Saturday, October 15, 2011

Not the will to believe...

My beautiful daughter Dannielle gave me a bracelet recently inscribed with a quote that reads "Perhaps what we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out" by William Wordsworth. Pretty strong words, huh? No clue what they really meant until today...

This morning one of my best friends, Janette, and I drove to Eureka to look at a potential place to hold Girl's Camp next year. We met the "Ranger Lady" and as us women folk tend to do we fore-went the "straight to business" attitude (shocker, huh?) and chatted. As we talked and shared our stories and experiences, I felt the Spirit so strongly. She courageously gave us two books that she said "changed her life" and brought her closer to Christ. As we were saying good-bye, I got into my car and was putting my books in the arm rest and there was a Book of Mormon. The Spirit told me that as the books she gave me had changed her life the Book of Mormon changed mine and I HAD to give it to her. How could I not? Here is a sister in Christ who possessed the valor to follow the prompting of the Spirit to share His word with me, a stranger, and at that moment I knew that she deserved no less from me. I am not proud to admit it, but that was the first time I had the nerve to follow the Spirit and share what I know to be true and life changing with someone I had never met and I owe it all to the "Ranger Lady" who in two short hours showed me the meaning of courage, and how to love and show concern for every soul, no matter who, no matter where.

So why did he choose "Ranger Lady" ? I have had SO many examples of this type of courage in my life, my little love, Jojo has never had a problem sharing the gospel and taking that step to give someone a Book of Mormon. My precious heart, Dan'l invites people to church functions without hesitation. One of the greatest men I know who, I am blessed to call my son-in-law, Atlee, spent two years going door to door, valiantly delivering God's message, praying everyday that he could serve God's children fully and share with them the true and everlasting gospel. I cannot forget the brave young men who found me when my life had been pulled apart at the seams and patiently shared with me the book that would change my life forever and I must mention the countless brothers and sisters who have taught,supported and testified to me of the true and living God that has helped me in my journey on this earth.

So again, why "Ranger Lady"?

I now know, it is because God will teach us when we are ready, He will teach us through various experiences and elect people. Today I was blessed to visit with a messenger of God who taught me to overcome my fear and weakness in sharing the word of God. The courage I felt at that moment when I saw that Book of Mormon (which had been laying in my console for almost two years) was not like the storybook surge of courage that leads valiant warriors into the fray, it was quiet, simple, unscripted. I had no control over myself, no fear, no inhibitions, I grabbed that book and stammering like an idiot I thrust it into her hands and rapidly spat out clumsy words that I hope made her feel as loved as she made me feel today. Please don't for a second think I was some converted heroine,Puh-lease, my stomach knotted up, I was terrified, scared of rejection, scared that she would take offense to my intrusiveness and think that I had done this purely to match her offer as a mundane exchange of religious values. AND IT FELT GREAT! Why have I waited so long to do this? I feel so alive, like bungee jumping adrenaline alive! My eyes keep tearing up and I can't thank God enough for sending me "Ranger Lady" to open my eyes.

All these years my perception of what courage feels like has been so off base. I have always had the will to serve, the will to believe that I could share the word of God, the will to believe that I could serve my brothers and sisters according to the desire of my Heavenly Father, and the will to believe that Heavenly Father would help me in all that I asked for, and yet I sat, immobile, uttering monotonous prayers and wondering when I would feel ready to act on my beliefs. In James 2:26 it reads "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" so if faith depends on work to thrive, so must "the will to believe" be accompanied by "the wish to find out." What a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ramblings from a Patriot...9/11/2011.

Ten years ago today I was at work at Target in Anderson South Carolina when a co-worker came through the area I was in crying and told me the news. Most of the shoppers left their purchases in their carts and left the store, those of us who weren't at registers made our way to the break room where we watched in stunned silence as the towers fell, wondering how this could happen.

My children were huddled in the hallways of their schools in case the nuclear reactor located miles from where we lived was attacked. Their childhood abruptly halted, my little girls and their fairy tale outlook on life stolen in the blink of an eye.

We will never be the same, the acts of 9/11 have forever changed the lives of us all. Let us never forget those who died in the towers, those on Flight 93 whose courage led them to fight back and paid with their lives on that field in Shanksville. The countless firemen, policemen and soldiers who were there before, during and are still there sacrificing their lives and irreplaceable time with their families. Their dedication and service to this nation reminds me how lucky we are to live in the greatest country, the United States of America. The terrorist act that was meant to destroy this nation has burned in our hearts that true Americans come back from insurmountable odds and bond together in the pursuit of freedom, no matter what the cost.

September 20, 2001 President George W. Bush addressed the world with this response to the 9/11 attacks " We will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail." We are among the blessed who have lived to be witnesses of that day. It is our responsibility to tell our children and their children and their children, so that we may always remember the cost of freedom and make every minute of that beautiful worthwhile.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 May 2011- Seriously? I have to get better at this!

