Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Was Your Guess?

Well, if you guessed we were having another girl, you were right!  We are SO excited!  I have to admit though that anyone's guess was as good as my own as I was more inclined to believe we were having a boy for some reason (guess I'm not blessed with that motherly inclination). 

We had our ultrasound on Thursday and were relieved to see all is going as well as can be expected with the pregnancy and that our baby girl seems to be as healthy as can be!  When we told the kids, of course Vanna started squealing and saying, "Yay!" while Cash said, "Oh man, I wanted a boy, I like baby broders."  Then he jumped right back into playing and we haven't heard a word of complaint since.  The kids are both helping us out with little girl names and it's been interesting to see what they come up with.   We were pretty set on a boy's name and a little undecided in the girls department.  We were so undecided with Vanna (who wasn't named until day two after her arrival) and since I have a couple pretty good ideas this time around, I hope that won't be the case with this bundle of pink.

I already had Ty get all my saved baby girl stuff and am in the process of rummaging through it all.  Only about half of our clothing will work (as Vanna was born in April and baby #3 is going to be a winter baby) but I figure if I buy some sweaters and leggings/leg warmers maybe I can make the other half work too.  We'll see :). 

We are very happy to welcome another princess to the family, so relieved she's doing well, and really just feel so overwhelmingly blessed!  I have been strongly determined not to take such a blessing as a healthy baby for granted.  We just had a dear friend of ours lose their beautiful baby girl due to a very pre-mature birth and our heart aches for them.  In the short time their baby lived, Teagan Faith and her family-through her and her stuggles- have made a lasting impression on me and so many others.  Our sincere prayers are with them and we hope for their strength and comfort during such a difficult time.   I thought her name so fitting and have found so many thoughts, books, lessons experiences, etc. over the past few months touch my life in regard to faith.  You know how you hear things repeated over and over until one day it clicks in such a personal way?  I have really felt that in regard to the principle of faith recently.  Perhaps I needed a lesson in faith or perhaps it was that I finally opened my heart to the true understanding of it.  I have learned so much in my studies and thought maybe I'd share just a clip of what I began to feel in regard to faith and our pioneers as I recently had to speak on the topic:


As I’ve studied and read through histories of our pioneer heritage and all the early Saints of the Church endured, I found myself asking “How?”

How could our pioneer Saints have worked so hard and under such harsh conditions?: James Bleak of the Martin Company recorded their experience as they crossed the North Platte for the last time in October of 1856:  “The crossing of the North Platte was fraught with more fatalities than any other incident of the entire journey…Blocks of mushy snow and ice had to be dodged…Some of the men carried some of the women on their backs or in their arms, but others of the women tied up their skirts and waded through like the heroines they were.”  Following that crossing Patience Loader recorded: “We had to travel in our wet clothes until we got to camp.  Our clothing was nearly frozen on us.  That night the ground was frozen so hard we were unable to drive any tent pins in and the tent was wet…We stretched [the tent] open and got under it until morning.”

I thought how could they have ate so little?:  Rations were such that each adult received 10 oz. flour per day, 10 oz. pork per 20 days and short rations of tea, coffee, sugar, rice and apples.  It was said that “any hearty man could eat his daily allowance for breakfast” alone.  And later when times were severely despairing, it was recorded by one man (John Jaques) of the Martin Company, “you felt as if you could almost eat a rusty nail or gnaw a file”.   Children chewed on bark, leaves, twigs and the tattered leather from the boots of those who had died.

How could our pioneer mothers have survived burying their children in shallow, unmarked graves for sake of the frozen ground – knowing that the wolves that tarried behind the companies would soon dig them up again?

How, even after finally arriving in the Salt Lake valley, could husbands and fathers so willingly leave their families for missions that were termed “generally not to be very long ones” it was announced that “probably from three to seven years will be as long as any man will be absent from his family” (The Willie and Martin Handcart Story)?

How could the pioneers have endured SO much? What carried these Saints through such struggle? 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland answered this beautifully, so if you’ll bear with me I’d like to read a portion of his message found in this up-coming month’s Ensign called “Faith to Answer the Call”:

What are we seeing in these examples of faithful pioneers? It is what we have seen down through the dispensations of time and certainly down through this dispensation…What we saw then and what we see now among the blessed Saints the world over is faith in God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in the Prophet Joseph Smith, faith in the reality of this work and the truthfulness of its message.

Little wonder that faith always has been and always will be the first and abiding principle of the gospel and of our work. It is the heart of our conviction that the work not only should go forth but that it also can and will and must go forth.

