Friday, February 12, 2016

Mists of Darkness

It has been really foggy in my neck of the woods lately.  This morning it was clear when I drove #4 to the bus stop, but on my way back (a total drive time of 1 minute), the fog started to roll in. This is what it looked like an hour and a half later when I drove #5 and #6 down to school.  See the sun just peaking out over the mountain?

I already shared this on my Instagram (@rachsgoodlife), but I'm going to share it here too.

Super foggy again at my house. Ironically this morning I read a talk by Cheryl C. Lant. It fits perfectly with the foggy weather. In her talk she poses the question: "What are my mists of darkness?" ----------------------------------
This caused me to think about my own mists of darkness. What are the things that are clouding my judgments, obstructing me from seeing and achieving my goals and visions, and what's blinding me from seeing the hand of God in my life? Do I let myself get lost in the mists of darkness Satan places over me? Do I let him discourage me? ----------------------------------
Just like mother nature's fog, if I'm patient and persevere, the Son ☀️ always comes and dispels the mists of darkness- ALWAYS.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

MIA

Wow this week has been a -Ka-RAY-Zee- one!
SUNDAY right before church (our worship starts early at 9:00 am), #3 gets another never ending bloody nose. Which luckily, only dripped on his tie and not on his white shirt or dress pants. 
PHEW!
We ended up walking in late (which I hate) without #3. He came later after his nose stopped bleeding and he reshowered (let's pretend that's a word.)

MONDAY started out awesome with the best, sweetest, most thoughtful text from my oldest daughter- just out of the blue for no reason at all.
It made my day!!!

The next conversation I had was with Gram
This is how that conversation went down:

ME:  Hi Gram!  How was you weekend?
GRAM: Rachael? I can't hear you.  My hearing aids are broken and I was wondering if you could come take me to the doctor today at 4:30.
ME: Sure Gram, I can take you.
GRAM: What?  I can't hear you
ME:  (louder this time) YES
GRAM: What?  I can't hear you.
ME: (Screaming) YES! YES!
GRAM: I can't hear you
ME: YES! I CAN! YES! YES!
(By this point I'm racking my brain trying to figure out how I can let her know I can take her since she can't hear a word I'm saying.)
GRAM: If you can take me, be here a little after 4:00, and I'll meet you in the lobby.

When we hung up I was dying laughing.  Gram needs to learn how to text, so the next time her hearing aids go out, we can communicate.
HAHA .I just love her.

The next call I received was a text from #3 a little after 11:00 am. 
It said, "Will you come get me? I have had a bloody nose for over a half an hour and it still won't stop."
You know I did.  That sucker bled and bled like nobody's business.  We tried everything - ice, nose spray, pressure. He was so afraid they would have to shove a painful pack up it like they did the last time. It finally stopped right before our appointment with the ENT at 2:45.  He cauterized it, and sent him on his way.

However, we were a work-in appointment and had to wait quite a long time.  Remember I'm suppose to pick up Gram for her appointment around 4. It would take me a little over half an hour to get to her. AND #5 and #6 needed to be picked up from school at 3:15.  Luckily I have an awesome husband who always rushes in to save the day.  He left work early enough to pick up the girls. Then he brought them to the ENT's office where we switched places.  He stayed with #3 while the little girls and I picked up Gram and took her to her appointment.

Everything worked out.  Gram can now hear again, and #3 hasn't had another bloody nose yet.
HAPPY DAY!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Randomness and Other Things

A.) The kids celebrated their 100th day of school last week. 
That means that I have less than 80 days of a quiet house left before the madness of summer comes.
Just thinking about it makes me want to go take a nap.
 II.) #6 has grown hair! It's a miracle. It took her almost 8 years to do it, but she did it.
Yesterday she wore it down, AND she let me curl it - That's a BIG DEAL!
I called her "Lady Lovely-Locks" all day. She scowled at me, but I think she secretly liked it.
3.) I saved the best picture for last. my fine-looking husband fixing the water heater.
(*whistle*)
 He did this after he fixed the dryer.
The water heater's pressure valve was broken and was leaking water all over the floor.
Just over a month ago, this room was covered with wrapped Christmas presents. Can you imagine what a mess it would have been if the water heater had decided to break then?  
I give all the credit to the grace of God.

