Friday, May 30, 2008

Ramblings on Gratitude

As I was driving home from work tonight, I started to think about gratitude. It's this weird thing I do, I imagine that I'm giving a talk in church and pick a topic then go with it. And tonight was gratitude. It actually started out as prayer. Then I thought about how often I use prayer to ask for something, vs give thanks for something. To my distress I realized that the former, and not the latter is what motivates me most.
I decided that I love to hear children's prayers. They are so sweet and sincere and heartfelt. Little children also are usually really good about saying their thank you's before their please's. That's how I taught Devon. He would fold his little arms and say Thank, then he would look up at me and I would fill in the please's- like please...bless our us make good us be nice to our friends...bless our bodies with strength and us to play nice...etc. If I went on too long with the please's Devon would get tired and say "Jeese" and unfold his little arms. Looking back on those experiences really made me think...he got the important part in, thanking Heavenly Father for all the wonderful things in our lives (even if it's toys and dogs). And if I got too long winded asking for things, he let me know in his own way.
I also remember taking walks with Devon. He was constantly stopping to smell the flowers...Literally! He would bend down and smell any plant growing, even grass...then tell me, yuck, or pretty. When a plant was deemed pretty, we would say thank you Heavenly Father for such a nice plant. Sometimes I wouldn't be paying enough attention and I swear I heard him say thank you a few times on our walks when he didn't point things out to me.
What an example children can set for their parents-who, ironically, should be an example to them. I think that if more of us had an attitude of gratitude more of the time then we would all be much better off. And if we spend less time on our please's and more time on thank you's then I think that we will find that we have more to be thankful for, and less we need to ask for.
Now I may be the only one this hasn't occurred to yet, and you all may be smiling indulgently at me right now, but at 5am, it's a pretty profound thought for me!

Monday, May 26, 2008


This weekend has been soo busy and event filled that I'm just barely getting a chance to sit down and catch my breath. The biggest and most amazing thing was Saturday. I went through the Temple and that afternoon, we went back and Danny, and I were sealed as husband and wife, then Devon was sealed to us to make our eternal family. It is so amazing to me that we were able to have that experience, and to know that Nate and all of our other children will be born under the covenant, so the rest of our family will be sealed with us from birth.
I have to say, it was an experience unlike anything I've ever done. And Nate liked it too. All morning, he was kicking and moving around. He finally settled down when we went to lunch, and I appeased him with Dr. Pepper. (Devon was into chocolate in a big way, and now Nate likes the soda. But that makes sense b/c Mom says that when she was pregnant with Danny his amniotic fluid was over 75% Dr. Pepper. She was on bed rest for the last month or so, and if she didn't drink a bottle everyday, Dan started kicking her into labor. Apparently an existence without Dr. Pepper isn't worth hanging around for!)
And once we came back in that afternoon, Nate was back to his kickboxing practice. I really and truly believe that babies, even before they're born, have such a close connection to Heavenly Father. They were just there with him, they remember things that we've forgotten and they have such a desire to be close to him. Looking back, I remember how much Devon loved going to church. And how much he enjoyed saying his prayers. And now Nate, he got super excited at Women's Conference when President Monson spoke, and he wouldn't stop moving around in the Temple. I really think that both of my boys were proud of me and Danny on Saturday.
I have to say, that as amazing as the afternoon was, I think I actually liked Saturday Morning the best. I learned so so so much, and realized that every cryptic thing that I have heard makes perfect sense. Talking with my husband now, it's as if a weight has been lifted from him as he discusses and answers questions without squirming or trying to figure out how to phrase it without saying too much. It is truly amazing how you feel, and how much you learn, and how quickly it all goes by. I was there from 7:30am to about 11:30, maybe 12:00 and it did not feel like more than an hour or two. I really really enjoyed myself and I can honestly say that I cannot wait to go back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't Forget!

