Monday, February 29, 2016

To The Fathers That Stay.


When I saw American idol this past Wednesday I couldn't help but to shed a few tears. Hearing Kelly Clarkson's song "Piece by Piece" rang so true to my ears. The lyrics to her song sounded all too familiar for me, and I was crying right there along with her.

Having my father leaving my mom when I was five was the hardest thing for me. Of course I was too young to understand why my father would do such a thing, but the feelings I felt were those that came from my mother. Seeing her cry, and getting frustrated when he would drift back into our lives three months, six months, sometimes a year later, and spend the night only to leave the next day without even saying goodbye would piss upset the hell heck out of her. I remember one of those moments when he did come back. I was probably about six or seven, and still didn't comprehend as to why he was doing this. I knew there was something lacking as I grew older, but at the tender age of seven I outsized my imagination, and blitzed right through any negativity that was affecting me. My father walking in and out on us became a normal thing, but still...something never felt right about it.

And now that I'm older, I realized it wasn't right.

One of my favorite memories of my father was when he drifted back into our lives again in the middle of the night. I remember how excited I was to see him. He walked in, and because our house was super duper small had to sleep on the bedroom floor. He told me that if I heard weird noises (imitates snoring noises) that it would be him, and to not be afraid. I remember feeling secure when he returned home one more time, and the love I felt for him when he said that. Still...the smile, and uttering those three simple words to him "I love you" was not enough for him to stay. The kindness I saw in his eyes when he said that to me was genuine, but it didn't last. And he left again the following morning only to never return again.  

Abandonment issues can really mess you up as a child emotionally and cause you to find "love" in all the wrong places. And sometimes not the right kind. In spite of all the trials I went through while growing up, I count my blessings for finding my way to softer pastures, and better relationships especially after converting my life to Christ. I knew that I didn't want to be with someone who didn't make family a priority. Someone who would walk out on us, that was abusive both physically, and verbally. Sometimes I wonder if that's why I had Sierra so quickly when I married. I wanted to have that happy ending. The Lord put an amazing man in my path that knew would never leave me or my child. And for that I will always be eternally grateful.

I know there are many fathers out there who for some reason or another have left their child(ren), and whatever you're reason may be know that you have a beautiful child(ren)out there who probably still wonders about you.

To the fathers that stay, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there when you witnessed your child enter the world. Thank you for being there for your child to nurture, protect, and love. To be there to cuddle, and hold. To change dirty diapers, and make a bottle. To run to the store when you realized you ran out of baby tylenol, diapers, or wipes. To help wash numerous onesies by hand to take out the runny poop that splattered all over your babies backside. To stay up until the wee hours of the morning to help soothe a colicky baby while your wife is too tired because she had to deal with round one of a colicky baby during the day. To come home after an eight hour workday, and make dinner knowing that you're wife is still recovering from a c-section. To have the patience in dealing with a stubborn woman who wants to do everything, but you put your foot down, and allow her to rest. To be able to handle stress well, and not take out anything out on her. Not your bad day at work, financial hardships, or lash out on her because the house was a mess when you came home. To not expect dinner right at 6pm! To be there when they're cutting their first tooth, and appreciate all the hard work that you're wife deals with during the day. To hear their first word. To witness their first steps. To be there to pick up the slack in every aspect of motherhood, but most of all, to have had the patience to stay. Too understand what it means to be a father. To know that our precious children come from a loving Heavenly Father to learn, grow, and be loved. I say, thank you.

In all my life nothing matched that perfect moment when I married my best friend, and for the past 21 years has kept me feeling safe, secure, but mostly loved, and appreciated.
Not only towards me, but to all of our children. That's true fatherhood.

One of my favorite snippets from kelly's song describes both Jon and I far too well,. Love all the happy faces on the women at the end of her video too. Totally lived in the moment as I was watching it...again!

"Piece by piece I fell far from the tree
I would never leave her life like you left me
She will never have to wonder her worth
Because unlike you I'm gonna put her first
He'll never walk away
He'll never break her heart
He'll take care of things
He'll love her
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
and a father should be great."

I still don't know the whereabouts of my father, and at this moment I'm okay with it. And like I mentioned in this post, if he were to ever find me, and return again I just might let him in.



Friday, February 26, 2016

Meeting Stephanie Nielsen, & Appreciating the Gospel.

"Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times, and in all places." -Dallin H. Oaks

Now it's very rare that I post or go on social media on Sundays, but this past Sunday I couldn't help but to scroll down my feed, and look on Stephanie Nielsen's Instagram, because every Sunday she always posts a photo of her sweet family along with an inspirational message. When Sierra emailed me to let me know that she finally met one of my favorite bloggers I knew who she was referring too. Then again I had seen it on Instagram way before her email! 

