Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trip to Rigby-March 2011

A couple weeks ago we were able to make a trip to Rigby to visit Ty's family (it had been since Thanksgiving that we had seen them and a trip down was due)! It's so nice to get away and even nicer to do it while visiting with family.

We mixed it up with:

...fun in the SNOW (we can't believe they had enough still to pull us in a sled behind the four-wheeler; we don't have any snow and haven't had any for a long time where we live)...

...a trip to the Idaho Falls Museum where they had a BODIES exhibit that was so interesting. While it was difficult to keep our little ones entertained, we had a good time learning all about the body (by actually seeing each and every part of the body preserved; and before some of you get grossed out, I have to say this type of thing isn't usually down my ally but it was very neat). There was so much education available there. The experience futher confirmed to me that the intricate and beautiful bodies we own did not come about by mere happen-stance or evolution. They are truly too brilliant and amazing for me to believe anything but that they are a godly creation...

...and good hard labor (okay so maby not so hard:)). The kids particularly enjoyed helping Grandpa down at the barn. The weather turned out great one day while we were there and the kids nearly spent all day down at the barn helping grandpa feed the cows and scrape (put your imagination to work as to what that means :)). While they were down there at the barn we saw wild turkeys that like to come in close to steal grain from the calves' troughs AND they saw their dad's cousin skin a dead calf that had been smothered by it's mother. The cow had had twins but would only take one calf so Ty's cousin was bottle feeding the other. Well, when the cow smothered her calf, Ty's cousin decided to skin it and graft it's hide to the other twin calf. This gets the mother to accept the new calf (one that she identifies as the other/old calf). It seems so cruel, I know, but that is farm life. Talk about a learning experience for my kids - one I wasn't too sure about, it just sort of happened.

On our way down to the barn with Ty's grandma (who lives right just down the road from Ty's parents, and right next to the barn).

The kids both just love the out-of-doors, being around the animals, and being Grandpa's helpers. Of course, they don't see this as work but rather as an adventure - I mean feeding the cows their hay and grain, it apparently doesn't get any better than that!

While we were in Rigby we were also able to attend a banquet in which Jefferson County honored several different people and/or entities and we are proud to announce that Ty's parents were both honored there as the Jefferson County Farmer of the Year and Jefferson County Farm Woman of the Year. These awards for Ty's parents I'm sure seemed particularly special as they had a difficult year last year (Ty's dad had surgery on his shoulder and was laid up right at the busiest/hardest time of year when there was much cutting, feeding, milking, irrigating, etc. to do). So congrats again James and Orillia for all your hard work!

We even got to say a quick hello to my mom and step-dad and my younger brother and his wife in Pocatello on our way home. It was a great trip and we hope to make more soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Journey

A few months ago I felt I had finally come to the destination of a long and sometimes rough journey. But this destination or place I am now is where I felt my testimony has grown significantly - I am more at peace, life in general is better. I was asked to speak at our Stake Women's Conference this month and my 'journey" seemed to fit the topic perfectly so I thought I'd share with you, what I shared there. It is a long read, and I know that so many have greater struggles than I but I guess my reason for sharing is perhaps to bring hope to anyone who is struggling, that they might know there is great growth to be had in our trials and to further testify that I DO know our Father in Heaven is mindful of us all and does have a hand in directing/affecting our lives - of that I am sure! And I love the testimony of our Church leaders found in their quotes I have included in my talk - they are more of my favorite quotes!

A condensed version of my "journey" (I only had 5 minutes to share my thoughts at the Conference):

When I was asked to share my testimony of a specific time or event in my life that I felt the “hand of the Lord” powerfully direct or affect my life – I found my mind continually turning to the way the Lord has guided me through some of my most difficult times and trials. And in fact, it was made clear to me that this topic is exactly what I should speak on when, the very night after being asked to speak, as I laid awake in bed thinking about the topic, my husband shot out of bed and ran to the bathroom sick – throughout the night he become even more ill and began writhing in pain. So…after a hospital visit, it was discovered he had an acute appendicitis which had to be operated on. After we went through surgery, healing and all that an infection like that entails, I looked back and thought it was almost comical that I should be thinking of speaking on the very topic of trials on the exact night that we would be experiencing another.

