Monday, March 30, 2015

Women's Conference: Being a Defender of My Family.

This will be the third year attending women's conference without my oldest daughter, but how lucky is she to be living in Salt Lake City where she was at the center of it all. Luckily I have two other daughters at home whom I have the privilege of attending with, and this past weekend we all watched it via satellite inside the chapel along with several sisters. The theme this year was on defending the family, and the sanctity of marriage. The family truly is of God, and He needs us to be covenant keeping daughters. Attending this event with my daughters builds up our testimony as well as our energy in faithfully keeping the covenants we made at baptism, and helps us to do better. You can watch the entire session here.

After introducing the session with a family ensemble singing, "A Family is of God", one of the questions that was asked was, "What does family mean to you?" And here is my answer...

My family is my world.  

No matter how much we may disagree, no matter the little spats in between all the good times, and the hardships we face from time to time that will cause us to annoy one another, no matter what "life" throws at us, no matter all the bickering that my two youngest children cause my family is my world. The fact that we have put the Savior in the center of our home helps us to overcome all the mishaps and trials that come our way. Knowing that we have each other to lean on in any given situation whether good or bad assures us that we have a safe haven to come home to. The gospel of Jesus Christ is key in keeping my family together, and the example that I set for my children in striving to be a "defender of the family" helps them know that having the gospel  in my life is seriously a part of my life, and that I'm not just going through the motions. Regardless of my imperfections (and I have a lot of them) I strive to live the life that I want my children to exhibit. The time we take to pray, and read the gospel as a family strengthens us a whole, and helps us to withstand any darkness that comes our way. We build each other up with positive love, and energy. There are so many excerpts in every single talk that I loved, but one of my favorites is when President Henry B. Eyring said, "joy always comes after sorrow." How true that is especially when one has endured any kind of trial! 

Carole M. Stephens said, "We each belong to and are needed in the family of God. Earthly families all look different, and while we do the best we can to create strong traditional families, membership in the family of God is not contingent upon any kind of status. Marital status, parental status, financial status, social status, or even the kind of status we post on social media. Their hopes for us is perfect, their plan for us is perfect, and their promises are sure." As a mother it is my hope that I will continue to build the love of Christ so strong that my daughters (including my son) will be strong defenders of their future families just as I am with mine....only better! And that the seeds of perfection that we have inside our soul will one day be perfected! 

When Bonnie L. Oscarson spoke about the The Family: A Proclamation to the world, and how much we need that declaration now than we did 20 years ago when it was first published, I was nodding my head because that is such a true statement. We definitely need to teach our daughters to aim for the ideal, and plan for contingencies.


"Live it , share it, defend it!"
~Cheryl A. Esplin

*****

On another note my oldest daughter Sierra had the opportunity to sing a solo with the institute choir this past Sunday in Salt Lake City. The institute director of the college personally called me letting me know that she did a fabulous job, and that he is lucky to have her as part of their choir. Music brings her all kinds of happy, and I'm so glad she is a part of this organization. She loves it, and I'm so proud of her. I wish I was there to have seen her perform, but how grateful I am for technology where I can see and hear her sing with just a click of a button. Technology certainly is a miracle. 
It truly was a beautiful weekend attending womens conference with my daughters, and knowing that Sierra is building up her spirituality, and is surrounded by goodness in Utah brings me assurance that she is on the right path to living a good life. Especially where good friends, music, and singing are involved! 

Happy Monday! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Princeton University Art Museum.

Going on trips that can be educational helps me not feel so bad for not enrolling Noah in preschool (it's not my fault he was on a waiting list!) Nonetheless, I have enjoyed every minute raising this boy of mine and being able to take him to places during the day. Now that we have a car that runs well I have been literally going to town, and venturing out of my comfort zone. 

Yesterday I decided to drive to Princeton to check out the art museum on campus. Luckily it's free because it looks like I'm going to have to make another trip back and bring the girls. My entire family are history buffs, and this is definitely a world of art at your fingertips! They have a collection history that extends back to the 1750's, and the exhibits were amazing. There was so much to see, and photograph but only captured the exhibits that intrigued us the most. Noah was really intrigued by the Egyptian gallery, and all the artifacts and relics that came with it. He was mostly mesmerized by the mummy coffin!
He was such a good little sport walking around quietly and taking every piece of art in. When we went to the MOMA last spring all he wanted to do was look at a painting for like two seconds, and run around to the next. I notice as he gets older he's beginning to understand more and more about why we come to museums, and what it's about. Teaching him that this is history, and even though he's five the questions he asks such as, "What's this, and what is it for?" and "Is there a mummy inside?"  tells me that he's interested, and curious. I can see that it stimulates his mind, and his questions become endless. 

