such a big deal, you know?  People do this kind of thing *every day*.  So what was my problem?  It's no biggie.

So here is how it feels in a way that might help you understand.

You are a normal, modest person. You are somewhat introverted.  You like going to work, sitting behind a desk, and quietly getting your job done.

Then your boss tells you that your job has changed.  You must now host a meeting of many people, stand on the table in the middle of them, seductively remove all your clothing and pole dance in front of them.

You must do this twice a week.
You must look competent and confident while doing it.
You must look like you enjoy it.
Furthermore, you must recruit people to come watch you.

You imagine the comments.
"Why do you have a problem with this?  Tons of people do it every day. It's easy! Most really enjoy it.  Think of the rewards!"
"Wow, she's not doing a good job removing her clothes.  Look how she fumbles.  It's quite embarrassing to watch, actually."
"Does she even know how to pole dance?"
"Ew, cellulite."
"When she took off her top it landed IN. My. Lap! Can you believe that?  Does she even know what she's doing?"
"There aren't many people here today.  She's not doing a good job of enticing people here is she?"
"This meeting started late!  I wonder if she's even planned how she's going to dance for the rest of the year? Does she even have it organized on her calendar?"
"I wonder how she'll cope at the end of the year when she has to put on a huge production and dance for the entire company?"

I know.  I'll get used to taking off my clothes.  It will become easy.  I will eventually get the hang of it.  And eventually I won't want to hide in my room, cry, and eat all the chocolate. And the sun will come out and the angels will sing Hallelujah.

But right now, I'm afraid.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homicidal, dentist, doughnuts, earbuds, and cupcakes. Supernatural, baby! =)

A pretty delightful day that started out as a kind of bummer.  First of all, I was awoken by my beloved playing, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" at full blast.

"I thought it would help you to wake up happy, " he said.  "Instead you woke up homicidal." Which, of course, made me laugh so I suppose it worked after all.  We then spent the morning belting out various lyrics from the song until it was time to take Andrew to school.

After dropping him off I dashed home so I could get at least a little time on the bike.  45 mins of sweatfest was kinda fun.  Then it was off to...


the dentist.

A couple of days ago a maple toffee pulled out a crown I loathe and despise so I went to a local dentist to get it put back in.

(Cut rant about a quack dentist and a terrible crown and the local dentist perplexed at how bad it was.)

It was lunchtime after the appt. and I was hungry and nowhere near home.  And here is where the bummer ends and the happy begins.

I found....


I squealed in delight when I saw it.  And guess what?  The HOT sign was on!!

I got six doughnuts - Halloween ones, of course, and one hot one to shove in my gob immediately.  I must have impressed the lady behind the counter with my excitement or something, as she gave me another hot one for free.  SCORE!!  I ate that immediately too.

Halloween/Ghostbusters doughnuts plus a "caramel crunch" one and minus the two hot ones which I'd already consumed.


I went to Future Shop - which is like the Canadian Best Buy.  I have been looking for yurbuds with volume control for stinkin' WEEKS to no avail.  And guess what?  This particular Future Shop had 'em.  Well alright!!  I grabbed two pairs as they are excessively difficult to find.  I think they're discontinuing the style or something, which blows.  One of the pairs (the red one) was on sale.  SCORE!  I would have bought two red pairs but it appears, after much research by the Future Shop employees, that my red pair were the last ones available in the entire province.


(I know! The excitement never ends.)

I turned on Hurontario to go home...and ended up going the wrong way.  I was driving along happily listening to The History of Rome podcast ...again...  (Hadrian has just died, thank goodness, and Antoninus Pius just became Emperor.  Which means it won't be long before my beloved Marcus Aurelius is on the throne.) vaguely thinking, "Huh.  I didn't think Burnhamthorpe was this far away" when all of a sudden I hit Brampton. Whooops.

You'd think this was a bad thing, and at first I was all, "Oh bugger".  But then I recognized where I was and thought, "Hold up, isn't that cupcake store around here?"

Yes.  Yes it was.

I had heard about Cristina's Tortina Shop when we very first found out we were moving to Canada.  I determined to hunt it down...which I did, several times.  Unfortunately they were always either closed or sold out.  This time, however, they were OPEN!  And they had...


Awwww yeah, baby, get in ma belleh.

Nutella cupcakes.

What with the cupcakes and the doughnuts I'm going to be on a sugar high tonight.  It's a good job I got on the bike, eh?

Here is Mary with Taylor.

Pretty much the sweetest ladies ever.  See what I did there?

So anyway, what a fun day, eh?  I rode the bike, got the stupid awful crown back in my mouth, bought a Krispy Kreme or seven, found the headphones I've been searching for forever, and bought the cupcakes I've been after for 8 months.  Life's pretty good.

