Monday, August 27, 2012


The most common feeling I’ve had in regards to my kids going back to school have been of relief, excitement, and hopefully a time for me to finally get my act together.  This summer has been frazzled and so loud. I haven’t had any time to sit, think, and ponder – much less been able to go to the grocery store without fighting kids.  I’ve felt like a referee instead of a mom most of the summer.  And forget feeling like a wife, or even just good old Joanna.  So I’ve been looking forward to August 27th @ 7:45 am for a significant amount of time.

My kids have been (mostly) excited about it, and Hunter has acted only a little bit nervous.  He’s asked a few times if I’ll come with him to lunch today, and stay for recess (to which I’ve told him no, because I want his first day to be something HE does, instead of relying on me), but other than that he’s mostly been excited.

So I honestly didn’t anticipate a lot of tears from me.  I was focusing on the excitement of being able to spend a few hours by myself today, and thought the excitement would override my anxiety for the boys.  What I didn’t anticipate was what came next.

As I walked up the walkway of the school this morning and heard the tune of this song playing over the loudspeaker:

HOME – Phillip Phillips

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Sweet – right?  The idea that these teachers and administrators have the goal to make our elementary school our children’s home, a place of comfort, love, a home!  They were reassuring both the parents and the kids I think. You’re not alone CC Mason is your HOME!

Something that was meant to be reassuring suddenly took on a very sad, very real meaning to me.  I’m incredibly grateful for the teachers and leaders at our elementary school, but as I walked my “baby” into Kindergarten today we started something new, we opened a new chapter where this new “home” was going to be such a LARGE influence on his life.  He now has teachers, peers, others who are going to help shape who he is.  No longer will he ever rely solely on Mom and Dad as his examples – he has a whole new world that will be teaching him along the way. He has new voices that will influence him and shape him.

Now I know that doesn’t mean that my job as a mom is over.  And I know that my role as a parent is just as important now (if not more so!), but this shift is significant and as I made that connection walking up the school walkway my eyes started filling with tears. Bittersweet tears.

I am so grateful if I do need to send my babies off into the big world that I have a place like we do for them to go.  I have felt so much love from the teachers at our school, and they genuinely want the kids to have the best experience possible.  They love our kids, and it’s not just a job for them - I know that. I am also grateful to know that with the gospel on our side, and the knowledge of so many gospel principles that we are teaching them in OUR home, that they will be fortified and strengthened for anything their school “home” might throw their way.

I bet in so many ways our Heavenly Father feels the same way as he sent us down to our earthly home.  How he must ache for the time when we return to our Heavenly Home someday. He surely has similar conflicting feelings as He wants us to have a body, to learn from our earthly experiences – but longs for us to make the right decisions and remember our heavenly influences.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Things Always Work Out! (Gordon B. Hinckley)

I sure love this man - Gordon B. Hinckley....His council was always so accurate for what I would be going through. I miss getting to hear from him on a regular basis. So grateful to have had his influence in my life. He helped me to want to stand a little taller.

"You just have to do your very best with all the capability you have. You have to do your very best. And somehow, if you do that, God will open the way before you and the sun will shine, and your lives will be fruitful and you will accomplish great good in the world in which you take a part. I couldn't wish for you anything better as I look into your faces this day."  (Gordon B. Hinckley - Dedication of the Gordon B. Hinckley Building @ BYU-Idaho)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

YW Camp is coming!!!

Here I am sitting down for one of the first times today.  Super tired, but feeling excited about YW camp coming up. 

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about - our church holds a week-long camp for the Young Women in our church every summer.  It is a time for the girls to bond with each other, learn camping and survival skills, be spiritually uplifted and edified and have a lot of fun.  It's a highlight for the summer and a life changing experience.

This year I get to attend not only as the Young Woman president in my ward, but also as a member of the "Crafty Queens".  Myself and a few other leaders will be in charge of providing crafts for the approximately 200 young women.  There is so much preparation involved but these girls are worth it!

Our camp theme this year stems from President Deiter Uchtdorf's talk "Your Happily Ever After" that I mentioned in my last post.  I saw a couple of these quotes online tonight on this website and thought they were pretty, and applied to what we're teaching these awesome girls this next week.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

President Ucthdorf - an amazing example!

Your Happily Ever After

The theme for YW camp this year is based off of the talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled "Your Happily Ever After".  I got online to purchase the book and I was so happy to find that the Kindle Edition is actually FREE!!!  I was so excited to find a message that I love and want to share to be available to everyone who has access to a Kindle (or Kindle app).  So click HERE and you can get it for free at the Amazon store.

Then I looked and another one of his wonderful talks that has been turned into a beautiful book is also available for FREE on the Kindle - "Forget Me Not": 

Forget Me Not

I am so grateful for inspired and strong men like President Uchtdorf that we have leading and guiding our church and helping to remind us of the truthfulness of the gospel.  His messages always leave me with a feeling of hope, unconditional love, and a desire to reach out and do better.  I hope you'll enjoy these books and messages as much as I do!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Young Women - "Be an Example of the Believers"

Today I got to teach the Young Women lesson at church.  It was about being good examples. I feel like the YW in my ward are fantastic examples to people around them, and I am in awe of their strength and examples to me and the other youth they encounter.  I love that!

I feel so blessed to get to work with the Young Women through my new calling.  I am overwhelmed by all there is to do with the program, personal progress, temple trips, girls camp, activities, lessons and the list goes on and on.  But under all of those feelings of being overwhelmed I feel so much love for the girls.  I feel sad when I don't see them at activities or at church, and I feel so happy to see them make good choices!  In fact when I left our class activity this past Tuesday night I left the church FILLED with gratitude for the girls and just loving each of them more than ever.  It wasn't anything amazing that we did, but I felt like I was able to connect in little ways with all of the girls.  It takes slow steps to get to know them and become friends.  I am looking forward to what we accomplish as a presidency and what we see the girls learn. 

I'm also grateful for a Heavenly Father who has a faith and a trust in me that I don't always see in myself.  I am grateful for His plan and the callings within our church that help me to become more of the person He wants me to be.  I'm grateful for a YW program that allows the girls to set goals, make plans for a temple marriage, and hopefully teaches them that they are women of great worth.  I know that my leaders quite literally changed my life, and their examples are ones I still look to for examples of extrordianry women who follow the gospel and inspire me.  That is why I think the YW program is so important!  Often that I think back to YW lessons that taught me that I am a worthwhile daughter of God to remember that I'm still a "Daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love Him." It is because they helped me to develop that foundation of beliefs that I've been able to turn back to those things I know are true time and time again.

So I am going to work on posting every once in a while on my blog here about our YW activities, and a little more about what we're doing in our family.  I get pulled in a lot of different directions, but I feel like this is a place I can share a piece of my testimony with others and I hope to be able to do that a little more than I have been.

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

FayETTE Designs - she's done it again!!!

Time4Reflection - The Bundle!
Well, I say this over and over again - but Fayette (of FayETTE Designs) has pulled it off once again.  She's blown us all away with a new addition to her "Time 4" kits.  This one is perect for the new year and is called "Time 4 Reflection".  The elements are BEAUTIFUL for this kit and she has added these really awesome full page word files too - they are awesome!  Check it out in her store at Pickleberry Pop.

Here are layouts from a couple of other kits too - "Time 4 Traditions" and "Christmas with Mr. Claus".

Time4Traditions - The Bundle

Christmas with Mr. Claus - The Bundle!