Friday, April 30, 2010

Special Child

Special Child
by Sharon Harris
You weren't like other children,
And God was well aware,
You'd need a caring family,
With love enough to share.

And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven't been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.

Your wining smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.

We're proud that we've been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The joy that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.

A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above,
A child who's taught us many things,
But most of all - "Real Love"

This completly sums up our love for our Christopher! It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. We are so grateful that heavenly father chose us to be his family.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

april fools day and a little therapy

Emily thought it would be a fantastic idea on April Fools day to try to FOOL mom and Dad by putting Casts made of toilet paper on all the boys. She had it all planned! She put the casts on and coached the boys on what to do, then came up to give mom and dad the bad news that all three boys had broken arms!The little boys were so cute they were totally hamming it up (Christopher was so stinkin funny)! Spencer seriously thought he had us fooled! It was so dang cute I'm glad we got some pictures of it!

Christopher is really taking to his walker, and we couldn't be more proud of how hard he works at it. He is still having a hard time turning it to where he wants to go, he pretty much just goes in a straight line until either he gets stuck or we move him. I thought a really good place to go on a rainy day would be Toy r us! It was awesome, he was totally distracted and walked everywhere to look at all the fun toys. I swear he walked for over an hour! This picture is Christopher taking a break playing with the Train table. He is really getting around! A very proud Mommy and Daddy moment!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Where can I turn for peace"

Ok, so please bear with me on this as I am still thinking this all through in my head! My sister Julie is such an amazing wonderful person. She is my Oldest Sibling and is one that I gain alot of support and strength from. She inspires me. The other day we were talking on the phone and she was telling me about a stake Relief society conference she was asked to speak at. The topic is on Scripture study. She asked me from my perspective what I would like to get out of a talk like that. I told her that I want to know how with everything I have going on during the day I can just find some quiet time to read my scriptures. Not just read but STUDY! I mean I don't want to read a certain amount of pages for a goal, I want to really find time to study them. What could I do? So she called me back the next day and said that she had been thinking about my question and really felt impressed to call me about some things she thought of. She said " Ok, so you are a mom of 4 children! A teenage daughter that is facing a lot of peer pressure issues right now, a 12yr. old son your worried about be bullied, a 5 yr. old son and a 2 yr. old son with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalous. Your husband always has unexpected health problems and has been laid off from yet another failing company and you are the primary president.And your trying to find time to study the scriptures? ". At first when she said that I thought Ya... exactly I am totally justified in my frustration. She didn't even have to say anything else to then make me think " the thing I should be finding time to do the most is Scripture study! Where I can find answersto so many of my daily struggles, and where I could find peace"! Who do you think is trying to keep me away from reading those scriptures? Yep...I think you all know. He's the one trying to tell me my life is too crazy for any REAL scripture study. Interesting huh?
My sister then said, you don't need to sit down and read for a certain amount of time. Find a scripture and disect it! Keep your scriptures open to that verse for as long as you want and ponder it, read it and re-read it until you truly know the meaning of that scripture.Now who couldn't do that? What's neat about that idea is that so often we read and we never get much out of it. But, with this we read it until we do. I Love it! And Boy do I love my Sister!!!
As I was thinking of this today a song came into my mind, so I will share it with you too.

Where Can I Turn for Peace? 129 - Emma Lou Thayne (© 1973 LDS)

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice, I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows, Where, when I languish, Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish? Who, who can understand? He, only One.
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching. Constant he is and kind, Love without end

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Continuation from last post.

