Thursday, October 30, 2008
Posted by Julie Hess at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I've read a couple blogs the past few days that have made me sit and sob. I hope these two women don't mind my linking them here, so we can all combine our prayers in their behalf.
First, please pray for Emilie. She was my neighbor when I was a kid. We were in the same grade at school. She's a very intelligent person and is one of the purest souls I have ever met. She is battling cancer right now and raising two very cute little boys, ages 2 and 7 months. I hope you'll keep her in your prayers as she is trying to discover the causes for and deal with a new trial.
Second, there is a blog I read frequently and sometimes participate in a blog parade she runs every Monday. I think she is an astounding woman--lives in Mexico and is doing a beautiful job raising nine children. This past weekend they had an experience that she shared on her blog this morning. I appreciate her sharing it. It got me thinking about how much we take for granted. I hope you will keep this family, and especially their little Johnny in your prayers.
Oh, one more, please don't forget Sadie....Never forget Sadie. Our family ordered the wristbands that Sadie's parents mail out--amazing family! I read her blog, and it puts life back into perspective. We all wear our bands everyday. Whenever we look at them, they remind us to say a little prayer for Sadie. The first time we gathered for family prayer after receiving the bands, it caught me completely off-guard to hear Brevin pray for Sadie, this little girl he'd never met. She is now a regular part of what we pray for. Oh how we take so much for granted.
I appreciate these people who share so much of themselves and enrich the life of my family and others by doing so. Thank you to all of you who share yourselves--your talents, your skills, your strengths and your weaknesses. I, for one, am a better person because of you.
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:21 PM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Admit it, you're singing it right now, aren't you?
I redid my blog list yesterday and accidentally erased your blog from it, Melissa. I clicked on your family photo under my followers list (thank you for being there), but the blog entitled "Ripples" isn't listed under your profile. Help! I want it on my list again.
One good thing, I did get onto your recipe blog, which I wasn't before, so I'm VERRRY excited about that!
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:33 PM
This is what my what Flylady would call "hot spot" looked like when I woke up this morning. To ensure that I'd get it cleaned up, I decided I'd make myself accountable to you all and take photos of the progress of my cleaning. I took a picture about every minute or two. Here you go!
Yes, Tonya, that is your bottle of cleanser that was left at the Myers'. She gave it to me on Sunday, so I'll get it to you tomorrow night at Mutual.
The cute little pumpkin was given to me by my visiting teacher. She always brings something when she comes. T was carrying it around everywhere, so I had to confiscate it. And of course this was the perfect place. How could he even find it?
We usually don't buy pop, but last week if you bought 10 2-liter bottles for $1 each, you got a $10 rebate, so they were free. My kids were thrilled. The plan was to have root beer floats for FHE treats, but in order to do that, I've found you have to buy ice cream too. Hmm. I'm thinking I'll store emergency water in the used bottles once I clean them out, but as you can see only one has a lid, so I guess I'll go get my five cents back from those.
The cute basket on the counter was a gift from a good friend. It holds a copy of the Book of Mormon (the cheap blue copies) for morning scriptures. Wow! All these facts you were just dying to know, I'm sure.
We've been contemplating getting rid of our home phone service. I hate all the cords but there are two hang ups (ha! ha! get it?)--first, it would be awkward for people to reach our kids; second, we'd have so many companies that we'd have to give our cell numbers to. Oh, and one more, we'd have to up our minutes on our cell phones, which wouldnt' save us much anyway.That little black index card box is my chore box. I started using it way back before we had children. It's been altered over time and only gets used when I'm truly unmotivated. Oh, that's Zan's ballot behind the phone. I haven't voted yet. It's too heavy for me to lift right now if you know what I mean. I guess I'd better get on it. Ugh!The cute little picture is from some good friends. It's such a cute thing. I want to put it up on my wall by our family rules (subject of another post), but I have hole-in-wall paranoia. Just look at all the scrunge on that counter!
My brother-in-law calls these counters "retro counters." They have been in this house forever, but if they're not broke, why fix them? We're not selling our house any time soon, and they work just fine. Plus countertops cost an arm and a leg and I'd rather send my kids on missions and to college someday. Ahhh. Much better, don't you think? I really try to be a minimalist when it comes to my house. I like simplicity; it's much easier to keep clean. I'm just not a fancy person; although I admire those who are.
Stay tuned next time for...
Now, that's Halloween scary!!! The dog is snoring in my laundry pile right now. I really bear all, don't I?
Posted by Julie Hess at 2:00 PM
Just signed on and the song, "Hold the Line" by Toto was on. It reminded me that when I was creating my playlist, I wanted to explain why I put some of my songs on there. I have no particular reason for choosing this song only that I was giving blood about three months ago--reclining on a lawn chair in the middle of the church gym, pumping a little rubber ball with my right hand ("about every five seconds")--and this song was playing in the background, and it had my toes tapping, so I thought it deserved a place on my playlist. My favorite song on my playlist is "Africa" also by Toto. I didn't know I was such a Toto fan.
