Wednesday, September 30, 2009
One of the reasons I love this skirt is it's SO flowy! I have endless amounts of freedom in it without feeling like I'm wearing a corset (a condition that makes a fairly obvious difference...I'm just saying). The fun blues and crinkly nature also make it a favorite.
Few things make me feel more feminine than having my hair down. Lately I've been wanting to chop it off, but my goodness, then I see it like this and think, "PRETTY!" In any case, some things I noticed yesterday: do you know...I just felt beautiful. My hubby thinks I'm beautiful every day, but it's so rare for me to feel the same way. The years have not always been kind when it comes to my looks (CAROL - it's just how I feel! I know you think I'm beautiful too! *kisses*). But when I put on something like this I can't help feel as though I'm just a bit...more.
Because of this I felt energized to get things done. And that's a result I was not expecting. Maybe it has something to do with my mental and emotional health. Maybe feeling beautiful helped me to want to make my surroundings a little more beautiful. It's amazing how when you feel good about yourself, it seeps into every aspect of your life...even when it comes down to getting a load or two of the never-ending laundry done ♥
Sunday, September 27, 2009
At least once a month now I wear a skirt for an entire week. It's nothing glam, nor do I typically wear my "Sunday" skirts, but they are skirts nonetheless. And you know what? I love it!!! I'll go walking in my skirt, I'll go shopping in my skirt, I'll even clean the dreaded bathroom in my skirt!
Emily's most recent post encouraged us to join the Feelin' Feminine Challenge from the Feelin' Feminine website, where women (old and young alike) are challenged to wear skirts or dresses for an entire week, starting on Wednesday Sept. 30th.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A little before six o'clock I walked into my local church meeting house, both excited and impatient for a meeting to start. This particular meeting happens just once a year, and while my younger self used to dread it - even unto finding excuse after excuse to keep from going - my older self is finally coming to recognize the blessing this particular meeting is. It is telecast over satellite to meeting houses like mine all over the world, and is just for the women of our church.
It was the yearly General Women's Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's a mouthful, isn't it?
I found a seat practically right at the front to keep me from being tempted to watch the people around me, so I could simply focus. Gentle, soothing music was being played over the speakers, and I allowed myself a few minutes to let the day fall off my shoulders. As the Sabbath day would be our Fast and Testimony day, I had already begun my fast in an effort to put myself into a better spirit for the words shared. It was, for me, a peaceful time.
About ten minutes before the meeting would start women began trickling in, looking for their own seats. Whispers began to flitter across the chapel. Chattering mouths began to surround me, pecking away at my peaceful moment. Soon I couldn't even hear the music. I could feel the muscles in my neck stiffen, had to fight the impulse to put my fingers in my ears, and became sorely tempted to go up to the front of the chapel and - like I've seen our priesthood leaders have to do several times - remind these ladies of where we were.
A little thought popped into my mind that said: If you do, the good feelings will fade. Let them be happy.
I closed my eyes, began to breathe in and out...in and out...and let them be. My mind focused on the songs the children had been learning in Primary, allowing the simple yet beautiful words to come over me. After a few minutes I felt a little better.
As the prophet of our Church entered our view on the screen before us, I could feel irritation creep back in as many of the women around me still didn't stop chattering. Grrr. Was it simply that I didn't have anyone to chat with? No. I needed to be alone this night, as there were so many things going on in my head and heart to allow me the freedom to have a bit of lighthearted banter.
Only when the meeting officially started did the room quiet. I appreciated the first few talks, felt the peace that sacred music can bring, and then - nearer the end of the meeting - was overcome. It wasn't a particular message that touched my heart, though the talk on "Mind the Gap" was so incredible I can't wait to share it once it becomes available. It wasn't even the song sung after, "How Firm a Foundation," that left me in tears. Even the final speaker, one of my favorites, Henry B. Eyring wasn't the driving force behind my tears.
It was the Holy Spirit at last penetrating my heart, speaking to me of the love my Heavenly Father and brother in Christ have for me...for all of us in that room and beyond. In that moment my attitude toward the ladies around me changed. No longer did I resent their whisperings, for I knew they were all as needful of this love as I. At last my heart had softened enough to allow the Spirit to speak truths to my heart and soul.