So sorry! I have found that trying to juggle children, school, callings and life in general makes it rather difficult to maintain a blog!

So much has happened since my last post 9 MONTHS AGO! I am still in school, which I have decided that it is far easier to work than it is to be a student. Why? Because when you work, you clock in, do your thing, clock out and go home! As a student...go to school, come home and do homework until you pass out. I have found that I LOVE my Spanish and Sociology classes but Math is going to send me to an early grave and my youngest (Josie) to a loony bin.

ALSO! Exciting news....DANNIELLE (MY OLDEST) IS GOING TO BE SEALED IN THE LOGAN UTAH TEMPLE IN LESS THAN A MONTH! Crazy. My baby girl, married, starting a new life with the man of her dreams. I can't say enough about my future son-in-law. He is one amazing man! It's so surreal that I am old enough to have a child getting married. Dan'l and Atlee (her love) came down April 9th for a visit. We took Dan'l to the temple to get her endowments and the next day had her bridal shower, it was a busy weekend! I am grateful to everyone who came and helped out and shared this special time with my little family!

My little Josie is just chugging right along and is set to graduate early and plans to study either nursing or culinary arts. In case you've been wondering...she went a whole year without injury only to go to a birthday party this last weekend to come home with a cast on her arm! That girl and birthday parties are a bad mixture! She is an amazing girl and I am constantly in awe of the beautiful young lady she has become.

I can't express my gratitude enough to my Heavenly Father, my girls, my friends and family for letting me share all their beautiful moments with them.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

1 August 2010

A Perfect Cure...

How many of us have felt the sting and pain of our own sins dragging us down, creating such sorrow and turmoil in our lives that we feel that there is no amount or degree of repentance that will take away the stains we have painted on our souls? I was listening to a song this morning as I was getting ready for church from a cd called "Women at the Well" the song in particular was about the woman with the issue of her soul she knew that if she could just get close enough to the Savior, that her if fingers could just graze the tattered fragments at the bottom of His robe that the healing and more importantly the purity that she longed for would be restored and that got me to thinking...

Although I have never experienced any "issues" compared to that of this faithful sister, I can say that I have been at a place in my life more than a few times where I had come to a realization of the multitude of transgressions that plagued my life and the sorrow and torment that I felt was paralyzing and at that moment I would have crossed the universe to be cured. It made me long to be in that time when Jesus walked the earth so that I could get close enough to feel His virtue fill my being, ease my sorrow and replace my hope for a life I had forgotten existed.

I found myself thinking surely we can still seek and gain that same healing that the faithful sister in the scriptures fought for so long ago. But where? Well that thought plagued me and as I was in Sacrament I started praying and asking Heavenly Father to show me what I needed to do where I needed to go, to be made whole again. As I listened to the Sacrament prayers, a gentle warmth crept over me and in my mind I heard "You're already here."

Isn't it funny how we can be in the right place, doing the right things but until we lift our heads up and really look around we can miss so many vital lessons? I was green with envy of the woman who was blessed to touch the Masters clothes and had her virtue returned so rapidly that I was ready to build a time machine so that I could go back in time and do the same thing And here I am in the chapel, sitting a few feet from the table where the sacrament is blessed and it hit me I am "here", I have no need of scientific machinery, when I come to church, I am just as she in the scriptures "Close enough to touch" all I have to do is reach out and wholly desire the redemption that Christ's atoning sacrifice freely offers to any who desire it. A perfect cure, a necessary ingredient to make a beautiful life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

11 Mar 2010- Did you miss me?

Fast forward two months since my last post and here I am tired and stressed but still excited about this wonderful opportunity I've been given to go back to school! I have been so consumed with studying, homework, math and Spanish tutoring and most importantly being a mom, that I'm pretty sure most of my friends are ready to file a missing persons report.

So much has happened in the last couple of months I don't even know where to start.

Being so overwhelmed with school, church callings and life in general, I learned a very valuable lesson this past month and that was, nothing is more important than my children. A couple of weeks ago I was waiting to pick up Josie and her friend from school and I was multi-tasking in the car (making phone calls, mentally planning dinner and building the grocery list, thinking about how much homework I had, etc. etc etc) as I was on the phone with Jess (my bestie) I greeted both girls as they opened the doors and started piling into the car, I went back to my my conversation with Jess and when I heard both doors shut I let off the brake and rolled forward when I heard screaming. What I thought was the back passenger door shutting was Josie's backpack, purse and gym bag hitting the door behind me, and when I rolled forward Josie wasn't in the car, so I sorta ran over her foot. Poor baby Josie was screaming and I immediately rationalized that I couldn't have gone all the way over it since I just rolled forward, so I put the car in reverse and thinking I was getting off of her foot was surprised to hear even louder screaming and Josie telling me that I was driving back over her foot, so I stop and she is still screaming, now I am parked on top of her foot. So I finally got it together and ask Josie to quit screaming and tell me which way to go to keep from hurting her more. Finally I get her in the car and when the shock of hat I just did to my precious Josie wore off I burst into tears. Luckily there was no broken bones or ligature tears, just massive deep tissue bruising. Thank you Heavenly Father. Now when I pick Josie up from school I put the car in park and before I move I verbally and visibly check to make sure everyone is safe and securely inside the car. Nothing is more important than the safety and welfare of my babies, without them my life would cease to be beautiful, sorry Josie!

