Monday, March 31, 2014

I'MPOSSIBLE~~~We Are All Toddlers

Here is this moment's spiritual message:
The idea came from Pres. Uchtdorf's talk entitled Four Titles.

You have seen a toddler just beginning to walk? Once he figures out he can take steps, he will try going faster and eventually build up so much speed that he loses control and tumbles to the ground. Good thing for toddlers, they only stand two feet tall. Then, they'll start to realize that they want to change directions while walking. This requires a whole other set of muscles for keeping balanced and upright.

Parents will most often be very close by to prevent injury as their little one toddles, and navigates, and explores. Occasionally, a parental hand will reach out and very lightly give support. Sometimes, the toddler doesn't even notice the help he just received from his parent. Sometimes, when he does notice, he gets upset because he wants to do it himself.

As Pres. Uchtdorf states in his talk, compared to the perfection of our Heavenly Father, we all are "awkward, faltering toddlers...  Would a father punish a toddler for stumbling? Of course not... " Pres. Uchtdorf shares with us that he does "not believe in a God who would set up rules and commandments only to wait for us to fail so He could punish us."  He believes in "a Heavenly Father who is loving and caring and who rejoices in our every effort to stand tall and walk toward him."

The Plan created for us to become like our Heavenly Parents flows in rhythm with justice, mercy, and grace. We must remember that with every small step we are becoming more like him. We will strive. We will stumble. We will fall and cry. We will learn. We will become strong and confident and be able to keep our balance and remain upright. Hopefully, along the way will discover our true purposes for life.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Relief Society Birthday Bash 2014!

This March we celebrate the 172nd birthday of the Relief Society.  

According to the Relief Society is the oldest and largest women's organization in the world. Maybe there are a lot of women's organizations in the world, I don't know.  I do know that women are endowed with the innate ability to help, to give, to care, to nurture.

Just over a year ago, I was called as the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society Presidency in our ward.

Here's how it breaks down:
 General Presidencies- preside over the whole church worldwide
Stake Presidencies- preside over a pretty large area made up of several wards
Bishopric- presides over a ward, which can cover an area about like a postal zip code

Each ward has different auxillaries. Each auxillary has a presidency: Priesthood, Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, and Young Womens or Young Mens
Each auxiliary has a General Presidency

Every presidency contains four members: el presidente, 1st counselor, 2nd counselor, and secretary

In our RS presidency, we each have our own areas of stewardship, but we all work as a team on everything we do. I am in charge of activities.

I appreciate the fact that I can go online and read about what other wards do for their activities, so I thought I'd put mine out there, too. Just in case. Someone might stumble upon it.

We came up with the theme of:    "GETTING TO KNOW YOU"

Round tables were set up on this half of the cultural hall for our dining area. We had a great turnout!

We wanted to make everyone feel like spring really is here, so we decorated with actual daisies and each table had a different color table cloth. Unfortunately, the one in this picture is white which is more like winter meets spring. Wait! That's what it looks like outside anyway!

On the menu we had Chinese meatballs served over a mixture of brown and white rice. The mixture of rice wasn't really planned. We asked 5 sisters if they'd make 5 cups of rice (which makes ten cooked) and one sister brought brown rice. So, rather than try to decide who gets brown and who gets white, we mixed them together. (Thank you, B, for coming up with that solution!)

Also, we had Oriental cabbage salad, which went really well with the main entree.

Our secretary, who used to do catering, said the plate needed three items. She suggested maybe finding a cracker to go along with it. I told her that if she wanted to handle that I was totally fine with it. So, what does she go and do? She HAND MAKES over a hundred of these sesame crackers which were so delicious that it was the one food item I had most people ask about! She is amazing, that secretary of ours.

 For dessert, we served something that never really had a name but it was delicious and involved ice-cream, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and broken heath bars. (Unfortunately, because I have so many little ones running around, the bulk of the left-over dessert got sent to my house! *I am ashamed*)

To follow the Asian theme, we included fortune cookies. Not handmade! It was a nice touch.

It has become tradition to have our youth be servers for these nice dinners that we put on.

The sisters love having them around.

They add such life to the environment!

(Tablecloths become capes.)

We told them to dress Asian if they wanted. Our 1st counselor in the RS Pres had some fabulous outfits she let the girls borrow. This is T wearing an actual silk gown.

Of course, chopsticks is a given. I wonder how the sisters would have reacted if we had forced them to EAT with chopsticks?

Isn't that green outfit amazing? (Also from 1st counselor's closet. She found it at a local 2nd hand store!)

Each month, our secretary puts together an insert for the newsletter called the ID Challenge. Little-known facts are shared about one of the ladies in the ward, and we all try to figure out who it is.

So, we put together a little display table of all the sisters who've been highlighted so far.

It has been way fun hearing everyone trying to figure out who is this month's ID Challenge. I was surprised how many I couldn't figure out, even some sisters that I talked to regularly!