After 3 weeks, we now have a dryer.
We were able to find a shop that would repair the broken control panel of our dryer.
(When I say we, I mean my handsome handyman-)
I've never been so excited to do laundry before in my life.  I did 4 loads last night, and I've done 2 so far this morning.  I'm like a crazy woman washing everything in the house- sheets, bedding, pillows, the dog (oh wait, we don't have a dog). It's so nice to be able to have soft, warm clothes again.
No more scratchy underwear!
Whoo-Hoo!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Improving Our Talents FHE

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
 Last night for FHE we learned about talents, namely the talent of Roller Skating/Blading, and for some, Scootering (That's a word, right?)
This was a hands-on lesson, of course, held at a roller skating rink.
(I'm pretty sure this is the only roller skating rink still open within a 1000 mile radius from me.
I've decided to make it my life mission to #bringbacktherink
Not really-)
I love roller skating - If you're bored, you can read a little bit about my roller skating history HERE-
And I love Roller Skating with my family even more!  We had the best time.  We all held hands (a Kumbaya moment for sure), and skated around the rink while singing along with the songs
(They always play the best songs at roller rinks).
I think I could Roller Skate every day and not get tired of it.  Too bad I don't live closer to a Roller Rink.
 The evening was a success, and I'm happy to report that after 21 years, this mama's still got some mad skillz out there on the rink.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Provo City Center Temple Open House

Last week, we had the opportunity to tour the Provo City Center Temple.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did an amazing job restoring and transforming this old building.

 Back in 2010, this building, which was then a tabernacle (in fact we use to attend Stake Conference there, and I have a funny story about that HERE.), caught fire and was damaged severely.

In the October 2011 General Conference, we were so happy when President Monson announced:
"Late last year the Provo Tabernacle in Utah County was seriously damaged by a terrible fire. This wonderful building, much beloved by generations of Latter-day Saints, was left with only the exterior walls standing. After careful study, we have decided to rebuild it with full preservation and restoration of the exterior, to become the second temple of the Church in the city of Provo."
The inside of this temple truly looks and feels like you've been transported back in time to the days of the pioneers.  The hinges look old, the benches and chairs look antique, there's even handcrafted carpet, similar to what the pioneers would have made, even the exit signs were designed to look old-fashioned. It is truly beautiful.
"In the temple, through the power of the Holy Spirit, knowledge is transformed into virtues.  A person who attends the temple regularly grows more patient, more long-suffering, and charitable.  He becomes more diligent, more committed, and more dedicated.  He develops a greater capacity to love his wife and children and to respect the good qualities and the rights of others.  He develops a greater sense of values, becoming more honorable and upright in his dealings and less critical of others.  In the temple knowledge is transformed into feelings of the heart, resulting in actions that build character.  Thus, the family is strengthened and the community is uplifted to the extent of his influence" 
(Royden G. Derrick, Temple in the Last Daysp. 53)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cheezy Invitation

Actually, I don't think this is "cheezy" at all. I think this dance invitation is absolutely adorable!
You can tell the boy did it himself and put a lot of thought in to it!
It's hard for me to believe that this will be #2's last Sweethearts dance EVER!  
Why do they have to go and grow up?
Last night we went dress shopping and ended up just ordering a dress from a little boutique in Logan, UT. 
Let's hope it fits.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When you Forget, I'll remind you

"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them. . ."
-2 Peter 1: 12

Reminder #1:
I'm not proud to admit that I've been subtly, but constantly, complaining that only having one washer and dryer wasn't enough for our large family.  I was frustrated that every time (every single time) I would go to put in a load of laundry, someone else's clothes were already in.
As always, whenever I  get proud and forget to count my blessings, the Lord is always there to help me remember.
A couple weeks ago, after finally beating everyone to the washing machine, I put my wet clothes into the dryer. I hit the button to start the cycle, but nothing happened. 
NOoooo!
It was broken! I immediately called my repair man (aka, my husband, Clint).  He diagnosed it with a blown motherboard (dang technology!), everything else is fine, but the computer just can't tell it to go.
UGH!
The kicker is that a new motherboard is almost as much as a new dryer, which we don't have the money for right at the moment - so. . . .
the air-hockey table and every chair we can spare has become our new "dryer".
(With the exception of that one time I almost got mugged at the Laundromat.)
And just in case you don't know -Air drying just doesn't dry the same way a dryer does.  No matter how much fabric softener you add, your clothes are still rough.
(The kids are loving wearing scratchy, crusty underwear. - I'm being sarcastic here peeps.)
and it takes about a day and a half for a pair of jeans to dry. You really have to plan ahead.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Lord is quick to chastise us and to remind us. 
I can just imagine the Lord saying:
"Oh she thinks she's got it bad with just one washer and dryer, let's see how she does with only a washer and NO dryer.  Maybe then she'll humble herself and be grateful for all that she has."