Remember everyone, Suzanne's baby shower is in just two more days! all the info is at the top of the page.
Also, the next day is the Sealing!!!!!!! Again, the info is at the top of the page.
In case you all can't tell, I am really really excited about both! Ok, I may be just a little more excited about the Sealing. And Endowments. And the fact that I get to be Sealed not only to my wonderful husband, but also to my little boy. Danny and I have been waiting for this day to come since last year. The fact that we can be with Devon throughout eternity is really what got us through the darkest times last year, and through our deepest despair. And I am so grateful that we live in a time where we know this and can look forward to it. And I am so grateful that we have a loving Heavenly Father who provided for us in all ways, and didn't make families end in death. Over the computer we have a picture hanging. It's a couple holding hands; all you can see is their wrists covered by their long, white sleeves, and their hands clasped. And to the side it says "Love and relationships were never meant to end with death." I think that is so very true. Even though people we love go on, we don't stop loving them. It doesn't just end there.

Friday, May 16, 2008

the lighter side of things

I have to say, I am certainly looking forward to next weekend. And not just for the obvious, church/spiritual reasons. Tomorrow my sil and I are going out to get me all the stuff I know nothing about that I couldn't get before I had a Temple Recommend. It promises to be confusing. So, in preparation I asked Danny if he needed new pants or shirt. He was playing the wii, so he was slightly unresponsive. Our conversation went something like this:

"Honey, Sara and I are going to the Distribution Center tomorrow, do you need me to get you anything?"
"I can just come with, come on! stupid squid."
"We were going to go out to lunch and go shopping for a dress to wear to the Temple-you know, kind of make a girls day of it"
"I thought you just bought two dresses"
"I bought two Temple dresses. I don't wear that to the Temple? Do I?"
"huh?...umm no...dang it, was that you Ryan? I hate these stupid bananas!, you wear a dress. You have lots of dresses"
"They don't fit me right now"
"Whatever, I think I need new pants, I'll just go with....did you see that!?! I was in first till just then!"
"Try on your pants. I can pick up new ones if they don't fit."

"Don't know where they are"
"Where's you Temple Bag"
"It's not here in the closet......and it's not in the back room....did it get sent to storage for some reason?"
"ummm, I don't think so"
"Here's a black bag"
"I wasn't going to. but you need to try on your pants"

The end result was that half an hour later he finally tried them on, declared that he needed new, and asked me to wash some stuff for him. It freaked me out at first, but next thing I knew I was filling up the sink with hot, soapy, bleach water washing socks and slipper/booties and a big white bag. Because come on, I have no idea how to clean it, but I figured that hand washing is safe and gentle and if I did it wrong, then he should have asked Sara like I told him to. So, back to my original statement. I will be glad when I don't feel the need to twirl around and face the wall as my husband holds a black bag and I hear the sound of a zipper. Or sit quietly with a look of pure confusion as others discuss things that leave my poor head spinning as they assure me that I'll understand later. Or ask my husband a question and see him adopt an expression one might wear as he tries to pass a kidney stone, and squirm like a five year old who has to go potty.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Women's Conference...the Good Stuff

There were some really great sessions at Women's Conference this year. It really helped my perspective.
One class was titled "After much tribulation the Lord did hear my cries" There was a story about a woman who had 15 children when her husband died. She was dazed and overwhelmed, sitting on a bus. She and another woman began a conversation and she told the stranger about her recent loss. The woman asked "Do you have any children?" and was answered "I have 15, and each of them has a characteristic that reminds me of their father" The second woman was silent for a moment, then said, "You're lucky that you just lost your husband, my husband and both of our daughters were killed recently in a car accident." Later, one of her friends was trying to comfort her, and crying with her, when the woman said "Don't pity me, pity the woman who lost all" This really hit me. I mean, we all have trials and suffering and loss in our lives. But that woman made a choice not to wallow in self pity. After all, no matter what is going on in our lives at the moment, we are always better off than some others. And instead of feeling bad for ourselves, we should be grateful for all that we do have.
"A thankful heart allows us to feel the love that Heavenly Father has for us" I remember last year when I was at the lowest points. I was definitely not grateful for any part of the circumstances that I found myself in. And as I look back, I remember feeling lost and alone. At that time, I didn't feel that Heavenly Father loved me. I even felt that He hated me, and I couldn't understand why He would do that to me. I blamed Him for the bad parts of my life, and for all the pain that I was feeling. There was no part of me that felt the love that I know He has for me. But as I began to feel gratitude for other things in my life, like my wonderful husband, and his family, my friends, and my own health...down to little things, like being grateful for a sunny day or for a happy little bird singing. I realized that the more I showed and felt gratitude the happier I was, and also I was able feel His love for me again. Don't get me wrong, I still am not really grateful for what happened, but I am happy to know that my little boy is living with Christ and Heavenly Father. I know that he's in good hands. Better than my own, anyway.
Here's a few more quotes that I liked:
"If you spend you life mourning losses, you will never enjoy it's blessings."
"Life is what happens while you're making other plans"
"Sometimes life happens, and sometimes life is hard"
"Some blessings come soon, some late, some not until Heaven. But for those who have faith, blessings do come" I really liked this last quote. It reminded me once again that my timetable and the Lord's is not always on the same track. It also gives hope that if you don't get what you want right away, keep being optimistic, because blessings are on the way.