When we stopped to look at this Chinese painting (which is in the style of Van Gogh) I couldn't help, but to chuckle a bit as to how he was standing there studying it. Who knows what he was thinking as he was just standing there looking at it. He could also just be looking at it as I do when I look at paintings. He's obviously learning a lot from me as I myself will stand, stare, read and study what every painting entails.
I'm so glad that I'm able to have this opportunity to take him to places that that are both fun and educational. 
It totally felt like fall, and although it was drizzling we managed to walk around all over campus, and take a picture with the Princeton tiger. 
We were lucky and managed to sit it on a free concert they offer every Thursday inside the Princeton chapel. I personally love how Catholic churches are designed, and love that old smell. Very nostalgic! 
This is probably one of my favorite campuses to explore, and museums to go to so far. I honestly think universities have some of the best museums. 
What a better way to end the day eating Belgian waffles for lunch at PJ's Pancake house. I swear this kid can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! 
In spite of the rain it was definitely a fun day! 

Happy weekend! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Springy Beach Day!

Oh, how I love Spring! It's indeed my favorite season of the year because it gives me the chance to start anew all over again. To be more patient in the morning with the kids, and making sure I kiss them on the cheek before leaving school. To appreciate every waking moment with them because in two and half months another school year will end, which means another year older each of my kids will turn. I don't want to forget those BIG important  details such as the hugging, and giving pecks on their cheeks. Time is fleeting with my kids especially with Noah. It has been really nice not working outside the home for the past 15 years, but once Noah starts kindergarten I wonder how I will manage my time. Luckily our school district has half a day kindergarten which means he'll only be gone for a few hours, but still. I've gotten so used to raising kids, and have always been pregnant each time each hild turned five (it just happened that way), and while I'd send a child off to kindergarten I'd be nesting all day. I hate to admit this, and I'll probably jinx it by writing it, but I strongly feel that Noah is my last child. He's lucky being the only boy in the family because he gets lots of attention. He probably gets the most hugs out of all us family members! I remember how time quickly passed with Sierra who has been Utah for the past year, and can't help but to focus on the future instead of the now. I want to give equal time to each of my kids, and devote my time to each child individually, and to seriously soak it all in. Seriously.

With spring arriving I am going to take advantage of my days with Noah and venture out to unknown territories. I want to show him what life is all about, and to take him out of his comfort zone. I want to show him the world inside and outside of Jersey no matter how far I have to drive. I want him to know that there's more to life outside our little backyard, and borough in Jersey. I want him to thrive, and be enthusiastic about the world no matter how hard it gets, and how much it changes. I want him to be polite, and say hello to strangers even when they give him a weird look in return.. I want him to know that there is more to entertain your mind than staying at home playing with cars, trains, playing games on the computer, and watching transformer, and star wars movies. I want him to realize that some of the books we have read to him are true stories, and to take him to those places we've read about. 
But....

I also want him to be a kid, to stay little, and slowly grow up. Therefore the days I spend with him are going to be super priceless, and because I myself am getting up there in age I want to learn, and grow with him. Even if it's for seven hours during the day i want us both to be super adventurous, and courageous! Going to the beach yesterday may not be too courageous (because we always go during the summer), but it was something i have been craving since about the second snowstorm. He was so excited knowing that we were going, and as soon as we arrived he ran straight to the waves. We also dug for seashells, and ran around chasing each other. Since the weather is still a bit nippy there was hardly anyone on the beach which made it perfect for us to run around freely, and yell without annoying anyone.


My favorite beach moment was Noah asking me if he can take a picture of me, and I obliged. He looked so cute standing there telling me, "I took it, I took it already!" He captured this one of me on snapchat.
Not too shabby for a five year old. I totally documented our story on snapchat, and I have to say it was sweet. Here is a snippet of that story along with a few selfies...
We had ourselves such a grand time at the beach. Next to my husband he's the perfect little date! We absolutely love it here, and although we are enjoying this wet, nippy, spring weather we are looking forward to summer! 
The end.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Terrain.

