Friday, July 25, 2014

Come, Come, Ye Saints

It was just another Sunday with my husband working and me trying to encourage my two girls to sit in our pew at church and be reverent.  All while attempting to get something out of the talks being given by members of my ward.  Then it came time for the song in between talks.  The song was one that I had heard and sung many times, but this time was very different.  This time I felt like the Lord was using it to speak words to me that I needed to hear. 

The last month has been a hard one for me emotionally and I have spent a good bit of time upset.  At least a handful of good friends moved away this last month.   Which I am sure will just be the beginning of the goodbyes I will have to say in my life, since my husband is in the military.  Yet, along with the moves I had a few other trials.  A few months ago I had surgery for endemetrosis.   Before I had the surgery I had no hope that I would get pregnant.  Without hope there were very little painful emotions when I did not get pregnant and many of my friends did.  Yet surgery restored that hope that I could get pregnant.  This last month was my first really good chance of realizing that dream again.  Not only did I not get pregnant, but I had a very painful cyst.  Add to that friends getting pregnant (No matter how happy I am for them, I am human and still wonder – why not me?).  Another nail in the pregnancy coffin is that my youngest is going into pre-school this year and I got pregnant with her when my oldest went into pre-school.  The same thing never happens twice right?

Suffice it to say this last month feels like one of many where I feel like I never go through just one emotional struggle at a time, but there are a handful of them that seem determined to drag me down by sheer numbers alone.  I am also trying really hard to eat really healthy and truly stick to a budget.  All of these things feel incredibly stressful and overwhelming.

Cue the song “Come, Come, Ye Saints” at church.  Almost every line of that song spoke to me on Sunday.  Spoke peace to my soul and sent me pulling out the hymnal to look at the words over and over again.  “No, toil nor labor fear; but with joy wend your way.”  I am not facing some huge physically intense labor, but I am facing an emotional toil as I try to deal with so many transitions in my life.  Satan works hard on us during times of transition.  At least that has been my experience.  This last month has been no different.   In my head as I sang the song I said, “ok Lord, I will not be afraid and I will find joy in my ever changing life” (wend – go slowly or by an indirect route).  I will find my way slowly and in thy manner, not my own.

 The song goes on to say “Though hard to you the journey may appear……Tis not so; all is right.  Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? “   Here is where the real light bulb feeling came in to place and the Lord truly told me what I needed to know.  The journey only appears hard, but it isn’t really.  How many times have you seen a child struggle to learn something that is incredibly easy to you?  Tying shoes?  Riding a bike?  Walking?  Those experiences and learning lessons are hard for them, but they overcome that hard stuff and do more and more.  We are no different, every journey (experience) is hard.  Then when we overcome it we may remember it as hard, but there will always be something harder up ahead.  Not because we are glutons for punishment, but because we can handle the harder lesson with the Lord’s help. 

In the end what really matters is what we are working hard for ; ie eternal life with our Heavenly Father and our families.  Is there any price too big, any fight too much for that great reward?  Not for me, so give me those boxing gloves and let me get through this match - whether it be emotional, spiritual, physical or all of the above.  I will not shun the fight and I hope that you won’t either.  We are made of strong stuff, especially when we have the Lord in our corner.  He wants to be there and is just waiting for us to ask Him in.   When we do, there is nothing and I mean nothing that we can’t overcome.             

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Getting out of a pit

When I was a kid we decided to build a pool in our backyard.  For hours we dug and dug, ending up with a big round not very deep hole before we gave up.  We often joked during the process that we were going to dig to China.  A deep dark hole that could go through the whole world would definitely be an accomplishment.  As a child we thought it was totally possible.

As an adult I have been in a hole that big....a pit even.  It would have been better if I stuck with digging a simple rut, but instead I dug myself into that pit. For me it started with one thought.  One negative thought that spiraled into two and then three.  It's been almost two years since I was stuck in that negative thought pit, but I can still remember very distinctly how I felt. My internal world was as dark and dirty as a pit to the earth's core would have been.  I would cry almost every day and I felt like I was a horrible person.  My thoughts were always negative; mostly about myself.  I didn't matter and no one cared about me, I did everything wrong, etc.  Man was it a hard place to be because it felt like there was no way I could get out of this pit and I would forever be unhappy.  Everyday I would pray and read my scriptures, but still couldn't find my way out of that pit.  Through time my begging and pleading with the Lord to overcome this negativity worked and I was able to get a rope and pull myself up and out of that pit.  It was a slow and hard process.  I had to build a lot of spiritual muscles to get out of that pit.