Toto and Five for Fighting are my faves right now.
Posted by Julie Hess at 11:59 AM
Monday, October 27, 2008
Do you ever just want to go on and on about nothing much in particular? Well, that's where I am today. Just want to say what I want to say because I want to say it. Does anyone have a problem with that?
Right now, I have so many photos on my camera just waiting to be downloaded or uploaded or whatever it is that takes place between the camera, the computer and that cable thingy. I will probably have to make a slideshow just to get it all on here.
I'm starting my new class today. It's not exactly what I expected it to be. The old text was teaching your child to read using the Book of Mormon, but now it's just Teaching Children to Read. It's to teach you how to tutor kids who are learning to read at school or those who are older and struggle with reading. I have a new challenge, I have to get the course material read before I tutor A, but I have to have time to do that part and then time later to do the exercises with him. Ideally, I'd love to do it all in the morning, so I may have to get a day ahead, so I can tutor him before school. T's just so active right now that keeping him busy is tricky.
This morning T found one of those string backpack things. He was so funny. He had a soccer ball in it and insisted on putting one of his cleats inside too. He then had a graham cracker for snack and begged me to open the bag to put that in as well. I drew the line on that one--too messy. Anyway, anything that he picked up had to be put in the bag.
Hey, I want to take a minute to thank you for all of your encouragement and kind words. It's so wonderful to have such great friends. I'm actually surprised after some of my posts that you continue to come back and read. About Saturday night, I still can't talk about it. It's not that I'm sad or disappointed or feel that I failed. I just really don't have anything to say about it. I'm sad that I didn't just walk by faith and do it like I felt directed to do, but other than that, I really don't have any opinions about it.
Okay, so enough on that subject. I want to touch on a bit about stake conference--Saturday night--not my part. You all know my feelings about our stake president. He's the BEST! Love him to pieces! On Saturday night, he gave us very specific instructions. He said that this was hard for him and he doesn't usually do this, but he felt strongly that he needed to do it. So, here's what he said to do:
- Be obedient
- Use your trials to your advantage--learn from them (new skills, etc.)
- Pray - repent daily, express your gratitude and tell Heavenly Father what you're feeling; pour out your soul.
- Go to the temple
- Read a General Conference talk every day (Z and I used to watch one online nightly for awhile, so we started that again last night).
- Be EXACTLY obedient to the words of the prophet.
So, I think these things were basic guidelines, but the clincher was this one:
- Think on this - If you/your spouse were to lose his/her job Monday (today), what would you do? What things would you eliminate from your life?
- Do those things on Monday.
- Set the money from those things aside.
- Do not fear; be of good cheer
He said that the sifting has begun and that soon there would be no more lukewarm members of the Church.
So, you might ask, how am I doing on this? Well, hmm. Not easy. Do we get rid of the home phone or the cell phone. The hardest thing of all is pinning Z down to make decisions about this. Nearly everything we're tied to has a contract attached. We don't feel that we can eliminate the exterminator from our lives although we've not seen signs of any vermin in a very long time. We have a contract with the vet, and Z says it is insurance, so he doesn't want to eliminate that one. Ugh! It's hard to make these decisions.
Okay, done blithering. There's someone at the door. Thanks for reading.
Posted by Julie Hess at 12:11 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy are you?
- What could make you happier?
- What are you willing to do to make our family happier this week?
- Is anything causing you to be sad? If so, what?
- What makes you happiest about our family?
- What do you think could make our family happier?
- Is there anything Mom or Dad can do to help you?
- What is your main goal for the week? What can we, as a family do to help you reach that goal?
- How many days this past week did you pray? Read scriptures?
The last question is to serve just as a reminder of it's importance and a chance to cheer or encourage.
It has also become that we have so many to interview that we share the responsibility.
Hope this helps you grow closer to your kids.
If you come up with additional questions, please share. Thanks!!!
Posted by Julie Hess at 3:26 PM
...But I have to.
Last Sunday, I was called by a member of our stake presidency. He asked if I was aware that the next weekend was stake conference, I told him I was. He then asked if I was aware that Saturday night was the adult session. I told him I was. He followed that up with, "Are you planning on attending?" I told him I was. He then lowered the boom--he asked me to speak.
My internal reaction...
Posted by Julie Hess at 7:13 AM
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thank you for all of your "You Know You're Mormon if..." statements. I now have another challenge for you.
When you think of things the prophets have told us to do in recent years, what comes to mind?
Here's one example:
David O. McKay - "Every member a missionary."
Spencer W. Kimball - "Do it."
What are others from these prophets and others?
I'll explain later why I'm asking these things.
Posted by Julie Hess at 8:19 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Okay, so just to defend myself on my earlier post....
I, at this point in time, have a two-year-old.
I'm sure for any woman who's ever had one that would be enough said. You now know where I'm coming from. If you'd like details, I'm sure it will all be in an upcoming post. Ooooh something to look forward to--a much needed venting session.
