For the last 6 Sundays, Madeline has attended Nursery on her own. No Dad. No Mom. And she doesn’t spend the whole time crying either! She actually seems to ejnoy it. She still likes someone to hold her, and the good people teaching the children in Nursery are there ready to give her hugs, but just the fact that she’s allowing us to leave is big. Like, huge.
(Note: I realize that posting this is just asking for her to start crying again, but I promise I wasn’t bragging!)
Our Stake decided that for this year’s annual Pioneer Day celebration on July 24th we would have a roadshow. Seven wards combined to produce a 5 skit program starring the youth. As you can imagine it was A LOT OF WORK.
But it was a smashing success! After hours of preparing, planning, set-designing, costuming, choreographing, singing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning, our ward’s Young Women and Young Men presented a fun and entertaining show. A well-written script was definitely the key. And the rest of the skits were well-done, too. All of them awkward and silly, but fun to watch. I sat there thinking that it came together much better than I anticipated. It seemed to be worth all the fuss.
Since Colin is our ward’s Young Men’s President, he was involved up to his eyeballs. I somehow got roped into helping one girl memorize her lines which got off to a rocky start but ended with a bang! She nailed her lines. I couldn’t have been prouder. Warren and Madeline enjoyed the extra rehearsal time they got to sit in on where they were able to learn all the ninja fight scenes (you had to be there) and awesome dance moves.
I’m glad that it became a family affair. If nothing else, it gave us all an opportunity to memorize the moral of the roadshow:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
“Remember, only you can prevent evil, and ninja armies, from taking over the world!”
Despite several recent thought-provoking General Conference talks on reverence during the Sacrament that have caught my attention, I am still struggling. Having two little children sitting on your pew makes achieving that difficult. Very, very difficult, actually, at least in our family.
I want to focus on the Savior. I want to concentrate on the baptismal covenants I am renewing. I want to be able to ponder the incredible power of the Atonement. But how can I when I have Maddie screaming for the bread (have I mentioned how ear piercing the sound is??) and wildly signing “food,” as Warren wiggles from bench to floor to bench again while simultaneously pleading for chewing gum? Plus, I’m often sitting alone with the kids during this part of the meeting since Colin’s Young Men President duties usually require him to help administer the Sacrament.
But we’re trying. We’ve made great efforts to keep the kids occupied with books and manipulatives of a more spiritual nature. We have Book of Mormon themed coloring books, laminated materials from The Friend that they can velcro off and on, and a picture book on the Sacrament that I made for them to flip through as the bread and water are passed. Sometimes we even leave everything at home and try having them sit on our laps without any “busy activities.” They’re still so young, but I know they’re getting it. Slowly. Some Sundays are better than others. But we continue to teach them and hope that their focus will ultimately turn toward the Savior.
This particular Sabbath, Colin and Warren were flipping through the Sacrament book I created when they paused at the picture of the Last Supper, where Christ instituted the ordinance in which we were about to partake. We always ask him to tell us what the caption under each picture states, since he’s heard it read a million times.
“That’s the first snack-rament,” he said without even realizing his slip. His face lit up in a huge grin when he noticed his error.
I guess between Maddie’s fierce demands for more bread and water and Warren’s “Freudian slip” we can guess where their thoughts usually lie during the bulk of this meeting.
A baby blessing is a special opportunity for a father (or other close priesthood holder) to formally state a new baby’s name to be used on the records of the church, as well as a time to bestow on the child blessings that our Father in Heaven would have him or her remember throughout this life.
Colin blessed Maddie in a circle of men who we admire greatly and are glad to call friends. I love the tender moment of hearing Colin’s words as he thoughtfully and prayerfully seeks to tell our children what God wants them to know.
We’re so glad that you were born, Maddie, and that you are a part of our family forever.
When Colin and I were married in the Seattle Washington temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were sealed for time (on this earth) and for all eternity. Sealing being a word used to describe the everlasting bond that would hold our marriage and family together. Because our children are not born to us within this covenanted union with God, we have the opportunity to return to the temple to perform this sealing ordinance with each one that comes to our family. Warren was sealed to us at just 4 months old, soon after his adoption was finalized. This Saturday, we were able to do the same with Madeline.
It was a holy experience. Warren was also able to attend and witness this sacred event. Both of our babies, dressed all in white, was an image I intend to hold in my heart always.
I know that our family has received the promise of being together forever. Though the means of getting to this point are different than for most, the blessings are still the same. All we have now to do is endure well this life. Something to work on each and every day.
What a week. Maddie’s virus that landed her in the emergency room twice wiped us all out. By Friday, 3 out of 4 of us were on antibiotics.
Madeline’s pneumonia lessened but her cough persisted. On Colin’s fourth day straight of fever, he decided to go to the doctor where he was promptly prescribed azithromycin, a familiar drug here in our household since both children have lung problems. Maddie was already taking it. Warren’s cough began sounding like one of his lungs would actually come up, so off he went to the asthma specialist where he was diagnosed with bronchitis. At least it wasn’t pneumonia, like we thought. And me? I never got past the head cold, so I got to care for the entire clan with plugged up sinuses and a killer sore throat. That’s the reward for never getting feverish.