I've been pondering this bit of enlightenment throughout the rest of my night, thinking especially about those Sundays at church where I don't seem to get anything out of my meetings. This can be especially frustrating when others around me, sitting with me in the exact same meetings, go on and on about how incredible the lessons and talks were and how the Holy Spirit is so strong in the room. If it's so strong, why am I unable to feel it?
Okay so I've known the answer for years, but perhaps it was simply the way in which I was reminded of it all that hit me so hard this night. If we're not feeling the love - His love - then we must ask ourselves what is it that's keeping it from entering our hearts? Are we angry and can't let it go, or frustrated, or vengeful, or exhausted, or depressed, or...and on and on. Perhaps these feelings are of our own doing, or maybe it's the result of the actions of others. Either way the ability to partake of the Spirit comes down to one thing: choice.
I chose tonight to allow my spirit to talk with the Holy Spirit, though it took almost an hour to get to that point. Yet I'm so happy I did, for I wouldn't trade knowing my Heavenly Father loves me for anything.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Team StreetStunts in California
Sorry for putting it up in a link...no matter how hard others try to help me, I can't seem to grasp the posting of a YouTube video on blogs (*shrugs*).
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Normally one might think, 'Pictures at a park? DULL!" Not so here. There's a beautiful stream that runs through the middle of the park and into a large pond where oodles of seagulls come to scavenge for bits of bread and food. We didn't go down to the pond. Instead the kids chose to walk up the river.
So enjoy! Oh, and if you're wondering, yes I did get into the river myself. You can get better pictures this way!!!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
For the last three months I've felt my heart turning toward the Primary children. I've been volunteering to teach classes as well help in the nursery. I found myself enjoying the little ones, preferring to help them rather than go to my own classes - an unusual occurrence as I adore both Relief Society and my Sunday School class.
As the feeling something more was coming crept upon me I began to think about where I might be used. To be honest I thought it would be in the nursery, as one of the leaders had moved. About three weeks ago my husband called me in for a rather short-notice interview where he asked, to my surprise, "Would you be willing to serve as the Primary chorister?"
My first thought was, "Huh?" The second I spoke aloud: "Yes."
To accept a position in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not quite like accepting it in another church. Well, perhaps it is in some religions, but in ours we believe callings like this come from inspiration and revelation from the Lord. Accepting them comes with a promise to fulfill them to the best of our abilities. We are not paid, it's not quite like being a volunteer, and they often require a load of sacrifice. At times it feels like more than we can bear, and yet they bring with them some of the greatest lessons and blessings we can ever hope to receive.
I have worked with the young women of our church, girls 12-18, and found it to be one of the most incredible positions I have had the pleasure to hold. I have had the chance to lead music in two other meetings, to lead the choir, to teach in Primary, and a few others. I have never before had the opportunity to lead children in music. The idea is both exciting and terrifying, lol.
In accepting a new calling we are given the chance to spread our wings, to use talents we may never have known we had, and to learn. Callings are given just as much for the benefit of the individual as well as for those we are called to serve.
The thought of receiving a calling used to terrify me. I used to put some fantastic effort into thinking of every reason in the book why I couldn't possibly accept. Now I'm excited when something is offered. I know my Heavenly Father is giving me a fresh outlook on how the church works, on what I can do with everything He's blessed me with, and with this particular calling I have the ability to help the children learn to love music.
We have a whole new primary presidency today. I'm certain they're far more anxious than I, but there is no doubt in my mind they will become loved. Do you know why? When the previous leaders were released today my oldest began crying. Her heart was breaking for those leaders she wouldn't spend two hours with every Sunday. It's that thought which keeps me excited - what life will I touch in such a way?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
1. He's awfully nice. I mean really, really nice. Where others might be snappish or rude, he always turns the other cheek and gives people second, third, fourth and fifth chances.
2. He's tolerant. He has to be in his job, his calling in this church, as well as in having such a crazy wife and kids. Once again, where others might not be willing to put up with the utter insanity of life, he is. Continually.
3. He's compassionate. My husband has been compassionate his entire life, but oh my how I have seen him grow stronger in this trait as he has been a bishop. His ability to share himself with those in need has been extraordinary, not to mention felt by those whose lives he has touched.
4. He is an amazing father. Even though he's worked two jobs most of our married life and has had callings that take him out of the home even more, there is no doubt in the minds of our children their daddy loves them. He is willing to change diapers, help with homework, take them on bike rides, read together, and have tickle fights.
