Sunday, November 1, 2015

Then there were none...

In our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is no paid clergy.  The whole worldwide organization is run by us.  Common, regular, imperfect, amazing us.  Leadership positions are extended via a Spiritually-inspired invitation--or call--to serve in a certain position for an indeterminate amount of time.  Being released from a calling can be due to personal circumstances, moving, or just because the Lord knows what's best and sometimes what's best is to do something else.

I've had lots of callings since my teenage years; some I've loved and some...well, some I've loved less.

In my current ward (geographical chunking of Church members into congregations), I've had many callings.  Just a few short months ago, actually I had four.  At once.  I know, but that's what God needed me to do & I could handle it.

One, Interpreter, was rather a moot point, because the Deaf girl I interpreted for for two years moved.  I'd just never technically been released.

Another, Cub Committee Chair, was one I had for a few years.  It took me a while to figure out what my responsibilities were, but had it figured out by the time I was released & Aimee was called.  Naturally!

My third calling was to be the Assistant Activity Day Leader.  I really enjoyed this one.  Twice a month, Aimee (she was the leader) and I would get together with the 8-11 yo girls to play, craft, serve, learn and teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A little over a year ago I was called to be in the Primary presidency as the 2nd Counselor.  This was a little overwhelming, but fun.  Spending two hours every Sunday hanging out with great ladies, getting to know the children in our ward, and teaching and learning about Jesus via His scriptures was amazing!  I joked that between Cubs, Activity Days and Primary, if you were a child in our ward there was no avoiding me.  Mwahahaha!

Last December the presidency was reorganized, and I changed to the 1st Counselor.  The secretary stayed the same, but the other two ladies were new.

Then a new Activity Day leader was called, as I was a little bogged down & needed to share the blessings.  Shortly afterward the Cub calling was re-filled & I had just one (plus my phantom nonexistant calling).

And today I was released from Primary altogether.

To be frank, I'm not ready.  I'm not done.  I love my calling and am sad to see it go.  But I also understand that callings come and callings go.  I've learned what I need to learn; I've taught what I need to teach.  Others need to be in that position to learn and grow and bless others in ways that I can't.  I'll miss the kids, and I'm going to have a reeeallly hard time sitting still in my own grown-up classes now.

I'm curious where the Lord will put me next.  Where He needs me, where my talents can help others, and what I need to learn there.  But in the meantime, I'll have a little more time to focus on my family. And I'll enjoy it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


The start of every school year makes me notice the ways that my children have changed.  Over the summer they get lots of water and sunshine, and--much like the weeds in my garden--grow by leaps and bounds.  This fall, however, there were more changes than usual.

For the last three years, the older three kids have gone to a local school that consists of grades 1-8.  Abby has thrived there.  It's been a really good environment for her; she made good friends, developed good talents and started to learn who she really is.  It's been fine for Alex.  He was a good example for his friends, and was loved in return.  He was given a random nickname that stuck: Bean.  Why 'Bean' I'll never know, but it is what it is.  In fact, Alex's 5th grade teacher dubbed Lee "Little Bean," and one day when I dropped off his cello, that same teacher called out, "Thanks Mrs. Bean!"  Lee, however, was starting to fall through the cracks. His class had a few personalities that needed attention...a lot of attention.  And for my center-stage class clown, that was hard.  His 2nd & 3rd grade teachers had their hands so full dealing with the other kids that they didn't have time to develop a relationship with Lee.  In first grade he had a phenomenal teacher that was able see great things in him.  But for the last two years he's started slipping through the cracks.  Cora had such a great experience in kindergarten, that I decided to move Lee to her school instead of visa versa.

So the changes:

Abby is now in high school.  After a 2nd season of summer swim team, she decided that she's a swimmer & joined the high school swim team of her own volition.  This in and of itself is HUGE!!!  She's making friends, cutting her swim times and actually comes home chatty!  I love it!  (Plus she's amazing herself because for the first time, she's getting muscle definition.  Too funny!)

Alex is attending the middle school that we're in the boundary for.  He's on the school football team, making friends and comes home happy, talkative and sassy.  :-)

And Lee.  Lee!  After the first week of school he was recognized as being the first to achieve the highest behavior ranking.  In the whole school!!!  He was praised for being respectful, courteous and an all-around good student.  And what's even better, 2 weeks later he earned that same ranking AGAIN!!!  (They start at green at the beginning of the week & have until the end of the week to 'clip up' to red.)  He still struggles with homework (it's death on a stick for him), but he's finally in a situation where he can be the leader that he was in kindergarten for fabulous Mrs. Slick.

Hubby is also experiencing his own school-related changes.  He found, applied & was accepted to an online LPN-RN program that he started a couple of weeks ago.  It's hard & he's trying to find a balance between work & school, but it'll be SO worth it!