Posted by Julie Hess at 2:23 PM
Just had to say it.
Here's this morning's impression, "Take care of the people first then take care of the stuff."
I'm also learning to take care of the people closest to you first then those who are farther removed.
I spend this morning dealing with an issue with one of my young women. It needed to be handled. I didn't even get showered or dressed first. These are things that HAVE to happen in my life for the day to run smoothly, and they have to happen before my children get up, or they just have to sit outside the bathroom door waiting.
Well, that didn't happen.
I got the youngest fed while dealing with this issue, but I didn't even get dressed. I wore my scrubs and a sweatshirt to bed last night, so I walked the kids to school in those. My day has started out totally wrong.
I don't even know if I got the YW issue solved. If this was a test, I failed.
My two middle children went off to school without kisses. Ugh! That's just not supposed to happen, so now I'm having a hard time letting go of all this and starting over again for the morning.
I know this probably all sounds stupid to everyone but me. Just had to get it out of my head. Ah the plights of an at home mom. I know that if this is as bad as my day gets I'm in pretty great shape. Just needed to wallow in it for a few minutes. Now I'm done.
Posted by Julie Hess at 8:18 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Do you ever read a blog and realize that the person writing it could be you all over again? Well, that's how I felt when I first read Truly Delightful in Every Way. To begin with, her blog address is crazymamaof6. That alone sounds like me. As we've gone along, I've found out more and more about her, and it's so weird the commonalities between us--same first name, both have a child born on October 4th, and the list goes on. Well, today, she gave me first blog award. I'm THRILLED! Thanks, Julie!
Posted by Julie Hess at 1:46 PM
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Everything in bold is directly from President Monson's talk. The things in regular text are my comments.
“Nothing is as constant as change.”
most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.
Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now.
This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now.
among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.
This is tricky. I have gone for years, having little kids in my house, not putting out my good things, the antiques I was given after my mother passed away. How I would love to have them displayed where I could enjoy looking at them, but I fear my children breaking them. It would break my heart. I should probably train my children to treat things with greater respect, but I don't want to teach them that things are more important than they are to me. Does anyone have any tips to doing this?
Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future.
I love this and actually blogged about it in an earlier post. Everyday is a new beginning; a chance to start new and do things differently. This is a wonderful reality of life.
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know.
Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”3
Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.
Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family.
Some of you may be familiar with Thornton Wilder’s classic drama Our Town. If you are, you will remember the town of Grover’s Corners, where the story takes place. In the play Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and we read of the lonely grief of her young husband, George, left with their four-year-old son. Emily does not wish to rest in peace; she wants to experience again the joys of her life. She is granted the privilege of returning to earth and reliving her 12th birthday. At first it is exciting to be young again, but the excitement wears off quickly. The day holds no joy now that Emily knows what is in store for the future. It is unbearably painful to realize how unaware she had been of the meaning and wonder of life while she was alive. Before returning to her resting place, Emily laments, “Do . . . human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?”
I don't know if I've ever seen the entire play "Our Town," but what I have seen has left an indelible mark on me. I wish I could find a clip of it, but it's one of the final scenes. The spirit of a deceased woman is trapped at her gravesite. I think of this scene when I do genealogy sometimes. I think of how real that is for so many before their temple work is done. It's such a sad scene. I sometimes wonder how so many artists and authors that have known nothing about the restored gospel could be so right on as far as doctrine goes--C.S. Lewis comes to mind.
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”6
The secret to optimistic thinking--focus.
Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”
I had a Japanese mission companion, who would daily say, "No regrets." That was her goal for her mission, to complete it with no regrets. Everyday she worked as hard as she could. I think this is a worthy goal for life itself.
Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.
adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey.
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:39 PM
Monday, October 20, 2008
I signed up for my next class tonight. I'm very excited about this one. I got a letter from BYU saying that this course wasn't going to be offered for much longer, so I feel fortunate to have gotten on board before it disappears from the course catalog. A will get to be my guinea pig for this one. We'll see how it goes.
Posted by Julie Hess at 8:57 PM
These conference talk notes are just my ponderings about them. I would love to know what anyone else thought as they listened to or read them.
A number of talks from Conference seem to have dealt with the issues of impending doom. Did anyone feel differently about this? Am I just being a glass-half-empty kind of person in saying this?
I loved Elder Wirthlin's talk because he shared the words from his mother. I think we all have little sayings of our parents that stick with us through hard times. My dad has always said, "Act as if," meaning that if you're not feeling a way that you feel you should, act as if you were feeling that way and soon you will. This little saying has worked wonders in some hard times in my life. My mother's saying was, "Say a little prayer." I remember a number of times as I headed for school on days when I was to take a hard test, my mom would say, "Remember, say a little prayer." I can almost hear her sweet voice saying this to me now.