Another way of "getting to know" each other was to display pictures of ourselves when we were younger and having everyone try to figure out who they were. We had some do it together as a table. We had some very old pictures. We had some who were easy to figure out because they have a child who looks just like their own childhood pictures. It was neat to hear the stories that went along with the pictures. It was REALLY neat seeing the young faces of our 70, 80, and 90 year old sisters.

We provided these papers for the picture guessing game.

Our final activity was Speed-friendshipping. We kept this a complete secret because so many fear being forced to socialize! In fact, we had quite a few who wouldn't participate, but those who did actually loved it!

I did some digging around on the internet to figure out how best to pull this off. I decided to have one side of the table remain seated, while the other side would scoot down when time was up. There was no way we could take the time to have every person talk to every person, so I planned to rotate eight times total.

When I told the sisters they would have 5 minutes to ask each other questions alternatively, they were really surprised. "Do you mean ONE minute???"   Ha. No, I mean 5 minutes. What are you going to learn about a person in one minute? I didn't want this to be like a game. I wanted this to be a gift of time to talk to someone you don't normally talk to about stuff you don't normally talk about.

I provided a list of question ideas, but told the sisters they could ask anything they wanted.

It was fabulous hearing all the chatter. I had one lady run up and ask me for a pen because she was learning stuff she needed to write down. Our 1st counselor told me yesterday (5 days later) that she's still getting positive feedback from this activity. Someone told our RS Pres that we should have speed-friendshipping on a regular basis.

This was a great way to get cross-generational socialization. It was a great way to let the new move-ins start to become acquainted with whom they now share a ward. It was a fun way to get some people out of their comfort zones.

Overall, we feel like it was a successful way to celebrate our sisterhood, and encourage our sisters to actually take time to really get to know one another.

Treehouse Adorableness!

There will be a railing around the "deck".

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Memo of My Missionary- Spring Blossoms

Pretty Cherry Trees!

Meet Emma! she is a huge flirt lol. i love her smile. it was hard to get her to sit still for a picture :)

our mottos for the transfer!

monday night's dinner!

story time with Elizabeth :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Le Cotage Conversion- Hooshy Ha-Ha!

 When we purchased this house, this very spot was a standard bedroom closet with a high shelf and a rod. It contained a bunch of personal belongings- clothing, keepsakes, photos, etc.

Then, we knocked down a wall and turned this bedroom into a kitchen. My house plans included a built-in "Hoosier" cabinet. Temporarily, we set up this cheap cabinet and the rolling island which we made for the house we were renting.

This set-up was all kinds of annoying for me. I won't list the reasons why- for your sake. Ha.

So, take a look at what my husband totally surprised me with!
 Here's the story, if you're interested. I had planned a cooking demonstration at my house and jokingly said to my husband, "What are the chances you could get that Hoosier in by Thursday?" We all had a good laugh at that.

On Wednesday, the Relief Society president called and asked if I'd go out to lunch with her cause she needed to talk to me. I thought for sure I was in trouble for something. We met for lunch- she bounced some ideas off me for another event we were working on, I was not in trouble- whew! Then, we went grocery shopping for the cooking demo.

As we carried the groceries into my house, my eyes fell upon this new cabinet in my kitchen and my mind did not register what it was. I just thought, "Something is not right. I'm in the wrong house." Then, BAM! Reality hit me hard and I couldn't breath for the continual exclamations coming out of my mouth. Then I looked at Carol, and wondered why she wasn't at all reacting to this which was when I realized she was in on it too. Not only her. Apparently, Rylee and Nicole both knew because they had been going to work with their Dad to help get this finished in time.

So, here is my absolutely beautiful and perfect Hoosier cabinet which makes my life so much easier because all my baking stuff is in one place. Plus, the added counter space cannot be valued highly enough!

TONS more storage space! My 5 gallon, orange, Home Depot flour bucket easily accessed by opening a drawer! My Bosch, rice cooker, hand mixer, salad shooter, wand blender, bread and pie tins, and MORE, all tucked away in their custom-designed places!

*huge sigh*

Did my man deliver or did my man deliver?????
 Jake loves to mispronounce things just to annoy me and this is no exception.

Tell me if you'd like to know the history of the Hoosier cabinet!
A brand-new toaster for the brand-new Hoosier.

A love note :)

Fluted columns.

Fluted columns on the lower cabinet. A gray wash that allows the grain of the wood to show through.

A home for my cook books. The microwave off the counter.

I still have to get the pulls for the drawers and doors and Jake still needs to add the crown mold and toe kick.
 What do you think???

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Summer Activities With Papa Bear

Installing a hydroponic heating system under a driveway.
 I found these photos on Jake's phone. A little reminder that we do get summer here in Star Valley!
Not our driveway, unfortunately!

Screeding concrete.

The kids call this a giant garage. I guess that is accurate.

Did you know that Star Valley has a golf course?

It was redesigned a couple years ago by some famous golf player.

Porter came here once with the cub scouts and got hit in the head. Fortunately, it grazed off the scalp and didn't hit him head-on. No pun intended.

Memo of My Missionary- ummm...brrr-el-uh

If i ever meet the man who invented the umbrella imma give him a huge fat kiss!

another one of God's beautiful creations :)