All I need now is to find drymax socks.  I simply cannot find them in Canada and all my old ones have holes in and I miss them so much.

Random ending.

Party on, Garth!!  =)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Andrew went to school


Andrew went to school.

My child is nine years old.  Today was his first day of school ever.

Well.  School outside of home and tutorial anyway.

He was reeeaaaally nervous, poor kid, and was only just holding it together when we left.  I noticed that his teacher, Ms. Mckenzie, was very sweet and welcoming.  She sought to put him at his ease.  She had called last week to welcome him.  =)  She had also put him between two other boys, and made a point of introducing Andrew to the boys, letting them know he was new, and asking them to show him the ropes.  They had no problem with that and seemed like really nice boys.

We also noticed that the children, even on the first day of school, came in to class, put their things away, and immediately sat down, picked up a pencil, and quietly started working on the crossword that had been placed on their desk.  There was no running around screaming, there were no shenanigans.  Now, admittedly, we were a few minutes early so the rush hadn't begun, but even so there was a sense of calmness that was different to other schools.

I really hope this school will be a good one for him.  It was a very difficult decision to make, sending him to school.  Both he and I love homeschooling so much.  However, at this time in our lives, it felt *right*.  I feel really good about it, and I'm happy we decided to send him.  Being on foreign assignment the company gave us the option of paying for all our homeschooling books or paying for tuition at a private school.  We felt we should go with the latter as it's an opportunity we may not have again.  And right now, I'm glad we did.

Now talk to me just after 3pm when I pick Andrew up....if he's had a rotten day I might feel differently. =D

Looking good!

Yep, that's about right.

They grow so fast.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

You know you haven't blogged in a while when you start typing your blog's address into the address bar and it doesn't recognize it and you have to type the *entire* address.  Woah!

Uhhhm sooo it's been three months since I last blogged.  Ooops!  I seem to remember having a blogging goal for this year.  Let me see if I can find it...

Ah ha!!  Here we go!  On this post I had a goal of blogging more than last year - ie, more than 14 times.  Alright!!!  I can do that!  Let's see how much I've blogged thus far in 2014....

Including this one - 13!!!  WHOOT!  Only two more posts and I will have reached my blogging goal. Well alright.  (You have to say that like Uncle Rico)

So what have we been up to?

Well, first things first, we're enjoying a fabulous summer here in sunny Canada.

Ok, it's not that bad *all* the time.  It has rained a little bit almost every day though.  Last week we went on a bike ride and I had to wear arm warmers.

Well.  I say "arm warmers".  I don't actually own any arm warmers.  However, my calves didn't need any support so...Zensah to the rescue!  =)  They worked fabulously.

In TN we had to get up super early to make sure our bike rides were done before the afternoon heat hit.  Here, we dilly dally and don't go out until the afternoon.  When the DH rides in the morning he wears at least two layers and a jacket.  It's a tad chilly compared to TN.

Winter's going to be a b......  ...  bit difficult to deal with.

Speaking of goals, let's see how I'm doing as the year's more than half over.

Here's what I wrote at the beginning of the year:

Goals this year: 
Blog more than last year.  Shouldn't be hard as I blogged a total of 14 times last year....
Finish the TARDIS cross-stitch. 
Keep up on the dishes and house. 
Read scriptures and pray more
Exercise as much as my body allows but don't go nuts and injure myself.  Getting older blows.  Just sayin'.
Lose the 10lbs.  Again.  By exercising as indicated in the previous sentence, and eating healthier whole foods.  And by not eating brownies and ice cream several times a week.

Blogging - well on track to finishing that.
TARDIS cross stitch - Haven't touched it this year
Keep up on dishes and house - Actually, I've been doing a lot better on that since homeschooling ceased. =D
Read scriptures and pray more - Ok.  I straight up have to admit I've been having a leeeetle crisis of faith.  Clearly I need to do more of this.
Exercise - Not as much as I'd like, but more than I did during the move.  It's going ok.
Lose 10lbs - I've lost 3lbs.  Soooo.  Not so well.

The year's not over yet!  =)

Lots more to blog about, but I don't want this to be an overwhelming post.  Some of those long ones are torture to get through.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

I'm a bit dumb and blind, but eventually the Lord whacks me around the head hard enough and I get it.

We moved into the new house blah blah blah la la la more on that later.

Let's get to the important stuff, shall we?

Today the entire Relief Society lesson was given to practicing the hymn the RS are going to sing in church next Sunday.  "As Sisters In Zion".

The entire Relief Society lesson.

The sister who leads the music in Sacrament meeting, and who sings like an angel, and whose name I have not yet learned - maybe it's Catherine?  Probably not - anyway, she had found a beautiful arrangement.