For Elder Wirthlin, his mother said, "Come what may, and love it" when he was feeling discouraged. Isn't it wonderful to have parents who have been there and done that and can advise us as to how to proceed. I believe that our Father in Heaven does this for us daily too. I feel this strongly now that my parents don't advise me like they once did.
One of the things Elder Wirthlin shares about his mother is a great example for all of us. "She taught her children to trust in themselves and each other, not blame others for their misfortunes, and give their best effort in everything they attempted.
When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again."
One Sunday, our ward had a combined Priesthood/Relief Society class. I wish I could remember what the topic was, but my husband made a comment about how we indulge and spoil our children when we don't allow them to feel the full impact of the consequences of their actions. He referred to something as simple as if a child forgets his/her lunch, what does he/she learn when mom or dad brings it to school for him/her. I was not in the meeting at the time, but he said there seemed to be some people in the room the room that didn't agree with his comment. I love that Elder Wirthlin's mother believed in tough love.
A few weeks ago in Young Women, I asked the girls a question about what they feel their job is on a daily basis. One of the girls said, it was to "Do my best in everything." This is what I would expect from this girl who has very wise parents. It is apparent by what this Young Woman has accomplished already in her young age that she is living up to this standard. I think of the scriptures about arising from the dust and breaking the chains with which we are bound. Of course these are things we can't do for ourselves. We must rely on the Lord for these things to come to pass. He will lift us and make us capable to do our best.
I was named for my grandmother--my dad's mom. I never met her, but I have heard a lot about her. I believe that "in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result." This makes me think of her and what made her so loveable. Another term I think that relates to this idea is that of being "authentic." Our trials make us real; we become people others are drawn to and can relate to. This is what I believe of our current bishop. He's been through some things that I hope I never have to endure in my life, but he is authentic--he's been there.
"Every man and woman on this stand today has experienced an abundant measure of joy, each also has drunk deeply from the cup of disappointment, sorrow, and loss. The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness." This past weekend at Time Out for Women, they read letters that were written by some of the attendees about others in the audience and how they lived with joy even though they were enduring terrible trials. I was very touched by this. One of the women that was written about sat in the row in front of us. It was shocking to me that you never know what people are going through. I realized that I was sitting among some of God's chosen people. If we can't be tried more than we can handle, these were some amazing people.
I love this next part, "I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness." I believe that our Father in Heaven sent us here to experience it all. Contrast is vital to our existence. We can only know joy if we understand sorrow. But I do believe that "the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."
I love a talk with a point. Sometimes, as I've sat through college lectures and church lessons, I've thought, "Okay, so what do you want me to learn here. What's the point?" Elder Wirthlin outlines four ways for us to handle adversity well, so that we can be happy and successful.
First, we must learn to laugh. Z frequently says, "You can laugh or you can cry." I'm glad I married a man who chooses to laugh at life. I was raised in the kind of household where laughter was the language of love. If people laugh at what I say, I know they love me. There have been times when I've gone through stressful times, and instead of going ballistic on people, I make jokes. I figure the meanness people sometimes show when stressed only increases the problem. Laughter alleviates it.
People just need to lighten up.
This story of Elder Wirthlin's was classic. It sounds like something that would happen to me. "I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.
"We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today."
If we can't laugh at ourselves, our lives will be so full of grief. "The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable."
At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt. Elder Wirthlin challenges us to seek for the Eternal. I must admit, I don't really understand this point as well as the laughter one. Maybe it's because I'm not very good at it.
"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
Remember the sublime words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered with his companions in the smothering darkness of Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”1
Okay, now for the greatest quote in the entire talk. This one might just end up on my fridge. "The very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome."
The third principle is to grow to understand the principle of compensation. I believe in this strongly. "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way."
Let me share a brief experience. My mother's death was a great loss to me. She was my best friend on this earth and continues to be so. I miss her greatly. Shortly after her passing, I found that I was pregnant. My mind and heart were turned from my grief as I looked forward with hope in this new life. It was a great blessing to me. What a surprise it was when this new baby resembled her so much.
The words in Mosiah verify the principle of compensation.
"The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.'2 The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in."
If I could only remember this on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. With this perspective, we learn that our Father in Heaven doesn't set us up for failure, but our only means of success is to lean on Him. He will make us capable of things we didn't know were possible.
"He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong."3
“The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.”
Here is the challenge: love the journey. I have a terrible tendency to delay my joy. There are so many excuses I use to not do the things I want to. I need to learn to live today. One of my biggest challenges is changing this habit. Is there a trick to helping yourself enjoy today and not always looking forward to tomorrow? I feel like I need to set goals and see them through, but where does one start?
Elder Wirthlin ends with this, "I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it."
Posted by Julie Hess at 2:47 PM
Will you help me out here? I want a list of what makes us peculiar based on the words of prophets past and present--food storage, scripture reading, etc.