These changes are ones that do my mother heart good.  But there's one change that simply amuses me.  Yep--she's only got him by about 1/4".

(Pics coming soon--there are no photos on the new laptop that we finally purchased for Hubby for school.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Girl Clothes: History, Happiness & Heartache

It is both liberating and heartbreaking to go through the boxes and bins of kid clothes in my basement.

Hubby has taught all the children the fine art of graham cracker dipping.
Clothes that Abby wore, then passed to my brother's girls and back to Cora, then on to a my sister's daughter, then back, then to a cousin on the other side of the family.  These clothes have gotten some miles on them!

Abby's first Easter.

Some are so worn that the only place for them is the trash.

This set from my mom is stained almost beyond recognition, and Cora's growing out of Abby's green.
Others still look nearly new.

Oh, I miss those curls!  (The dress, matching bloomers and sandals are waiting to be consigned next spring.)
Too many lost part of the set in all the moving around.

I loved this set.  Abby wore it in kindergarten.  Alas, the skirt is no longer.

There are a few that started with Abby or Cora.  There are quite a few that joined the mix along the way.  (Some of my favorites are matchy dresses or nightgowns that the aforementioned brother's in-laws bought for his girls.  Super cute!)

I took a photo last weekend of Cora and her bestie cousin wearing these nightgowns.

Some go way way back when we had the time, resources and few enough cousins to do an annual grandkid photo shoot with the babies.  (There are 17 of them now.)

Who needs a teething ring when you've got toes?
Plenty have come along because Grandma loves to shop! 
Oh, my, lashes!

So instead of simply unloading a bajillion boxes onto my sister-in-law who's not done having babies, I decided to seriously edit the wardrobe.  Some to her, some to consign, and a large amount to donate.

This set matched perfectly Abby's first lemon.

But who gave my sweet girls permission to grow so big?  Abby's starting high school in a couple weeks, and Cora--my sweet Baby Botox--will be in first grade!

Two happy girls.
It was harder to go through the clothes than I thought, because it brought back so many memories.

Oh, this was a long time ago.  A long, long time ago.

I can still remember my little girls running around in those pants or that top or feeling beautiful in such a dress.

Alas, the satin ribbon on this gorgeous number was ripped almost off.

The outfit with the pale pink ruffly-butt pants that Abby wore as a teeny baby, or the one she was wearing when she took her first steps.
The top was so stained I decided to try a new tie-dye technique to make it wearable.
I failed miserably & it no longer goes with the pants, but you can't see the stains!
And the ones they fit in for such a fleetingly short time.

Cora was Lee's "Piggy Dir-loh." (Pretty Girl)
The dress that came from an older cousin that became so loved that sometimes I had to hide it so Abby'd wear something else;

She wore that pink dress well into preschool and long as she could!

Or the one that we bought when my baby brother got married;

I do not know what is up with that face, but she still makes it.
The outfits we put on Cora and were instantly reminded of what Abby looked like as a baby;

Big sister, Little sister.  I may have kept that outfit.

And the favorites:  the sparkles in that stripy shirt or the softness of that otherwise rather ugly dress.
Life is Good.  It really, really is.

And the nicknames:  the Cinderella shirt, the potholder outfit, the fish pants, Cora's "Beauta' Coat;" 
BTW--"Beauta" is short for "beautiful."  It's reversible, but was never worn as such.

The sparkly shoes.  There have been a lot of sparkles over the last 14 years, and I'm so glad we're not done yet.

This is the first pair.  Bless you, Target.  Bless you.
When Cora grows out of something, she gets excited because she can pass it along to her bestie MomIReallyWishSheCouldBeMySister cousin.
I've loved both of these skirts.  20 points if you noticed it's the same outfit Ab was wearing above.

She remembered specific items of clothing that were so loved they didn't make it to the 'pass along' or 'consign' piles; they were so 'velveteen' that they just had to go away.  There were a few that she was convinced would still fit...until she actually tried them on.  Others she just squealed and hugged as long & tight as I let her. 
Such pretty girls.

I don't regret paring down the amount of stuff in my basement.  I've been yearning for it for a long, long time.  It will be so nice to have more room to move, to breathe, to play.

Camping + Dirt = Happiness, right?  And oh, those crocs.  Did she even wear anything else?

And the future is full of so much fun with my older kids! 
I can tell who's Abby & who's Cora, but can you?

But the more I think about it, the higher likelihood that I'll cry.
Such a cute suit!  This one is in the box for my niece to use.

Because sometimes I just wish I could go back for a short time to see them, to hear them, to hold them, to kiss them.
I can almost smell her warm skin.

 I guess I'll have to be content to hug them for as long & tight as they let me.

PS--with very few exceptions, I've handled each & every item of clothes & shoes pictured in the last week.  It was tactile walk down memory lane.  *sigh*