Getting into that pit was just like digging that hole as a child.  It took one shovel full of dirt at a time.  One negative thought added to another negative thought without adding any good positive thoughts.  It was a time of my life where I was experiencing trials.  We had recently moved leaving behind many wonderful friends, a house, and a place where I felt like I belonged.  It was also probably not the best time in my life to begin potty training my youngest.  Yet I told myself that I had overcome difficulties in the past and never gotten quite this low.  What was different this time and what is the lesson that I needed to learn?  I believe very firmly that all of life's experiences are filled with lessons that we need to learn.  We can either choose to grow and become better people from them or we can do the opposite.  

Putting the dirt back into that pit and hoping that I never dig one again has been a gradual process that I am still working on day to day.  A little less than a year after the pit incident, I found myself in another super stressful life experience with yet another move looming in my near future. I was digging myself back into that pit when I came to a realization as I was reading a Teaching No Greater Call.  Negative never lifts up.  When we want to teach ourselves and others about the gospel, negative thoughts, feelings, and actions are counterproductive.  My negative thoughts were not helping me to become closer to my Heavenly Father.  They were the pit that I kept digging and that pit was taking me away from him.  The further I was from Him the further I was from peace. Peace that I wanted and needed desperately.  That same peace that satan wants to keep us from feeling because if we don't remember how good the peace is then we won't work for it.

However, I am a fighter (evidenced by my pink punching bag) and I do not give up easily on something I want.  What I wanted was peace and a close relationship with my Lord.  So I kept fighting with prayer, scripture study, and going to church.  I kept trying to release the negative thoughts and instead replace them with gratitude.  President Dieter F. Utchdorf recently said, "Sooner or later, I believe that all of us experience times when the very fabric of our world tears at the seams, leaving us feeling alone, frustrated, and adrift."  The last few years I have had that experience quite a few times.  President Utchdorf went on to say "When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation."  The second time I found myself digging that pit, it really was a rut.  Simply finding the pearl of knowledge that the sooner I changed my thoughts from negative to positive gratitude changed things for me.  I was no longer digging a pit, but filling it up and building a mountain of strength with the Lord's help.  This strength brought that gentle peace and a knowledge that things would work out. They did.

Today as I read about Moses and the Israelites I realized for the first time why they struggled so much.  Here was a people who had prayed for years to be released from the bondage of slavery.  People who wanted to be free and then as soon as they get it, started to complain and wanted to go back to a life of slavery.  They complained so much that the Lord refused to bless them.  At times I have read that wondering if the Lord was hard on them.  I love food and it would really hard for me to eat the same thing every day and I wonder if I would complain about eating manna all the time as well.  Complaining did not however add variety to their diet and it did not help them go out and find something different.  No, they were stuck in that negative thought pit.  It was one that they had dug so deep and so long that they no longer knew they were in a pit. The Israelites were so used to the dark negative thoughts that they could or would not change them.  In Egypt it was the Egyptians fault that their life was miserable and when they left it was the Lord and Moses fault that their life was miserable.  Always blaming someone else for their problems and what was wrong in their life. They never stopped the negative thoughts, but continued to be unhappy in all the circumstances life gave them.  When you compare them to Job who was grateful to the Lord no matter what happened to him, you can understand why the Lord punished the grumbling Israelites and rewarded Job.   

I don't want to be punished because I can't stop complaining.  Honestly living in a state of constant complaining is miserable enough for yourself and anyone around you. From now on I vow to actively change my negative thoughts and remember that there is so much to be grateful for in this world.  As President Utchdorf said, "True gratitude in our circumstances is an act of faith in God.....True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony."  My hope is that my Heavenly Father can see and know of my faith, hope, and love of Him by being grateful everyday no matter what is going on in my life.  If we look past our current trials and think of the eternal perspective, then we will see that light from the bottom of the pit.  The light that will show us where the rope is so that we can pull ourselves up and out of that pit and then cover it up with the love and peace we can and will feel from our Heavenly Father.  We all have different pits in life, mine is negative thoughts. Whatever your pit is in life, I hope that you will fight it because in the end nobody wants to stay in a dark and dirty place.  Having the light of the Lord in your life by changing your bad behavior to good is well worth the pain in your spiritual muscles.  Eventually when the Lord brings you to your eternal home He will tell you that you fought the good fight and you will forever bask in His light.  That will be true joy and peace and will be worth all that life threw at you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Firewalkers Austin Texas 9/11 memorial climb

Ok, so I have attatched some pictures and video and a little thing I wrote.  sorry about my lack of video taping skills.

