Monday, February 13, 2017

My 41st Birthday

I am 41.  I am richly blessed.  My birthday was wonderful.  My cute students (almost) all wore blue because that is my favorite color. Several of them brought me cards or gifts.  They sang happy birthday and a parent brought cookies and a Happy Birthday sign.  I was able to go to dinner with my family (Bombay House...Indian food...SOO yummy!!).  Alfredo bought me the most beautiful flowers and new shoes.  I had so many texts and Facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday.  Two different friends brought me treats from Kneaders.  So many people reached out to express their love.  I am truly blessed.  I truly have the greatest people in my life.  I was brought to tears multiple times throughout the day.  I am not sure why I am so very blessed and my life is so rich, but I am so thankful.

Gabby wrote this sweet note on the card with the flowers:  "You are the most beautiful woman in the world!  Happy Birthday!"

Learning about our Rights

It is the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.  One of the teachers at my school applied for and received one of 200 displays about the Bill of Rights for our school.  It's pretty neat...there are replicas of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, a timeline of events and information about the rights we have as citizens of this great country.

As part of the celebration, we invited Reverend France Davis to our school to talk about the Civil Rights movement and his experience marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Davis was born about 100 miles away from Dr. King.  He explained that they were called colored back then...anyone who wasn't white.  He went to a school where everyone was colored...all the teachers, bus drivers, students, everyone. He spoke about the "colored only" and "white only" signs that were all over his city and all over the South.  "Coloreds" had to ride in the front of the train, the back of the bus, the bottom of a boat, and the top of a movie was a big deal to know where you were supposed to sit and to follow those rules.  About 2/3 of the children in his city were colored, and about 2 million dollars was spent on the colored schools each year.  On the other hand, 10 million dollars was spent on the white schools.

He talked about Martin Luther King's intelligence.  He was asked to leave school when he was 5 because he was the highest reader.  He was very intelligent and had his PhD. by the time he was 25. Dr. King believed strongly in nonviolence.  Reverend Davis met him in 1963 in DC at the march.
He shared four lessons we can all learn from Dr. King:  1.  Prepare as if everything depends on you.  2.  Imagine...have a vision for what you want to achieve.  Dream.  3.  Communicate that vision with others.  Learn to communicate effectively with people.  4.  Everyone has value.

We learned and sang "We Shall Overcome" with Reverend Davis.  There were quite a few tears in adult's eyes as we sang.  It really was a pretty special event.  I'm so glad I live now and that we have made progress in how we treat those of different backgrounds...but there is still work to do.  There still exists too much prejudice and too much bigotry.

This past week, we were able to have our principal, Dr. Kirby, speak to our students (two classes at a time) about her experiences growing up during this time period.  She spoke about not being allowed to try clothes or shoes on at the store.  So they would make tracings of their feet to measure their shoes.   They would take their measurements and bring all that information with them to the store when they shopped for clothes.  They also learned to sew so they could make their own clothes and so they could adjust their clothes if they bought something that didn't quite fit right.  She talked about going to the grocery store and having to wait until all of the white customers had been waited on before they could check out.   She allowed the students to ask questions.  One of my students asked if children of color could go to the circus or amusement park.  She said they had special days when they were allowed to go, but they had to go on those designated days.  She also explained that people of many backgrounds were considered "colored"...hispanics, polynesians, asians...anyone whose skin was not white.

I think it has been really valuable for my students to learn about these events, to (hopefully) appreciate the rights they have and those who worked to ensure these rights for us all.  I know that it has been a moving experience to listen to Dr. Kirby and Reverend Davis.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Miscellaneous Events in the past month (or so)

Since the girls went back to school on January 3 and I didn't go back to work until January 9, I decided to pick Ella up from school one day and take her out to lunch.  She chose to go to Pizza Rev.  Our food was delicious.  But Ella told me when I picked her up that she didn't feel good.  I was hoping she was just hungry, but after eating she said she felt worse.  And she kept putting her head down on the table at Pizza Rev.  So she ended up coming home and spending the rest of the day in bed.  Poor girl!

Gabby is really loving 3rd grade and doing very well.  She was so happy when she brought home her report card in January and she had all A's, all 5's in citizenship and a great note from her teacher.
Sorry...I don't know how to turn this photo.  The note from her teacher says.."Gabby always has many insightful ideas and is a role model for our class.  She takes pride in her school work and uses her time constructively.  Way to go!"

A couple of weeks ago, it was Hunter Pride Evening at Culvers.  A portion of each family's purchase would be donated to the school.  So we headed over to get ice cream.  We saw a couple of neighbors there which was fun.  Also, two of the teachers, Mrs. Leith and Mrs. Olsen, were there.  I could tell that they genuinely love my girls and all of their students.  I'm very grateful for the hard work and dedication of amazing teachers!

Just this past Tuesday, Gabby had parent watch day at dance.  I really enjoy going to watch her.  She is progressing.  She pays attention and really tries hard and stays focused.  She is getting more flexible and she really tries to do her best.  A couple of the girls in her class were really distracted by their parents being there (the teacher had to talk to them about not running over to talk to their parents in the middle of dance) but she was focused and really did her best.

For one of our January activities, I took the Beehives to the Church History Museum downtown.  We got to be History Mystery Detectives, a free program they have on weeknights for youth groups.  Then we got to watch the movie about the First Vision and wander around the museum for a little bit.  One of the missionaries talked to us quite a bit about his testimony of Joseph Smith.  It was a really wonderful night.  I sure love these sweet, sweet Beehives...and every one of the YW.  It's a privilege to serve them!