When I told my husband how I've been longing to go to the Terrain in Pennsylvania since like 2008 he's like, "Why didn't we come here sooner?" My sentiments exactly I told him! I can't believe it took us seven years to finally visit this gem!
The Terrain is a perfect garden spot to shop, eat, and get ideas for when we have a decent yard to plant our family garden with vegetables and all! So since Jon was off this past Monday we decided to take a drive and venture out to this hidden treasure! Everything in the store was dreamy, and being that Easter is a week away they had all kinds of Easter decorations, and  sundries that will make for a perfect rustic wedding, and your backyard a dream garden.


The cafe inside the terrain was amazing! The bread was so delicious that we had to fork out another 2 bucks to get another one. The first serving is free. They serve it in a small planter pot, and it was so good. Noah is a major carb boy, and every single dish we had didn't disappoint! 
What a beauty this gem was, and we will definitely be back to buy this ashwood cutting board, as well as visit the terrain in Westport

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My View On "Hey Natalie Jean."

I'm not one to write a review about any books because I'm no professional book critic, but after reading Hey Natalie Jean, and all that it entails I have to say that it was insightful, and witty, but most of all real. I have been reading Natalie's blog for over two years now, and the fact that this woman is ten years younger than me has helped me broaden my horizons while living on the east coast in terms of being adventurous with my kid(s) I love how she portrays her life living in New York City, and how she spends her days with her son. I may be 10 plus years older than her, but this woman has inspired me over, and over again on how keeping it real is the way life ought to be. She has taught this 40 plus year old how to apply false eyelashes (not that I'll ever wear them, but you never know!), and how to choose the right color lipstick. She has shown me how her life with her husband Brandon is, and how I too, after 20 years of marriage can still have fun with my hubs, and ideas on how to make your home a fun place to live. Her sense of fashion, and interior design is amazing, and love how she brushes all the negativity aside in spite of what life throws at her with motherhood, infertility, and all. The fact that we both have sons close in age gives me hope that even though I'm older I can make life fun for my little boy. She exhibits how living life in New York is fun, and regardless of the huge age gap we have I feel that we have a lot in common. I never grow weary of her musings, and how she writes about her life in the real world. 
Hey Natalie Jean is definitely a good read, and if you are one who is in the market for a book with all kinds of inspiration from fashion to motherhood, and to look at the sweetest, and funnest photos pick up a copy of her book. She'll have you at "Hey" and you will want to read it over, and over again! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Noah-isms.


Noah's choice phrases are becoming more and more funny, blunt, and a bit more mature. I never get tired of hearing him. 

Jon is awesome when it comes to reading bedtime stories to the kids. Sometimes I wonder if he's giving me a break for all the years I did it when the girls were little, and so Noah insists that he reads to him. I could hear him from downstairs, and instead of Jon reading to Noah, Noah was reading to him. The book was Green Eggs and Ham, and the one sentence I heard Noah read to Jon was "I will never eat green ham, and eggs!"

Noah has become a transformers freak, and star wars geek, and has been bugging me to buy him a larger Optimus Prime, and lego star wars. Hs words, "I shouldn't have to tell you to buy them for me mom. When daddy gets paid can we go get them?" I told him we'd have to see about that!

The other night before Jon tucked Noah into bed my kisses with Noah were intense. I told Jon how when it comes the time for Noah to be married that I'm not going to be his "number one" person in his life. So I hugged Noah so tight, and then kissed him again, and said to him, "Be sure to marry someone kind, and lovely, honest, and true." He then said to me, "Like Sofia the first?" That made me smile when he said that! He obviously wants to marry a princess! 

Noah sometimes is good at using the bathroom, and wiping on his own. But when i went to use the potty after he did I noticed a couple of brown friends floating around unflushed. I asked him if he wiped. He said, "Yes, daddy did it." I then asked Jon if he wiped him, and he said no. That's when Noah said to me, "Mom, I shouldn't call everyone to wipe me I can wipe myself!" 