Sorry it has been over 2 years since I blogged, but life is still marching on....

The smell of sweat permeating the room was not the source of my eyes tearing up. It was the reading of the names of the servicemen that died on 9/11. We had all gathered to remember those who died by climbing the 110 flights of stairs the original servicemen in New York went before they sacrificed their life. Many of the firemen that climbed the stairs in remembrance were clad in their full uniform. The sweat pouring from their faces at the end showed the extreme effort those extra clothes and oxygen tanks really do take out of them. Somehow seeing how sweaty those servicemen must have been on the original 9/11 really drove home the sacrifice that many made not only that day, but continue to make today.

One fireman in particular really stood out to me, he was an older gentlemen, but was one of the first to be done climbing the stairs. He looked like a chief and acted like one as well. He was drenched in sweat and had taken off his fireman jacket and had his fireman pants open to let in the air and cool off a little. He stood close to the fireman bell that was rung for each name of those servicemen who died during 9/11. Whenever someone finished ringing the bell for their names he either hugged or shook hands with that person. You could tell from his actions that this event meant so much to him and that each person that died that day was like a brother to him. He is like many of us who are old enough to remember 9/11 and will never forget that day.

While there is much sadness over the many who died that day, there is so much pride for the stories of sacrifice and service that were rendered that day. I will never look at a serviceman the same again. Every day they live, they serve and I am so grateful that the world has people like them. People who care enough to deal with many hard things on a daily basis just to help others. Without their constant sacrifices, the United States would not be as wonderful of a country.

I didn't get a picture of the chief I was talking about.  Wish I had.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reese Ava Autry

Reese Ava Autry was born on April 1, 2010...My little April fools baby. She is two months old now and I feel somewhat able to function enough to blog for a moment.

For those who don't want to know the details, just look at the pictures and be happy. However, if you want to know how Reese got here:

I went into labor on March 30th. In the middle of the night I could not sleep and got up with contractions. I knew they were nothing big, but they did keep me up. So I went to the doctor and I was dialated to a 1 and 50% effaced or something. Anyways, I went home and did my usual routine and had contractions all day. When John got home and the contractions were every 3 -5 minutes we were trying to figure out if we should go in. I called a good friend who works in OB care. She said since I was a previous c-section I should go in just to be on the safe side. I never really had a ton of pressure, just back labor. So we got there at about 7 pm and I was dialated to a 1.5. The baby's head was not in position at all and I was definately having contractions that were good every 3-5 minutes. So I walked the halls, squated, drank a ton of water, and nothing changed. They wanted to keep me overnight for because I was a previous c-section. So they gave me some medicine around 2 am to help me get some sleep and see if I would stop contracting. Well, I just kept having those contractions without any progress in labor. Then a new doctor came in the morning, Doctor El Gammal. She checked, no change, no head. So she called for an ultrasound machine. Now you know it is not good when the doctor takes 10 minutes doing an ultrasound and sits down and says where is that head. Then she called for an ultrasound tech to come in. The ultrasound tech comes in and sits down and starts looking for the head. Once again it was a challenge. Reese was sideways, bum up, head close to the bottom with her hand dangling in my cervix (explained a few random pains) and she was facing my back. The doctor said there is no way I could deliver her that way and she can't change her position because of the risks involved from being a previous c-section.
So there I was on the operating table being cut they warned me, but you never want to think it will go that way. They cut me, then the uterus and then I hear straining and a vague inclination that my body is being rocked back and forth. I hear the doctor grunting and she can't get the baby out. I will never forget my husbands eyes. He was watching with interest at first and then they get out scissors to cut my uterus again and his eyes were all I saw. At any rate Reese came out very healthy. she was 6 lbs 14 oz and 20 1/4 inches long. I hate that I have so many issues, but that was not the end for me. I had to have 3 layers of stitching because my scar tissue was bad with my previous c-section. I also had to have my bladder wrapped because of scar tissue. Then when she was trying to put my uterus in she noticed it didn't go in nice and snug cuz my sacrum (lower spine) was not toward my back like normal. There is no way I could have delivered ever. That really would have been nice to know before the whole process. Oh and did I mention my uterus is a little thin at the bottom. Man, well I might be lucky to have one more, but it will be a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks.
The recovery was not fun. I had so much gas in my tummy afterwards that I looked 9 months pregnant and as the nurse said you could play my tummy like a drum......
I am still very much recovering, though I can do just about everything like normal. I know I had surgery and can still feel it, but it does not hurt.
Still I am so grateful for Reese and I hold her and love her so much. I also have to note that during the whole delivery I was so calm and peaceful. I felt the presence of Heavenly Father so strongly that I knew everything would be alright. I am so grateful for that.

