Sunday, March 31, 2013


Our Easter celebrations were kind of squeezed in last minute since Robb was down in Arizona for a chunk of the week (more on that later).  We dyed eggs Saturday night (the ones in the upper right hand corner I helped dye with my friend, Emily Greenquist, who I randomly discovered lives behind me during a trip to Winco...anyway, she let me join her family's egg dyeing party because she's nice like that) and made Very Berry frozen yogurt for the next day.  
Sunday Robb made a pie while I put together a spiffy salad with lemon-poppy seed dressing.  The rest of the morning Robb spent in meetings while I panicked about the talk I was asked to give in our Sunday church meeting.  I loved my topic and I loved preparing for it, but even after my 25 years on this earth the prospect of public speaking still gets my heart pounding.

Robb's brother, Brett, and his wife, Megan, invited us over for Easter dinner (amazing) and we provided the entertainment in the form of Colby.
He had a blast collecting eggs, but I struggled to convey the word gently to him and the eggs were subsequently chucked into the basket.
Then we visited a nearby farm with a wide variety of animals ranging from emus and black swans to oxen and miniature donkeys.  Colby got close enough to a baby lamb for her to lick his hand (he giggled).

My favorite moments were watching the chickens hunkering up in the tree and chain link fence for the night and seeing the ox put his magnificent tongue to use.
I'm so grateful for family and for another reminder of just how much our Savior loves us.

Not Shrinking

**Disclaimer: I didn't properly cite my sources (my past English teachers would be horrified), but the talk I mentioned multiple times can be found here...and I'm aware there are a frightful amount of run-on sentences**

I was surprised when the call came to speak on the principle taught in the Savior’s words, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” because I've actually thought about this particular scripture a great deal over the last few years and it is a source of comfort.
Robb and I planned on starting our family after I finished college (I didn't think I could handle morning sickness and nursing clinicals), but that wasn't in Heavenly Father’s plan for us.  In the next year I had two miscarriages both at six weeks and the experience was really hard on me.  After the first, I felt depressed. I told all of our siblings and our parents about the pregnancy and it was difficult to tell them things had changed, but I was still hopeful.  Miscarriages are pretty common, after all.  After the second, I was devastated.  I feared we would never have children of our own and I started to wonder if my faith was the reason our prayers and fasting weren’t working.  Prophets of old could move mountains when it was the Lord’s will that they be pushed aside, but what do you do when you don’t know if your mountain, even if it’s for a good and noble cause, is meant to be moved?  Not all prayers will be answered the way we expect and I think the greatest thing I learned through my experience, besides a powerful reaffirmation that my Savior loves me, is that it is possible to submit your will to the Father while still praying for that blessing you feel in need of.

I've looked back on this experience frequently since the birth of our son, Colby, and I've wondered how I could have handled things better because I’m almost certain this isn't the only trial Robb and I will face and then I heard an amazing talk by Elder Bednar entitled, That We Might “Not Shrink” and all these thoughts and feelings I had were suddenly clear.  He begins by relating an experience he had when Elder Maxwell came to deliver a devotional to the BYU-Idaho campus.  While visiting together, Elder Bednar asked what lessons Elder Maxwell had learned from fighting leukemia, his response, “Dave,” he said, “I have learned that not shrinking is more important than surviving.”
In his talk, “Applying the Atoning Blood of Christ,” Elder Maxwell elaborates that thought, “As we confront our own … trials and tribulations, we too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we ‘might not … shrink’—meaning to retreat or to recoil.  Not shrinking is much more important than surviving! Moreover, partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus”.
I love this idea, of not shrinking, and it doesn't just apply to trials.   If you turn to 1 Nephi 4:10 it reads “And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.” Sometimes following the will of the Lord requires us to take an action we inwardly “shrink” from.  I appreciate Nephi’s honesty in writing this and take comfort that even such a great man as he was struggled at times to submit his will to the Lord’s.  But He overcame his moment of weakness, obeyed, and it was a turning point in his life.  He went from a stalwart youth and became the man who saw the Tree of Life and calmed a storm with prayer. 