Posted by Julie Hess at 6:14 AM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Okay Merrianne, here are my seven things:
2. Pistachio almond is my favorite ice cream. It was the kind my parents would order when I was a child and we'd go to Baskin-Robbins. It was an unspoken rule that we kids couldn't order it because it was grown-up ice cream (they thought we wouldn't like it). Maybe that's one part of my adulthood that I've accepted.
5. My sister says I look like Kirsten Dunst.
6. My brother-in-law says I look like Meg Ryan.
7. A whole bunch of people have said I look like Jodie Foster.
The story behind this: Yesterday at Time Out for Women, Cherie Call spoke and performed (she's wonderful!). On the way home, a bunch of friends and I decided that her speaking voice sounded just like Jodie Foster's (see what you think). One of the women said, "Julie, you and she should get together because you look just like her." It must be because of the weight loss. There was one time in the grocery store when the checker said I looked like her too. Funny! Kind of fun.
Posted by Julie Hess at 8:09 AM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My mind is on the future today, and I'm nervous. I am just a mom who stays home with my kids and tries daily to do the best I can. I don't pass myself off to be an expert on political issues, but I do know my heart. Because of that, I have to unload what lies there this morning. I hope that if I'm completely off-base, you will put me straight. I want to feel good about my vote. I want solid fact to build on, not one-sided opinion, so I hope you will offer some of that truth to me.
These are facts that cannot be ignored. If we vote for Obama, we seal our fate I fear.
Posted by Julie Hess at 7:29 AM
Elder Perry speaks of patterns or cycles in life’s tests.--good and bad, ups and downs, joy and sadness, and times of plenty and scarcity. "When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic."
I learned on my second to last pregnancy that having endured childbirth (those of you who love the process will probably be offended by my choice of words) a number of times before that "this too shall pass" and that so much of what one goes through while delivering a baby is a mind game. I'm now learning that so much of life is a mind game. We can choose to be optimistic and make our experiences a bit sweeter or we can choose to be all doom and gloom and experience additional bitterness.
He speaks of a time of great stress in his life and the life of his family and how they learned to cope with the stressors. It seemed ironic to me that they would get away to Walden Pond.
"Walden Pond was our special place to pause, reflect, and heal. Perhaps it was partly due to its history—its connection to the efforts of Henry David Thoreau to separate himself from worldliness for a period of years—that Walden Pond offered us so much hope for simplicity and provided such a renewing escape from our overly complex lives."
As I ponder on the points of Elder Perry's talk, I feel woeful and wonderful at the same time. Woeful that life is so complicated and for some reason I feel that it has to be. Yes, wonderful that there is hope in a more simplified life. By looking at Elder Perry's words, let me break it down here:
- Thoreau moved out ot Walden Pond with the goal of living a simple life for two years - This might be a worthwhile goal. How much can I simplify my life in two years time? Without moving into entirely new surroundings, how could I take what I've got and make it less? It's so against human nature.
- He moved out onto Ralph Waldo Emereson's property and bought a shanty from a man. He tore down the shanty and built himself a house from it - I could see doing this if it was me on my own, but how would this be possible with a family of eight? I guess if we were required to do this, we would, but doing it without being compelled to seems a little crazy.
- "He kept meticulous financial records, and he concluded that for a home and freedom he spent a mere $28.12." Good for him to keep these kinds of records. It would be great to be able to see the value in such an experiment. If I were to take upon myself the goal of simplifying, I'd keep a daily journal of what I did that day to thin out, so I could look back and see and value what I'd accomplished. Good rule to life anyway.
- He planted a garden to help sustain his simple life - I didn't do this this year (true confessions). We had a strange spring. There was no clear time as to when I should plant the garden. It's not that I didn't think it was important; I even bought the seeds, but I think we had frost all the way into early June. Not being a seasoned gardener, this threw me for a loop. I wish I knew a really great gardener that would take me by the hand and tell me what to do where and when. In my own defense, I did get a number of apples from the tree in our yard and did things with those. I have canned and frozen a few things this fall.
- "He planted two and a half acres of beans with the intent of using the small profit to cover his needs. Small profit indeed: $8.71." This is a good question. What am I doing to bring in a profit for my family as an at-home mom. I believe I am serving where I am needed and am grateful to be able to stay at home; I believe this to be a blessing in my life; a gift. What are my skills? I could teach piano or flute. I could do childcare. I could provide other services--laundry, ironing, proof-reading, typing. I havnen't felt the need to pursue these things, and honestly, I don't know if I would do any of these if push came to shove.
He had neither a clock nor a calendar in his little cabin.
- "He spent his time writing and studying the beauties and wonder of nature that surrounded him, including local plants, birds, and animals." Can I slow my life down enough that I could actually sit around looking at birds and animals? I love that my youngest begs to smell all the roses (even the dead) ones that sit by homes on our way back from dropping the older kids at school. He causes me to slow down sometiems and just notice things. Children are definintely blessings in obvious as well as in many hidden ways.
