Aug 29, 2013

Football and other random thoughts

Today is a good day.  Why?  Football season starts today!  My team doesn't play until Saturday, but I can get caught up in just about any game.  Two of our opponents play each other tonight, so I am looking forward to checking out our competition.  I just love this time of year.  Fall and football, can it get any better?  Cool weather, hard hits, long passes for touchdowns, or a break away run.  Love, LOVE it!

Also I went to the temple today.  Had to wait 45 minutes to get into a session.  Never happened to me during the day before.  I loved it.  I just felt peaceful and content, and how cool to see the temple packed to capacity.  After the session there were a couple of older ladies talking rather loudly.  Lady 1 says to Lady 2, "When did you wash your skirt last?  It looks terrible, like you spilled milk all over it."  Then Lady 1 said to Lady 2, "You shouldn't wear your shirt like that, it makes you look fat."  I couldn't help but smile.  Then I watched this same Lady 1 patiently write down ALL of the names that Lady 2 wanted to put on the prayer roll without a complaint.  I love the temple.

Got what I am guessing is a form letter from Lexie's mission president about her being transferred and being a trainer.  Form letter or not, I believed every word of praise about my daughter that was written in that letter. :)  She is training a sister from the United States and will be serving just outside of Sydney. 

Lastly, I saw this old commercial today, and immediately thought of my children.  Ashley and Breanna especially.  It made me smile, so I thought I would share it here  (Viewer discretion advised-it is a church commercial after all.)

Aug 26, 2013

Priesthood Power

Today marked the first day of school for four of my five children.  Four kids in four different schools. Clear back when Ashley started Kindergarten in 1996, we have started the school year off with Tony giving her a father's blessing.  Every year since then, it is a family tradition to start the school year  this way.  So much so, that Ashley even got a ride up from Logan on Saturday so she could start off her last year of college right. (She also came up for my Dad's b-day who turned 82 on Saturday!)  I have had lots of opportunities to ponder on and be grateful for the priesthood and it's power in my life.  In June we covered this topic in Young Women's, and we have had several experiences over the summer that have reaffirmed and strengthened my testimony.  I know that miracles, guidance, direction and real power come into my life daily because of the priesthood.  Just this summer, I have seen people be healed from injuries and ailments, and I heard blessings pronounced that were exactly what someone needed to hear even though they had never shared their concerns.  Some may call this crazy or just a coincidence, but I have seen it, and experienced it too many times to doubt it's reality.

I have been greatly blessed by ordinances that come through the priesthood; the greatest one is being able to be sealed to my husband and family for eternity.  Eternity seems hard to comprehend sometimes in the day to day craziness, but I want all these crazies around me forever!  I am blessed every week by it's power as I attend church and partake of the sacrament.  I have watched my son, who is a normal teenager, be changed by the opportunity to represent the Savior.  I have watched young men in high school, lay aside the silly activities that usually accompany the end of high school, and choose to prepare instead to serve missions and be worthy to act in the Lord's name.

I have often been troubled by the debate about women and the priesthood, and in the past I haven't had a lot of compassion.  I realize now however, that we all have different things we struggle with, and just because it isn't a issue for me doesn't mean that it isn't a problem for someone else.  That being said, this is how I see it...The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, knows that we all need each other.  Just like we are all given different gifts so we have the opportunity to share and strengthen each other, men and women have different responsibilities so that we can bless and help each other.  Elder Ballard in April conference said, "In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife. And as husband and wife, a man and a woman should strive to follow our Heavenly Father."  The way I see it, it is a beautiful plan that provides order and sharing of responsibilities, a plan that I will be forever grateful for.