…The fundamental driving force in these [pioneer] stories is faith—rock-ribbed, furnace-refined, event-filled, spiritually girded faith that this is the very Church and kingdom of God and that when you are called, you go.

Elder Holland goes on to issue a call for conviction, he says:

“ we all must have burning in our hearts that this is the work of God and that it requires the best we can give to the effort. My appeal is that you nurture your own physical and spiritual strength so that you have a deep reservoir of faith to call upon when tasks or challenges or demands of one kind or another come. Pray a little more, study a little more, shut out the noise and shut down the clamor, enjoy nature, call down personal revelation, search your soul, and search the heavens for the testimony that led our pioneer parents. Then, when you need to reach down inside a little deeper and a little farther to face life and do your work, you will be sure there is something down there to call upon.

We must have faith in this work—faith in what all believers are called to do, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Father in Heaven. We need to conform our will to Theirs and then make that will rock-ribbed and pioneer strong indeed. If we do that, I know we will be safe and secure in the inexorable onward movement of the Church and kingdom of God on earth.

I too know that we must have faith.  We must have faith to sustain us in our future.   We were taught by Elder Russell M. Nelson in our last General Conference:

We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith.

He stated: Our faith now becomes part of our posterity’s faith later.  Which I might just add –  is a statement I believe the pioneers well understood – but Elder Nelson further taught:

Start with your children. You parents bear the primary responsibility to strengthen their faith. Let them feel your faith, even when sore trials come upon you. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach that faith with deep conviction. Teach each precious boy or girl that he or she is a child of God, created in His image, with a sacred purpose and potential. Each is born with challenges to overcome and faith to be developed.

Teach of faith in God’s plan of salvation. Teach that our sojourn in mortality is a period of probation, a time of trial and testing to see if we will do whatever the Lord commands us to do.

Teach of faith to keep all the commandments of God”… for in order for us …“to prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.

Teach of faith to know that obedience to the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection. And remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us.

Elder Nelson asks:

Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.”12 That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.

Our beloved President Thomas S. Monson has given us his prophetic witness.  He said:  I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure.  Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.”  He further encourages: “My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.

I love that – The future is as bright as your faith.  I do believe hard times are ahead, hard times are already here, but I gain much courage as I rely on our Prophet’s promises and hang on his encouraging words.  I know that we must develop that rock-ribbed, furnace-refined, event-filled, spiritually girded faith that Elder Holland taught us about in order to endure and survive all that life here on Earth throws at us but I know with an absolute assurance that we can make it through, for it has been done before.  How grateful I am for the examples of our pioneers who displayed powerful faith in their struggles – that we might learn from them how important the gospel is and should be in our lives – how important faith is to rely upon in trying times and how worthwhile our efforts in the Kingdom of God are.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You Saw This One Coming Right?

Well, we traded in our car and bought a ...

minivan!  Neither me or Ty were too excited about getting a van.  Ty would tease that minivan=miniman :)  But three kids = need for larger vehicle, so we had to get something different that would fit our growing family. 

So we looked a lot at the adorable third row cross-overs (that packed you in like sardines with no additional storage/trunk-type space) and SUV's (many of which felt like I was driving a bus - Ty didn't like the price on those monsters either) and, of course, vans.  After looking at many, thinking a lot, and test driving a few, we decided the van was best for us.  We ended up getting a 2008 Toyota Sienna that was in amazing condition with hardly any miles.  We're pretty happy with our decision.  The van is growing on us because gosh, they sure make those things convenient for families. 

The kids were so excited to get a new vehicle.  We've had it a couple weeks and they still act like it's an amusement park ride each time we load in. We've had to put rules and limits on the DVD player and the buttons for the sliding doors (the kids just can't seem to keep their little fingers off those things!) but still their fascination with these items is constant.  I am really enjoying all the space and will really love it I'm sure when the baby comes.   

Thought I'd throw in a belly picture too.  It's the first we've taken and really was only taken because Cash got hold of the camera and said, "say cheese mom".  So I quickly posed and there you go.  He did pretty good and it was probably time to get a shot of my growing tummy to scrapbook.  I definitely feel like I'm growing quicker and larger than with the previous two but I'm starting to feel better and things seem to be going pretty well so far - we have much to be grateful for and little room for complaining. :)  I am now 18 weeks along and for some reason I can not wait to find out what we are having.  I'm so ready to get things out and ready for the baby and re-decorate the kids' bedrooms that it's driving me crazy not knowing.  Only two more weeks until my ultrasound and we'll let you all know!  Yay!