Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter!

For Easter, my family does all the festivities on Saturday. It is too hard to coordinate around everyone's church schedules to do it on Sunday. I also like that we do all the worldly kind of stuff the day before Easter so that on the actual day we can focus on what we celebrate and why. We always have a barbecue and then an Easter egg hunt for the munchkins. As far back as I can remember, it has been my job to hide the eggs. This year my adorable dad assisted me. I broke one of the eggs that had  money in it for Kendyl so my dad busted out his electrical tape and then I just told Kendyl that it was an egg with a band aid :). The kids are getting bigger, faster, and smarter because they found all those eggs so fast I could hardly snap a picture of them. In addition to the eggs they hunted for I gave them both giant eggs full of candy and some colored bubbles. Who doesn't love colored purple and fuchsia bubbles. They loved them! We thought the Easter egg hunt was over and we were all surprised when Kendyl and Andre informed us that Mandy, Wes, and I had "tree mail". Yes, my dad watches too much Survivor :). He is so adorable though. He had hid a clue in one of the trees in the yard with a note inside that contained a clue for each of us to a hidden egg exclusively for us.

This is my note: "Shannon, Sorry I gave you my allergies. They get better when the rain comes and cleans the air out, that is if there's a lot of rain. You have an egg hid, your clue is in the paragraph above. Have fun searching. Love, Mom and Dad". My egg was hidden in the rain gauge on the patio. I had to lift Kendyl as far as I could so she could get it at the top for me. The egg had quite the Easter treat inside $50. Love my parents and they are so cute!

After all the hunting, the kids jumped on the tramp then Andre went to play basketball with Grandpa so Kendyl and I jumped on the tramp and she kept hugging and kissing me and telling me she loves me. I love those precious moments. I always have fun with my family and we laugh a lot. We missed the boys who live in St. George and my brother who is in Wyoming. I just hope they know that we were thinking of them. It was a fun day and like I said, I am glad that we could have that day so that on Easter Sunday we could focused on what matters the most about this holiday and that is that the Savior lives and was resurrected. Because of this, we will all get to live again and be with our families again. What a special and precious gift.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"- John 11: 25-26

I am so grateful for the Gospel, the plan of salvation, my Savior, and the Resurrection. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!
Kendyl came out of the womb dancing I swear. That girl has always loved dancing and now that she is in lessons, she loves it more and is really good at it. Her dance instructors think she has true natural talent and we all agree. I mean just look at that. Yes, she is just five!
The kids before the hunt
And with their spoils :)
Colored bubbles! What?


My favorite girl and I
Mandy said this was our "Grease 2" pose. For those of you, who have seen it, you probably know what I am talking about and if you don't just check out the ending :).
This is just a little collage I put together of my silly girl and all her crazy faces and personality. She seriously makes me laugh.
She loves Peaches and Peaches loves her. Some say Kendyl looks like she could be mine. If only I were that lucky. My niece and nephews are all so amazing and would take them all!

video
Some of Andre and Kendyl singing "We are Young" by the group FUN. There is a longer version I posted on facebook, but I laugh a lot with all the interpretive dance moves that are done in this one :).

video

Peaches was not happy that I was somewhere that she could see me, but couldn't get to me. She had a little bit of a meltdown. Such a girl :).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spiritually Fed

I know it has been a couple weeks since I posted. I have been super busy with things and working late and long hours in order to get some things caught up. I won't lie, it has been a rough couple of weeks. I have been really stressed and having trouble sleeping again. Looking back, I am extremely grateful for the spritual preparation I got conference weekend to be able to handle everything. It started with the Thursday before conference, I had Primary Leadership Training with the General Primary Presidency. It was really good and helped to remind me of the importance of teaching the children. It sort of rejuvenates you to keep going with your calling despite some of the stress that comes. I am going on my third year now as the Primary President and I sure love all those adorable munchkins even though there are times it is hard. I had made it a goal of mine that week, that I was going to go to the Temple. Things kept getting in the way for me, preventing me from going, but by the time Friday came. I told myself I was going no matter what. I went visiting teaching right after work, ran home, took care of Peaches, and then made it to the Temple. Life just felt so much calmer afterwards. Conference was the next two days after that and I really enjoyed every session. There was one talk, however, that I felt like was meant for me. In the Sunday morning session, President Uchtdorf spoke about mercy. I have been struggling a little bit for some time on the priniciple of mercy versus justice. It is hard to explain it all, but sometimes you feel like you are justified, if you will, for holding a grudge or thinking less of someone. Sure it's not okay for everyone, but if you are right, then there is no way it could be wrong. WRONG. President Uchtdorf had no idea, but he called me to repentance in so many ways. I know it is important to forgive and I do feel like I have forgiven quite a bit, but I hadn't done it a 100%. There has been a small portion of me still holding onto some anger and resentment. His words helped me to realize that I was in the wrong and that I need to repent and do better. I need to forgive completely and let go of what I felt were my "justified" feelings. I am so grateful for those words and for being open enough to the spirit to realize that they were intended for me. I no it won't be easy for me to forgive, but like he said it is easy to forgive those we love and so much harder to forgive those who hate us. With Christ's help, it is possible though. What kind of a leader or example am I to the children I teach in Primary every week if I don't do what I am instructed to do. I need to be better and live better. Here are some of the favorite parts of his talk that I really enjoye and I thought it worth sharing. I am grateful for sprititual feeding I received that will help me through the hard things and the stress that I have been facing lately. I am grateful for conference time. I love it and I love the leaders of the church for their inspired words to me. 

The Merciful Obtain Mercy by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment."

"Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin”and “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.

But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Is this difficult to do?
Yes, of course.
Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking—even a change of heart. But there is good news. This “mighty change”of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives.
How is it done? Through the love of God.

As always, Christ is our exemplar. In His teachings as in His life, He showed us the way. He forgave the wicked, the vulgar, and those who sought to hurt and to do Him harm.

Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can do that. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. His words echo through the centuries and are meant for us today. They are meant for all who desire to be His disciples. They are meant for you and me: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving [each other], even as God for Christ’s sake [forgave us].”

as a self-test:
Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
Do you secretly envy another?
Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier: stop it!
In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”
Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones.
Let us be kind.
Let us forgive.
Let us talk peacefully with each other.
Let the love of God fill our hearts.
“Let us do good unto all men.”

Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.

Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.
Lay your burden at the Savior’s feet. Let go of judgment. Allow Christ’s Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another.
The merciful will obtain mercy