She mentioned that they have some time on Sundays to go to the temple for a walk, and as she and a few other sisters were walking noticed the Nielsen family. They all wanted to take a picture with them, and then afterwards she approached Stephanie to let her know how much I adored her, her blog, and her book. In return Stephanie told Sierra to let me know that she loves me, and thanked her. That really made my week, and it's so nice that Sierra was able to meet such an inspiring woman who has been through a very hard ordeal. 

I think it's moments like this where Sierra feels strengthened, and seeing how other people have endured harder trials, but in a different way helps her to become even closer to her Heavenly Father. She loves learning, and making new friends. It's amazing to hear how quickly she has picked up the language. She also mentioned how she can bear her testimony in tagalog, and speak in tagalog while sharing the gospel. The gift of tongues is truly amazing, and she truly has felt the spirit more than ever before. In her last email there was a girl she was teaching named April, and this past Sunday got baptized. She was so happy, and being able to go to the temple was the icing on the cake to end her week. She loves her zone, and her companion. She sounds like she's doing well, but I still pray my heart out for her.

I ask that y'all continue to pray for her and all the other missionaries. These brothers and sisters sacrifice so much, and learn so much while being there. Just talking to my husband about the MTC, and how he mentioned how intense the learning can be especially when learning another language can be tough, but it seems that Sierra is grasping on very quickly and appreciating the gospel more now, than ever before. 



Monday, February 22, 2016

We Love To See The Temple, Even When It's Closed.

// Noah photo bombing our photo. I deliberately chose this photo because it's too cute not to post! //

So this past weekend we decided to drive to D.C. to attend the temple, and once we drove in, and noticed two cars in the parking lot we were like, "is it even open?" You can imagine the look on all of our faces. Lexie started laughing,  Noah was like,"seriously", and with a pouty face said, "the temple is closed?" It had been one month since we last went to the temple, and had been itching to go since the day Sierra entered the MTC. To be honest, I always have the desire to go, but when things become more intense in our life the desire becomes even stronger. I was a bit bummed at first, but made the best out of this situation. I love the temple, and I am grateful to have good traveling kids who found this amusing. We all decided to get down anyway, and walk the temple grounds. It was such a beautiful day with temps in the high 60's. I was able to wear flats withouts tights, and Jon didn't have to wear a coat! I made sure the kids dressed warm because being that we're still in the winter months the temps tend to drop in the evening. It's a good thing Noah brought his scooter to ride in. He has been going through withdrawal riding that thing, and went to town riding his scooter all around the temple. We figured since it's a beautiful day that the girls can take Noah to the nearby biking trail where he can ride his scooter. Luckily we had the whole temple to ourselves, and that Noah can ride around without anyone thinking it's inappropriate. 

I have no idea how on earth we missed the memo that the temple was closed for cleaning, because I'll tell ya we're pretty good at listening!  Either we missed church one Sunday due to being ill, or we just weren't paying attention! Nonetheless, it was one of the most perfect days of my life. Literally perfect. Just to sit at the temple without a care in the world. Not worrying about bills, politics, cars being fixed, and overall current events that surround "the world." Just by sitting on the bench on the temple grounds even when it's closed brought a peace to my soul. Sitting, and looking up at the temple, watching my kids interact with each other, and running after Noah in his scooter gave me a glimpse of how it will feel to be with my family in the eternities. 

Jon, and I couldn't help but to just stare at each other, and I kid you not, we both said, "it's so peaceful here." I tell ya once you've known your significant other as long as I have you tend to think the same, finish each other sentence, and utter the same words at the same time. It's funny, and I love it! We were totally on the same wavelength as to what we were thinking, and I said, "This is it. This is why we come. To feel the way we are feeling right now, and to know that if we continue to live the best we can, we can be together forever with those crazy kids." I couldn't help but to get teary eyed for a second thinking of Sierra and how much I do miss her. This past week wasn't the greatest for me having her leave, and all, but because I have three kids at home I care for always make the best of my days. Knowing that she is serving the Lord truly do make my days better, and after hearing from her last Thursday I'm all good. I know that she is good hands, and having gone to the temple was the icing on the cake! 

This day was definitely a blessing, and something that I really needed to make my week a great one! 

Even if it was closed! 

Happy Monday folks! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

When Faced With Adversity.

