Tuesday, May 26, 2009

April showers bring May visitors

We have had a plethora of visitors this month. Luckily, we have also had some really fabulous spring weather too. We had our very dear friends visit from Kansas City for 5 days, then the next week had John’s Mom, sister, and two nieces come for 4 days. It has been a whirlwind of happy children, cooking for large groups, being tourist-y, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company. Celebrating Hannah’s birthday was also thrown into the mix somehow. We are now preparing for and looking forward to Karin and family coming to visit! I thought I’d better get some pictures and posting up before they come or I would have too much to write about.

Juli made Hannah's cake for her birthday, and Hannah had very definite ideas about what she wanted. She even drew a picture of exactly how she wanted it to look. Juli made her dreams come true with this cake. And Hannah had so much fun helping and watching. She was also SOOOO happy that her best friends could be here for her birthday. Especially since this was her year for just a family party.

We went to Navy Pier with John's family and had such a great time. The weather was PERFECT: sunny but not too hot. The crowds were a little daunting, but not unbearable. We went on the huge ferris wheel, and we made Garrett go with us even though he is deathly afraid of heights. There were a few times when I thought he might lose his lunch, but he made it through and was even smiling at one point.

We also went on a few other rides, and let the kids play in the water fountain so they got soaking wet before we went home.

Now the kids are looking forward to another visit from very dear friends. Maybe I can use another visitor as motivation for them to clean their rooms!

Friday, May 8, 2009

In which my son teaches me

It really is wonderful what your kids can teach you. As mine have been getting “older” I have learned even more from them, about them, and about myself.

For my non-LDS friends, I would like to explain a little bit about testimony meeting. One Sunday a month, our church meeting gives 30 – 40 minutes to any members of the congregation that would like to come to the front and speak to the congregation. This is a time to share testimony of Jesus Christ, what you have learned, and uplifting experiences. It is a great way to share your faith; and as you share, you are strengthened, and those who are listening are strengthened as well. That being said, it is also a little nerve-wracking to have everyone listening to you. I personally do not go up very often, probably less than once a year. John does a little more often, maybe 3 times a year. Some people always have something to say and go up every month. Even children are encouraged to give their testimony if they feel inclined.

A few weeks ago, Garrett asked me during the hymn if he could go give his testimony when it was time. I was surprised, but of course said “Sure!” He was positively squirming in his seat waiting for the time to arrive. I started to get a little worried. What was he going to say? He’s so shy. . .would he get nervous and freeze up? I leaned over and asked him what he was going to talk about. “Prayer,” he whispered back succinctly. OK. I trusted him to speak from the heart and stay on topic (during our family night at home, we take turns giving a lesson and whoever is doing it is encouraged to give their testimony at the end. Garrett has gotten really “good” at this lately, often bringing in his own experiences and tying it in with the lesson).

The time arrived and Garrett bounced out of his seat and started up to the front. At the same time, an adult started walking up too and Garrett was confused about what to do (usually just head up to the front and take a seat to wait your turn) so he came back and sat down. When the adult finished, again Garrett bounced out of his seat to head up to the front. He was so eager, I couldn’t believe it. I raised my eyebrows at John, who WAS this boy?

He got to the microphone and began eagerly, “I’d like to bear my testimony that prayer is really important and it works.” Suddenly he was overcome with emotion and nervousness and started to cry. He hid his face in his hands but stayed there. I jumped up and went to join him. He turned his face into me and I told him he was doing a great job. Was there anything else he wanted to say? He nodded and tried to quickly compose himself. “I was having a really hard time in Math and it made me feel so bad. So I prayed for help and I worked really hard and now I can do it. Prayer really works.” This was all said in a tearful voice while I had my arm around him. As I looked out to all our friends, I saw that many of them had tears in their eyes. He closed in the name of Jesus Christ and went to sit down. I briefly bore my testimony as well and sat down. Several people who spoke referred to his testimony, and many personally spoke to him after the meeting saying how great he did. He took this all in his usual shy way, and he seemed embarrassed by all the attention. I think he wished that everyone would promptly forget it all and leave him alone. I asked him later if he was embarrassed, but he said no. I told him how proud we were of him and hoped that he would share his testimony often. I really hope this won’t put him off of sharing in the future. John and I want to be encouraging but not pushy at all. You can’t force faith, after all.

Hopefully, whatever problems we face, whether they are math problems or health problems, financial problems, or anything else, we can all turn to the Lord in prayer and work really hard, and then we can get through it.