Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas station identification

Back in October I posted my little "station identification" and here's a second installment. Faith and prayer have been on my mind again because of Christmas, which somehow this year has been more quiet yet meaningful to me than ever before.

Tomorrow my mom is teaching a lesson based on the very talk that inspired me, and having read my post, she asked if I would put my thoughts down into something she could share with the women in her class. It's not often I put my testimony in writing, but it came together well, and I thought I'd share it here:

At the time of General Conference in October, I had recently committed to myself to work on several areas of personal weakness. For a few weeks I had been making an earnest effort to improve, and had been trying to pray daily for help to do so. In fact, praying every day was something I have always struggled with, and while at first it seemed ironic to pray for help to remember to pray, I found when I humbled myself and asked for that help, I received "reminder" promptings and was blessed to find time and energy to follow through.

So when I heard Elder Bednar's talk on prayer, the topic was already on my mind and I felt as if his words were directed straight to my heart. The idea that my prayers--morning, evening, and throughout the day--are interconnected and thus powerful to bring the Lord's blessings into my life, resonated in me and gave me faith that with the Lord's help I could forge my weaknesses into strengths.

I turned to my prayers with renewed energy, and while I still struggled to pray more than once a day, I could tell it was getting easier to be consistent, and I knew the Lord's grace was compensating for my failings. I began to see incremental but tangible improvement in the areas where I was working to repent, and my prayers were answered as I was blessed with patience for myself and others, resources were brought to me to help and strengthen me, and I began to make the changes I needed to learn, grow and become better.

I know this is just the beginning, because my weaknesses will take a lifetime of repentence to master, but I am already feeling so much more peace and hopefulness, and above all a sense that those most challenging burdens have been lightened as I wrestle to overcome them. I know this is only possible through the infinite mercy of a loving God who desires for me to return to be with Him someday, and offers the power to me each day to do what I must do to look forward with a perfect brightness of hope to that ultimate goal.

I'm grateful for a living prophet and apostles who carry the good news of the gospel to us, bearing witness of its infinite truth and saving power. I am grateful for a compassionate, forgiving Savior who intercedes for me and offers to take away my burdens if I have faith in Him and act on that faith. And I am so grateful for the blessing of being able to pray to a loving, all-knowing Father in Heaven who is just waiting to bless me, waiting for me to ask for an understanding of His will in my life.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bling, baby

This year I let the kids decorate the tree. Audrey got a little sidetracked.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yay... and yay

After last weekend I finally kicked the nasty bug that had been hanging on since before Thanksgiving. Woohoo!

Since then I've been baking, baking, baking. First it was Nanaimo bars, which are destined for parts distant in Canada and Germany, because they keep well for a long time.

Then last night it was sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees and stars for my Activity Day girls from church to decorate at our activity this afternoon. Each girl got a plate of cookies to take home to her family, and the rest we are sending (along with handmade Christmas cards) to a young lady who just left for a mission. She'll get to South Carolina early next week, and I thought it would be nice to have a box of goodies waiting for her when she arrived.

Tomorrow I'm baking a batch of sugar-free pumpkin bread for a friend with diabetes... and some for me, too, because through all of this baking I've not eaten any of the goodies.

I know I haven't said much about it, but Overeaters Anonymous has been a great blessing to me in the last three months. I've only just begun my journey of recovery, but already I can see a huge shift in my attitude about myself, my life, God, everything. The transformation of my outer self is becoming very evident as my clothes get looser, but it's nothing compared to the spiritual transformation of letting go of pain, resentment and addiction—and replacing them with serenity, love, and sanity.

It's a tremendous gift (and a timely one) to have peace. Peace on earth, good will to all men. Peace, one day at a time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So sick

Not that I've been the most consistent blogger for, say, ever since I've been blogging, but if it seems like I've fallen off the planet (again) and am failing to return phone calls and emails, this time it's because I've had a nasty sore-throat-upper-respiratory-sinus-cold-flu-thing off and on for the last three weeks. Every time I think I'm getting better, it drags on and then takes a turn for the worse. Jim and the kids have all had variations on the same creeping crud, but now it's just me and Audrey hacking and sniffling and oozing and aching.

I'm sick enough that I've only been to church once in the last three Sundays. Sick enough that I've run us out of NyQuil (and our DayQuil will be gone tomorrow). Sick enough that last night Jim got drive-thru dinner and even made a special trip to Taco Del Mar for my fish tacos and sinus-clearing pico de gallo. Sick enough that today (after being up with Audrey seven times last night) I slept in until 9 a.m. and let Jimmy play Wii all day long (okay, I did have him get dressed, make his bed, and stop to eat meals), so you know it must be bad.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Yet another reason...

...I love living here in Smalltown, WA: today we were driving up the street to my mother-in-law's house and passed Santa behind the wheel of a bright red Mazda Miata all decked out with garlands, a wreath, and even lights in the wheel wells. He had the top down, of course, while driving about 15 mph in the parking lane with his hazard lights blinking and waving to everyone who passed him—including my two extremely delighted children. Audrey even waved back (one of her first waves ever)!

This is the same Santa we ran into two years ago in front of the local Bimart. He handed a saucer-eyed Jimmy his very own shiny, wrapped gift about the size of a shoe-box and then was off in his Miata to spread more holiday cheer. Being new transplants from the big scary city, Jim and I confiscated the present, handling it gingerly and when we got inside Bimart, we asked one of the cashiers if she knew anything about this suspicious Santa character giving away gifts out front.

She told us about a wonderful man named Bill Amo. Thanks, Bill, for helping my kids to believe in Santa just a little bit longer.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Goodbye, ghetto

For almost a year now, we've been planning to get a new couch. Our old sofa—once contemporary, comfortable and beige, and the first piece of new, non-hand-me-down furniture Jim and I purchased after we were married—had been through almost thirteen years, two cats, and two kids, and for the last few years had been hiding under various throws to disguise its abject state of discoloration and disrepair. It was definitely time to trade up. We scoured the few furniture stores in Yakima, even checked around when we happened to be over in Seattle, but all the couches we liked were either too big for our living room or too expensive. So we waited.

We had pretty much given up and resigned ourselves to a few more years with the ghetto couch, and then on Black Friday, Jim and Jimmy went on a shopping excursion to a local store. Jim found an $800 couch on sale for $450—nothing fancy, but it fit both our living room and our budget, and the microfiber upholstery looked sturdy enough to stand up to both children and cats.

So now the old sofa is out in the back yard until Jim can take it to the dump next Saturday, and we're sinking into the lap of luxury on our new couch. It's nice and cushy, but best of all, it's brown. Which isn't necessarily my personal favorite color, but 9 out of 10 parents surveyed agree: brown furniture is best for hiding the countless spills, scuffs and stains certain to be inflicted by a growing family.

Not that I'm lifting the ban on drinking juice while sitting on the couch.