Sunday, March 18, 2018

Choose LOVE

A few weeks ago, one of my college roommates (or at least our next-door neighbor), went to a black-tie event hosted by Fenway Health (a LGBT health care, research and advocacy organization headquartered in Boston. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought a table to show their love and support. My friend was invited to have a place at the table and was encouraged to share the love our church has for the LGBT community, despite what they may think of us.

This has led to a beautiful discussion amongst our group. So much of it surrounding the importance of love in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel as though I've gone through a spiritual reawakening. I feel so alight with enthusiasm that if we could just choose love more often, love for God and love for our fellow men, we would be better aligned with our Heavenly Father than if we focused more like the Jews of old on simply and dutifully obeying the letter of every law. For me, a born rule follower, and one not naturally endowed with loads of compassion, this is a complete revelation.

Yesterday, feeling very inspired by the discussion of my college roommates I decided I wanted quotes about love to fill the walls of my new home. I even thought of a friend who creates beautiful artwork to design them for me. But then my heart was moved to think bigger. To sell her designs and use the profits to donate to a charity that promotes the furtherance of Love. It's not much, and we may never sell more than a few designs, but I want to do my part, no matter how small.

Thankfully I have a husband who studied both intellectual property and tax law in law school and finance in business school. And thankfully my friend is interested in designing for me and letting me license her work for my new project.

This morning as I was looking for quotes for her to design, I came across my new favorite scripture:
"And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength." - Doctrine and Covenants 20:31

To me this scripture rewords the famous scripture in Matthew 10:39 - "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." When we focus on loving God and our fellow men (and I think by extension ourselves) Christ's grace will cover our shortcomings and we will find that sanctification is a natural byproduct.

In other words, instead of worrying about perfecting myself little by little, even with the help of my Savior's atoning sacrifice, I am going to work on choosing love, and let Christ's grace take care of the rest. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Our House Sold!

We put our house on the market last Thursday. That evening, we had our first showing, with about 30 minutes notice. Poor Matthew - I was out of town so he was left to tidy the house (which was clean, at least when I left early that morning). The following Tuesday our realtor informed us that they had put in an offer to buy our house.

Over the past few months I had been praying that there would be someone who NEEDED to buy our home. And honestly, I felt fairly sure Heavenly Father had it all in hand. So when I heard about the plight of our buyers, I recognized the answer to my prayers.

At least according to our realtor, the father is in the Navy and is deploying soon. He is trying to lock down a house for his family before leaving. They had already gotten denied on 10 other offers and were getting pretty desperate. They gave a full-price offer and clinched it with the clause stating they wouldn't ask for any repairs.

At first I felt bad to go back to the other people coming to look at our house in the next 24 hours and tell them they couldn't come after all, but Matthew and my realtor ensured me that they would somehow survive. So with that burden of guilt lifted, we both felt sure that this is the family Heavenly Father meant for our home. So after only 6 days we have both a house to move into and someone who wants to buy ours. Oh how thankful I am for such beautiful answers to prayers.

P.S. We should close on both houses at the end of April.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

New House

When we moved to Salem, we found this house after relentlessly searching online for a few months. We weren't in a position to be able to come out before hand to look so I had my sister and realtor look at homes on our behalf. They didn't find anything they loved and so Matthew and I went back to the drawing board and found this one. Somehow, we both just knew that this was the house for us and tasked our realtor with checking it out for us. If she didn't hate it we were ready to put in an offer.

When we walked in to it the first time we were nonplussed. This is what we felt so good about just a few months previous?? But after a month of living in it we were so glad we made the right choice.

But then the light at the end of the student loan tunnel started getting brighter last fall and we started contemplating life in a house with all four walls of our very own. For the first almost 6 years of our marriage we were surrounded by others in apartments. Then we moved to Macungie and shared just two walls. Here in this house we only share one, but I think we might just be ready to share, gasp, none. So for the last 6 months we have been looking and dreaming.

A few weeks ago I found a house I kind of love. It's on the end of a cul de sac, it backs up to trees, has enough rooms for Boy Howdy to have the desire of his heart (his very own room), has a big enough garage for both Matthew and I to park inside, and has a space big enough for Matthew to have the desire of his heart (a pool table).

Yesterday Matthew and I had our realtor over to put an offer on said house and to finalize details of putting our house on the market later this week. I have been waiting and working towards this time for the last while, but now that it's kind of out of my hands I am feeling anxious. Is this really what the Lord wants for us? Will someone want to buy our house? Is it going to be as painful of a process as last time? Will we really have enough money to put down on the next house?