5. He helps around the house. Are all you ladies drooling right now? More than once he's cleaned the house when I wasn't up to it. He's done laundry. Now that he's home most evenings he'll willingly wash dishes. Not only this but he gets the kids involved where I might do it myself because it would just be easier. He'll cook when I'm not feeling well, and will even involve our oldest in the process.
6. He's a worker. It's inherited, you know. Those who are familiar with the Walker family know if a job needs to get done, they will do it and do it to the best of their abilities, something that was pounded into the minds of every Walker child since their youth.
7. He comes with an amazing family. I never knew what an extended family could be until I was warmly welcomed into this one. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews...I have learned so much from them all.
8. He is a humble leader. The best leaders are those who don't feel worthy of the position, who don't ask to lead, and who would willingly pass the job along to someone else. Because of this they work hardest to do their best in the hopes of not letting their boss's and those they serve down. My husband is one of these leaders.
9. He is dedicated and loyal. Even though he may be physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted, if something needs to be done he will push himself to do it. If there is a need he will fill it. I have watched him push his body beyond excruciating limits to get the job done.
10. He is ever aware of my needs. There are days when I'm just "done," and he knows it. On those days he'll take the kids away to grandpa's house, or kicks me out of the house, just so I can get in my "alone time." He also knows I need my creative outlets, and will move heaven and earth to make sure I have some way of following those pursuits.
11. He has dreamy eyes. Even after thirteen years I think his eyes are the most gorgeous blue, framed by fantastic lashes. Of course, being his wife, I'm the only one allowed to gaze into those eyes, so don't even think about it ladies.
12. He makes me a better person. He claims it's the other way around, but I just let him think that. the truth is he has helped me to stretch beyond my self-set boundaries, to increase in faith, and to spread my wings. He is my best friend and I am better for having him in my life.
13. And last, but certainly not least, after all these years my hubby still loves this off-the-wall, moderately hormonal, overly single-minded, sadly sentimental, excruciatingly chunky, has-probably-cost-him-a-million-dollars bundle of me. I'd say that earns him some kind of award!!!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
I remember sitting in my kitchen, though precisely what I was doing at the time eludes me. Probably eating breakfast. For some reason our little tv was turned on to the news. I am not an avid news watcher, preferring to tune in come evening just to see what the weather is supposed to be like the next few days. Yet that day I felt impressed to watch the news.
The sight of the Twin Towers shocked me to the core. I sat motionless, watching one burning building, and then horrified as a second plane hit the other. In no time at all I had the phone in my hand, asking my mother if she was watching. Together we sat in our individual homes, sharing for several minutes the dramatic unfolding of terrifying history.
Tears streaked my face as the buildings could no longer hold their great load, having stayed up as long as their beams would allow to give time to desperate people attempting to flee. I will never get the image out of my head of those two building collapsing.
Today is a day of fasting and prayer. On the way to school I talked to my children about why we have a flag up in our yard today. I told them not only of the tradegy at the Twin Towers, but of the heroes in the third plane - people who willingly sacrificed their lives in the hopes of saving others. People who stood up for freedom, for righteousness, and for their belief in God. I wanted my children to know of their incredible act.
J's response to all this as he felt the rush of injustice course through his little body: "I wish I could have been there that day so I could have killed those guys!"
I said, "No J. No. Killing is Satan's thing. It's his way. That desire to kill is why this horrible thing happened in the first place. Our Heavenly Father does not want us to kill because it's something we can't repent of. Once you take a life, you can't give it back. Our job is to learn from this, to move forward, to not make the same mistakes as those people who were so misguided. Our job is to remember what happened so we might honor those whose lives were lost that day."
This is not something only America mourns. It is felt across the world. This morning I was given a very special gift by my friend Herbie who lives over in England, his own way of mourning with us. I would like to end by sharing it with you now:
As the US of A remembers and grieves. So does the UK and indeed all the free World.
We saw; we heard; the traumatic shock remains.
Tears for the fallen and the bereaved are still with us.
But resolutely we go forward.
The love of so many are with you
Today is 9/11.
Today is September 11th, and I remember.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I don't blame them. With tv's in the ceiling and a relaxed atmosphere, not to mention picking out prizes at the end, it's a small bit of heaven.