There was a commercial about a brother and sister eating lunch, and playing on their phones. When Noah saw that commercial he said, "Awww, that's like me and Chelsea. Kids need phones mom. The sister has a phone, but not the brother, and I need a phone too!" I then said to him, "When you're 12 Noah you'll get a phone, and most likely it'll be a flip phone!"  He smiled and said, "ok". 


Friday, March 20, 2015

I'm A Mormon, I'm Imperfect, & I Love It!

For the past year I have been noticing an increase in members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who are ten years (or more) younger than me leaving the religion. It seems like the majority of them are leaving the church for various reasons. One big one is the fact that equal rights is not happening within the church (sorry, but women do not need to hold the priesthood), not conforming or "fitting it" in with other members, or because some feel a little overwhelmed, imperfect, or even burned out with the church. Newsflash...this church is all about love, activity, and fellowshipping, and even though some may not fulfill the task 100 percent or even 10 percent--no one is perfect. And that is why are our faith is tested from time to time so that we can spiritually grow, and help those who may be feeling all of the aforementioned feelings. Something we all have to remember, and in my opinion is the number one reason why so many go inactive, or leave the church is because one has been offended.

The church is true, but people are not. 

Every ones reason for joining the church is different, and every ones reason for leaving the church is different. Whether they joined on a whim because of loneliness, divorce, solace, a boy, or whatever. Everyone has their own reason, and fortunately for me I joined for the right reasons regardless of my imperfections, and the things I did before and after I joined. Thing is when I first joined I literally felt like a bit of an outcast in unfamiliar territory, but throughout all those feelings of inadequacy I came to terms that in order for me to grow, learn, and become more familiar with the church was to truly convert within the gospel, and not anyone else. I needed to go through all of those tests in order for me to be who I am today. I had a pretty messed up childhood, and because of that I was searching for a higher ground, and an LDS commercial that aired on television 22 years ago was the answer to my salvation not only from my home, but from the life I was living.

How imperfect am I? 

Lots of imperfections in this gal! On occasion the words, s#*t, and hell, will slip under my breath. I have even said it out loud in front of my kids. It's something that I have to work on. I will tell you that I never used to utter those words (except when i was a teenager!) until about a year ago. A lot has happened within my family this past year which maybe someday I'll write about, but I'll tell you it's not easy. But I have faith that things will get better because they always do. 

And as I write this they are. 

There was a time in my life where both Jon and I were not active. I remember how it felt to not have the spirit with us. I remember how trials were even harder for us to handle. We were living in President Thomas S. Monson's ward in Utah out of all places where you'd think we'd be super active. Ummm....Not! It's a choice. It was a choice to not be fully committed, and we chose to not attend church, hence all the struggling. It was a choice not to attend our meetings faithfully, or pay a full tithe. We chose to not do the things that I learned to attain as a disciple of Christ. This was 18 years ago when my first daughter was born, but at that point in my life I was still trying to figure out who I truly was, and finding ways to heal from my childhood abuse

Being the only member in my family was not easy, and not having enough support from family, and friends didn't help my attitude with people. Even though I knew that this was the most perfect place to worship God, and to spiritually grow I had to learn on my own, and pray really hard to truly convert to the gospel. I remember how it felt to be somewhat of an outcast being the only ethnic in my ward in Utah. This was almost 23 years ago so ethnicity in the church then was not as common as it is now. I've realized that after moving around from state to state that we couldn't escape our issues to conform. 

But we did it anyway. 

Although it took many moves to different states having different bishops, relief society presidents, home teachers, visiting teachers, and friends to recommit to the gospel we remembered. We remembered how wonderful the whole plan of salvation was, and how beautiful it will be to live with our family for eternity. We remembered why (whether we were born into the church or not) we accepted the gospel. We ended up making the choice to clean up our act, and focus on the things that made us happy before our inactivity.  Mind you we were not married in the temple, but were sealed. And boy will I be forever grateful in not rushing to get to the temple, and to enter it on my own motive. 

My solution in striving to be devout.

I stopped caring about what people thought, and stopped looking for the negative. I've learned that when you look for negativity that you are indeed going to find it. I began caring more for what my Heavenly father thinks, and how I can better myself in thinking of others. 