So we finally heard from Sierra, and now that we know that her preparation day is on Thursdays we can hope to expect emails from her on a weekly basis. I can't even begin to tell you how anxious I was feeling when I hadn't heard from her! Jon just kept telling me to be patient, and that her p-day could be any day of the week. I know she's in good hands, and all, but still...she's my baby! And I'm a rookie missionary mom learning as my firstborn is serving a mission! We were just so glad to have finally heard from her. Her email was short, but mentioned she's doing well. She admits it's a bit lonely at times, but we reminded her that she is never alone, and that Heavenly Father is always there for her. She also mentioned going to the temple with other missionaries in her zone, and how that helped uplift her. I'm sure we'll hear from her more as the weeks pass us by, but for now she says that the MTC is a "spiritual high prison." Not sure if I should take that as a compliment, but overall she seemed fine. Thank goodness for weekly emails! So after hearing from her yesterday I thought about the sunday school lesson we had at church this past Sunday, and I mentioned it to her in my response to her email. 

In my husbands sunday school class he pointed something out on a very important question that was asked as to why we face adversity. Two answers were given: one, for the righteous to be blessed, and second, for others to be called to repentance. Totally not the answer I thought about in our lesson, but after hearing those answers over, and over again in my head...they ring so true. 

I know this because we have totally been through it as a couple, as a family, and I, as an individual before, and after joining the church. So when I emailed Sierra on that particular subject I reminded her that in order for us to learn that we have to face adversity in order for us to be blessed. We need adversity to help us grow, to get uncomfortable, and to be blessed by the challenges once we've endured them. I told her that if she goes through any challenges in the MTC such as learning the language, or feeling homesick, or second guessing herself at being a missionary that all she has to do is have faith, and pray her heart out to Heavenly Father. My husband reminded her that the gift of tounges is amazing, and that the holy ghost will guide her every step of the way. 

A couple of weeks ago we gathered as a family in the living room, and listened to her farewell talk for family home evening. She sounded so confident, and true. We discussed her talk afterwards to our kids, and explained to them how in order for their sister to be where she's at today she had to go through some pretty rough patches. 

Adversity. 

I'm sure that the Lord is going to lead her to the right people in the mission field who have been through her similar cirumstances. I know that she's going to be empathetic, compassionate, and nonjudgemental because she's "lived in the world." She is really anchored in the gospel, and has a firm testimony on the atonement. It's so amazing to hear her words on that topic, and how mature she sounded. I know that in the next 18 months her testimony will grow, and that she will prosper not only within herself as a person, but in the gospel as well. 

I want to share another snippet from her farewell talk in hopes that if some of us are struggling with adversity, or in understanding the atonement that it will help. 

"One aspect of the gospel that really stood out at me was the Atonement. How it really does help in our lives, and the power of the "Grace of God", and what it can do for a missionary. The grace that God gives us is immeasurable to anything we can comprehend. 

In Brad Wilcox's talk titled, "His Grace is Sufficient" he compares Grace to a piano player. (Of course she had to add that particular part of the talk because she's a pianist!) "But don't you realize how hard it is to practice the piano? I'm just not very good at it. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right." 

Now, isn't that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don't say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don't expect him to be flawless. We can just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano, but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven? Too many are giving up on the church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are just falling short. They have tried in the past, but they continually feel like they're just not good enough. They don't understand grace. There should never be just two options: perfection, or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie hall, or quitting? 

No. 

Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives." 

I really enjoyed that part of her talk, because it really resonated with me at one point. Even today there are times when it would be nice if we could just get a break from all the trials we face, but if we understand grace, and apply the atonement in our lives I firmly believe that things will work out, and when we turn our hearts to God all will be well. No matter how much I'd like to throw in the towel, I just won't. 

Because in the end, living the life I live while facing adversity will all be worth it, and that'll be because I chose for it to be." 

Have a wonderful weekend folks, and I'll continue to keep you updated on emails from our dear sister! If you have a moment, please write to her too! I know she'll love that! She'll be in the MTC in Provo until the end of March!  


Provo MTC address:
Sister Sierra Jorgensen
MAR30 PHI-URD
2005 N. 900 E. Unit 204
Provo, UT 84602

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

And The Gospel Continues To Be Shared...

I am going to rewind a bit to the day Sierra had her open house. There are so many things I want to share about Sierra's special day, and because I wasn't there to help her in any way physically, I went to town texting, and calling my friends I left behind in Utah all about my daughter's missionary farewell! I am grateful for the many friends that showed up to express their love, and support to her. 

But there is one particular person that I am most grateful for showing up, and the words "thank you" don't seem like enough. This one person (along with this other dear friend who couldn't make it) were there for me 23 years ago while I was investigating the church. 
// My dear friend Susanna, (who I knew as Sister Lee) taught me the gospel, and here she is with our lovely daughter! //

I don't want to be prolix in sharing every single detail of how I became a member because you can read my entire conversion story in this post. It's amazing to look back at that post, and see myself in a different light. Sometimes it's hard for me to fathom it! Who knew that because of my joining the church, I'd marry a wonderful man in the church, have children, and almost 24 years later have my firstborn serving a mission! Unbelievable, and remarkable at the same time! 

The Lord definitely knows our plan in this life, and because of Heavenly Father's plan I know that I had to endure every single thing that I have come to pass on this earth until now, and the same goes for my family. In order for all of us to be where we are at in this life we had to endure all things. And for our oldest daughter to be where she's at today...serving a mission. 

I want to share a snippet from her farewell talk that relates to this post. I can't even begin to express my gratitude to her in deciding to serve a mission, because she is indeed going to have a huge impact on so many people. I know that for a fact because two missionaries had a huge impact on my life! 

"Now, we all know the Atonement accounts for two parts of death...physical, and spiritual. Physical death is the first part that we all have the right of overcoming. But the second part, the spiritual death, is an aspect that everyone on this earth has to attain. We are not entitled to overcome spiritual death, it is a reward we must work towards. 

As a missionary, I'm going to the Philippines to remind those who've lived without the gospel, that they chose to come here. In the pre-mortal existence, everyone who has a body on this earth wanted to follow God's plan, and volunteered to come here, go through an individual experience of trials, tribulations, and lessons that would help us to remember our life before, and have the opportunity to come back to Him. Unfortunately, we also passed through "the veil", and that hindered our ability to retain all of our spiritual knowledge of the life hereafter, of God's plan of happiness. Missionaries help bridge that gap. We are some of the ones who help others realize their purpose on Earth, and recognize the spirit and what a beautiful change it can bring." 

I know from experience that missionaries do help bridge that gap because they helped me along the way. They helped me to understand what the atonement meant, and what i needed to do in order to be clean again. I know for a surety that the atonement is real. Without it I would not be who I am today. For many of you who somewhat knew how I used to be in my younger years should be a testament to my actions today. I love the Lord, and with all the imperfections I am given I know that I can continue to work on them. Although I may have a few small regrets I am grateful for the hard experiences I endured thoughout my life until now because without them, I wouldn't be challenged enough to grow spiritually. 

Our daughter's past, like mine, has been dotted with "stupid actions" (those are her words.) But without the repentance process, and the opportunity to turn ourselves around, and be able to be clean before Him once again, she would have never considered a mission. And for that I am truly grateful. 

And so I end this post with a quote from her favorite apostles (and mine too) Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. This talk was given back in 2000 when he spoke at the Provo MTC. 

"Throughout the teaching experience, missionaries must bear testimony of the Savior, and His gift of salvation to us. Obviously you should bear testimony regularly of all the principles you are teaching, but it is especially important that you bear testimony of this central doctrine in the plan of our Heavenly Father. There are several reasons for bearing testimony. One, is that when you declare the truth, it will bring an echo, a memory, even if it is an unconscious memory to the investigator, that they have heard this truth before--and of course they have. A missionary's testimony invokes a great legacy of testimony dating back to the councils in heaven before this world was. There, in an earlier place, these same people heard this same plan outlined, and heard there the role that Jesus Christ would play in their salvation." 

Elder Holland's words ring true, and as I was being taught the gospel I knew immediately that what I was learning was true. I wanted to change my path in the life I was living. I was tired of not succeeding, being a failure, feeling as if I was truly alone. I wanted to make sure that through all the abuse I endured that I was still loved by God. It was then when the sisters stepped foot inside the small apartment I was living in with my mom that I wasn't alone. That I wasn't a failure. That I was supposed to have endured all those things. And that I chose to come here to work at gaining eternal life. That Heavenly Father is there for me. That He has a plan, a way to where I can value my life now, and in the eternities. 

So thankful for the missionaries that saved my life, for the restored gospel that puts everything in perspective, and that our daughter has chosen to serve a mission. That she is out there learning a different language, and growing more by being around other missionaries in becoming more knowledgeable with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The word of God is amazing. It truly brings an unspeakable happiness that sometimes I just can't explain. It's a warmth, a joy, a fulfilling "drug" if you will, that is needed on a daily basis, and like the Bible, I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it was restored for us today so that we can learn from it. So that one day we can return back to our Father in Heaven in full glory without feeling any guilt. I know that if we try each day to correct our wrongs, and just love without any backlashing, backbiting, or unfriendliness, that the Lord will help us to be better. I know this is true. I see it in myself everyday. The harder I try, the happier I am. The more I love, the more joy I have. The more I put the Lord first with His teachings, the stronger I become. 

If you are interested in learning more about the missionaries, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, please don't hesitate to email me or log onto lds.org. to learn more. I can even send you a Book of Mormon for free! There are missionaries all over the world who can contact you too! 

**Also...if you want to send our sister Sierra any letters while she's in the MTC please do so! I know she'd love snail mail. She'll be there until the end of March! 


Provo MTC address:
Sister Sierra Jorgensen
MAR30 PHI-URD
2005 N. 900 E. Unit 204
Provo, UT 84602



Monday, February 15, 2016

A Nice Beginning to Hopefully a Promising Outcome.

When Jon was a young boy he didn't take to piano very well, and the reason he said so is because his teacher wasn't challenging enough. My husband now regrets not sticking to playing the piano, and is so grateful that so far his daughters love, and enjoy playing. I personally never played an instrument in my life so of course I'm so pleased to have talented daughters who can play various instruments, and now it's Noah's turn. And I too hope he will take to playing the piano, and find joy in playing. 

When school started we decided for Chelsea to forego starting cello lessons, and take another year of piano. I had been struggling to find the right piano teacher that I feel would be challenging enough, and thanks to Lexie's band teacher in high school found one! I am so glad that I didn't get Chelsea into cello lessons right away, because she has really improved on her technique, and in all honesty needed to work on that! Ms. Nora has been teaching for over 30 years, and is the nicest lady you can ever meet. She is certainly like a grandmother to my children, and we automatically fell in love with her! 

After observing how she teaches Chelsea, and how Chelsea looks so eager, and excited to have her teaching her I knew that she would be a perfect match for Noah too. 

Noah began taking lessons earlier this month, and she truly is amazing with technique, and Noah caught on super quick. I know it helps having sisters play the piano who have taught him from time to time in the past year, but this little guy can sit still, and already knows the main keys to playing. 
// The first time I took him I was just sitting back glancing at him, and watching him sit straight up. I mean, just look at that posture! It's as if he has a rod in his back! //

I am so proud of all my kids, and their desire to want to learn new things, and play an instrument. When I first asked Noah if he wanted to take piano lessons he said "no." Kind of disappointment me for a second, but when I told him how his teacher is so kind, has grandkids of her own who are his age, and loves little kids just like his kindergarten teacher, he changed his mind real quick. I told him it would be fun, and that she gives a treat after the lesson for playing so well. I tried not to push him, and bribing him is the last thing I want to do. Luckily I didn't have to do that. So far he loves it, and always looks forward to his lessons.  He's so cute that as soon as we get home from the lesson he'll pull out his book from his piano bag, set it on the piano stand, and start playing his notes, and reading them out loud. I am so pleased with him that he hasn't thrown any tantrums as to not wanting to take them anymore. I sure hope he doesn't grow weary of taking lessons, but I know seeing the example of his sisters playing will encourage him more. I also feel that having the right teacher makes a huge difference for the child to find joy, and fulfillment in playing.  A teacher who actually knows what she's doing, and teaching for the right reasons. Not for the numbers so she can make money, but because she loves her kids, and has a true passion for teaching. Piano isn't for everybody, and I'm so grateful that all my girls took to playing, and that they will continue to do so. 
I sure hope that this is the beginning to hopefully a promising outcome for our little boy. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Fill The World With Love."

One of the things I miss about living in Utah is listening to the spoken word on a weekly basis by attending the temple. Temple square in the center of spirituality. The Salt Lake Temple had copies of the spoken word from that week, and when I got into the habit of attending the temple on a weekly basis I would always make sure I grabbed one on the way out. I can't even begin to tell you the strength I received every time I would read it. Lloyd Newell's thoughts were so inspiring, and always wanted to make me a better person. And you know something, I believe at times it did.

I remember the type of person I was ten years ago while I attending the temple on a weekly basis...softer, kinder, and super duper patient as opposed to where we live now. There are times now when I feel a little rushed, and let's be honest...hard, and bold. Don't get me wrong, I'm still the nicest person you can ever meet, but luckily I catch myself in the things I say to those I come in contact with whether it's my neighbors, strangers, and people at church. I go through major withdrawal when it comes to not going to the temple as much, and till this day have not become used to not going. Attending at least five times a year is probably better than nothing, but man do I miss attending every week! I never want to come to a point and say, "I'm used to not going as much." If anything, I miss going to the temple once a week. I'm so grateful that the Philly temple will be opening up in september so that I can go every week. I always strive to watch my actions, and even though I'm not perfect I will recognize my shortcomings, and work hard to not let it change me completely! It's been tough not being able to go to the temple as much as we'd like, but the memories of all the good things I did while living in Utah, and all the spiritual experiences I felt at the temple will always be etched in my mind. Especially listening to the spoken word. Luckily we can access it online today with just a click of a button!
As I was organizing one of my folders of old newspaper clippings from the church news, and various handouts I received from church throughout the years I stumbled upon a stack of the spoken word pamphlets. There was one in particular that caught my eye, and goes very well with the purpose of this post, and how i feel about the world today. No matter how hard life gets, or how ugly the world may seem, I know that I can make it beautiful for myself, and my family, and fill my thoughts, and actions with love. 

Lloyd D. Newell said, "Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love blesses both giver and receiver, and resounds in hearts forever." He continues with saying, "It's true that we're all born with differing interests, capacities, strengths, and weaknesses. But one thing we all need is to receive and give is love. We need it in order to grow into the kind of people we're capable of becoming. More loving, more courageous, more loyal. All virtues have their root in love." 

How true that is. 
My children, no matter how much they may drive me crazy keep me grounded when it comes to joy, and rooted in love. They are the solid footing to my everyday life, and because it's Valentines Day weekend want them to know how much I love them, and how I would do anything for them to keep their hearts happy. 

There's a quote I shared in this old post five years ago ( gosh my kids look young!), and it reminds me of what Valentines Day means, and how expressing love to one another is important. It is my hope that no matter how hard some days may get that I will always look at it positively, and always, always express those three words, "I love you" to my family every day. 

Happy Valentines day weekend! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Called To Serve.

Well, the time has now arrived for our daughter to begin the life to serve as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will never feel the full effect of what it's like to serve a full time mission because of becoming a member so late in age, but I know this...I love the gospel. I know it is true, and that it is the key to everlasting happiness. I know that the Lord has placed missionaries on the path of those who are seeking light, knowledge, joy, and truth. And I'm so grateful to have a child who will be experiencing in sharing this wonderful work of The Lord.

I appreciate the missionaries, and all that they stand for. Leaving their place of comfort surrounded by familiar territory, friends, and family is not easy, but in the end, it will all be worth it. They will be blessed beyond measure for doing so, and will be unimaginably rich in blessings...and so will their families. 

I love how the gospel changes people, and believe me it does change you. I am a testament to that change. I know that Sierra is going to be a loving, guiding, caring, and understanding person in the mission field. I know that she will love the culture of the filipino people, and that in return will gain new families as she teaches the gospel. She radiates a lights so bright that she will be loved by everyone. I know that things will not be perfect for her, and I know that even in the mission field trials will occur, and that she'll have the strength to get through them. I only hope they're not huge! I know that the Lord will guide and watch over, and that He will always be there to help her. The only way He can help her as a missionary is if she reaches out to Him in prayer. To ask, be still, and listen. To keep busy, and work hard. I know that she will plant many seeds, and pray hard to bring those who are lost back to remembering what the light of Christ felt like. And reach out to those who are in search of truth, and everlasting happiness. I know that she'll reach out to those in need of service, and make many friends. And that's the most important part of missionary work. Is to love, and be a friend. It's not about the numbers, but about the quality of love that is given to any one who is placed on her path. And she will be great at that!

I wish her the best in serving, and learning the language of tagalog. I pray that she will bring all her knowledge with her while training at the MTC, and in all that she accomplishes while on her mission. 

And so I end this post with the lyrics from a hymn that I first heard at church when missionaries would be sent out. Sure it pertains to full time missionaries, but at the same time...I believe it's meant for me too! 

Every member a missionary right? 

"Called to serve Him Heavenly King of Glory. 
Chosen e'er to witness for his name. 
Far and wide we tell the Father's story, 
Far and wide His love proclaim. 

Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name. 
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name. 
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing. 
God our strength will be; press forward ever, 
Called to serve our King. 

Called to know the richness of His blessing
Sons and daughters, children of a King. 
Glad of heart, His holy name confessing. 
Praises unto Him we bring. 


Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name. 
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name. 
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing. 
God our strength will be; press forward ever, 
Called to serve our King. "
Address for those who want to write to her. I know she'd appreciate any kind of mail while in the MTC! 

Provo MTC address:
Sister Sierra Jorgensen
MAR30 PHI-URD
2005 N. 900 E. Unit 204
Provo, UT 84602

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cabin Fever.

There's something so special about the first snowfall that has families venturing out building snow caves, and a snowman, but after weeks of not having it fall consistently I begin to become stagnant, and I'm like, "I'm over this, and I'm so ready for spring." Maybe I've been away from Utah too long that I've become accustomed to having major winter storms every three years. Then again...when I lived in Utah I wasn't like an avid skier or anything, heck I didn't even ski, but what we would do as a family is drive up to the canyons, hike, and just admire the fluffy snow, and have the kids play in it for hours! One thing that keeps me having a love for winter regardless if there's hardly any snow are the kids. They make winter fun, and seeing the joy they have for it, and seeing it through their eyes makes living in this season worthwhile, and I don't get the blues too much. 

Cabin fever always kicks in after being cooped up in the house for a couple of days. Especially when it falls on a Saturday. As much as I love being in the comforts of my own home I need to get out, and once these kids get restless, and start running amuck all around the house I know it's time to get them out. 

Last Saturday was one of those days. 

It had snowed two days before, and we decided to venture out to a park in Pemberton. Sometimes I just like driving out of our comfort zone, and because the kids like that park so much we thought it would be "snow free." We figured since the snow had already melted in our area, and that the grass was visible that perhaps there would be no snow in the parks. 

Wrong. 

There was plenty of snow on the ground once we arrived, but that didn't stop the kids from getting down, and enjoying themselves. We were out for about an hour, and once the kids began feeling the numbness in their toes, and hands we knew it was time to go. We're so crazy! There were two other families out with their kids so I didn't feel as if I was the craziest mom on the planet for taking my kids out in cold temperatures.

I captured a few photos of being at one park without snow which was about a week ago with mild temps. 

// sure felt like spring on this day! //
// this is one of my favorite photos of Noah. // 

And some from this past Saturday with snow, and cold temperatures. 
I've realized that at this age (like I'm so old) that I have a choice to make the winter days blue or joyful. I choose the latter, and I'm so grateful to still have two young human beings running around who keep my heart young!

 It looks like snow all day today (let's see how long that'll last), and that we have at least five more weeks of winter so I am determined to make the best of it! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Getting Our Children Involved In Family History.

Sometimes I wonder had I not become a member of the church I attend would I have ever gotten involved in family history work. I have to admit that in the beginning I was a bit clueless because I had no one to guide me on how to begin or how I was supposed to get information on my ancestors. Once I did it became a bit easier, that is until I hit a plateau. Being a first generation member in the church made it a bit difficult for me in finding more of my ancestors, but I know that with time, and seeking answers to resolve gaps in my work, and by asking questing to any living relatives that I hope to get answers. 

I did begin with doing my only family tree once I got married, and then proceeded to ask my mom questions about her parents, grandparents, where they were born, and what their birthdays were so that I can get this genealogy going. So far I have two generations, and at this moment I'm struggling in getting the third generation done, so if there are any genealogy geeks out there with any information or tricks please feel free to share! 

Jon has become involved in doing his family history, and thanks to one of his uncles doing most of the work he's got about seven generations complete, but I'm sure there is still so much to accomplish! He has to limit his time on the computer especially at night. Just like any other social network you can get lost with time in doing family history work. Luckily he's learned to find a balance, and to only be searching on it for about an hour. He has been a huge help in locating some of my ancestors, bit like I said, I still have a lot of work to do. It's a good feeling to seek my ancestors, and it gets me motivated knowing that I'm doing something good for my family. I feel the love of my family whenever I've done any work for them in the temple, and I know that my two oldest daughters have felt how special it is to do their own family names when they perform baptisms in proxy. Passing down this wonderful habit of doing family history is so important to me, and to them too. It's important to get them involved because once we pass on they are going to be the ones who are going to be finishing our work so it's imperative to teach them all about what a family tree is, and to help in seeking their ancestors. 
Our kids in church last year did a whole theme on family history. It took them months to complete, and once they gathered various photos of their ancestors they put it all on a cardboard and at the end of the year displayed their little family history board. It was so sweet, and I can see the joy in my children's eyes as they displayed their work in front of all the parents. I could tell that they were happy to have done this work. I loved this moment, and the smiles on their faces proves all too well that they certainly enjoyed putting it together, and learning about what  family history is. I am grateful that I have taught my kids at a young age to learn it, and how important it is to work on it. 

I only hope that I can accomplish more of mine, because I definitely have a lot of work to do1 

In all honesty...I don't think family history will ever end for me! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Four More Days...

The day we dropped off Sierra at the airport last month when she came for a visit was a bit of a mess. We left later than we should due to the fact that she looked at her departure time incorrectly. Luckily she was able to make it back to Utah on a later flight and that she  made it home safely. Word to the wise...make sure you always double check what time your departure time is! Although I'm grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule the time she spent here with us was too short. Five days was not enough to spend quality time with her, but we sure made the quality of that short time spent with her worth it. Sometimes it's impossible to be able to see your friends while visiting, but there comes a time where they have to understand that "there's not enough time, but I'll see you when I get back." However, I'm glad she was able to see a couple of good friends while she was here, and that she was able to enjoy herself. Call me selfish but after not seeing her for an entire year except for the four days she spent with us this past December I really wanted us to have her all to ourselves. Seeing her friends does help put her at ease, and  I'm grateful for those who contacted her to make time for her. It truly reminded her of some of the good she left behind in Jersey. 

She has four more days left before she enters the MTC to train as a missionary, and very little time to finish all the preparations. Another word to the wise...do not procrastinate, and as much as you love your friends you got to limit the time spent with them...otherwise, homesickness will severely kick in once you leave for your mission! Hopefully Sierra will not have that issue, and that she will be "homesick free", focused, and ready to be a missionary. 