Reminder #2
Apparently I didn't learn my lesson with Reminder #1.
Last night I was complaining to myself about a part of my body that I hate-
my teeth.
We had just taken a family picture and sure enough, my eye was drawn to my teeth. I was moping around all night, silently criticizing myself for having such ugly teeth.
(Don't Judge. I know it's petty)
Guess how the Lord reminded me this time?

Last night in the middle of my moping, #6 slipped and fell in her feety pajamas while holding a marker. 
The marker hit her front teeth and chipped them like a professional hockey player.
As I was holding and comforting my poor little girl, the Spirit whispered to me:
"Be grateful for the teeth you've been blessed with, it could be worse."


Reminder #3 & 4
Then to make sure He really drove the point home, first this quote showed up in my insta-feed this morning.

And if that wasn't enough of a reminder, in my scripture study this morning, I was reading in 1 Nephi 18 where Nephi's brothers tied him up on the ship for 4 days.  In verse 16 Nephi says, "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions."

The Lord is so good to us. When we're quick to forget, and we start to murmur and complain, He will remind us of just how blessed we really are.
It is up to us to trust Him, heed his reminders, and make the necessary changes in our attitude and behavior.
"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
-Psalms 34:8

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Plea to My Sisters

by President Russell M. Nelson

If you're a woman and are reading this, wasn't this talk empowering?  I love President Nelson's list of all the amazing things women are, and are capable of. The female sex is powerful. This talk makes me want to shout from the top of my lungs:
"I am Woman. Hear me ROAR!"

This little pep-talk definitely fired me up and encouraged me to 
"Rise to [my] full stature"
and to
  "Step forward  and take [my] rightful and needful place in [my] home, community, and the Kingdom of God."
- to be a better mother, daughter, wife, neighbor, leader, Church member, friend, and daughter of God.
President Nelson makes us a promise.  He says,
"I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that as you do so, the Holy Ghost will magnify your influence in an unprecedented way!"

From this talk, I listed 52 amazing incredible things that woman have the potential to be.
It is by no means a check-list of everything we individually should be -or else- but a list of qualities and abilities we as the female race bring to the Church and society.

Like I said, it made me proud to be a woman.
Some of my favorite quotes:

"The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God."
- - - - - - - -
"Sisters, do you realize the breadth and scope of your influence when you speak those things that come to your heart and mind as directed by the Spirit?"
- - - - - - - - 
"We need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world."
- - - - - - - - -

". . .We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.
"We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve."
- - - - - - - -
"Nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women- whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways."

Monday, January 25, 2016

SuperHero FHE


Years ago for a Relief Society (a Church group for women) lesson, the teacher passed out a piece of copy paper and a big piece of masking tape to every one in the room and instructed us to tape the paper on to our backs. Then she handed each of us a marker. Once everything was handed out and all the papers were taped, she instructed us to go around the room and write on everyone's piece of paper one thing we admire or like about that person.
To close the meeting she said, "Each one of you are Superwoman. You all posses extra-ordinary powers and abilities."  She then directed us to remove our "capes" and read all the things that make us super.

I kept my piece of paper, my superwoman cape, for years and years in my journal.  Whenever I would have a bad day or just needed a boost, I would read my cape.

I hadn't thought about my superwoman cape for years until a few weeks ago when Clint did a similar activity for FHE.
He read This Story from January 2016's The Friend magazine about a little boy, Colton, who gets mad at himself for doing something dumb (which we all do). To make him feel better, his mom helps him make a list of things he likes about himself, his good qualities. He realizes that just because he does something dumb doesn't mean that he's dumb. 

After reading and discussing this story with the kids, Clint passed around a piece of paper and a pen to everyone.  On the top of our paper was our name.  He instructed us to write on the top line, one thing we liked about ourselves.  Then we passed the papers around the room and each wrote one thing we liked about that person on their paper.  
Once again, I was excited to see what qualities others saw in me. 
Once again I felt pretty Super!
It's amazing what a compliment can do for your morale, a good reminder to compliment more- especially ourselves.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Study of General Conference

I think by now it's safe to say everyone knows of my deep love for General Conference and the words of our Prophets and Church leaders.  I love to study them, ponder them, and try to apply them to my life.
I love hearing how others study the Word of God, so today, I thought I'd share with you how I like to study the conference talks.

I heard somewhere that there are 3 types of learning styles, hearing, reading, and writing.  I use all three to help me learn and retain the conference messages.
I like to start out by listening (hearing) to the talk while reading along in the Ensign (or if the Ensign hasn't arrived yet, a talk printed off lds.org).