M was not too excited to go this time. I could fully understand why as three of her teeth were refusing to come out (two on the bottom, one on top). She was terrified the dentist would try to take them out and it would hurt. These three stubborn bits were shoved to the side of her mouth, forcing the incoming teeth to grow inward. We didn't realize this until the teeth came out. And oh boy was that an adventure.
One of the dental assisntants came out to let me know what was going on: M was refusing to let them take out the teeth, saying she'd rather go home and let her daddy do it (uh huh, yeah right). I asked to come back and see her, and between me, two assistants, and the dentist we all managed to trick, uh, talk her into letting the dentist take them out.
I got to watch the process, and holy cow those things did NOT want to come out! The top one especially (one of her molars). She had to have a little bit of a shot to numb things up enough to allow for removal. Then she spent the next hour with bits of her mouth numb, and even refused to eat dinner until she could taste it, lol. Still, she sure scored big with the Tooth Fairy last night! Three dollars is not too shabby for a half hour in the dentist chair.
M knows I'm the tooth fairy, so she wrote me a note and thanked me for being there to hold her hand when she felt scared. Wow did that make me feel good.
J came out first and without any sort of problem - cavity free! Too bad B couldn't say the same. He's got two that need to be filled in two weeks. Poor kid. He was sad not to have his picture taken with the other two in the "Zero Cavity Club." Yet, ever the optimist, he can't wait to see if he gets another prize when he's all done ;)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As I was saying. There are hours to be spent doing nothing but what silly little things come to - yes baby? You have a poopy diaper? Oh all right. Let's go change you....
Where was I? Oh yes. I can do anything I'd like to on here, what ever silly little idea that pops in my head like play on Facebook, or watch some really old episodes of Gilligan's Island or - yes my sweet girl? You need a blankie? Well we just happen to have one right here....
All right. Uh...oh yeah. I can watch some fun old shows or look up little crochet ideas or - yes little one?! You've lost your milk? Hmph (patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue)! All right, let's go look....
Wow. Okay. I can watch episodes of old shows or...or...(not going to interrupt me?) or look up ideas or write a bit on my sto- (IlovemydaughterIlovemydaughterIlovemydaughter) Yes? What do you need now?! You want to get dressed? Seriously? Let's go pick out some clothes....
(In a whisper) So I could write some more on my story or-
What do you want now?!?!?!?!?!
I love you too sweetheart....
Hmm. Gotta go. I have a chance to cuddle with my daughter.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I like to believe there’s a part of us who want to make a difference in someone’s life. For many the act of being the best friend or family member or church member or active citizen they can be is enough. They do not require the accolades of those around them to feel good about themselves.
I am not one of those people :)
There is something ingrained deep within the most hidden parts of my soul that not only wishes to make a difference however big or small to a friend or even stranger out in the world, but also hungers for the occasional recognition of such efforts put out there. It's more than just wanting to hear "Thank you" or "You're awesome." It's beyond the need to know someone appreciates the talents and gifts my Heavenly Father has granted me. There is a part of me that longs to know I have become something important, even life changing, to someone out there.
Now before you think I give service and other acts of kindness for the glory, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I adore showing those I love them for two reasons: first, because I love them and adore showing it! And second, because I dearly love my Heavenly Father and Savior and know when I serve my fellow men and women, I’m showing my love for Them as well.
Yet every once in a while I begin to wonder just how much of a difference I might be making in this crazy world. I question whether or not the things my Heavenly Father has granted unto me to do, in particular with my talents, have really meant more than just something to think about or appreciate in the lives of those I come in contact with. I can’t help myself. Every once in a while I need to know I’ve touched someone in a way that will change their lives for the better.
Maybe, just maybe, the need to know such things was also given to me by my Heavenly Father in the hopes I would push myself harder and further to be that someone.
For a while now I’ve been wondering about my Sunday posts here, as I’ve struggled to feel truly inspired lately. I know some of my depression has settled back in as I’ve watched our little family spend less and less time together as the demands of my husband’s job and calling have been taking him away more and more. And of course there’s the yearly “letdown” of having the kids go off to school, and suddenly I’m left with one little girl who demands so much of my time I hardly know how to channel my creativity in ways that include her sitting on my lap.