I believe most of us feel that to others, our trials may seem trivial but to us, the way they affected or taught us, is significant. I know that is the way I feel. And so while the experiences and thoughts I have to share with you in regard to some of my struggles may seem trivial, I pray you’ll bear with me as I share why they have been so significant to me personally.

When I was a young girl, I remember my mom confiding in me, at a tender age, that not all things in her life and/or our family were as happy or right as they should be. While I was completely surprised, I instantly realized that things would not be working out between my parents. My eyes were opened early in life when I learned of the colorful life my dad led. I remember one rough night in particular, following an ugly divorce, that I spent sobbing - trying to understand why my dad had made some of the decisions he had - I felt he had thrown away the chance of our being an eternal family-and for what? Didn’t we matter? Didn’t he love us? Within this and other memories, were many inter-mixed feelings of love, betrayal, dishonesty, resentment, etc. Although it’s difficult to admit, until just recently I still struggled somewhat with those feelings.

I’d always known that such difficult feelings could not simply be buried. And many times I’d thought I had overcome them and that forgiveness had been reached. However, whenever my dad presented another disappointment, I would again bring all the old difficult feelings out of storage, so to speak, only to realize that I had gotten nowhere in my efforts to forgive.

I was forced to examine and re-examine my feelings and the depth of my testimony again this last Thanksgiving when my dad announced that he and his wife were going to be baptized. Many nights were spent pondering and praying and eventually I felt prompted to write all my feelings down – in a letter I would give to my dad. I believe that because I acted on that prompting, late, late, one night, and began writing that letter that I was blessed with an amazing outpouring of the Spirit and came to the realization that if my testimony of the principles of faith, repentance and forgiveness and of the blessing of the Atonement was as strong as I believed it was, I had to overcome any and all difficult feelings, I had to forget, forgive, and move forward. Without hardly even realizing what I was writing, I was able to tell my dad in that letter that I forgave him, that I was sorry I hadn’t been able to tell him so sooner, and that I was entirely thrilled with his decision to be baptized. I was amazed at how easy it was to write such things – and how sincere I was in my feelings.

The following day, and in further answer to my prayers, I received a phone call from my dad – he was calling to ask for my forgiveness before going through with the baptism he had scheduled for that weekend. I was so grateful I had gotten up the night before to write that deeply emotional letter – I knew exactly how to express my feelings and felt completely guided by the Lord as I explained to my dad the contents of that letter. Further, I was able to tell him – most sincerely, “Yes Dad, I forgive you!”

We were able to go to the baptism for my dad and his wife that weekend. Every one of my siblings and all their children – all of us were there. The Spirit was strong that night, it seemed that the hope of an eternal family was renewed for all of us. It was the icing on the cake to practically a life-long effort/journey to get right with myself, with my dad, and with the Lord in regard to this trial. I better understand and completely agree with President Harold B. Lee who once said: “Sometimes when [we] are going through the most severe tests, [we] will be nearer to God than [we] have any idea. "

I know that the future will still hold struggles for my family - that disappointments may still come, but I know better now that they don’t matter. That if I put my faith in the Lord - trusting that all can and will be made right through Him - relying on that promise, it is possible to move forward, to forget, and to forgive.

Truly, in hind sight, I am grateful for the trials that my family and I have been through, for I would not be the person I am today had I not suffered through them. My testimony of those important principles of faith, repentance, forgiveness and the Atonement would not be as strong as they are today.

I am reminded of a quote by the Apostle Orson F. Whitney who said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

I know that trials give us opportunities to show the Lord and ourselves that we will be faithful. I know that I can rely on the hand of the Lord in my life and trust in Him – to comfort me and guide me through my trials. For when we turn to Christ, we will not only find the comfort we seek, but in so doing we will also gain an increased testimony of the reality of the Savior and His Atonement, which can heal all suffering because we know that Christ suffered pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind so He could be filled with mercy and know how to succor His people according to their infirmities.

I know God loves us perfectly and “would not require [us] to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for [our] personal benefit or for that of those [we] love.”[Elder Richard G. Scott]. I am truly grateful for this and every trial I have experienced, for their refining process - I have truly gained strength and grown from them as I know we all can. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Take A Look

You have to take a look at the new story I wrote up about Vanna in my "Kids Say/Do The Darnest Things" sidebar of my blog (under March 2011). It's gauranteed to either gross you out or crack you up. Either way it's a great story!