Monday, May 12, 2008

pre-Mother's Day Madness

I debated with myself on wether or not to post this, but reading Jami's blog decided it for me. I was unaware that the Bushmans were adding on to their house and converting their carport to a garage. This is important to the story later.
Saturday Danny and I went over to the Lines home to help them move. Danny did most of the heavy lifting and actual work. I took Jackson out to run errands to get him out of the way and got back in time to finish up the very last of the packing and cleaning. We all went to Justin's parents' home (where Sara and Justin will be staying until their move to Illinois) to help offload the fridge/freezer and to eat Jack-in-the-Box. It was past midnight when Danny and I finally left, and I picked up Suzanne for a midnight strike!
We picked up a dozed carnations and some blue and pink ribbon and little boxes of Whitman's chocolate. While I drove, Suzanne tied the ribbons to the flowers, pink for girls and blue for boys. The plan was to visit our cousins and their wives who have children and leave nice little Mother's Day presents.
We chose our route carefully, deciding the best path with the least ammount of backtracking. First off to Kamara's. But I had been there a few times before so I was overly confidant of my abilities to find it. What I underestimated was my ability to get hopelessly lost. After driving up and down Broadway, Southern, University, Main street, and Baseline between Lindsay and Val Vista we finally gave it up and headed to Jami's house.
Luckily I had only been there once, and my Dad drove, so I mapquest-ed it, and wrote down the directions; but not the house number. So as we drove up, I looked for the most distinguishing feature that I could remember about the house. Which, unfortunately for me, was the carport. I thought we were sucessful in that endeavor and we cheerfully went on to our next stop.
As we approached Coree's home, again a mapquest-ed location, I realized that once again I had failed to record not only the address, but also the apartment number. So it was decided that after we were done I would drop Suzanne off and come back to the two we had missed. After getting better directions and writing them down in their entirity.
We did decide to pick up flowers and chocolates for our mom too. So we sneakily crept into our old neighborhood and pulled up in front of the house. My heart was racing as I parked and lept from the car, roses and candy in my hands. As I crept to the front door I noticed that the light in my mom's room was on, and I nearly froze. But I summoned all of my courage and gently placed the goodies on the door step before turning around and running as though being pursued by a pack of wild dogs intent on ripping the tender flesh from my bones.
Our final stop of the night was to Mandi. Hers was the trickiest because of the gate before you have to open to get to the house. It was so loud I thought someone would wake up for sure. But no one did, and we headed home for the night. (at about 3:30am)
Long story short, I didn't end up leaving again that night. I passed out the second I saw my nice warm bed and my nice warm husband warming my nice warm bed. So, I thought that two of the four deliveries were made, but as it turns out, only one was. Oh, well I was thinking of you all. And it's the thought that counts, isn't it?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Women's conference-the fluff