So, I really wanted to post this talk because of the message. I am now the mother of a beautiful,outgoing, fiesty, sassy, loving and compassionate 13 year old daughter. To tell you the truth...I'm struggling a little bit with how to best parent her at this age. She has become quite the well liked girl at school. The only problem with that is alot of those girls are not ones i would choose for her to hang out with. I know that I cannot choose my daughter's friends, but i can certaintly teach her how to be a leader and not a follower.
Emily has recently been invited to a few different things that has left me slightly stressed out. I know that I cannot always say no to her for fear that one day she will just flat out rebel on me. She was invited to a birthday party(A Sleepover). The party was at the sheratan Hotel in town. At first I was like HECK NO!!! But as I talked with the mother and thought about the situation more I decided to let her go. Later she told me the girls were planning ( behind the parents back) To watch a very inapropriate movie. I saw on Emily's phone a text to one of her friends that that was not a movie she was aloud to see...what should she do? Her friend told her to lie and not tell her parents about the movie. Her response: I don't lie to my parents! Her friend then said: Well I'll watch another movie with you then. I was so proud of Em for that. I knew she would be ok. Plus we texed eachother the whole night anyway. By the way... they ended up not watching the movie anyway.
So her next adventure was an invite to watch a movie with a bunch of the same girls and then walk over to eat at Red Robin after.Only problem with that is I'm not ready to just dump my daughter off somewhere and hope for the best. Not to mention walking to Red Robin would be after 9 at night.So Robert and I said Yes she could go, but we would be making a date night out of it as well. We watched a different movie at the same time, and ate at the complete other side of Red Robin at the same time. She then texted me and said "Mom...All the girls want to go to an ice cream place now, Can I go? I said " do their parents know? She said no, they just are not telling them. Which then Rob and I said...say bye, it's time to go! The troubling thing about that whole night was Rob and I were the only parents there out of those 10 13 yr. old girls. What are parents thinking? Seriously! I know that we may be a little annoying with my daughter right now, but she gets to do these things and we know she's safe! So I think that a pretty good compromise right? I am just grateful Heavenly father sent me only 1 daughter and the rest sons! How do you mothers do it with so many daughters? You have my complete respect!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Your Happily Ever After"

My Beautiful daughter Emily

I have been wanting to post this wonderful talk ever since I first heard it. Emily (my daughter) and I heard this talk from President Uchtdorf at the General Young Women's meeting a few weeks ago.Please take the time to read this, i promise you it will give such perspective to your life and to your loved ones lives. I think of myself, My daughter even my sons when I read this. It truly is an amazing message.

Your Happily Ever After
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

My dear young sisters all around the world, I am grateful and honored to be with you today. President Thomas S. Monson and all the leaders of the Church love you; we pray for you, and we rejoice in your faithfulness.

Over the years I have been exposed to many beautiful languages—each of them is fascinating and remarkable; each has its particular charm. But as different as these languages can be, they often have things in common. For example, in most languages there exists a phrase as magical and full of promise as perhaps any in the world. That phrase is “Once upon a time.”

Aren’t those wonderful words to begin a story? “Once upon a time” promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes. It may include tales of courage, hope, and everlasting love. In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil. But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words “And they lived happily ever after.”

Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?

Today I want to draw your attention to something very significant, very extraordinary. On the first page of your Young Women Personal Progress book, you will find these words: “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.”1

Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

But such a blessing does not come without a price. It is not given simply because you desire it. It comes only through understanding who you are and what you must become in order to be worthy of such a gift.

Trial Is Part of the Journey

For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity.

Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule.

In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle.

In the tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” a poor miller promises the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king immediately sends for her and locks her in a room with a mound of straw and a spinning wheel. Later in the story she faces the danger of losing her firstborn child unless she can guess the name of the magical creature who helped her in this impossible task.

In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?

Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?

The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter.2 Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?

In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.

Let me share with you a personal experience I had as a teenager while our family was attending church in Frankfurt, Germany.

One Sunday the missionaries brought a new family to our meetings whom I hadn’t seen before. It was a mother with two beautiful daughters. I thought that these missionaries were doing a very, very good job.

I particularly took notice of the one daughter with gorgeous dark hair and large brown eyes. Her name was Harriet, and I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me. She had many young men who wanted to make her acquaintance, and I began to wonder if she would ever see me as anything but a friend. But I didn’t let that deter me. I figured out ways to be where she was. When I passed the sacrament, I made sure I was in the right position so that I would be the one to pass the sacrament to her.

