Saturday, September 17

So many ifs

We're only three days away from our closing date. The seller is taking forever to fix a cracked window. Our lender is taking forever to decide if we have specific enough documentation about our student loan repayment plan.

We have no idea if we'll really end up living in this house. When I walked into the first house that fell through, I was convinced we'd be living there- I could picture us there and didn't even think it was possible we wouldn't. This house (and none of the others we looked at since the last one) has never had that same feeling. Neither Zach or I can picture ourselves actually living there.

The good thing is we really don't care what happens. If this house doesn't go through, we're just going to rent. Costs quite a bit more, but whatever- at least it's an option!

Hopefully we'll know in three days how and when this will end.

Thursday, September 15

Wisdom worth sharing

One of the lessons that stuck with me in seminary was on the same topic of this talk that is being shared by some of my fellow LDS blogger-moms. Our teacher asked us why we heard the same things in church every week... why can't you just learn the commandments and then go on living your life being obedient? We spend our whole lives reminding ourselves what's important because we are just forgetful like that. He said the key to salvation was simply to remember. Another thing he said was that we're always changing. If we aren't actively building our faith, then our mortality is actively diminishing it. I understood what he meant, but of course it means more now. I'm sure it will mean a lot more when I'm old. Like President Monson. :)

9/11 Destruction Allowed Us to Spiritually Rebuild
By Thomas S. Monson

The calamity of September 11th, 2001 has cast a long shadow. Ten years later, many of us are still haunted by its terrible tragedy of lost lives and broken hearts. It is an episode of anguish that has become a defining moment in the history of the American nation and the world. This week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Tom Brokaw, will pay its own homage to the unforgettable events of September 11, 2001.
There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.
Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.
Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.
But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.
If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.
The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.
It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.

Thomas S. Monson is president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, September 4

Mia's turn

While we were in Utah for a wedding and Zach's vacation time, we celebrated Mia's birthday a few weeks early so her cousins could attend. Anya and Bree had their party at Chuck-E-Cheese in Ohio, and Mia has been reminding us ever since that she will have a Chuck-E-Cheese party when it's her birthday.

Watching patiently.
I can't tell if she's picking her nose in this shot, but I wanted to show her cute accidental hair-do.

She'd been waiting to see this mouse since April...

She'd been such a good sport during the twins' birthday- it was fun to see her finally enjoy her turn.

That night Mia decided, as I was putting them all to bed, to use her birthday money to go to Build-A-Bear. She could have gotten a spectacular animal with a ton of accessories had she decided to go alone. But she decided out loud- right in front of the twins- who, when they heard the name of the store, immediately assumed they were going, too. She told the twins they could decorate the new jewelry box she had been given. I knew she’d been very excited to do that and asked her if she really didn’t mind them doing it for her. She looked worried that I wouldn’t let them do it and said through mounting tears that it wasn’t fair if she got to do something fun and they were left home with nothing fun to do, too. Then she figured out that she had enough money for them all to get basic bears and at least one shirt. Her mind was set- they’d divide her birthday money equally and then they’d all be happy.

That's the second time she's paid for her sisters to go to Build-A-Bear... the last time she only had enough money for one bear and had decided to let Anya have it. We found some coupons that made it so she had enough for all three. ;)

There are a million reasons I'm proud of her, but her generosity has stood out to me this week. Love my girl.