- "He did not live the life of a hermit—he visited the town of Concord most days, and he invited others to come into his cabin for enlightening conversations." Okay, here's the clincher! I always pictured Thoreau as a hermit--that he retreated from society in this experiment. This was not the case. Do I simplify my life so that I can enjoy time with others, or am I so busy that I can't carve out the least bit of time for someone else? Much of the time I do spend with others is for those who need me. Do I create time for those I want to spend time with?
- "When the two years ended, he left his cabin behind without regret." Ahh! I would love this. Many of my regrets at this point in my life have to do with missed appointments or lost pieces of paper--just basic disorganization. If I can simplify to the point of having little to organize, the regrets will fade away. I figure any little bit of simplifying will aid in this goal. Each day I should just do something, no matter how small, to make life easier for myself.
- "He considered the time he had spent there a proper amount of time to accomplish his purpose—to experience the spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle." First, Thoreau had clearly delineated his goals. He knew what he wanted to accomplish, so he knew when it was accomplished. He even knew how long it would take him to achieve what he desired. Good example for me in this goal. What do I want to accomplish? Can I come up with babysteps--daily mouthfuls that can help me get there?
- "He also felt he had other life experiences ahead of him. It was time to move on and explore other opportunities Once this goal was accomplished, he wasn't done. He set further goals to improve his life. This reminds me of Ammon. He went out and saved the king's sheep and instead of standing around basking in it, he moved to the next thing he was assigned to do. another good example of what to do.
"From his experiences at Walden Pond, Thoreau determined that there were only four things that a man really needed: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel."
the spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle.
In the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, it states:
“The Lord has commanded you to take good care of your body. To do this, observe the Word of Wisdom, found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. When you do all these things, you remain free from harmful addictions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body, an alert mind, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. . . ."
One of the main reasons for simplifying is being able to truly listen to the Spirit when it speaks. Addictions come in many forms. My biggest addiction right now is this computer. I feel that blogging is helping me do what is most difficult for me right now--the need to reach out to others. I need this in my life, but how much of this time is being used wisely and as well as it can be? Computer time for me must either be cut down to a simplified point or cut out altogether. What other addictions need to be cut out? Maybe this is the best place to start.
What we wear should be simple and modest. "Our dress and grooming send a message to others about who we are, and they also affect the way we act around others. When we are modestly dressed, we also invite the Spirit of the Lord to be a shield and a protection to us." Does that mean I have to get rid of my leather jacket that my hubby so kindly bought me? It does make me feel tough, and I really look good in it. Of course, it doesn't mean that we should dress like the Amish or that we should only have two changes of clothing. I guess the real question for me here is, what am I willing to do to have a more simplified life so that I can focus on what's really important in this life?
I believe I need to dress nicely but not go to extremes. Isn't this most of what we're asked to do--moderation in all things.
"In the Book of Mormon story of the tree of life, it was the people whose 'manner of dress was exceedingly fine' who mocked those who partook of the fruit of the tree. It is sobering to realize that the fashion-conscious mockers in the great and spacious building were responsible for embarrassing many, and those who were ashamed 'fell away into forbidden paths and were lost' (1 Nephi 8:27–28)." Am I overly fashion conscious? If anything, I would say I'm "fashion unconscious." At one point, I remember, shortly after my husband moved from teacher to school administrator, that many of the people we would come in contact with in these new social circles would be very aware of how much "bling" I was wearing. I once, a very long time ago, told Z that if he ever decided to buy me jewelry for a special occasion he had better stop buying me gifts. I'm just not into all that. I'm a simple woman in that way. I enjoy being low-maintenance. I also feel that our money could be better used elsewhere than on my fingers, ears or around my neck.
Funny how people today, when they dress immodestly or sloppily, think they are attracting others to them when really they are repelling others by causing them to feel uncomfortable around them. Hmm. In the last days doesn't it say that good will be called evil and evil good? Large and spacious building mean anything to you?
We have been told over and over again to live within our means. "Our income should determine the kind of housing we can afford."
We have been told that the only things we should go into debt for are a home and education. We shouldn't buy a house you can't afford to pay the mortgage for. We have also been told to "stay out of debt, and save for a rainy day. We should practice and increase our habits of thrift, industry, economy, and frugality. Members of a well-managed family do not pay interest; they earn it."
These are good principles to live by. Are we doing these things? Coupons are helping me be thrifty. I am being aware of how much I'm spending on things. I am, therefore, able to save more. More should be going into savings than to debt pay-off. I don't think we're there yet, but we do have a plan. Marvin J. Ashton's "One for the Money" is a great resource for learning to manage finances better.
"We have been hearing a lot about fuel and energy—about their high cost and limited supply, our unsafe and unpredictable dependence on their suppliers, and the need for new and sustainable sources of energy. I leave the discussion of these complicated issues to leaders of government and industry. The fuel I want to discuss is spiritual fuel.