Elder Bednar told of the story of a newly married couple, John and Heather, who learned three weeks after their sealing that John had bone cancer which had metastasized or moved into his lungs.  He relates his experience with them as follows:
“Two days following the operation, I visited John and Heather in the hospital. We talked about the first time I met John in the mission field, about their marriage, about the cancer, and about the eternally important lessons we learn through the trials of mortality. As we concluded our time together, John asked if I would give him a priesthood blessing. I responded that I gladly would give such a blessing, but I first needed to ask some questions.”

“I then posed questions I had not planned to ask and had never previously considered: “[John,] do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?”

“I frankly was surprised by the questions I felt prompted to ask this particular couple. Frequently in the scriptures, the Savior or His servants exercised the spiritual gift of healing and perceived that an individual had the faith to be healed. But as John and Heather and I counseled together and wrestled with these questions, we increasingly understood that if God’s will were for this good young man to be healed, then that blessing could only be received if this valiant couple first had the faith not to be healed. In other words, John and Heather needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “natural man” tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve.”

Submitting our will to the Father is an opportunity for our faith to grow in a way that seemed counter-intuitive to me at first.  Through the power of prayer and the reassurances of the Spirit we learn to trust all things are possible in the Lord.  Whether the miracle will be the strength to endure or the blessing we seek, it is His decision and will ultimately be for our good.  Elder Orson F. Whitney said, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire”

As always, our Savior is the perfect example of submitting to the will of the Father.  “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” During my trial, when this scripture came to mean so much to me, I realized for the first time that Christ was surprised by how hard the Atonement was.  In Mark we read that he “began to be sore amazed and very heavy” as he experienced the emotional, mental, and physical anguish for us.  Even our Savior, with all His power and wisdom, was unprepared for what he had to go through and wanted the suffering to end. 
In Jesus the Christ James E. Talmage wrote, “Though in the dark tribulation of that fearful hour He had pleaded that the bitter cup be removed from His lips, the request, however oft repeated was always conditional; the accomplishment of the Father's will was never lost sight of as the object of the Son's supreme desire."

Submitting your will doesn't mean you can't still hope and pray things will turn out a certain way, it means you will accept whatever Heavenly Father has in store for you and your life.  Elder Bednar said, “Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in moving mountains—if moving mountains accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in healing the sick, deaf, or lame—if such healing accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Thus, even with strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirm will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.”

As you seek to make your will one with the Father your prayers will change.  You will be led to ask for courage, strength, increased faith, and comfort and you will be blessed with those things you stand in need of to overcome trials and your burdens will be made light.   I have felt the peace that only comes from turning our heartaches and pain over to the Lord and I testify that it is available to all who seek it.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pies, Patty's, and Pet Stores (Robb's alliterative title)

