Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 2015 according to my iphone

Jensen had the time of her life in the UK in her study abroad program and made lots of new friends.

We kept track of her with the LIFE 360 app.  She would check in each day and we could see where she was without her having to call and text.  

This "A Team" made teacher appreciation week a breeze.  I love these ladies that I get to work with through PTO.

Apparently it was blue day.  Sheri and I snapped a quick after school picture of these guys.  It was purely a coincidence.  Such cute girls.

Love this quote.

One of my favorite things every 6 weeks is taking this girl to her ortho appointments and our Smashburger lunch dates.  It is so good to get one on one time with her.

Prosper Ladies Association hosted our first town prayer breakfast on the national prayer day and it was a smashing success.

We had Uncle Greg and Aunt Sharon over for dinner on Mother's Day and played dominoes afterward.  Aunt Sharon hadn't ever played train but we converted her.  

Elder Argyle is enjoying his newest companion and his new area and his new ipad.  I am excited because that means at Christmas we will be able to facetime with him!

Went to a free movie premier with this cute 13 year old.  The movie was horrible but we had fun together.  I just love spending time with her.

Enjoyed the Rough Rider game with 15  other families on our ward.  Here is Brady with his best buddy.

And another good buddy.
And Reagan with her sweet friend, Kylie.
And Mckinley with Caty and Hailey.

It was a fun month but we are eagerly anticipating the end of school on June 5th.  I am looking forward to an easier, laid back schedule. 

Brent loves his new job.  The new company has been fantastic and the benefits are really good.  He travels a little but gets to work from home which is so nice. Overall it is a great career move for him. Brutus especially likes that he works from home because he hangs out in his office with him all day.

I am almost done with my first semester of graduate school and I have a 4.0.  (It will be interesting to see if I can keep it up in the summer.)  I guess I am doing PTO again so we have been trying to staff the board and get set up for next year.  I have really enjoyed each and every one of the ladies I have gotten to work with.  I also spent the month collecting food for the summer lunch program for kids in our town that qualify for free and reduced lunch during the school year.  My dining room has been hijacked by all the peanut b utter, jelly, chips, granola bars, and fruit cups that have been donated by the three prosper wards.  It has been remarkable to see how generous the members of our church are!
We far exceeded our quota.

It has rained A TON here so we were all super excited to have the sun out today.  Bring on the SUMMER!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Lanyard (in honor of Mother's day month)


The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the "L"section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that's what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
"Here are thousands of meals" she said,
"and here is clothing and a good education." 
"And here is your lanyard," I replied,
"which I made with a little help from a counselor."
"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world." she whispered.
"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."
"And here," I wish to say to her now,
"is a smaller gift.  Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands, 
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even."

--Billy Collins

I was worried about the wrong thing

We have been kinda struggling over here at the Argyle house of late.  One of our teenage girls recently came to me and suggested that she (paraphrasing here) "wasn't really feeling the love" from some of the girls in her youth group and she wondered if she could occasionally skip out on going to her youth midweek activities.

I was so sad.

This is something we have been trying to navigate for the better part of the school year.  It is nothing that most teenage girls don't experience at some point.    I resolved pretty early on that we were going to deal with it as a family and not involve anyone else.  When I prayed for guidance the last six months or so, it was clear to me that was the  best course of action.

Admittedly, however, when she came to me with this latest request - to bow out of her activities- albeit "occasionally", I knew the problem was bigger than I had previously thought.

I worried.  A lot.  I sought counsel from friends of teenage girls who my gut told me had been here and done this.  They had LOTS of really helpful advice.  What to do.  What not to do. One friend who had shouldered this same challenge with three of her daughters (Which tells you how universal it is) pointed out that I had a great opportunity to teach my daughter that there are blessings associated with obedience and being WHERE you should be WHEN you should be.  I loved that!

But I am most grateful for the counsel that the Holy Ghost gave me.  Last week as I sat in a church meeting with my arm around this beloved daughter, personal revelation came.

It said.  "you are worried about the wrong thing".  "She doesn't feel 'safe' anymore at church and so she can't feel the spirit when she is here.  THAT is the problem.  What are you going to do about it?"

I came  home and told Brent what I had felt and told him that we have to be more vigilant at home.  We have to create as many opportunities as possible to help this girl of ours feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and then recognize it.  I don't want her situation at church - even though I am sure it is probably temporary- to damage her fragile testimony.  We have some compensating to do here at home until things improve - and they will.