"The Lord has given us a beautiful plan about how we can return to Him, but the completion of our mortal journey requires spiritual fuel. We want to emulate the five wise virgins, who had stored sufficient fuel to accompany the bridegroom when he came (see Matthew 25:6–10). What is required to maintain a sufficient store of spiritual fuel? We must acquire knowledge of God’s eternal plan and our role in it, and then by living righteously, surrendering our will to the will of the Lord, we receive the promised blessings.
"As Elder William R. Bradford taught at this pulpit: 'In righteousness there is great simplicity. In every case that confronts us in life there is either a right way or a wrong way to proceed. If we choose the right way, we are sustained in our actions by the principles of righteousness, in the which there is power from the heavens. If we choose the wrong way and act on that choice, there is no such heavenly promise or power, and we are alone and are destined to fail' (“Righteousness,” Liahona, Jan. 2000, 103; Ensign, Nov. 1999, 85).
"Just before Thoreau died, he was asked if he had made peace with God. He replied, 'I was not aware we had ever quarreled' (in Mardy Grothe, comp., Viva la Repartee , 181)."
Love this quote. Yes, I have a long way to go to simplifying my life, but I really feel that it is something I should do. So, where to begin? Breaking addictions first, I believe. Simplifying my schedule--starting with sleeping and waking times. Next will be my house--a day by day calendar will be established with bite-sized goals for each day, so that I can check the calendar each day knowing there will be a goal to accomplish.
Posted by Julie Hess at 1:37 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
In an attempt to be ahead of the game, I decided that I'd start the Pursuit of Excellence Reading Challenge today. Our family missed the Saturday morning session of conference, so I decided to start at the beginning; a good place, don't 'cha think?
First of all, I want to say that I've never truly appreciated President Monson before now. I think we all have our favorites, but I must say that after I saw the in-between conference sessions programming (if you click the link, there are six parts to this, but it's all very worth the time), I grew to love this man who gives and serves and hearkens to the Lord so unquestioningly. He's truly a man to be emulated and admired.
Here are a few things he said that were important to me. "...The work of the Lord has moved forward uninterrupted." I love that there are still some of President's Hinckley's works that are finishing up--temples being finished and dedicated--and that the Lord's work is just that. It can't be interrupted; it will continue. Isn't it just miraculous to even think of, when you consider how the Church began?
He speaks of cultural events that took place the night before temples were dedicated. Of the celebration in Curtiba, Brazil, he said, "The wind had been blowing, and rain threatened. I offered a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to look with mercy upon those who had prepared so diligently for our entertainment and whose costumes and presentations would be damaged if a heavy rain or wind enveloped them. He honored that prayer, and it wasn’t until the end of the show and later on that evening that rain fell in abundance." I love that the prophet pled his case before the Lord. What a simple but great example. So many times all it takes is prayer to help solve things.
He spoke of the celebration at Twin Falls, Idaho. He mentions how their performance represented our "...Dependence for [our] spiritual lives on the living water from the Savior and [our] dependence for [our] physical lives on the mountain streams and rivers." How true. How true. I know that I, personally, take this truth for granted. It's just so easy to turn on the faucet and have water come out, and it's completely potable. So easy. I forget that the time could come when that water wouldn't be there. So too, I think of the spiritual implications of this--am I doing all that I can to keep the spiritual water in my life flowing and continue to be "potable?"
"I am an advocate for such events," he continued, "They enable our youth to participate in something they truly find unforgettable. The friendships they form and the memories they make will be theirs forever." I love that President Monson appreciates a good musical and other performances. He's my kind of guy. I love the memories of my own youth of these kinds of experiences that being part of the Church afforded me. I have been happy to see these kinds of events carry on for my kids too. How many of these LDS kids in the Portland area will ever forget this? (Long link, Q was in the Asian dance).
"Our missionary force, serving throughout the world, continues to seek out those who are searching for the truths which are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church is steadily growing; it has since its organization over 178 years ago." This, in and of itself, is miraculous when you think back to the beginning of the Church.
"It has been my privilege during the past six months to meet with leaders of countries and with representatives of governments. Those with whom I’ve met feel kindly toward the Church and our members, and they have been cooperative and accommodating. There remain, however, areas of the world where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely. As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel. As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray with faith."
One such miracle was the construction of the Freiburg Temple in then communist Germany. What an amazing thing that was! And it is my faith that it had some influence on the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot exist in a place where human choice is limited and stifled. To continue forward, the wall had to go.
"We have come here to be instructed and inspired....Some of you are struggling with problems, with challenges, with disappointments, with losses. We love you and pray for you. Many messages will be shared during the next two days. I can assure you that those men and women who will speak to you have prayed about what they should say. They have been inspired and impressed as they have sought heaven’s help and direction.
"Our Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of us and our needs."
I love that a prophet of God prays for me. I doubt that he prays for me by name, but I know he is aware of those who are in great need, and if I ever was, I have no doubt that he would become aware of my name and pray for me. There is another blog that I read that touches my heart. It's about a little girl with a brain tumor. I know she has met him; he blessed her; and I'm sure he prays for her. I also am aware that when my first mission companion died unexpectedly during childbirth that the leaders of the Church were very aware of her family and had prayed to know what to do to help them in their time of need.