The highlight of the week was when we had to pick up Renny’s prescription of azithromycin at the pharmacy and he started coughing so violently that he threw up all over the floor of CVS. The lady at the counter didn’t even blink as she handed me a roll of paper towels and told me the meds would be filled in 20 minutes. At least it was on the linoleum.
Seeing your loved ones so sick is awful, not to mention tiring as you endure many night wakings and moments of frustration when you realize there’s nothing else to be done. Caring for your ill family is rough, especially when you’re one of the afflicted. But life goes on and you just get through. The only, only part that I can no longer handle is the fact that I cannot taste food. At all. Tell me, what now is the point of eating?! What worse tragedy can you think to bestow upon a “foodie,” I ask you?
I’m sorry to complain. I hate complaining. We’re surviving. We’re still sick, but we’re surviving.
Regardless, at the end of this week, after all these challenges, I am grateful. Grateful that we have modern medicine readily available to us. I’m grateful that we have medical treatments in place to aid our children with their chronic conditions. I’m grateful for health care and for Colin’s job that allows him to stay home when he’s at death’s door and even work from home when he’s backed up from the door and just on the front porch. I’m grateful for friends who made us dinner and called to check in. It’s times like these that you realize how blessed you really are.
We took our monthly trip to the temple, staying at the Temple Patron Apartments with our friends Billy and Ingrid. December is a beautiful time to go because, as with the Salt Lake City temple, the grounds and trees are covered with Christmas lights. What a sight to behold!
All of the kids were excited to see so many beautiful lights in one location. It made attending the temple even more special.
For two years now, Colin and I have both served as 2nd Counselors in our respective auxiliaries: Elders Quorum and Relief Society. A few weeks ago, that all changed. Colin was released and immediately called to be the Young Men President. My release was not far behind. The bishop gave me about a week off and then called me into the Primary, as 2nd Counselor.
Being called to serve in a church assignment happens through divine inspiration from the Lord himself. I do believe that. But what I’ve also come to appreciate in the last few weeks is that the one being called also has a duty to seek for a personal witness that the new assignment is indeed inspired. Sometimes that happens immediately and it’s easy to be excited about your new responsibility. Other times you leave the bishop’s interview thinking, “Huh??” However you get there, I know gaining that testimony is a necessary process for accepting and putting your heart into what you’ve been asked to do.
I’ll have to admit, I was more than a little saddened by this change for me. Put me in Category 2 above. I have absolutely loved the presidency with whom I’ve served. They are phenomenal women. Long presidency meetings aside, I sometimes speculated it couldn’t possibly be as good elsewhere, which is ironic because that was my feeling coming into this Relief Society calling as I left the Primary in Chicago. But that’s the great part about the Gospel of Jesus Christ–as you serve in various organizations in the church, you realize there are always phenomenal people wherever you’re called.
It’s silly to have a preference for where I serve. The specific responsibilities may be different, but the overall goal for every calling is the same: bring people (adults, youth, children) to Christ. How could you not want to be a part of that, in whatever form it may come? Besides, it’s good to mix things up a bit so no one becomes too complacent. No “phoning it in” when it comes to church service!
Working with the children has always brought me great joy in the past. This time around should be no different. Truth be told, I know that it will be an experience that will wind up blessing me more than I’ll be of service to them.
The Sunday after Shay’s wedding in the Tri-Cities, we were able to have a sort of mini family reunion at Grandpa Larry’s and Grandma Lu’s home. With the time frame we were working with, we were unable to attend church with Dave and Christy. So we decided to go to church at a completely random ward that met at a time convenient for us.
We walked in just as the opening hymn was starting, so yes, we were a little late. Not much opportunity for chit-chat. But even after Sacrament Meeting was over and everyone was just milling around before Sunday School started, not one person came up to us. Not one person really smiled at us, or even looked our way.
In fact, the only effort that was made to acknowledge our existence as visitors to the ward was by a woman sitting in front of us who kept turning around with a stone face. No smile. Was Warren being that obnoxious wiggling on our pew? Was Maddie’s pterodactyl screeching preventing her from hearing the talk on missionary work? Surely we must be offending her somehow if she continued to stare at us without even a hint of friendliness.
What if we’d been a family investigating the church for the first time? What if we had just moved in and were new to the ward? What if our testimonies weren’t as strong and we’d been doubting the Gospel?
The take-away message I learned that day: don’t turn around without a smile on your face and always try to say hello to visitors.
One of the main reasons we headed up to Washington was to see the temple sealing of Shay and Dan. What a joyful, but hot (100+ degrees), day! Being in the temple with family was wonderful and the reception later that evening was just lovely.
It’s amazing to think that Shay was just a kid at our wedding (why am I voluntarily dating myself so?) and now she’s a beautiful bride– just as her sister, Jenna, became last fall which we were sad to miss.
The wedding took place at the Columbia River Temple. The very temple where Warren was sealed to us almost 4 years ago exactly. We were so happy to bring him back there to show him where he became eternally ours. We can’t wait for the opportunity to do that with Maddie.
Happy marriage, Shay and Dan!
And thanks again to Christy for watching our unruly children while we attended the sealing!