Mother of the year award? Probably not this year.

I have had another traumatic event this month...

My beautiful first born daughter has left the nest and she and her best friend Ashley have moved into their first apartment together, I sleep better at night knowing that Dannielle has the only room mate I will ever approve of (until she gets married) but alas there is that vast empty space that is left behind by her absence. Around 6 o'clock every night I find myself pacing by the back door waiting for her to get home from work and then it hits me like a ton of bricks she doesn't live here anymore. Though she will always come back for one thing or another, and this will always be her home this major step Dannielle has taken in her young adult life and forging her own path has irrevocably changed our lives forever. I also know that even when they grow up and leave home you never quit worrying about them. I find myself doing a nightly inventory, going over and over everything I have ever taught Dannielle about safety, living on your own, budgeting, paying bills, dating; hoping that I have done everything in my power to prepare her. Dannielle, you have become such a beautiful talented young woman and although it kills me to say it, spread your wings and fly baby enjoy your new found freedom, but know that I am always here for you no matter what happens in this big bad beautiful life.

If you don't hear from me for a while, know that I'm here running in circles trying to make ends meet and pray that I'm not picking your children up from school!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 January- 11 January 2010

Another year older and wiser too! 36 years old! Wow I remember when 18 seemed so far away.

My bestie Jess, her amazing hubby Andy and their three cuties pies dropped of a delicious "Tuxedo" cake at my house last night complete with singing! What a sweet surprise! Literally. I am always touched by the kindness of the people who surround me.

I came home from church Sunday night on my birthday and Dannielle and Ashley had made me an awesome birthday dinner complete with my favorite German Chocolate cake with coconut pecan icing, which was delish!

Two cakes and counting.

Tuesday night I went to a church meeting and sweet Hollie brought me....yep you guessed it, chocolate cake! 4 days, 3 cakes = 1 happy/ sick me.

But it didn't stop there! Some friends from church threw a birthday party luncheon! More yummy food and of course cake!

How wonderful it is to feel so important, so loved, so special. Beautiful friends = a more beautiful life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

13 Dec 2009

This last week was hectic-crazy! But so much was accomplished! I am officially enrolled at WSU! I am grateful to my friend Jess who challenges me, and it is due to her that I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grow up!

I love Sundays! Although they're not lazy days by any means, it's the day I look forward to. I love listening to the speakers, seeing my friends that I don't get to see during the week, renewing my baptismal covenants and I love working with the youth! Today I was released as the Mia Maid Adviser and called as the 1st Counselor in the Young Women's presidency in the Auburn Hills Ward! I am excited and humbled that the Lord has entrusted me with this most sacred position. I will do my best to serve as the Lord would have me serve.

Josie is as busy as ever and with wrestling season (she's a manager) in full swing I hardly see her! She is busy studying for finals and is halfway through her sophomore year in high school. When did this happen? Seriously, I turned around for one minute and my little Pooh Bear who wouldn't leave my side has turned into this sweet spirited beautiful young woman I hardly recognize.

Dannielle gave a talk in her sacrament meeting this morning and thanks to Helen for starting my class I was able to sneak over and listen to Dan'l! I am constantly amazed at what a beautiful woman she has grown into. It is so hard to let go! On the one hand I see that she is so smart and responsible and makes good choices and is ready to go out into the world and start her life. On the other hand I am not ready for my "baby" to grow up. I am not ready for this part of my life to be over. You know, the part where they don't need you anymore. They're done being kids and I'm not done being mommy.

Part of me wants to freeze time right here in this golden hour. I would commit to memory every little detail of our lives up to this point so that I'll never forget them as they were. They change into drastically different people every day. I know I'm being nostalgic. Maybe it's just me but I have this insane fear that they'll leave home and marry and I'll be forgotten.

The other part of me is enjoying watching my girls blossom! I can't wait for them to make their dreams come true. I can't wait for them to fall in love. I can't wait to threaten their husbands with death if they hurt my babies. I can't wait to be grandma.

It all went so fast! I ask myself quite often "Michelle, if you could go back in time, what would you do differently?" I would have spent more time playing dress up, barbies, and hide and seek and less time complaining about messy rooms. I would have hung on their every word and really listened to what they were saying, instead of nodding in agreement while I was really thinking about bills and insignificant material things. I would have memorized all of their little idiosyncrasies that I only recall glimpses of now. I would have yelled and spanked less and hugged and said I love you more.

Out of all the things I could have done differently, I can say with all of my heart that being "mom" has been the most beautiful part of my life.