Sunday, March 29, 2009

Warning. Sappiness Ensues.

So this might be totally lame, and only mean something to me, but I have this nagging feeling that I need to share, so here it is. Read it or don't-- but don't complain!

Once a month in my church we have what is called a "Fast and Testimony Meeting." Members fast (no food or drink for two meals, or about 24 hours, along with a prayer for a specific need or desire) the first Sunday of the month and will then donate the money that meals would have cost. This money then goes to help others in the area who might need food, help with utilities, etc. During the first hour of church on this Fast and Testimony Meeting, members are invited to come to the pulpit and share their testimonies.

This meeting can go one of several ways.

1) It can be oh so boring. Not to be rude, but sometimes people who get a chance at the pulpit just go on and on and on and never say anything worthwhile. Just being honest.

2) It can be very entertaining. Especially in the ward I am in right now. Members of this congregation are mostly new members and so they don't always understand the purpose of this meeting. People will get up and talk about their fashion shows, read letters from their friends, discuss the latest sports game. Seriously, it is a good time. You never know what you are going to get. But not so spiritually uplifting at times.

Or like today, you can get option number three
3) It can be incredibly touching. Our meeting started off today with a young man, Michael (who's about 14 I would guess) who has been struggling with a seizure disorder. He talked about how glad he was to know people in the church.

He mentioned his youth group leader, a guy who is here in Philly doing his residency. This guy really is an awesome example for the young guys in our church. He works so hard in his residency, and yet he is always there to work with the young men, even though they don't always seem to appreciate his hard work. He does his job quietly, with little fanfare or attention, but he does it diligently. He is committed and the boys he works with know it. Not many people truly "magnify" their callings without also expecting others to recognize how hard they work, but this man does.

Michael then talked about another guy in our church who came to help him when he had a problem at school. In his words, he said, "I mean, what kinda guy just does that? Leaves work and comes to help me? Not just any man." And he's right. The guy he was speaking about would do anything to help someone-- and I mean really help, not just some token offering. This guy is committed to helping, really changing people's lives. He shows up at kid's football games and talks to them about how they can improve their game. He sat down and hung out with Pete for awhile when we first moved here, because I wasn't out here yet and Pete was alone. I remember Pete calling me that first day he was here, saying how impressed he was that someone would not only help him move in, but would also really spend some time getting to know him. It made a huge impression on Pete and this man has become a real friend-- so much more than an acquaintance.

Michael was so sincere throughout his message. As he was up there he was stuttering and seizing, but he kept talking. Talking about how much he loved the people in this church. The people who bring meals when he is in the hospital so that his mom can be with him, instead of at home cooking. The people who help him with tutoring, the people who let him play basketball every week. (He said, "I mean, I get C's and D's in gym at school. I'm serious! But here, the ball just goes in. Because I love it here.")

Michael's testimony was easily one of the most genuine expressions of faith I have ever heard. I like to think that I am pretty well versed in the talks of General Authorities and Church Leaders. I would challenge any of them to express their love for others the way Michael shared it today. His testimony was so powerful and so simple.

I'm not sure why it touched me so much, I can't really put my finger on it. But it did and I will forever be grateful.

Thus ends my sappy post.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birthdays

Here's a shout out to Grandpere F and Grandma K. They celebrated birthdays yesterday and today, respectively. We love you guys!
video

PS- Yes, I know we both look like death warmed over, but that's about how we feel right now :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends

All my other pictures were of the flowers, so I figured I should share some of the girls!



OK -- so the display behind them was kinda scary and we felt the need to re-produce the horror. I think they did a good job. (Seriously, click on this picture to make it larger-- check out the figurines in the back-- super scary)

Kay + a shadow
Self explanatory

We were supposed to get the "Greetings from the Philadelphia Flower Show" in the picture, but apparently that was a little too much to ask.
Me, Kay, Jana, and Julie

Thanks for a great night!

Marathon of the Photography Kind

It was nice out one day {meaning, it was not raining or snowing} so Caleb went out for some fresh air. Of course, that meant he was able to walk up and down the sidewalk outside of our house. Luckily, he is easily entertained and played with the stick he found for nearly 45 minutes.




