Sunday, April 3, 2016

General Conference Memories . . .

I will admit that rarely do I get to listen to the Saturday morning session of conference while it is actually happening, especially in April because of baseball season, but yesterday I found myself home almost alone and was able to sit on my bed and watch the first session of conference. I was excited when Sister Durham from the General Primary Presidency began speaking. I had met her a few years earlier and had a really neat experience with her. As she began her talk she talked of a father who was trying to swim across a lake with his daughter on his back and the weight he carried as his shoes filled with water and began to pull him down. The story went on about he was finally able to get his shoes off and in turn the weight and then was able to swim back to the shore. Her talk was on the Holy Ghost, and more importantly how we as parents can teach our children to recognize the spirit and rely on it in this ever darkening world around them. 

My eyes filled with tears as I remembered the sweet experience I had with Sister Durham. 

Three years ago I took my then 8 year old son, Kris to Salt Lake for General Conference. My main reason for going is that I felt very strongly that I needed to attend the Primary General Auxiliary Training Meeting that was held in conjunction with General Conference each year.  I look back now and realize everything was working against me for attending this meeting. Money, time, a sick baby, a husband who had to take time he didn't have off of work for me to go, but I just felt so strong that I needed to go. Many times I thought - I'll just go next year. It turns out this was the last Auxiliary training meeting they ever held. Now the training meetings are all online. I was grateful I listened to the sweet promptings I was given about attending that year. 

We flew to Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon. The Meeting was Thursday night. I met my brother in law in downtown and sent my son home with him. I had a few hours before the meeting so I walked around the City Creek mall for awhile and then found a bathroom where I changed my clothes into a dress and tried to look as presentable as possible from traveling all day. There was over an hour until the meeting started but I decided to go early anyway and I thought I could work on a talk I was giving at our Stake Activity Day for Girls.  I was so excited to be attending this meeting and I had goosebumps as I entered the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. There were very few people in the meeting already, mostly ushers who were getting last minute things ready. I sat down at the end of a bench near the front. Soon people started coming in. But not by themselves as I had entered but with friends and presidencies. Four at a time. Two at a time. But it seemed that no one else was by themselves. It didn't take very long for me to start feeling very out of place. As I watched sisters come in and immediately recognize others and give hugs and laugh and talk with each other I started to feel very lonely and a very dark feeling came over me -  to the point that I had almost had tears in my eyes and I had thoughts of leaving. I really thought to myself "this meeting is a broadcast. No one will know if I was here or not. I can walk across the street to the mall and watch it online and no one will ever know I wasn't here." I literally was about to stand up and walk out when the Primary Board Members started walking out and visiting among the sisters there.

Sister Durham, from the Board was walking down the aisle and stopped when she got to me. She shook my hand and asked me my name. I told her and told her I was from Roseville. She then sat down next to me and began asking me all about our stake. For almost 10 minutes we talked about our primaries. Some of your struggles and a lot of your successes and what our primaries in the Roseville Stake our doing. I can tell you she was interested and humbled by what each of you do for your primaries. She wanted me to express her love to each of you and to your primaries. Sister Durham then introduced me to Sister Wixom, and Sister Esplin from the General Primary Presidency who were standing nearby. Sister Durham then told them some of the things I had shared with her about you and our stake and both of them hugged me and told me to tell you Thank you for all that you are doing to strengthen the children of our stake.

I know that Satan was using everything he had to get me to leave that meeting. The experience I had with Sister Durham and being able to meet Sister Wixom and Sister Esplin was so special and the adversary did not want me to have that experience and I almost gave in. I almost got up and walked out.

It was a testimony to me that Satan will work just as hard on our children and youth to try to prevent them from having spiritual experiences.

Listening to Sister Durham's talk yesterday brought this experience back to me like it was yesterday. I remember feeling like that father did as I sat alone waiting for that meeting to start. I have no doubt that the Spirit sent Sister Durham to talk to me that day. I know that if she had not listened to that prompting I would have left that meeting.

Her talk was beautiful and simple in its message as she taught us all how to increase the spiritual capacity in our children by helping them understand and recognize the Holy Ghost. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December. . .

December came fast. . .
We had a lot to do. . .

We decorated, and decorated and decorated!

It was Karalyn's turn to put the star on this year.

She was fascinated by the tree this year, always making sure that every ornament was perfectly placed.
(and mostly fixing all the ornaments that Kody would take off each day!) 