Right now I am fasting and praying for peace to get me through these next few weeks and faith to trust in a loving Heavenly Father's plan for my family. Come what may and love it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Party

Last night Matthew and I got invited to a party by our children. In case it's not obvious, the invitation says, "Your invited to a party - Mom and Dad". Complete with a star because I love them so.

The kids planned a party/celebration complete with snacks (fruit & nut bars and apples) and party games. We played pin the sign on the piece of wood, and dance party freeze. Boy Howdy and Cheeks sang their made up songs into their makeshift microphone (the aforementioned piece of wood). When they were done they would yell "Freeze!" We the dancers, would then freeze until the singer started again. Their songs were pretty entertaining. One of Boy Howdy's was about lost love while the other was about Rock and Roll. They were very involved. We played running around the house, but Cheeks changed the rules so that I could just walk while she and her brother ran. We also played walking around being totally quiet. Matthew won that one. The final game was taking some rice hand warmers and trying to get from one side of the room with the warmers on different parts of our bodies.

The kids LOVED the evening and Matthew and I LOVED seeing the joy on our babies faces. A wonderful way to end a Sunday.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Boy Howdy is a Writer

The day I hoped for after Boy Howdy learned to say his "th" has arrived. He has started writing . . . with really poor spelling. I am so in love!! In case it's not obvious, it says:
my teacher saw a rat.
at the end of the day my teacher picks a prize (winner).

I remember when my babies were babies thinking, "I love this stage. Am I going to love the next stage as much?" And with each new one I find I can't quite remember why I loved the last one so much when this one is so wonderful. Right now, with Boy Howdy trying his hand at writing and Cheeks starting the first attempts at reading herself, I kind of love this stage. What an exciting time to be a mother when the world is just about to start opening up for her babies in a whole new way.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sickie Mama

Every year, I get one really bad cold. A cold that just really knocks my socks off and makes me wonder if living is truly worth it. This year, that cold started a week ago. Wednesday and Thursday I could barely get out of bed I had so little energy. Friday through Tuesday were only marginally better. I still had no energy to do much of anything, but at least I could make it out of my room and to the couch. I'm exaggerating, but not by much. Today I have finally started allowing myself to hope that I won't be leaving my children motherless sometime soon and I feel the need to thank three very kind people for their sweet acts of service.

1. My sister who answered my text and graciously went to Costco to get the kids and I chicken noodle soup so we wouldn't have to eat bagels for dinner for the second night in a row. I should note that Matthew has been out of town since Sunday or else he would have masterfully stepped up.

2. My husband who sweetly took both kids to church by himself so I could fall asleep on the couch while reasonably trying to gain some spiritual uplift from a BYU devotional I found on YouTube. Sorry President Nelson. It wasn't you, it was me.

3. And really the star of the sickie support show is my 4-year old daughter Cheeks. This very active and social little girl has played by herself or watched countless shows for the last week so her mama could rest. I played a game with Boy Howdy after dinner the other night. When she asked that I play a game with her too, I had reached my limit and needed to rest. I asked if she wouldn't mind if I laid down instead. She so graciously, and not remotely sorry for herself said of course and proceeded to play happily with her brother. This has been her MO for the last 7 days. She has been so selfless; I could not be more thankful for her ever. She has been my tender mercy. Thank you baby girl.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

I Miss My Mama

I don't think I've mentioned that my parents sold their house in Virginia and left, in October, to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are in South Carolina working with Marine recruits going through Basic Training. My parents run church services, give out cookies, love, and throat lozenges. During the week, they volunteer at the Naval hospital, help out the other missionaries and all things serve the Lord. I think I can safely say they are LOVING every minute of their mission.

Sigh. Which makes me feel really super duper selfish when I confess that I miss my mama. Something fierce really. When they sold their house they came to Oregon and bought a house to live in when they are done with their mission in April 2019. The house is less then a mile from mine and the prospect of living close to my parents and to have them interact with my children on a more regular basis is making waiting patiently kind of excruciating. I never really knew any of my grandparents and it has always been a wish of mine that my children KNOW and LOVE theirs.

So while I am so proud of my parents for their giant leap of faith in lovingly serving their Heavenly Father and His children, I also hope everyday that the next 14 months goes by a little quicker.