:: Robb comes from a long line of pie makers and me not so much (my mother is incredibly talented in so many ways, but her philosophy on pies has always been Marie Calendars does it best).  Actually, baking in general intimidates me.  So the fact I made this pie solo and it tasted good is pretty impressive (and yes, the filling did bubble out on one side and I spent an hour and a half scrubbing the oven out the next day...thus instilling the importance of properly pinching the sides off within me). 
 Pi Day celebrations with Dayton and Anne (Colby's new best friend)
:: A neighborhood cat befriended Colby and I while on a walk (the weather has been gorgeous the last couple weeks).  He giggled a lot while trying to inspect the purring fuzzy thing.
:: I love this picture.  Robb is so busy lately with school, work, and the ever-present weight of what we'll do when he graduates this summer, so I promised him a lazy weekend.  Unfortunately, there were still errands to run, but we slipped in a trip to the library and pet store to make things fun (and we got cheesecake, steak, and mashed potatoes samples at Costco, so I think he survived).
:: We got all dressed up for St. Patty's day...but we were running late to church (too many meetings) and forgot to take a picture when we got back.    You'll just have to believe me.
Our friends, Jake and Sanita, joined us that night for our traditional corned beef and cabbage.  Sanita and I worked together at Freshman Academy for a year and then roomed together the summer I met Robb.  She tried to make me a runner, discovered the joys of Bollywood with me (thank you, Laura), and helped me sort through more boy drama than I've ever had to deal with.  She's amazing and I'm so glad Sanita and Jake (who is pretty amazing too) are still in Provo.
Dessert was mini green cheesecakes with cherries :)
:: Robb and I decided to go on a social media diet (I justify blogging though because I've always struggled with keeping up a journal).  It's been something on my mind a lot lately, partly because Colby is already obsessed with anything that glows and has buttons and it scares me how much he wants all that at the age of 15 months and partly because I see how much time quickly "checking in" chips away from my day.  I get 15 minutes a day this week and we'll reevaluate things on Sunday.
:: And I'm reading a delightful book called, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It's set in post WWII England and even though I'm only an eighth of the way through, I can tell it's going to be a favorite.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

12 on 12 in March

01.  Early morning for Robb (woot for one last month of exams and homework)
02.  Learning to feast
03.  Breakfast: Life cereal
04.  Laundry
05.  Unexpected visitor (but a pleasure as always)
06.  Speed reading
07.  Happy to see Daddy
08.  Called in to work (4 hour shift!)
09.  Someone missed me
10.  Dinner: Hawaiian Haystacks
11.  Budgeting
12.  Flash Dance Kitty (I wanted to put that we ended our day by reading together...but we didn't.  We got sucked into Pinterest and climate specific gardening plans :) )

Monday, March 11, 2013

Back Online

Sometime in the end of January our computer made a loud pop and turned off.  We turned it back on and everything seemed to be working...until the day after Valentine's.  Robb took it apart, cleaned it out the dust, and diagnosed the power supply as our problem.  He ordered the part and we waited.  It came, but still the computer refused to work. Robb narrowed the problem down to the motherboard (process of elimination).  He ordered the part and we waited. In the interim we started a few new habits, like dance parties on the bed and snuggling down with a book before sleeping.  The computer's back up and running, but I hope we keep up our new little routines.
:: Colby got his 3rd or 4th haircut (I'm starting to lose track) and we made the mistake of vacuuming the hair off him.
:: Play dates are the best (although this one happened while I was working, so I didn't get to enjoy it) 
:: My husband makes chicken pot pie and looks good doing it
:: I made the BEST sugar cookies, but made the mistake of rolling them out on a pastry cloth and 75% of the dough refused to come off with the tenacity of cement.  So I scraped it all back into the bowl and started over (although that didn't really work either because now dough was too warm...good thing the cookies were amazing).
:: Robb's older brother, Brett, invited us over for birthday cake and ice cream.  Colby's a pretty lucky boy to have such amazing uncles.
Robb helping Colby experience the face
:: Colby doesn't like to be carried around anymore, but he can't/won't walk on his own yet. This means we go on slow, but deliberate, strolls together now that things are beginning to thaw.   
:: He makes me happy.
:: This is the unofficial pre-nursery group.  We meet every Sunday during the 3rd hour and it's nice to have company while climbing the stairs and wandering the halls with our grumpy kids.
:: Sunday waffles with some of my favorite people and a mini celebration of birthdays and Erin getting into grad school.
Colby loves his Uncle Jory
:: How we entertain ourselves in a small apartment:
:: And I worked this weekend.  My favorite moment was hearing this conversation snippet:

Patient: "Can I have the usual?"
Nurse: "Ice cream and cereal?"
Patient: "Yep."

And P.S. Daylight Savings Time takes on a whole new level of awful when work starts at 0600.