Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Ramblings. And Stuff.

I am the RS meeting coordinator in our ward. Most people don't know what this means, and so I just say, "you know, the homemaking/enrichment leader" and they go, "Ohh! Yeah! Okay." 

We just had our big Super Saturday (Christmas crafts, food, a great service project) and I'm really glad it's over. There are still details to tie up, but they are minimal compared to the work and stress of putting it together. I don't have a committee, but the women in our ward are pretty amazing with helping out, so it was a smashing success! The RS presidency really wanted to do a Super Saturday because they hadn't had one in over a decade (I think?). So, I tried to make it as streamlined and simple as possible (for the sisters and for my sanity. That last part was important). Here's a photo of all the crafts we did: 

We did: 
*Advent books (covered in Christmas material, with a scripture, song, and story for each day in December leading up to Christmas). 
*Sock snowmen (rice-filled socks, tied off with string, with beads, buttons, material, and sticks to decorate).
*JOY blocks (simple blocks painted, papered, with stickers for the letters, and then covered in mod podge).
*Necklaces (cream and crystal beading with different colors of ribbon). 

We sewed pajama bottom for an orphanage in Russia (a sister in our ward lived there for a number of years and helps the orphanage whenever she can. It's called a handicapped orphanage --the kids there end up living there for life). 

And lastly, we had a brunch with Christmas breakfast foods. 

It was a great day! I'm so grateful for all the people who were willing and able to help. I'm hoping next year will be a bit better attended and more will participate. 


Within the last two months, we've had three ward presidencies re-organized: Young Women, Primary, and Relief Society. Gratefully, I still have my two calling (RS mtng coordinator, and RS pianist). I owe Brandon's calling in the Bishopric to keeping me out of a stressful leadership calling and I'm very grateful at this point in my life! Maybe in another 2 or 3 years I will be ready to do more... (And I just realized this could make it look like I was hoping or expecting a leadership calling! But, dear reader, I can assure you that I was not!)

(Although I did just accept an assignment from the music chairperson to write the whole Sacrament Meeting Christmas Program. Felt like home to me! I adore music callings, I adore organizing musical programs. Still not sure if saying, "yes" to do it was the right answer or not, though...)


Another sign I am getting better: I don't give into the temptation to wallow and sit around in the mornings. From January to May (2014), each morning, after getting the kids off to school, I would let the boys play on the iPads or watch TV pretty much all day and I would sit around and wallow. Of course, I didn't really have much of a choice. I was barely able to muster up enough strength to get them into clothes outside of their pajamas and get myself dressed. I was surviving, and it was hard. 

I did have a few days like that this summer, but they started to become fewer and further in between. 

And now, since the start of this school year, after I get the kids off to school, more often than not, I am able to do whatever needs to be done... and I do it without anger or malice or frustration. Today I was able to start a load of laundry, do the dishes, wipe off the counters, shower, and dress in something that makes me feel pretty, as well as get #6 dressed and fed, and send off a few important emails --all before 9AM! This is big for me, dear reader. 

And just FYI --no, I usually don't have to do the dishes in the morning. The big kids do their kitchen chores each evening, but Sundays kind of get lazy around here (for everyone!) and so Monday mornings mean I have a bit more to do around the house. And I'm okay with that. 

This afternoon we have planned a playdate with some new friends. #5 made a good friend at school, and so his mom and I have coordinated and we're all meeting at the park after lunch. This morning, as I was getting ready, I was so tempted to cancel. My anxiety meeting new people here has been hard to overcome, especially since I feel like such a minority (just religion and large-family wise). But, now that I'm up and showered, I'm not as worried, anymore. It'll be fun and I'll be fine. 


Trying to get over hurt words from strangers is hard. I don't think I will ever get used to it. It feels like it's coming out of left field, a sucker punch when you weren't looking. And when it's your character and motives they attack, without knowing who you are? Ugh. Just hard. Can forgiveness still happen while you feel the left-over sting? I honestly want to know.

It reminded me of my friend who received a mean and shameful letter from an anonymous neighbor who reprimanded them for not keeping their small farm's yard mowed. My friend's mower had been broken for most of the summer, and they did the best they could. She was absolutely mortified about the letter, but it taught her something great. You can read about it in this blog post


Last night, Brandon decided to do a spur-of-the-moment bon fire. I love the smell of campfire, and it was so lovely to sit out there, but holy cow, mosquitos, go away! It's Autumn, now, didn't you know? 


My brother and SIL blessed their baby girl over Labor Day weekend. (They live in northern California.)  It's so hard to be so far away from all of family, especially when I see all of my nieces and nephews growing up so quickly! Here's a photo of their beautiful family: 

And I just did the count! When my baby girl is born, my parents will have 17 grandchildren. Pretty awesome, since they only had four kids! 


The Washington D.C. Temple is closed for maintenance, so we're going to try to get to the Manhattan temple this weekend. I hope it works out! I haven't been to the temple since May and I miss it a lot. It puts everything into perspective for me --the point of life. The point of families, the point of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the covenants I have made. I know they make me stronger and help me withstand the pain and trials that come my way.

And honestly, I could dwell so easily upon all of that pain. I have, before. Financial problems, my chronic health conditions, raising a big family, marriage struggles, extended family issues, loneliness, and then my mental illness (which I could have included in my chronic health issues, but I'm talking about my others ones). Mortality is hard. But it's hard enough facing it with Christ, the Holy Ghost, and covenants --I can't imagine facing it without those things. 

(From our 15th wedding anniversary trip in January 2014)


Last thought (I promise): 


Anonymous said...

If you want any ideas for programs, let me know. I... have a few. In my big drive. I tend to write them during the breaks at General Conference... for some reason, the inspiration just happens then!

I do think it's possible to work on forgiveness even while it's stinging... could be incremental in nature, you know? Forgive this element, work on another element, draw good boundaries, forgive a bit more.

LOVE that last quote. I agree, and it's gorgeous.

Also: GO YOU. I end up canceling sometimes for the same reasons, and it's very cool that you're not letting it stop you today.

Linda Liebhardt said...

Here's a little fall quote from Emily Bronte: "Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree."
But you probably knew that.
You live in such a glorious place for autumn.
I love your blog. Your frank wisdom and bravery. Your family. You. And, yes , forgiveness is possible even when the stings are still there. We wish we could forget, don't we? But we remember and it still hurts. That is one thing I don't enjoy about my finite brain. I'm hoping my eternal and resurrected brain will allow that Christlike quality of forgiving And "remembering no more."