Early early this morning in the wee hours Dan and I returned from Salt Lake City where we attended Women's Conference in Provo. It was a really fun trip. At the last minute on Wednesday, Danny invited his brother Ryan to join us. So instead of getting a fairly early start right after Dan finished his classes, we found ourselves driving to Maricopa to get Ryan's stuff together for the trip. No one else knew he was coming, so when Sara called and texted me to ask if we had left yet, and what the hold up was I responded that it was because of her brother. And that her brother was making me crazy, and her brother wasn't packed yet. I just failed to mention which brother. Hee hee. We ended up leaving Phoenix around 4:30 so we got into Salt Lake super late.
Sara was really mad at Danny on my behalf, so I texted her that as a punishment for making us so late, her brother had to sleep on the floor on an air mattress. The next morning Sara and I were supposed to leave together because Mom and Kami were going to be in the instant choir so they had to be at the conference center a lot earlier and neither Sara nor I were down with that. So when Justin knocked on the door, Ryan ran into the bathroom and hid. Justin was shocked to say the least when he saw the air mattress on the floor because he didn't think I was serious about it! (we brought Ryan an air mattress b/c we had originally booked a one-bed room, and they were all full b/c of the Women's conference and a dog show in town) He was really surprised when Ryan walked out, and when Sara knocked on the door a moment later, she said "what are you doing here?" So that was our little prank. It was funny.
Sara, Kami, Mom, Nana and I spent the days at conference and in the BYU bookstore. I bought a bunch more prints to put up on my walls, and I found another copy of the painting that the ward members gave me and Sara after the accident-the one that was lost in the corolla that my mom drives now. And that weekend, they actually had Simon Dewey there, so he signed my picture which makes it even more cool. I was literally sobbing as I stood looking at all the art, when a woman came up to me out of nowhere and gave me a hug and asked if I was ok. See, women are smart like that. When I went up to Simon Dewey and asked him to sign the painting, I was nearly sobbing again, and he said that he was glad that his work had touched me. I told him that it had a special meaning to me and reminded me of my son. He replied that in another of the prints I had bought he had his son model for him. In the painting he was about 10, but now he's 18, getting ready for a mission and 6'3" I told him that my son is three, and not getting any bigger. He thanked me again for appreciating his art. Men are oblivious like that.
And since we were in Provo, and my Temple dress is so tight it shows the indentation of my belly button, and I need a dress at the end of the month for the sealing, and I don't want to rent a dress for my first time-all of the girls went to White Elegance to shop. I found a dress that is soo pretty and has such neat embellishments and then Sara found a gorgeous empire waisted dress with an embroidered panel in front all medieval style. As I tried them both on I fell in love with both. And I absolutely could not decide which one to get. So I bought them both. So now the girl who has never been through the Temple is the proud owner of not one, not two, but three Temple dresses. As Sister Raines said, I'll just have to go a lot. Now that I'm home and I've hung the two new dresses in my closet next to my first, and I wonder if Dan has Temple clothes (I think he does, but I'm not sure-also starting to think I should have asked him while I was there and could have picked something up for him) I'm beginning to think that I was being just a tad ridiculous, and maybe I didn't really need everything I bought.
While we were in town, we met up with one of Dan's mission companions, Elder Snyder-as Dan still refers to him-aka Drew. He met up with us for dinner and then we joined him and one of his friends (a cute girl) to watch Juno. It's an interesting movie that honestly I hadn't even heard of before. All in all it was a fun experience. Snyder is really the only ex-companion that Dan has kept in contact with, and I had only met him once before but it was still a lot of fun to see him. I've heard so much about him I kinda feel like I know him too. And as an added bonus, he has lots of funny stories about Elder Anderson that he is more than willing to share.
On Saturday as we were all getting ready to head our separate ways and say good-bye we had lunch at this crazy Mayan themed restaurant. The food was awesome and the entrance was shaped like an ancient Mayan pyramid. And on the inside there were vines and jungle noises playing in the background. But the best part was that every 20-30 min. they put on a show. It was this crazy Mayan priest guy in a loincloth and a big, bright, feathered headdress pounding away at a set of bongo drums while other guys wearing only speedoesque loincloths accompanied him on another set of drums before diving off the cliff into the water 30 feet below. There were about three or four divers and while they were diving there was also a light show going one. And one guy actually scaled the cliff to get back to the top to dive again instead of climbing the rope.
I think that lunch was Ryan's favorite part of the trip. Between the shows, he got everyone to react to his own antics. He really does love to be the center of attention. Almost as much as Jack, who flirted shamelessly with the waitress.
When the meal was over and we all got into our separate vehicles we were all sad to say good-bye. Mom and the Illinois gang will be back at the end of the month, so it's not too bad, but still. And we Andersons met up with the Lines family in Page for dinner at Denny's, then saw each other again at church today and again for dinner, so for us it was more of a see ya soon than good-bye. All in all it was a really fun vacation.