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:58 PM
Posted by Julie Hess at 4:05 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
I decided that this was a worthwhile challenge. Anyone else want to join in?
Posted by Julie Hess at 10:35 PM
Posted by Julie Hess at 9:53 PM
Here's what's for dinner. I'm going to serve it with some bread and a simple salad. That's all folks!
Posted by Julie Hess at 4:51 PM
Posted by Julie Hess at 4:33 PM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
My mom used to say that most of the inspiration she received was while she was in the shower. Maybe that's because it was the only quiet place in her house. I was so pleased when that's what happened to me a week ago last Sunday morning.
As I showered, I was thinking back to the days of young children and a workaholic husband and feeling rather isolated. I know there are women in my ward who feel that way. I felt that there must be something I could do.
I realized that I have two teenagers in my home now who are very good babysitters. I also realized that the upcoming Friday would be a teacher workday, thus Z would be working, but we'd all be home. Well, wheels started turning, and here's the plan that was created: we would invite any women who wanted to, to drop their children off at our home on Friday moring from 9 to 11:30am. Those women could go and do whatever they wanted during that time. I would invite some of the youth to come help and we would make it into a training session for future babysitters. The teens would act as mentors to those kids 9-12 years old who would be acting as the babysitters. We would have a snack and the kids'd play their little hearts out.
I called the Relief Society president and asked if she'd announce it during their meeting that day. She agreed to do so. I also created a couple of sign ups--one to know how many kids we'd have of what ages and one to determine how many of the youth we'd have.
As I spoke with one of the women in the ward later, she warned me that the youth hate to be asked to babysit because they get called upon all the time for ward functions. I assured her that this wasn't a ward function and there was no pressure for any of them to do it because it was a Hess family activity. This was going to be an opportunity to let my children serve a little and if others wanted to join us, great.
I was surprised when nearly every young woman signed up to help when the list was passed later that day. Problem was, there was only one woman signed up to bring her kids. I was soooo surprised!
I decided to send out an email to as many of the women in the ward whose addresses I knew.
Okay, so to make this long story short, this past Friday we ended up with eight youth here to help. We had somewhere between 25 and 30 kids playing at our home. It was loud, but boy were they having fun. It was apparent that we needed a bit more room. We moved the foosball table as far as we could against the desk that's built into our family room. We'd then moved the couch up against that, so that the little ones wouldn't get hit in the head with the foosball poles and so the kids'd have more room to play. What I didn't expect was what I saw--the boys climbed on the back of the couch and on the desk to play foosball. It was so cute. I wish I'd taken pictures. The girls played dress-ups in the opposite corner. The little ones ran around doing what little ones do in the middle of the room.
We threw a couple blankets out over the carpet for snack. We had cheese and apples.
Later in the day, while out running around with my kids, I asked them if they'd enjoyed it and if it was something they'd consider doing again. I was pleased to hear a resounding yes, they loved it, and yes, when could they do it again.
So, although it wasn't as structured as I had envisioned, I felt that we'd accomplished the two main goals--the mom's got away and got to do what they wanted--some went to the temple, some went to a scout committee meeting, some went running, and some just went home to do whatever, and the kids seemed to have had a great time.
Posted by Julie Hess at 8:10 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Our family are big musical lovers. A few weeks back, on a Saturday night, Q and I sat down and had a BLAST looking up clips that we love from some of the great musicals out there. We've posted them here for your enjoyment! I'd love to know what your faves are. Are they posted here? If so, which do you like best? If not, what is your favorite? I'd love to know. There are a lot of musicals we haven't seen, so we'd be interested in being introduced to something new. There were also a few clips that we love but couldn't find one worthy of being posted here. After you've commented on yours, we'll give you ours in order. Can't wait to hear!
Love the finger action.
Posted by Julie Hess at 11:05 PM
Posted by Julie Hess at 12:07 AM
Friday, October 10, 2008
As if you weren't already tired of photos of the youngest madhouse inmate, here's is a plethora for you! Just watch until you can't take it any more.
Today he turned two. It finally clicked when he watched me pull the birthday candles out of the kitchen drawer this evening. He requested "yeyo" ones and then started in singing, "Happy birtday a you...."
Yes, we did get him a baby doll. It was funny, we talked about it, the kids and me, and I suggested we get him a baby. No one argued. They were all in full agreement. Even though I just finished my human development class and a huge section on stereotyping and how we steer our children to be male or female from very early, I don't believe I have ever done this. I believe that at this point all of my boys have owned a doll at one point or another in their early childhood. I believe that this practice will make them good daddy's one day. T loved the doll, but even better was the pair of cleats he received.
Posted by Julie Hess at 3:24 PM
Posted by Julie Hess at 2:52 PM