While I listen and read, I like to underline, and write down my thoughts.
Sometimes I have to pause the talk when I do this.

Once I've finished listening to the talk all the way through, I read back over it and write down my favorite parts. It may be a scripture, a quote, inspiration I received, or something I want to share with my children or my husband.

This is a mole-skin notebook I picked up at a discount store. It doesn't have to be fancy, any notebook will work.

-OR-

You can make your own, using a 3-ring binder and some paper.

I purchased these printable study notes from The Red Headed Hostess, but you could easily make your own.

What's most important is that you're writing down and recording what you learned and what the Spirit taught you during that particular talk.

Once I've written everything down, I pick a quote from the talk that really stood out to me -something I need to be reminded of, or something I want to work on, maybe it was just something that made me smile - whatever it is, I write it down (or in most cases I type it up - You could also look online, maybe someone's already created a printable of that quote.), and hang it up somewhere I will see it often.

Then I usually blog about it.  You can find those HERE.

How do you study the conference talks?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I "HEART" Mornings

 I would never have considered myself to be a "morning person".
Growing up, my poor mother would have to pry me out of bed every morning for school. (Thanks Mom!) I liked my sleep, and I definitely did not like even the idea of waking up early.
It's funny how the tides have changed. I now love my early mornings.  I'm usually up by 5:30 am.
I love opening the blinds to the view of the city lights twinkling below.
 The house is so quiet and peaceful. I have time to let my brain wake up before the chaos of the day begins.
I pull out my scriptures and read (my day always goes better when I begin it with God's word.) as I watch the sun crest up over the east mountain peaks waking up the sleeping world below, and turning the skies a brilliant shade of magenta.
There's just something about an early morning that has me addicted.  I love it. I inhale it, I can't get enough. It leaves me wanting and always coming back for more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Birthday Numero 9

 Yesterday we celebrated #5's 9th birthday!

 
As part of her birthday she wanted the whole family to go to Olive Garden.
SO we loaded up her gifts, her cake, and the whole family and took them to the Restaurant.
We don't go out to eat very often so she was on cloud 9 (plus I think her birthday had something to do with it too.) 
She was most excited to have the staff sing to her which is the opposite of me. I'd rather walk through fire than have the whole restaurnat looking at me while people sing "happy birthday" to me.

Faith is not by Chance, but by Choice

Elder Neil L. Andersen

This talk inspired me to really work on increasing my own faith.  It's my choice. I can choose to not doubt or question God's plan for me, but to obey promptings and remember that God is in control.
"Strength in our trials is always found in . . .our Lord, Jesus Christ. . ."

My Favorite quotes from this talk:
"How does the Savior see my faith"?

"Faith is a choice.  Strengthen your faith and live to be deserving of the Savior's approving words: 'Great is thy faith'."

"Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. . . Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it.
YOUR FAITH IS EITHER GROWING STRONGER OR BECOMING WEAKER.
The future of your faith is not by chance but by choice".

Faith doesn't just come to us.  We have to seek it and work hard to keep it.
It also is never at a standstill.  It's either growing stronger or weaker. It's our choice.

"Because there is an adversary who delights in destroying your faith, BE RELENTLESS in protecting your faith".

Relentless = constant, continual, nonstop, incessant.  We have to protect our faith.  Satan wants us to stop believing.  He wants us to give up hope. When we feel ourselves beginning to doubt, we must turn to our Savior for help.

"Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weaken one's faith".
I have a friend who's missionary son was wanting -begging- to come home. This made her feel like a failure and she began doubting her ability as a mother.  Her first thoughts were to Google "What to do if your missionary wants to come home." She grabbed her phone to do so, when the Spirit whispered to her, "You don't need Google, you need God. Heavenly Father knows what's best for you and for your son, Google doesn't."
She put down her phone, and got on her knees instead. After praying several times about this situation, the Spirit prompted her to have him checked for depression (something that ran in the family)- which he was suffering from. She also had the impression that he was suffering from sleep apnea and she should send him a cpap machine. Between the medication and the cpap, he's feeling like himself and loves his mission.  In fact, this past week he wrecked while going super fast on his bicycle.  He injured one of his fingers pretty bad.  He wrote home saying that he was not coming home.  If he had to amputate his finger in order to stay on his mission, he would come home with one less finger.

Don't weaken your faith by looking for answers from the wrong source. On that note, Elder Andersen said:

"Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, 'I don't know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship'".