When we had special activities at church, I rode my bike to Harriet’s house and rang the doorbell. Harriet’s mother usually answered. In fact, she opened the kitchen window of their apartment on the fourth floor and asked what I wanted. I would ask if Harriet would like a ride to church on my bicycle. Harriet’s mother would say, “No, she will be coming later, but I will be happy to ride with you to church.” This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but how could I decline?

And so we rode to church. I must admit I had a very impressive road bike. Harriet’s mother sat on the top tube bar just in front of me, and I tried to be the most elegant bicycle driver over roads of rough cobblestone.

Time passed. While beautiful Harriet was seeing many other young men, it seemed that I could not make any headway with her.

Was I disappointed? Yes.

Was I defeated? Absolutely not!

Actually, looking back I recognize that it doesn’t hurt at all to be on good terms with the mother of the girl of your dreams.

Years later, after I had finished my training as a fighter pilot in the air force, I experienced a modern miracle in Harriet’s response to my continued courting. One day she said, “Dieter, you have matured much over these past years.”

I moved quickly after that, and within a few months I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her. The process hadn’t been easy—there were moments of suffering and despair—but finally my happiness was full, and it still is, even more so.

My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength.

It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.

There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you. How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.

If you ever feel your burden is too great to bear, lift your heart to your Heavenly Father, and He will uphold and bless you. He says to you, as He said to Joseph Smith, “[Your] adversity and [your] afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if [you] endure it well, God shall exalt [you] on high.”3

Enduring adversity is not the only thing you must do to experience a happy life. Let me repeat: how you react to adversity and temptation is a critical factor in whether or not you arrive at your own “happily ever after.”

Stay True to What You Know Is Right

Sisters, young sisters, beloved young sisters, stay true to what you know is right. Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness. Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup. Certain media productions glamorize those who embrace evil or who give in to base instincts. Often these same people are portrayed as models of success and accomplishment.

In a world where evil is portrayed as good and good as evil, sometimes it is difficult to know the truth. In some ways it is almost like Little Red Riding Hood’s dilemma: when you are not quite sure what you are seeing, is it a beloved grandmother or is it a dangerous wolf?

I spent many years in the cockpit of an airplane. My task was to get a big jet safely from any part of the world to our desired destination. I knew with certainty that if I wanted to travel from New York to Rome, I needed to fly east. If some were to tell me that I should fly south, I knew there was no truth in their words. I would not trust them because I knew for myself. No amount of persuasion, no amount of flattery, bribery, or threats could convince me that flying south would get me to my destination because I knew.

We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way. He is your beloved Heavenly Father, who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination. The map is available to all. It gives explicit directions of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”4 All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.

Nevertheless, not all will follow the map. They may look at it. They may think it is reasonable, perhaps even true. But they do not follow the divine directions. Many believe that any road will take them to a “happily ever after.” Some may even become angry when others who know the way try to help and tell them. They suppose that such advice is outdated, irrelevant, out of touch with modern life.

Sisters, they suppose wrong.

The Gospel Is the Way to Happily Ever After

I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your “happily ever after” destination.

“Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map.

Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind. Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness. Always strive to bring out the best in yourself and others.

Learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values. Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards guide and direct you to your “happily ever after.” Living these standards will prepare you to make sacred covenants in the temple and establish your own legacy of goodness in your individual circumstances. “Stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved,”5 regardless of temptations or difficulties. I promise you that future generations will be grateful for you and praise your name for your courage and faithfulness during this crucial time of your life.

My dear young sisters—you who stand for truth and righteousness, you who seek goodness, you who have entered the waters of baptism and walk in the ways of the Lord—our Father in Heaven has promised that you will “mount up with wings as eagles; [you] shall run, and not be weary; and [you] shall walk, and not faint.”6 You “shall not be deceived.”7 God will bless and prosper you.8 “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; . . . and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”9

Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I leave you my blessing and give you a promise that as you accept and live the values and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “[you] will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”10 And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story; there you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words: “And they lived happily ever after.” Of this I testify in the holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.