Though I have so much fun trying to think up silly or meaningful things to put here on my blog, it wasn’t until a friend wrote a letter about some experiences she’s had in the last little while that I was finally able to answer the question I didn’t know I’d been asking: am I honestly doing something here to make a significant change in someone else’s life? Are my words really meant to be more than just fun? Am I doing any good in this world? And Father, can you give me a hint that I’m meant to keep going?
I’d been very reluctant to start a blog. It was only after offering many prayers and receiving some major spiritual answers I felt it was something I needed to do. When I began my Sunday Inspirations I was nervous. Would I inadvertently offend someone? Would I be able to state my ideas in a clear and simple manner? Would I run out of ideas within the first month?
Over a year later I seem to be going strong. It’s not easy. Some Sundays I feel so inspirationless I can’t think of a thing to say. It took a while for me to realize it’s okay. After all, we none of us are at our best every day of the week. Perhaps it’s just when I find myself with a month of feeling less than inspired I begin to wonder if every effort I put into this is worth it.
Then, a few days ago, I received one of the most beautiful offerings of what my blog has meant to someone. Not just in a, “I really enjoy reading what you have to say and it makes me feel good” sort of a way, but in a, “You have helped me in ways you cannot imagine” sort of a way. Jennie had invited me to be a part of a Yahoo group she helped put together, and in my introduction of myself I sent a link to the post on the death of our little D. She reread this experience of mine, as well as the talk I’d posted on looking for the Lord's tender mercies, and not only felt grateful for it, but put both posts to use in her life.
I hope she won’t mind, but I feel so grateful for her parting remarks and want so very much to share them with you, as it might give you an idea of what it meant to me.
“Thank you for sharing your testimony. I want everyone to read your blog - the message you share is deep, but yet so simple. It is encouraging in a mist of darkness. It lifts the clouds of despair. It reminds me to do my part and God will be there for me, for my family.”
I cannot claim credit for my words, even for a moment, for I know full well the things I wrote for both posts were truly inspired by my Heavenly Father. He even gave me one of the most excruciating and extraordinary experiences of my life to help me find a way to help others out there who might struggle against seemingly impossible odds. And so I sit here at my little computer so grateful to a wonderful Father who not only knows what His children need to hear, who not only grants me the privilege to make a few words into something inspiring to others, but who knows every once in a very long while I need to hear that everything I’ve put my heart and soul into was worth all the effort, agony, and exhilaration. That even when I’m not feeling very inspired, it’s okay, because there will always be another week the things placed so carefully into my heart will be precisely what someone needs as an answer to his or her own prayers.
So Jennie, I thank you today, for being an answer, an inspiration, and a friend for me. And my challenge for the rest of you out there is this: think of someone who has had such a significant impact on your life you know for a fact you would not have been the same without him/her, and TELL THEM!!!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
J: "M_____, Allison is NOT my girlfriend! I don't have ANY girlfriends!"
Mom: "That's right, 'cause you're WAY too young to have a girlfriend. All of you are."
M: "But Mom, I have a boyfriend!"
Mom (trying to be funny): "You're not allowed to have a boyfriend until you're 68."
M (looking worried): "But Mom, Daddy said I had to wait until I was 16."
Mom: "To date, M____, to date. As in lots of boys. You shouldn't get serious with anyone at least until you're out of high school. At sixteen you're welcome to start dating."
M (growing grumpier and far more frustrated with me): "That's not fair! It's not like we're dating. We just hang out!"
Mom: "That means you're friends, M_____. But you've been told long before now you will not have a boyfriend at your age."
When we got to the school there was no hug, no kiss, no goodbye. She just got out the door. I, uh, think we might have to sit down and talk about what the term "boyfriend" really means, 'cause it's obvious we're coming from two different places here.
Yeah, and she's not even a teen yet.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Just yesterday I looked to see someone clear over in Pennsylvania had logged on here, and I couldn't help wondering, "Uh, who?" Turns out it was a new friend from a Yahoo group I've recently joined. How fun!!
There's someone up in Washington who logs in frequently - no idea who but it's exciting!
And then there are two down in Arizona. One I know (YES Miss Ingrid, I'm thinking of you), but the other makes me curious.
Of course, my favorite little red heart is the one WAY over in England. I love that I'm read in different lands...thank you Herbie. Okay so my sis-in-law Melanie has me beat as she has LOADS of family over in Belguim. But still, I'll take anything I can get.
All in all it's been one of my favorite features included here on my blog, giving me warm fuzzies all over :)