I'm in my mid 40's now, with a daughter in college, and three younger children to raise, and I personally don't reflect or concentrate on what others think of me or if I'm "fitting in." I don't have time for drama, or any kind of nonsense that is unnecessary (although it can be tough because you see it within the members, but again I blow it off.) I strive to observe the good in others. Times are changing, and the adversary is out there to make us think otherwise. He wants us to feel lost, miserable, and to be against each other, and to make us feel that we don't need God or any religion to make it back home. Heck, he's even making others believe that we come from monkeys, or a piece of matter. I personally know that Jesus is the Christ, and that I am a daughter of God. It sounds easier to say it, but if you really get down on your knees, pleading and talking to Him about why you are living and who you are, He will listen. And you will feel that answer warm up in your heart. Satan wants us to think that what looks bad is really good. I know how Satan works because he really tries me when it comes to life. 

But I don't let him. 

I fight him. I fight him with every fiber of my being by attending church, and making my home a heaven on earth. I love attending my meetings, and learning all about the doctrine that is being taught. It works for me & my family. I know that as my kids get older they will find their own way in this world, and when they leave the nest is when they will truly be tested with the things they do, with their testimony of the gospel, and all they were taught in the home.. I am raising them the best I can, and no matter how hard it is I am letting them govern themselves. They know I don't portray myself as a perfect mom because I'm not! I'm soooooooo far from perfect, and I don't mind. I don't mind because it gives me something to fight for every day. It gives me something to work at every day event though I'll never get there, and I don't get bored. I stopped feeling sorry for myself a long time ago, whining and complaining on how members should act because I'm not perfect! Worrying doesn't get us anywhere, and  I don't want my kids to see me all stressed out, and unhappy because they're going to learn it from me. I am grateful for the scriptures that we have that build me up & let me tell you...when I don't pray, read, or do anything that is positive my days are chaotic, and my attitude is not the greatest. So far I feel as if I'm getting better. I have noticed that the older I get, the older my kids get, the more I attend the temple, the more trials I have, and the more I share and bear my testimony that my strengths take over my weaknesses. And it is a wonderful feeling!

Any media that is out there to prevent us from falling away, think rationally about the decision on how to view it. I could have easily been inactive and probably divorced had Jon & I not worked on our marriage. Whether we are raised in the church or converted at the age of 8, 12, 15, 20, 39,  50, or 70 we all have our reasons why we chose the path of the Lord. All of us had a different upbringing. Mine wasn't the prettiest, but it certainly wasn't the darkest. And I survived. And my solace, strength, and answer was seeking a higher divine. A light. And the religion that did it for me was the LDS religion. It takes major effort, trusting in God, but most of all having Faith in God to know that I will strive to endure to the end.

Everyone has their own agency and we can choose what we want.

I chose this religion, and one thing I am grateful for no matter how much I wish we didn't have is our free agency.  Without it we would never be able to experience the trials of life, heartache, and decisions of why we aren't going to church anymore. Justification is huge in our religion and many of us justify a lot of things so that we don't feel guilty. I used to be like that, but then again I worked on that and any temptation that I had such as stealing and  smoking have completely gone away. Completely & when I asked my husband why that is & how that could be because I was a major Clepto, and on occasion smoked cigarettes! It was then Jon said to me, "because you have truly repented not to do it anymore & because of that true remorse you have towards God, He has helped you to overcome those struggles, and don't get tempted anymore."

So to all of you who are struggling in testimony, identity, temptation, know that with me you are accepted and loved, and I don't judge. I love my gay friends & I accept them. I love anyone with a cool tattoo on their body. I love anyone who strives to do the right thing by coming to church every other week or month! I love my nonmember community (not too many Mormons around here) I love my nonmember family, and to all my sisters and brothers in the church that I've met in different states whether you're active or not...I Love You too! But know that we will never reach perfection no matter how hard we try. Attending my meetings with my family for three hours and fellowshipping other's brings me all kinds of happy. I choose to live this way and as long as Heavenly Father is on my side I will continue to fight for my weaknesses to become strengths, and endure to the end. 

And in the end we must not allow any bull crap to break us away from what we believe in!

Living the gospel is not that hard. It's up to us on how we work, and look at it. We do have standards in which to live by, but if we are truly, and fully committed it won't be that hard to hold them high. Obeying the laws of the Lord can prevent future heartache, and major consequences. 

Believe me. I know! 
I'm Rose, I'm a mormon, I'm imperfect it, and I love it!