Aug 19, 2013

Family Is What It's All About

You know, I love Sundays!  Yes, I love it for the reasons you might think, but I also love it for the family time we have.  It's a day when from 5 or so on everyone is home and mostly unplugged, and I just love it.  Of course not everyone was home yesterday-Ashley is in Logan and for 13 more months Lexie will be gone, but I will take whatever family time I can get.  A typical Sunday scene is Tony falling asleep at the dinner table (poor, tired Bishop) as we TRY to discuss what we learned in church.  Usually this discussion includes some crazy comment from Breanna, a wise crack from Jared, Grant pulling some deacon like prank on his sister, and Tony trying to keep his eyes open.  Every once in a while a truly spiritual moment happens, but most of the time I hope the learning is happening in between the laughter and fights.  And you know what I wouldn't want it any other way.  At about 6:30 we all become glued to the phones frantically checking our emails, as we wait for the blessed Australian emails to arrive.  What a great addition to an already great day.

As we just finished making salsa tonight for Family Home Evening (we had to do something with all of those delicious garden tomatoes), I just felt so grateful for my family. Love them!

A funny moment from yesterday when we were trying to pray-Jared was explaining that when you love someone they are funnier to you than they would otherwise be.  So you would be more likely to laugh at their jokes, etc.  Breanna immediately said, "Well then that is why I always laugh so hard at my jokes."  This then led to a totally useless conversation about what we should sing for our family musical number in September and lots of laughter.  It made me think of my Dad who would get so annoyed as we would talk forever before family  prayer when I was a kid.  We would get laughing, and couldn't stop.  He would say in frustration, "I hope your Heavenly Father has a sense of humor."  I am pretty sure he does. :)
After I wrote this post, I noticed that Ashley wrote about our discussion on a musical number, which she became a part of through text. I guess we were both thinking the same things today. You can check it out here. Ashley's Anecdotes

Aug 15, 2013

Summer Update

Not sure where summer went...only 10 days until school starts! I am so not ready! Ok, I am not ready for school, but I am ready for fall. The heat this summer has been a little over the top, and fall means football! Tickets came in the mail the other day, followed by some happy dancing when I told Jared he could go to the Texas game. So what have we been doing all summer? Here's a quick run down.

Ashley has been living in Logan and working and preparing for her senior recital. She really is only one recital and two classes away from graduating, but will go the full year to finish up a sign language minor. The other day she called me and told me she had practiced for 4 1/2 hours. Wow! In high school it was a chore to get one hour from her. She did 4 weeks of EFY this summer also, one of those weeks was in Nauvoo. She had such a fabulous experience in Nauvoo, I think she finally understands why I love the place so much.

Alexis is on her third transfer in Grafton, the farthest north you can serve in her mission. What an amazing experience she is having! She plays the piano every Sunday (don't you just love it when you tell your kids they will be grateful they can play someday, and then they really are grateful. It makes all the work to get them to practice worthwhile.) The people in Australia are absolutely amazing. They feed her, give her gifts, and she even got three cakes on her birthday. She isn't going to want to come home! She has been out 5 months already!

River in Grafton (I think it is the Clarence River)
Jared is working as a lifeguard this summer, and works as many hours as he can. He is working almost 50 hours this week. We don't see him much, but the mission savings is starting to add up. He is running to get ready for Cross Country. He just got his schedule for school, and is perfectly happy with the way it is set up. They gave him two periods of Seminary and no English. I am making him go in to change it tomorrow.

Breanna is so excited to start 9th grade. She has been working picking zuchini and squash at 6am to earn money for school clothes. Hopefully she is still excited for school after the homework starts. She and Grant have been sharing lawn mowing duties this summer, and she is constantly trying to talk Grant into taking her turn.

Grant is starting his last year in elementary school. How did I get to be so old? He will turn 12 in just a little over a month, and is looking forward to moving on from primary. His sister thinks he fits in perfectly with the deacons already. The other day he made cookies, and I told him they were delicious. He said, "Well they aren't as good as yours, Mom. Your cookies are pretty hard to replicate." Who knew he even knew the word replicate, but that he could use it correctly was pretty impressive.