There is the hand that Reese loves.

They made Reese go under the lights because of a antigen issue. She was so strong she kept pulling off the socks and the goggles. John was vigalent about taking care of her, even though it was rough night. She also pulled up her head and on all fours in the hospital when they first put her in this on her belly. Strong girls :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello Again :)

Ok, I know it has been quite a few months since I blogged. I thought about doing a mass update and going back, but that would make it a lot harder to catch up. So lets just say pregnancy, John breaking his Fibula on Thanksgiving, the Holidays, and life has happened and I will just update with a few recent pictures and move forward.

So this is what comes from old photos....Celia has a photo like this when she was younger. She thought that looks great and begged me to do it again until I did....So here she is getting her hair curled before school.

So one day the little boy I watch during the day, Daniel Embry, didn't come over because of sickness in the family. I thought great, I can do that baby quilt for my friend that I have been meaning to do. Two baby quilts and these two doll quilts later, I wondered why I had even started looking at fabric in the first place. It was fun, but I am glad to be done with those projects.

Yes it Snows in Georgia - once, maybe twice a year. This was taken on our first snow of this year. She was so happy to play in the snow.

Celia and her good friend Daniel Embry. They loved playing in the snow and throwing snowballs at each other.

We had to run an errand and so we didn't get a chance to make a snow man at our we did the next best thing and made one at the grandparents house. Here's our snowman on my parent's porch.

All of the above pictures were taken at Bear Hollow in Athens during Winter Break. The kids (Daniel and Celia) were so cute and fun. Celia made friends, like always, we played at the park, looked at animals and just had a nice day out.
Ever wonder what a 5 foot nothing girl looks like pregnant. Wonder no more. I have not gained too much (17 lbs) weight this pregnancy and my waist is smaller (currently 41 inches, with Celia it got to be about 44 or so inches) this time around. Yet this picture really shows what 8 months of baby growth can do for you or to you. Either way I am happy to be pregnant and excited to meet my baby girl. It hasn't been an easy pregnancy, but she will be worth the small inconviences of food not tasting good and having a nose that constantly runs.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Celia Starts School

Celia started school, ok pre-school, on July 31st of this year. She was so excited. Georgia has a lottery funded preschool program. So it is free, but it goes the normal length of school. In fact Celia goes to the elementary school for preschool. I have yet to let her ride the bus, though she really really wants to, I am just not ready for that. I really like her teacher Mrs. Purvis. She is a great teacher that is challenging, fun and loves my little spirited daughter.


I really am ever so glad to be pregnant. I am about 9 weeks along now and hoping that at the end of this first trimester I will start feeling better. Just a month or so to go to find that out. This pregnancy has definately been completely different from Celia's. I am grateful my husband is so supportive and does so much around the house to help out. Even if he does call me a slug. I have medicine for the naseau and vomiting so as long as I can keep it down I do much better. Every time I pay homage to the porcelin throne I have to remind myself that my baby is doing good and that this really will be just a short time. I really am looking forward to October to find out what I am having. My young women keep telling me that I am having a boy. My mother insists that it is a girl. I don't have a really strong feeling, but am leaning toward boy. So I am sorry if I am cranky and out of it, please don't take it personal I still love you, I just don't feel good at all.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Disney Fun Part 2

We took Sunday off parks and went to church and then the Orlando temple. It is an absolutely beautiful temple, just wish we had known how to get there before leaving the church building. Lost and hungry do not make a good combination.
Our family photo reflects the cranky and hungry.
Isn't it such a gorgeous temple. We were privileged to go there previously for a friends wedding and it really is so beautiful.