Until then, we soldier on.  We read scripture, we pray, we attend our meetings, we express love, and we try to treat others with kindness.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Building Walls

I borrowed this from this blog here 
This is such a fantastic analogy and I just think it is right on!

Your testimony is like a rock wall. (Don't worry about the purpose of the wall--the analogy doesn't stretch that far.) Everyone is constantly building to their walls, stone by stone. And every now and then, you may stumble upon a stone and not see exactly where it fits. It may be labeled "gay marriage" or "visiting teaching" or "hymns are boring" or "why do we have so many freaking meetings and why are they so freaking long." But that doesn't mean you abandon the wall. It means you set the stone aside and keep building with what you DO know. And as you build, you may suddenly see where that stone fits. Some people have likened this process to a jigsaw puzzle, but that implies that everyone's testimony looks the same eventually. I like the stone wall better because everyone's will look completely different, and have different foundations, but all of them are still valid. It can be frustrating to feel sometimes like you're surrounded by stones you don't understand. But hang in there. You'll find their place eventually. And as you do, you'll find your OWN place, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Impressive Apologies

Thirteen or so years ago someone sent me an anonymous letter that was pretty bold and extremely unkind.  At the time it bothered me for a few days, maybe even weeks.  My gut gave me a pretty good idea of who had written it to me but I didn't have any proof.  Ultimately, I struggled with the hurt that it brought to me for a few weeks and with a lot of prayer, forgot about it.

Last week I got a phone call from the woman who wrote it to me.  I was a little surprised when I saw her number on my caller id.  I have not seen her or really had an opportunity to visit with her in years and although she is a member of my church, she is not part of my local congregation or any of the neighboring congregations.  

She was very meek and humble and kind when she called.  She said that she was embarrassed that this had taken her so long to do because she had known for years that she should reach out to me and apologize but she had just never followed through with it until now.  She admitted that it was even a little bit of a job for her to find my phone number.  

But she apologized for writing that letter to me thirteen years ago.  

I immediately forgave her and told her she was absolved of anything and that I had no hard feelings at all for her.  I hope it felt as good for her to ask forgiveness and be forgiven as it did for me to forgive her.  -Like I said, I had forgotten about it for the most part.

But it got me thinking what a HUGE Christlike thing that was for her to do.  It would have been so easy for her to just ask Heavenly Father for forgiveness and call it good.  She probably will not see me anytime in the near future.  That would have been the easy road, to be sure.  But she didn't.  She took the much harder path.  She researched how to get a hold of me, sweated and stressed for probably weeks over how to go about it, completely swallowed her pride, and called me.  

I have had this happen to me twice before in my life.  One time in college.  A random girl called me and said that I didn't know her but she had some said some unkind things about me and my friend behind my back and she had realized it wasn't true or kind so she wanted to ask my forgiveness.

Another time a friend who had suddenly become cold and distant and had moved away several years before, sent an email to me (years after she had moved out of state) and asked for my forgiveness as she had been pulled into what she called a "hateful group of women" and had been influenced by them to think badly of me.  (If I'm being honest, I could sense that something was different but I never knew what happened).  She said that she had felt inspired that none of the things that she had believed about me were true and that she should reach out to me and apologize.  I could tell it was a cathartic moment for her.

It has just made me think a great deal lately about the beauty and peace that comes from recognizing our errors and truly taking the hard road to gain forgiveness.  I have reflected on my own life a little more lately because of their examples, wondering if there was anyone I needed to reach out to and seek forgiveness from.  

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that shows us the way to peace.  I am grateful for these great ladies who have been examples to me of humbling ourselves and trying to become more like our Savior.  Most especially, I am grateful for a Savior who provided a way for me to be forgiven and worthy to return to live with Him.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

God gives us more than WE can handle

I read this article in the Deseret News last week and nodded my head the entire time.  
As a matter of fact, the cute sister missionaries came over for dinner recently and as their closing message one of them shared a spiritual thought:  "God never gives us more than we can handle".  I smiled as she gave her message but at the end, I admitted that I disagreed...a little. 

I think God gives us more than we can handle sometimes. 
He has given me more than I can handle on my own.  
He just doesn't give us more than we can handle with Him on our team.

There have been many times over the last seven years when I absolutely, positively felt without a shadow of a doubt that I had been handed more than I could navigate on my own.  Sometimes it has stirred me to pray more, read more scripture, request priesthood blessings, go to the temple for peace, solace, refuge, and inspiration.  Sometimes my trials have encouraged me to lean on others for help.  There was the time that I went to talk with a church therapist because I wasn't sure why I was such an emotional mess.  (See post about that back here.)  There were times I reached out to close friends for comfort, advice, and encouragement.   Most notably, there were times when it brought Brent and I closer as we tried to make our way through the mayhem shoulder to shoulder.  

I think Heavenly Father allows us to be handed more than we can handle on our own ALL THE TIME.  He wants us to learn that we are not alone and that by letting others help us, we are stronger. 
But most of all, He wants us to turn to Him.  Man, I have felt that.  His influence helping to guide me, time and time again!  
It has always bothered me that people say to others when they are going through a REALLY hard trial or crisis, "God won't give you more than you can handle".  If that were true - the suicide rate wouldn't be what it is.  For that matter, the depression rate wouldn't be what it is.  God just wants us to learn that we don't have to do it all alone.  We can lean on others.  We can always lean on him.  He stands at the door, waiting for us to knock.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The beautiful thing about remembering

In BOM365 last week we read Mosiah 19: 1-24 one day. The corresponding talk for the day was from Jay E. Jensen (by coincidence, Brent and I have hosted Elder Jensen in our home before. He came to visit us when he presided over a stake conference he was here for when Brent was in the throes of his illness). The name of the talk is "Remember Also the Promises" found HERE. Elder Jensen talks about a time when he was a mission president. He became somewhat discouraged upon doing some interviews to find that there were a number of problems that were to be dealt with in this particular mission. He did four days of interviews with missionaries and leaders and felt that the bad was out weighing the good in this mission. He got on the plane to go home with a heavy heart. He decided to read some scriptures on his plane ride and fell to D and C 3:5. He was struck by the phrase in that verse: "Remember also the promises". He went on to say, 
The words “remember also the promises” seemed to “enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on [them] again and again.” (JS—H 1:12.) During those four days I had focused on nothing but problems. I had not stopped to consider one single promise. I had with me on the airplane that day a copy of my patriarchal blessing. I read it, noting several marvelous promises. I reviewed in my mind the promises given to me when I was set apart as a mission president. I turned to additional scriptures and pondered the promises in each one. I learned then and have had reinforced to me again and again that when we search the scriptures, we will come to know that “they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” (D&C 1:37.)

Remembering the promises made all the difference to Elder Jensen and he was able to adjust his attitude and see the positive that in reality was outweighing the bad. 

I immediately thought of going to my patriarchal blessing, my children's (that have theirs) patriarchal blessings, Brent's, as well as two priesthood blessings of comfort that I have had in the last few years. Most of the time when I get a blessing, I try to immediately write down the things that were said as well as impressions I had upon receiving the blessing. In addition, when Tanner was set apart as missionary, President Platt allowed Jensen to take notes on what things he said as he set him apart. I reviewed those notes, as well.

I immediately felt so much peace and hope and faith in some of the struggles we are dealing with right now. I know everything is in my Heavenly Father's hands and that he is aware of our trials. Some of the things that were mentioned were very personal and sacred to me.

In one blessing that I received (for comfort) I was promised that the stress I was feeling would not have a negative effect on my health and that my ancestors (As angels) gather around me. I was told that with respect to this particular trial that everything would be okay. This situation is still not resolved but I sure feel like we are on the tail end of it and I feel like Heavenly Father has been guiding us along the way.

When Tanner was set apart I was promised peace that he would be safe. I have not worried a bit. He also mentioned in that blessing that Brent would be fruitful at work and be able to provide for our family. 

In my patriarchal blessing it mentions that I will be blessed with emotional and physical strength. It talks about angels ministering to me. 

It was just a cool exercise to review some of those special promises that we have been given lately. I know that the Priesthood is real and these blessings are words of counsel and encouragement from my Heavenly Father to me. I am so grateful for the righteous men who live worthy to provide this blessing to me at any time.

I'm also grateful for this reminder that sometimes the way to fight discouragement is to remember all the promises.