Youth Conference in Manti
What else has been going on? Tony and Jared went to Priest's Camp, Breanna and I went to girl's camp, and all four of us went to Youth Conference. We had a wonderful Stevenson Family Reunion at the Heber Valley Camp, and made a quick trip to Idaho. Had a wonderful visit from Tony's Dad and Karen as they finished their mission in New Hampshire. What a wonderful experience they had, and it was so fun to have them here for a few days. Then this week we had fun visiting with my sister and some of her family as they were out here from Iowa. Now I am ready for a vacation from summer...
Stevenson Family Reunion

Aug 1, 2013

Wholesome Recreational Activities

This summer has been hectic and packed.  This is the first whole week I have been home all summer.  The days have been packed with youth camps and conferences and a family reunion.  It has been busy, but good.  To finish it all up we took our kids up to Idaho to what I consider a little piece of heaven on earth.  We left on Saturday, as soon as Tony got back from getting Ashley in Provo (she was doing a week of EFY there).  We arrived safely in Island Park around 3 pm, but not without incident. Our trusty Suburban lost power on three different occasions, but each time after shutting it off and then turning it on again we were able to keep going.  Island Park, specifically Bill's Island is the most beautiful place.  It looks and smells so wonderful, and is so peaceful.  I just can't help but feel great up there.  Perhaps part of it is that we get uninterrupted family time while there, which is unusual and often all to rare around here.  This is the first time that we have ever been up there without my parents, some of my sisters or at least some of my nieces and nephews.  I thought maybe it would be a disappointment without them, especially for the kids, but it wasn't.  What I consider as one of my greatest blessings is that my kids all like each other (even Breanna and Grant-though they probably won't admit it), and that we truly seem to enjoy each others company.

We did a whole lot of relaxing, and spending time on the lake with the jet ski.  In fact we had only been there for a mere 20 minutes when the boys were putting it into the water.  The boys spent the rest of the afternoon/evening on the lake while the female portion of the family just enjoyed the pristine surroundings.  Of course we had to watch Remember the Titans, it is a family favorite and a cabin tradition almost.  Sunday dawned bright and beautiful.  I love going to church is Island Park.  I love seeing that little building packed beyond capacity by other vacationers who are willing to take time to worship.  On Sunday we always take it a little easy, going for walks, eating fantastic food (why does it always taste so good up there?), writing to Lexie (oh how we missed her!), and watching Legacy in honor of pioneer day.

Our weather could not have been more perfect.  It was like it was scripted.  On most days we enjoyed a completely cloudless sky with highs in the low 80's, perfect for enjoying the coldish lake.  The nights were cool, getting down into the 40's, so we slept comfortably and gave the cabin a little chill before the heat of the day.

I even talked my kids into going to Yellowstone with me on Tuesday without complaint.  I was a little worried about the car, but we prayed and went anyway.  It died once, but started back up again.  Yellowstone is an amazing place! Someday I am going to go with enough time to really explore the place, but we had a great time seeing the beautiful canyon and waterfalls, seeing Old Faithful and finding 47 of the 50 state's license plates.
We were so sad to leave on Wednesday evening, and a little concerned about the car.  We left with faith that we would be ok.  The car worked perfectly all the way home.  Our own little miracle.  In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it states, "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  I am grateful for the wholesome recreation we enjoyed that strengthened our family as we worked, prayed and played together.

Some favorite moments from the trip-
  • Riding the tube-even if it did make me dizzy for almost a full week after!
  • Ashley calling Jared a sausage head 
  • Monopoly, Mormon Bridge, and Wacky Six
  • All of us watching Penelope late Tuesday night. (The boys were going to go to bed-they didn't want to watch a chick flick, but they all made it to the end)
  • Driving around the parking lots before we left Yellowstone to try to find the rest of the license plates we needed. (yes we are nerds like that)
  • A discussion about snoring husbands and laughing
  • My kids getting 'excited' to see the cows on the drive home just to make me happy
  • Doing a back flip off a tube, just to make Breanna smile. (ok it was an accident because I am super coordinated, but it did make her smile)