Sunday, October 25, 2015

Influence

In my institute lesson a few weeks we talked about INFLUENCE.  I asked the class to spend some time that week pondering three questions:

Who are you influencing?
What are you influencing them to do?
and Who are you allowing to influence you?

It is a good thing to contemplate.  We talked about some of the positive influence and negative influence that creeps into our lives.  One of the things that seemed to resonate was the idea that if we are not careful we can let worldly things influence us too much.  One thing I expressed was that as much as I love Pinterest and pottery barn magazine and as a whole I don't think they are BAD.  Sometimes, I might feel pressured to make my home look like a picture out of a magazine or every meal I serve my family has to be pinterest-photo worthy.  We also talked about celebrity tabloids and red carpet photos and the pressure those can place on us to look a certain way.  I love people magazine as much as the next guy but trying to keep up with supermodels and celebs requires full time makeup artists, stylists, and personal trainers - none of which I have or are realistic expectations for a mother of five with as many responsibilities as I have.  This, in turn, led to a discussion about balance.  It is important to maintain a sense of balance.  One of the ways that we do that is to start with balancing what influences us.  Working out is great!  Trying to keep our homes in order is great too!  So is cooking for your family, trying to look your best, staying physically fit, etc.  All these things can be taken to extremes, however.  We have to use the Spirit as our guide to make sure that we are keeping those things in check AND prioritizing the things that REALLY matter like temple attendance, magnifying callings, studying scriptures, and serving others.

One of the people that I learned I was influencing with even knowing it is BO at the UPS store.  

The first week of every month I take a care package in to UPS to be mailed to Tanner.  We try to make it fun by decorating it with a theme each month.  I take it in open like this because they fill it with peanuts to travel better.
(Ironically, I get a lot of my ideas from the aforementioned Pinterest).

As I tool the care package for October in earlier this month, the young man at the register said for th other worker to "go get BO" out of the office".  He then went on to explain that Bo loves to be the one to help me so that she can see how I have decorated Elder Argyle's package this month and get an update.  She came out and asked how Elder Argyle was doing and how much longer before he gets to skype with me and was I excited to take to him at Christmas and how was he holding up to the Arizona heat, etc...

And I realized, without even trying or really even knowing it- I have been influencing and sharing a lot about my church with BO.  In jut those five minutes each month for the last 14 months, she has learned so much about our family and has come to know quite a bit about our missionary son.

We just never know who we are influencing. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kiki's first homecoming


The fun started the morning of homecoming with breakfast at Cotton Gin and mani/pedis.  Then they were dropped off and regrouped at about 4 for makeup and hair sessions at our house.  Off to Babe's chicken for a photo shoot with the wonderful Alyssa and then dinner.  Last but not least they went to the actual dance and then over to Caty's house for hot tubbing.  I think they had a blast.  Such a good group of girls.



This is one of my favorites in front of this train car with a "19" because they ironically are the class of 2019.










Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Where's the calm amongst my Chaos?


My apologies.  I have been absent from the blogosphere.  I know I haven't been missed.  Pretty much the only one who reads my blog is well, ...me.  And occasionally my missionary - to catch up on things at home.  Oh and my Aunt Sharon takes a gander every now and again.  But I blog because I want to keep a record of the goings on in all things Argyle, and to remind me of the things and experiences that I need to remember.  And it is SO much easier and cheaper and requires less talent than scrapbooking which I labored through for a decade and don't miss even for a moment.

But back to the reason for this post.  I haven't been blogging as much these last few months because it has been chaos - I mean , more than normal chaos.  September is usually the busiest time of year for me anyway as most of the hats I wear seem to carry more labor intensive commitments with them (PTO, Prosper Ladies Association) and throw into the mix a class at school that was kicking my rear with the workload, my new calling as adult institute teacher in my stake, and the fact that my father passed away all of a sudden on August 31st - and it was the PERFECT STORM I tell you.

Have you ever been the executor of a will or had to make the final arrangements for someone that you deeply loved?  
(One of my friends said it best: "It's like you have lost your anchor".  
I thought that was a terrific explanation of what it feels like.)
It is draining.  
It saps every ounce of energy out of your soul and leaves you with nothing to take care of the day to day.  
I was in a haze and fog for several weeks.  
If I am being honest, it still doesn't seem real.  
The only thing that makes it real is when the probate attorney calls or I notice my husband wearing a new set of hiking shoes.  "Are those new?", I ask.  "Well, actually, they were your Dad's - they were like brand-new-in-the-box hiking shoes and they were my size so I didn't think you would mind." he says.  (And really I don't mind, but it makes it real for me when those moment crop up.)

Brent has actually been a trooper.  I can't even go over to my father's house lately.  It is too painful.  But when you are trying to prep it for sale it is sometimes necessary to go over there and I just can't bring myself to do it.  So he does.  And occasionally he comes home with a cool knife he found or a vacuum or a pair of brand-new-in-the-box-hiking shoes.

Brent is driving my dad's truck now.  Dad would have wanted him to have it.  They both loved trucks and used to talk about them often when we would meet for dinner.  Which tires to buy, who could put in the best lift kit, how much they could pull and heave.  Sometimes I would listen to them passively and smile realizing that in many ways Brent was the son my Dad never had.  I am so glad they had that kind of a relationship.  I find comfort knowing that the things my father loved (camping, hunting, trucks, guns, knives) will perhaps live on to my children and my children's children through my husband.

So amidst all that CHAOS I have been trying to find the peace.  Peace that comes through setting priorities that matter.  What has mattered has been school (because it is expensive and a squeaky wheel), settling my father' estate, spending time with my family (because that is honestly what heals the loss the best), prayer, prayer, and more prayer, time in the temple to provide perspective, and studying my scriptures because that is how my Heavenly Father speaks to me.  

Blogging has not been  able to do that for me but today is the first sign that I am ready to get back on the horse.

I am so grateful for friends and family who have wrapped their arms around me these last 30 days and comforted me.  I am a blessed woman to know so many who know what it means to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort."

Blog to you soon,
Shahna