We put up all our nativities again this year.
Karalyn was finally old enough to help me and I let her touch the pieces.

She wanted "play dates" with baby Jesus each day.

It was fun to see all the different places that baby Jesus ended up this year.
My favorite was her doll house.

Our family even dressed up like the Nativity this year.

We were transported back in time for an
for our ward party this year.

We had so much fun looking at Christmas Lights this year.

This was my favorite.

This was Kyle's favorite.


The kids were really in the Christmas Spirit this year.
They watched Christmas movies and had sleepovers by the Christmas tree.

We had Cookie Baking Day!

I had a great time with the boys baking cookies because I spent the rest of the day
with Karalyn at her FIRST song and dance recital!

I kept telling everyone I was so out of my element backstage at a recital.
I felt like I needed a dugout. . .
But I had so much fun.
Karalyn was a superstar!

It was a very LONG day and Karalyn was very tired by the time the day was over!

We took our Christmas trip into the CITY!

We found the elves. . .

and the REAL SANTA. . .

And then we headed across the Bay to look at the lights at the TEMPLE. . .
They were beautiful this year!
For the past few years it has been raining on the day we were there so we couldn't walk up on the temple grounds. . . this year was so fun with the kids as we got to go up and look over the city from the top of the temple.


We brought Christmas Eve with the Pinata Tradition and an amazing dinner made by Grandma!

We got home to find a book and note from Santa, with our new Christmas Jammies!

We were finally ready for Christmas To Come!

And it CAME!

Some of us weren't so impressed with what we got.
You see Kris wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a mini i pad. Santa wrote him back and let him know they had plenty of eye patches up at the North Pole!
(don't worry - he had a great Christmas!)

Others couldn't hold back their excitement after seeing exactly what they wanted!

And Karalyn was certainly surprised to see that Santa not only brought her the "stand up microphone" she asked for but also brought a whole stage to go with it!

AND it is so fun to experience Christmas with a TODDLER!

And a husband . . . who just loves everything about Christmas!

We packed up and took a little family getaway on Christmas Day. . .

We were hoping that our view would look a little more like this. . .
and we would have a little snow to play in, but there was no snow to be found!

 Well, I take that back. Kris was able to find a little snow to play in before he plunged into the. . .


Since we couldn't find any snow to play in we stopped at this little ice skating rink in an old red barn and had a great time!

So once again, as it is New Years Eve, Christmas is over yet again.
Tomorrow we will take the tree down and we will celebrate a new year.

Here's to Christmas 2013!

Good news. Kody. Christmas will be back next year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

November. . .

November. . .

Our November started out with a little date to some

A fun night where Cowboys from all over the country get together and tell cowboy stories. . .

and sing Cowboy songs. . .

And the night ended with a Cowboy wearing Pink Chaps!

From there the month only got BETTER!

We took our family trip up to APPLE HILL!
And it was the most beautiful day!

We had so much fun being super silly!

And playing hide and go seek behind the trees!

We got our family picture in front of the Larsen Apple Tree. . .

We got our Apple Hill Treats. . .
The Walking Pie. . .

and of course Caramel Apples. . .
(someone stole mine)

And Kara even decided to lose a tooth while we were at Apple Hill this year.

She said "my teeth are like stairs!"

We had some "pony rides"!

And of course got a lot of Apples!

(Kody had enough of my caramel apple to last him all day)

It really was a great day!

Karalyn had her
in Kindergarten. . .

And THE COUSINS made it to town in time for the

And finally the day came. . .

Nothing says Thanksgiving like the smell of Onions and Celery. . .
I had such a fun day in the kitchen with my sister in laws.
It was so fun to blend all our cooking styles together!
The day went by so fast and it didn't even seem like work!

And is there no better way to end a feast than with the guys in the kitchen doing the dishes?

The week was filled with cousins playing together in the back yard. . .

and cousin sleepovers. . .

and mom and dad late night game nights. . .

As the week came to an end I couldn't help think of the Leadership Meeting I had a few weeks earlier where the focus for next year in primary will be on families.

I thought about the Proclamation and this quote. . .

and I thought about my family.
I thought about how Thankful I am for this little family of mine and my extended family. . .
I thought about how thankful I am for a gospel that centers everything around the family.
I made a little commitment to myself that I am going to take this next year and really focus on the importance of families in my own little family. 
I want them to know how important they are to me.
I want them to know how important our family is to our Heavenly Father.

I'm just grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving!