Monday, March 23, 2009

Finding Joy in the Journey

My more loyal readers may have gathered that I teach Relief Society as well as help out with Activity Days. I love them both and I hope that I do such a good job that nobody notices that I do both and take one of them away from me! ;) My RS lesson is the 4th Sunday and I am lucky enough to get to teach the Teachings for Our Times, which means I get to review Conference talks! It is such the best! This past week's lesson was from the Prophet called Finding Joy in the Journey. If you haven't read it recently, get over there and read it! It is AWESOME!

I asked if anyone remember the radio station KUTR "Sounds like Utah." Yes, I even sang the jingle. :D But nobody remembered it! When I was a kid, in Rose Park, my Mom used to listen to it all the time! When we moved away to Arizona, Aunt Colleen used to tape it for her and send it. :D Anyway, there was this song that played all the time called "Wishing my Life Away." It talked about being happy when I have kids... being happy when my kids are grown up... etc... etc... I think so often we do that to ourselves and how sad is that?! Never to be happy in the moment, but to be wishing you were further along life's timeline. I have always tried not to do this. I have these "take stock" moments where I just pause and make sure I'm not going too fast. I don't want to miss all the little stuff! Even if I don't get a chance to write everything down, I want to remember what their little cheeks feel like against mine. I want to remember short little arms around my neck. I never want to forget the "I love you, too, Mom"s and the garbled toddler-speak that means basically the same thing. :) Don't get me wrong, I see benefits to having kids old enough to babysit each other and things like that, but I don't want to miss the here and now! President Monson mentions how changes that are incremental have a way of becoming monumental quicker than we realize.

We are expecting our fifth child. We both really felt like we had one more coming and we are so excited for them to get here in September. I remember telling my Mom that I just can't imagine never having another baby... never being pregnant again. Now I can. :D I'm really feeling like 5 will be just the perfect number for us. Talk to me in a couple of years, just to make sure, but right now, I'm thinking this will be our grand finale. :D Our changes this year will be big. We'll start the school year with a new baby, a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and a Kindergartener and a big brudder at home! Wow! But before we get to that, I get to be pregnant and I'm finally getting past the sick stuff (I hope!). I need to finish registering Gracie for Kindergarten and pray all summer that she chills out sufficiently that I don't get notes home in the fall! :D We get to make lots of trips to the library to keep books in Emily's hands. I get to lift Becca carefully and avoid lifting her trusty wheelchair if I can help it. I get to laugh a lot at our toddler-sized comedian and get lots of sticky hugs and kisses from him. We get to play outside and work on new gardens and building a new playhouse and swing set. So many fun things are right around the corner! I definitely don't wish these things away! There is a time and a season for all of these things.

The biggest thing about the talk I got to discuss during my lesson that I, personally, learned was about gratitude. What better way to enjoy the journey than by thanking Heavenly Father every day with every breath for every second we have. I joked that even my blessings on the food have become more meaningful during this stage of pregnancy, but it's true! How thankful I am for the food on our table, the gas in our cars, the time spent with Geoff... things I missed not very long ago. :) We show gratitude in so many different ways. We say it... in prayer, in words to our neighbor, in notes and cards. We show it... we reciprocate, we do kind things without being asked, we give hugs. And most of all, we mean it... we are genuine and sincere. We show gratitude to our Heavenly Father by using the gifts He gives wisely and often. When I take time morning and night to thank Heavenly Father for the bounty in my life, it helps me focus on what's most important and pay attention to the little stuff. I think often of Elder Bednar's admonition to "periodically ... offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude."

Most of the time I was teaching, I forgot that the Stake Relief Society Presidency, our Bishop AND the Stake President were in the room. :) I get caught up by the Spirit of the lesson and the excitement I have to share what I have learned and have been thinking about. I pray so much and meditate on things that by the time the words come out of my mouth, I feel more like a mouthpiece than the speaker. I hope with all my heart that when I stand up there, I am able to say the things that Lord most wants our ward to hear. It's an incredible experience and I really do love it. :)

My Mom surprised me BIG TIME by driving all the way out to listen to me and she said that I didn't seem nervous. I really can't explain that because I do obsess about what I'm going to say and how it will come out up until Sunday morning. But I never re-read and re-hash the lesson on Sunday morning because I feel like the panic makes me lose the real focus. I do all I can and then I spend Sunday being calm and praying for peace. It's what works for me. :) I so loved having my Mom there! She tricked me... she snuck in and sat on the other side of the room and then used my sister's name when they pointed her out as a visitor! :D I heard that and got up and walked across the room to sit by her! :D When they did the good news minute, I said, "I have 2 good newses. This is my Mom! And I'm expecting!" :D It was fun! I whispered and asked her why she had used Laura's name and she whispered back, "because she would have loved to be here, too!" :D The kids loved getting picked up by Grandma since we had a shortened schedule and getting a hug before she jetted back to the city to go to her own ward. That meant SO much to me!

Love each other! Say it often! Read the Ensign! Read your scriptures! Say your prayers! The Church is true! Heavenly Father loves You! And so do I! :D