Since I'm not around to help her get all the last minute preparations done I'm extremely grateful for my mother-in-law to be a part of this special time in her life, and help her out. I wish with all my heart that I can be there full, front, and center to experience, and share this glorious chapter in her life, but it isn't possible. Nor would I be able to leave two young children alone in the house. With a husband working, and a very busy teenager there is no way I could have flown out. Call it bad timing, but I'm grateful for all my friends and family out west who were able to attend her farewell. That really meant a lot to me! There were people who came who hadn't seen her since we moved 10 years ago! She was 11 y'all, and will be turning 21 on her mission this year! I can't believe it's been that many years since we left Utah. I'm happy that she has made new friends since moving back to Utah two years ago. 

Her farewell talk at church was so uplifting and spiritual. Very well prepared, and straight from the heart. It was by far one of the best talks I've heard in a looooonngggg time, and I'm so happy she made made arrangements for someone to record it for me. I only wish she would have recorded her special musical number which included her playing the piano. She was hoping her friend Marshall McDonald would come, but he's a very busy guy and couldn't attend. She played one of his songs, and after she heard he couldn't make it became less nervous! She didn't want to slaughter his song by messing it up in front of him, but from what everyone told me she was phenomenal! I am so grateful that she has been blessed with this talent so that she can use it on her mission, and bless others with music!  

I'm just so proud that she has chosen this path in wanting to serve The Lord. It's something so personal that requires a lot of praying, growth, a true sense of surety, and major strength with no doubt, to decide in the end to serve a mission. Although she says says she's a bit nervous, and doesn't quite know what to expect she'll grow, and prosper, and with the right mindset will be an amazing missionary. 

I have faith in her, and have so much gratitude for everyone who has been there in her life up to this point in order for her to get to her where she's at in making this final decision to serve a church mission. 

According to my mother-in-law preparing to send a missionary out into the world is a lot of work, and requires a lot of time, and preparation. She did it with two of her own, and now her firstborn granddaughter. Especially when you have one going international! Thank goodness I have my in laws to help. Without them I honestly don't know who would be helping her prepare, and in buying her all the necessities that she needs! I'm grateful that I can at least offer Sierra my emotional support, and anything I can "fix" for her from a distance. 

I know in this previous post I mentioned face timing her everyday until the day she leaves, but both realized that it's best if we lessened our time on the phone. Besides, she's been way too busy with finalizing everything before she departs. I am grateful she was able to go to the temple a couple of times again, and to attend the Provo City Center temple open house. What a beautiful temple! She sure is lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful temples! 

I will be talking to her before she leaves, and then that's it! She'll be off serving for 18 months! Luckily I have three kids at home who will keep me on my toes, and less "sierra sick." Then again, she's been away from me long enough to get used to not having her here. I hope that doesn't sound unfeeling, but I feel as if I've pretty much let go of her reigns. I know at times I'll miss face timing her, but I know that receiving her weekly emails will strengthen me in knowing that she is doing a marvelous work, and that she is exactly where she needs to be.

I'm already beginning to feel all the feelings, and have faith thatall will  be well with her when she departs! 
She only has four more days y'all! So if there are any of you who would like to send her any last minute wishes via text, email, or Facebook I suggest you do it soon! 

Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Birthday Wishes For My Mom...

If there are things that I wish for my mom this year on her special day, is to be in good health, and to always make each waking moment worth living...no matter the challenges that come. I wish for her to live more. To live each day as if it was her last. To relish every piece of happiness that comes her way, and to always be happy. To always make each minute count when time is spent with her friends, and family. To never take anything for granted. To always remember the good, and the bad. To learn from the past, and live in the present. To love, and forgive. And when she wakes up each day, it is my hope that she will take a long, good look in the mirror, and say to herself, "Today is going to be great, because I am awesome, and I love this life. I love my life." 

The love I have for you mom is inexplicable, and know that you will always hold a special place in my heart. You are a survivor, and have taught me so much in how to live this life. Through the good times, and the worst of times. Your example has given me such deep appreciation for all that you were given in order to raise me the best you can. You've taught me to be the best mom I can be, and for that I will always be grateful. You've shown me how it is to survive, to be tough, and kind at the same time. I know you probably won't read this until Lynn shows it to you, but I wish you the happiest of birthdays! You deserve every good thing that comes to you on this day, and all the days of your life. Stay strong, and know that you are loved from afar! We may not ring each other every day, but please know that we are always thinking of you. And the times that we talk to you are always flowery, and enjoyable. Chelsea's face lights up when y'all are in a conversation. She's such a little adult when she talks to you, and I love the relationship y'all have with each other. It's super special! 

Have a wonderful day, month, and year, and hope to see you soon! 

Happy Birthday momma...Love you always, and forever! 

**Photo is an oldie from 1996. Sierra was about 15 months old. 

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