He became really familiar with that patch of concrete shortly after this picture was taken. He survived the ordeal.

He looks like he is crying, but he's actually screaming in excitement. He just saw two puppies. This is a typical reaction to dogs. Especially when we are in the car.

On the sidewalk outside of our house.

I've been messing around with the photo editing software that we have. I'm not sure if I love this picture of if I hate it, but his eyes are pretty dang cute so I thought I would share.

Green Thumb

One of the great things about living in Philadelphia is the variety of things I get to experience. At the beginning of the month, some of my friends and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show (I also went earlier in the week with Pete's family, but I didn't get to take pictures at that time). It's held at the Convention Center here in Philly and it is HUGE! My mother and my husband will attest to the fact that I do not have a green thumb, but I really do appreciate the beauty of gardening.




This purse is made from leaves! And pieces of trees. It, however, got bad marks because it did not have the essence of the leaves in the design. Yeah, that's what I thought.








Obviously this is what my front porch looks like. Yours too, right?


And this is fabulous:


This was one of my favorite displays. Flowers + Shoes? Is there anything else a girl could want?



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yay! (I think)

We got Caleb's test results back and he is NOT gluten intolerant. Yay for not having to change our entire diet! The only problem now is that we're still not sure what kind of mal-absorption he has (or if that's really his problem) so we're back at square one.

We're going to see the GI doctor in April so hopefully we can get some more answers or move in a better direction.

Yay for being able to eat oreos!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I Have Learned (On a More Serious Note)

This past weekend marked a year since a wonderful woman passed away. Bonnie was always "there." She was the woman in the church library who could tell you about horses, knitting and swords. She could easily converse with an eight year old boy about worms and creepy crawls and seamlessly transition to a conversation with an eighty year old about spinning her own yarn to knit. She had an extensive stamp collection, made her own jewelry and owned (and frequently used) a metal detector.

But more than her intense variety of activities, Bonnie was, well, Bonnie. Unique. Friendly. Straightforward. But her best quality? Unconditional Acceptance. Many of us would like to think that we unconditionally accept others, including myself. But when I compare my acceptance to Bonnie's, I know I have a long way to go. Not only did she accept everyone, she invited people in, quietly and below the radar. She offered friendship to those who felt friendless, she offered conversation to those who felt lonely, she offered her services to those who felt in want. In a way I cannot describe, Bonnie knew what others needed.

There was a young man in our ward who was a little bit socially awkward-- always trying to rough house and fight to get attention. He rebelled against authority and ignored everyone else. But he loved Bonnie. Here was this woman who never birthed a child, yet in every way, a mother. She invited this young man into her arms without pomp or circumstance. In fact, I doubt HE even realized. Yet, I saw how he would make a bee line to see her every Sunday. I saw the rare smile on his face when she would show him the rocks she collected that week. She never talked about how she was helping him. I never heard her mention his name out of his presence. She felt no need to tell others what she was doing. And yet, she was doing more than anyone. His actions were controlled around Bonnie. He never lashed out or spoke ill of others in her presence. And Bonnie just accepted him.

I miss her a lot. Even though we moved away and I have not lived close to this woman for years now, knowing that she is gone hurts. But I think of all she did-- and probably is still doing-- and I smile.

I just hope I can grow up to be her.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Things I Have Learned

Despite the fact that blood stains, when your child throws up blood, save the sample. Buy him a new outfit. It saves a lot of time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just So You Know

Peter was told specifically NEVER EVER EVER show that picture to anyone. We're currently deciding what the ramifications will be.

PS... So art isn't my thing... and Paint isn't exactly helping me in my quest for greatness. Obviously.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


This is my favorite picture...
-Pete

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Little Elephant

For those of you who are into super cute, Etsy type DIY blogs-- you should check out petit elefant. Written by a mom who's just like me (only a lot more put together and a thousand times craftier) her blog is all about little things you can do as a mom, and fun ways to do it. It has posts about where you can find clothes that look cute on your kids, how to recycle, where to find clothes that look cute on you, and of course-- a bunch of easy, Do-It-Yourself projects that make me want to go and build a whole craft house, not just a craft room.

So go ahead, check it out. I won't tell your husband.