And we struggled with it.  Oh my good gravy did we struggle.  Many of the sisters didn't understand the terms "alto" and "soprano" and sang the melody even when they weren't meant to.  One or two sisters could reach the high notes.  Most of them couldn't.

In the end the lovely arrangement was given up and instead it was decided that we would just sing the song as it was in the hymnbook.  It was less complicated and it sounded better.

Coming from my previous ward populated with ridiculously talented musical people, it was a reminder that I wasn't in Nashville anymore.  There Bro Kartchner could pull out a different arrangement on the fly.  Difficult musical arrangements would be handed out and would be sung perfectly almost immediately.

Here's what's important.  Pay attention now.

The sister next to me singing out of tune was singing with her heart full, as loud as she could, with as much feeling as she could.  She followed the words in the hymnbook closely with her finger.  At one point she turned to me and, pointing to a word, with broken heavily accented English said, "Seester, what is thees?"

And that's what it's all about.  It was wonderful listening to the astonishing musicians and singers in Franklin.  The sister next to me singing with all her heart to the Lord touched me deeply.  She sang with the Spirit.

From the first she has befriended me.  She has asked to come over to help me unpack.  She called to apologize that she didn't make it on the previous Friday because she had to work.  She has bought a plant to welcome us to our new home.  She has been giving and friendly and welcoming and kind.  And just a few days ago I found out that she was doing all this while dealing with her own struggles in life.  She wasn't able to sort out her visa and by summer will need to go back to her home country - something she is deeply sad and worried about.

She is an example to me, and I hope I can follow that example.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh Canada

This morning we woke up to this:

Spring in Canada.  I wonder why pictures never show snowflakes?  It's actually snowing quite heavily in the above picture, but you'd never know it.

Which was a delightful surprise.  I know everyone here's all "GAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" but we've just come from Tennessee so it's still exciting.  Plus, we're in a warm house and have no intention of going outside.  Plus, we're in a high rise and have zero snow shoveling duties.  Plus, it is actually trending warmer these days so the snow isn't going to hang about for long.  For all these reasons we think it's kind of cool.  Want to see more pictures?

Yes, they're all from the same vantage point on our balcony.  I stepped two steps outside, snapped the pictures, then hurried back inside again.  Not much interested in going outside any time soon.

....which is a pity as the kidlet wants to go to the library (The round building in the above pictures.  Yes, I know it's only across the road but still...)  Mmrrgrrfffhhhngnn.  Well fine.  Maybe we'll go.  Or not.  Maybe I'll plead illness.  I have a horrid cough and some weird thing going on in my lungs that kept me up some of the night (the rest of the night I was kept up by the rave going on upstairs....).  I've been drinking chamomile tea and honey all day and it's worked wonders.  But maybe I can still play the sick is, admittedly, 2pm, and I'm still in my nightdress.  Clearly I'm not feeling up to being human today.

Are you interested in this fabulous apartment?  =)  I know I told you last time that it was 800 sq ft.  Apparently it's 900.  So I guesstimated 100 off.  Not bad.  Here are the pictures.  Prepare yourselves for awesomeness.

Here's the view from the front door.  To your immediate left there is a little closet where the vacuum cleaner is stored.  Just past that on the left is the office.  Then just past that is the master bedroom.  You can see the doorway in the picture opposite the dining room table.

To the right from the front door is the kitchen with the laundry closet, the dining table (which you can see in the picture).  Just past the dining table to the right (you can *just about* see it in the pic) is another bedroom and bathroom, which Ben uses. 

Straight ahead is, clearly, the living room and the balcony.  That's it.

The kitchen.  Note the closet at the end opposite the cooker.

Here's the laundry closet.  I love it. It's in the kitchen where it's meant to be. 

The dining room table.  From this vantage point you can see the "hallway" that leads to Ben's bedroom (you can see into his bedroom from here) and bathroom.

Ben's bedroom.  This is pretty good for him.

Ben's bathroom.  Yeah, it's pretty awesome isn't it? =)

Now to the opposite side of the house.  I have no pictures of the office.  Why?  I took the pictures.  I remember taking them.  So why isn't it on my phone?  Clearly the phone gremlins have been at work.  Anyway, it's a room with a desk and a mirror.  That's it.  No closet, no window.

Then we have....

The master bedroom

And the master bathroom

And that's it.  Apart from the photo of the closet which has also inexplicably disappeared.  Isn't it perfect?  What else could we possibly need?  Nothing.  This place has it all.  I love it. =)

At some point I will post pictures of the Jays/Yankees game and the pics I took whilst walking along the lakeshore in Port Credit.  Maybe tomorrow. =)

Party on, dudes!