Monday was spent at Magic Kingdom, which is packed with lots of fun stuff to do and see....packed being the word for the day. We started it out with Breakfast with the Princesses. We all loved it because the food was good and we got to eat in the castle and we got to meet the princesses, they all came to our table.
Snow White came first and Celia wanted to know where all the princes were. Snow White said hers was waiting for her and they would dance in front of the castle soon, which I heard they did.

Sleeping beauty came up with this pose and I am with celia, is this really necessary...whatever.

Celia loved having all the princesses come and meet her. It was so fun to see her face and enjoy it with her. I would definately do it again.
Celia and Belle, one of my favorite characters....They give you a wand, a wishing star, and a photo package with Cinderella. We really enjoyed ourselves.

I guess this is a pretty rare picture to get, but we were waiting to ride the tea party ride and John went with Celia to wait in line and get her picture with Alice and the white rabbit. By the way 4 grown adults and a child do not fit in one tea cup, we learned that the hard way.

This makes me laugh so much. During a break time for the adults we went to a play area for Celia. She promptly made friends with these two boys and became the leader...ok their master cuz they were her dogs. I laughed and felt bad, but they seemed to be enjoying it as much as little leader.

Can you tell how hot it was, look at those cheeks. Celia really enjoyed minnie's kitchen. So much fun to be had.
Who doesn't love a merry go round ride...we all enjoyed it.

I love this picture of mom and her new t-shirt, Cotton is your best friend when outside too long in Florida.

I love this picture of my dad cuz it shows his cowboy attitude. Too fun.

One of the benefits of going during the summer is the Disney waterparks are open. We went to Typhoon Lagoon. It was really so much much. The wave pool had the biggest waves that I have ever seen at a wave pool and literally knocked people over and into each other. This was a fun, but exhausting day. Playing in the water is so tiring.

Celia loved the kids area complete with slides and their own little tube ride. She rode a couple bigger ones, but loved the independence of being able to carry her own tube and do it all by herself at this one.

John and Dad loved the snorkeling with the fish attraction. It was really fun to be able to just enjoy the animals in that way. John took some pretty good pictures with our waterproof camera.

This is the entrance of the waterpark, but this is the end of the day. So much fun...I really enjoyed Disney and wish I could have gone to the other waterpark as well.

Disney Fun part 1

Okay slightly out of order, but that is otay. Our Second day at Disney was our favorite. We went to epcot and loved the gliding ride so much we rode it twice. We got to see a lot of really cool stuff and Celia loved the masks and coloring stations they had in each country. Celia also loved all the characters she met. Though you can't tell from this picture. Problem was she only wanted to see minnie mouse and had waited in a long line to do that. Then she found out she had to say hello to all the characters. Since poor mickey was first Celia had nothing to do with him.
Then it was pluto's turn, at least he got a look and a smile. She still wouldn't go near him though and Dad had to help.
Finally she got to minnie and she was golden after that.
She liked Donald so much that his was the only one stuffed animal she wanted.

Goofy was last and she was so happy she got to see everyone, especially minnie...

Celia also talked grandpa into waiting in a line for her to get to see snow white. Yeah for grandpas.
The Disney tradition is to get a mickey mouse shaped ice cream treat when you go, but Celia liked our ice cream much better. We all shared and it was still fun to try to beat the heat a little. Just so you know June is very hot in Florida.
Celia with her grandma and grandpa in front of Epcot.

The thing we love about Disney is they really try to make your experience great. You will randomly get taken to the front of the line just because one of the workers is being nice or anything like that. You may spend a good deal of money, though it wasn't too bad for us with the military rates. Anyways, the customer service and the way most of the rides and parks are run are great. There are a few rides that have horrible lines or are not the greatest, but it was still fun.

Our First Day was spent at Animal Kingdom. Which was a good day, but not our favorite. The Lion King show and Nemo show were really cool, and they had some nice rides, but the one we really wanted to ride we were unable to ride. Celia loved the ride above because she was in control of the movement of the ride.
The Dinosaur Display outside the dinosaur ride. Yeah we should not have taken Celia on this ride. We all felt like it was made for the hearing impared and wondered if we would need hearing aids after riding it because it was so loud. Celia does not handle loud noises at all. Then the Scary dinosaur right when they flash a light (take a picture) in your eyes...Yeah the end you look and the picture and everyone is going huh.

Really good advice we were given was to go to the Safari first thing in the morning. We did and the animals were definately out. It pays to go early.