We've also had the privilege of having a couple of people over for dinner.  Last weekend, our dear friends Jeremy and Stacie came over for dinner to celebrate Stacie's birthday.  The week before that we invited the Julio family and the Fetzer family from our ward to come over for dinner.  I especially loved getting to hold the Fetzer's baby girl that evening.  And the following night we had Immanuel and his wife over for dinner.  I have kind of a goal of having one to two families from my ward over to dinner each month.  I'm sure there will be a few months we miss, but I feel like it is a small way I can strengthen relationships, build more unity in our ward, and help develop love and understanding among us (especially if we can find other topics to discuss than politics.  Alfredo is so frustrated by things with Trump that politics seem to come up daily).

Life is good.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Positive Negative Space

Several weeks ago, Gabby had her cute friend Grace come over for a sleepover.  The art teacher at my school had done a cool art project with my class about positive and negative space and I had done it at home with Gabby.  Gabby asked if they could do it again now that Gracie was here.  So we did.  Here the girls are modeling their art work:

They are such cute girls!  I feel so thankful that my children have such great friends.  Our family has been very blessed with amazing people as friends.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Christmas writing

Gabby did some cute writing at Christmastime.  What I especially love, though, is the close relationship Gabby has with Santa.  She wrote him letter after letter.  She said she wrote about 17 letters and once she said that Santa was her "best friend."  She would write to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.  She would write to tell him about her day.  I only saw 3 letters that she wrote, but I just love them so much.  I wish I had taken pictures of all of them.  Such a sweet, cute girl!  And growing up way too fast for my liking!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

It's the Small Moments

"It's the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.  Joy comes in sips, not gulps."  --Sharon Draper

I loved having so many small moments during Christmas break.  We didn't do a lot of big things.  We mostly stayed home and just spent time together.  We got a box of puzzles that had 8 puzzles inside:  4 that were 100 pieces, 2 that were 300 pieces and 2 that were 500 pieces.  We did all but one of the 100 piece puzzles over Christmas break.

We read books.   We played board games.   We went to a couple of movies.  Alfredo and I went out to dinner.  We visited family.  I worked on some projects around the house.  I scrapbooked a TON!   It was just wonderful.
This was the most challenging of the of the 500 piece puzzles and lots of repetition of color with very minor differences.  

Ella enjoyed playing with the dogs.

 And something magical.  Santa brought Gabby this doll, Isa, for Christmas.  She loved the doll...but imagine our surprise and her delight when she realized that she and Isa have an almost perfectly matched outfit...and this wasn't one of those outfits that is one for me and one for my doll.  I bought her the sweatshirt at the beginning of the school year.  Her cute friend, Sofie, gave her the leggings.  And Isa came with two outfits, and this one wasn't the one she was wearing at first.  Santa is magical...even when he isn't trying to be! ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Favorite Scriptures

One of my former Young Women (former because she is now 18 and preparing for a mission), texted me earlier this week and asked me what my favorite scripture is and why.  I did a bit of thinking and replied that I couldn't possibly tell her just one because there are so many that have been meaningful to me at different points of my life.  So I shared several.  She ended up sharing a few back and then I shared a couple more.  What a blessing it is to have the scriptures!  After this series of texts, I thought I should record the scriptures I'd shared as a record so I could remember and so I could share with my children. I want my children to know that I love the scriptures and that they bring me comfort.

Moroni 7:48 is one of my very favorite:  " Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."   I have experienced being filled with this love for's a wonderful experience...and there is nothing I want more than to become like Him!   Really, I love the whole chapter of Moroni 7.

I love D&C 6...the whole chapter, but especially verse 6:  "Behold, thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."  I like to put my name in that verse...I want to live so that I can be encircled in the arms of His love.

Revelation 21:3-4 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."   Those verses comfort me during hard and lonely times.  

1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."  This helps me remember how I want to live.

2 Nephi 2:24 "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things."  This helps me keep perspective and remember there is a purpose to all that I experience.  He is in charge.  He is aware of me.  

Mosiah 2:16-25 "16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
 17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
 24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
 25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."

These verses really touched me while I was serving as RS President.  I felt the Lord's blessings so powerfully in my life even during some difficult challenges.  I love these verse because I have a strong testimony of service, because the verses help me to be humble (something I sometimes struggle with) and to recognize and acknowledge both my dependence on the Lord and the way that He pours out blessings on much more than we deserve or could ever earn.  And as we express gratitude and try to serve Him, He continues to pour out blessings.   If I'm feeling like that isn't happening, then it is time to do some I not noticing or remembering the blessings?  Am I not serving and keeping the commandments?  Am I turning away from Him instead of toward Him?  Because we will all have hard times, trials and challenges, but even in those hard times there are blessings if we have eyes to see and hearts to feel.  I don't always...but I am trying to get better at all of these things.  

I also have a lot of verses of scripture about the Holy Ghost that I love as well as about the Savior.  I love Alma 7:11-13 and 3 Nephi 17:5-8, 10, 21-25...both demonstrate the Lord's love for us and how he heals us and succors us.   And I love 1 Nephi 4:6, John 14:26, and Moroni 10:5 because they teach me more about the Holy Ghost.  

These are just a few...there are many more scriptures that have touched me in some way or another.  But these are scriptures that are particularly meaningful for me.