He also listed a few ways we can GROW OUR FAITH.
  • Read the Book of Mormon -"When was the last time you read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover?  Read it again.  It will increase your faith".
  • Follow the Prophet
  • Choose Righteously - ". . .righteous choices bring greater confidence in God, and your faith grows".
"How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith.  Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase our faith. Without these, faith diminishes".


Monday, January 18, 2016

Birth Day of #5

Nine years ago today, this ray of sunshine was born.
I thought I'd take today to share her birth story.

When #4 was born, we thought we were done having children, but when he was about 4 years old, I kept getting these thoughts and feelings that we needed to add on to our family. "What?! We're done.  We've gotten rid of all the baby stuff."  I kept feeling that there was someone (two someones actually- two little girls) waiting to join our family. I was hesitant. My children were finally at a phase where there were no diapers, all were sleeping through the night, and everyone could entertain themselves (for the most part).  Life was good. I liked this phase. Clint and I decided to pray about it, which we did. Finally after a few months of no answer, we decided to just try and see what happens.  If God wanted us to have another baby, I would get pregnant.  Well, He did. I got pregnant right away.

My pregnancy was rough.  Never in my life was I ever so sick. For months it was all I could do to keep myself alive and the kids happy. I was finally given some medication for my morning sickness, which helped, but it also made me really tired. I think the whole purpose of the medication was to knock you out so you couldn't be sick.

A month or so into my pregnancy I began bleeding - something I never did with any of my other 4. It had something to do with the lining of my placenta attaching, but it went away after a few days, and all was well.

Finally the morning sickness subsided and I began to feel better (well, as good as a pregnant lady can).  At 20 weeks, we had an ultrasound and found out that we were having a girl!  We were super excited to add another girl to the mix. Finally #2 would have a sister. The months ticked by. We went out and bought new baby stuff, and brushed up on our "baby skills".

A few weeks before my due date I began having major pain in my abdomen.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and this was killing me.  My doctor thought it was just my gallbladder acting up and that I should stop eating greasy foods (which I hadn't been eating).  Finally I couldn't take the pain any longer and had Clint take me to the ER.  There they gave me a dose of morphine (Ahhh- It was so nice to have the pain subsided for a bit!), and did an ultrasound.  They couldn't find anything wrong.  The next day I went back into the doctor. She didn't want to take any chances and thought it would be best if we took the baby early, but we'd have to get special permission from a Board of Pediatricians first. 
Finally after waiting for FOREVER (okay maybe just an maybe an hour- but it seemed like forever to an hormonal pregnant woman in pain), we received permission and my doctor sent us to the hospital.  We were having a baby.

At the hospital the plan was to apply some kind of cream to help thin my cervix . They would put it on, I'd  wait an hour, then go home and come back in the morning to be induced. That's not how it went. As soon as they applied the cream, I immediately went into labor and I'm talking hard painful full-on labor here. There would be no going home for me.
It wasn't long before I asked for an epidural. By this time it was 9:00 pm.  I was exhausted. I hadn't slept in days because of the acute pain in my abdomen. Now I was pain-free and all I wanted to do was sleep, however, the anesthesiologist instructed me that I needed to switch from my right side to my left side every 20 minutes so that the epidural wouldn't settle on just one side. So all night long I flip back and forth.  Sometime in the middle of the night I noticed I was bleeding.  In fact, there were blood clots all down my legs.  I called my nurse who informed me that this was normal during labor.  She cleaned me up and went on her way.  Not too long later, I was fully dilated and it was time to push. When my doctor arrived to deliver the baby she flipped out on the nurse asking her how long I had been bleeding and why she hadn't been informed.  There was no time for the nurse to respond.  At that moment (4:49 am), I gave birth to a healthy 6 lb 14 oz little girl.
After delivering my placenta, the doctor spent a long time inspecting it which I thought was weird because usually they just throw it away and they're on their way.  She held up a big huge red softball-sized piece of tissue and told me that this was a blood clot.  My placenta had ruptured. (Thus the reason for my abdominal pain and the bleeding.)
I didn't fully understand what all that meant (This was pre-Google on your smartphone days.) It wasn't until my recovery nurse introduced me to all sorts of random nurses and pre-med students as the woman who's placenta had ruptured. Everyone would then remind me how lucky I was that every thing turned out fine.
We are so grateful it did.  We're very blessed to have #5 in our family.  Her outgoing, kind, loving, righteous personality is amazing.  She is such a joy to have.
p.s. -My little sister was there for this birth.  This was her first live birth, and boy was it a doozy!  I think she's been traumatized for life. Clint and I kept explaining to her that this isn't how it normally is.  Poor Kimberlee.