Friday, October 31, 2014

{halloween 2014!}

I don't know if we have ever had as many Halloween parties as we did this year, but of course the kids loved all of them. :)
...pumpkin carving for FHE...
...trunk-or-treat with cousins...
...Halloween Day!!...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

{october:instagram}

...homemade bread...
...hanging out with my handsome boys...
...he pulls this scrunchy nosed smile all the time, and I can't help but laugh!...
...WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!! Andrew came home from school so excited because he had won a $10 giftcard to Walmart in an assembly... 
 ...is this happy little guy not the cutest?! I am one lucky Aunt, and I love that I get to babysit him during the week!!...
 ...this boy has been wearing his sisters Hello Kitty hat the last few days. Cracks me up! He even wanted to sleep in it one night...
 ...entertaining ourselves while waiting in the car... :)
 ...what do you do when you can't sleep?! Hop on the treadmill, even if it only 4:00 in the morning ;)...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

{fall family fun}

We received an invitation for a free night full of fun fall activities at Petersen Farm, and decided to take advantage of it. We had a blast! We were fed dinner of bbq hotdogs and chips, and enjoyed walking around the pumpkin patch. The weather was absolutely perfect! (I love October). We also enjoyed other activities such as: picking pumpkins to take home from the pumpkin patch, a straw dig for prizes, a corn maze, a hayride, apple sling shot, and a petting zoo. Most important of all, we got to spend time together as a family. :)
...exploring the pumpkin patch
...Carrie found one she liked!...
...aren't they wonderful?! :)...
...in the corn maze...
...ready for the hayride!!...
...first time Matthew has been old enough on a hayride to really care! haha. He LOVED every second of it, and would say "weeee!"...
 
 ...Matthew was the one who was most excited about seeing the animals. He loved the goats, and would call them "coats" or "boats". He is at such a fun age and soaking up new knowledge every day. :)...

Friday, October 3, 2014

{life's simple lessons}

The end of March Kevin's mom, Roni, moved from the apartment she was living in, to one of Kevin's sister's home. When she was moving she had to get rid of a lot of things, as there wouldn't be enough room for her to keep it all. She gave away furniture and other belongings. One of the things we received were some of her plants. Roni loved her plants, and always took good care of them. As soon as we got them I worried that they would all die, and I would feel terrible!! One of the plants we received was a lucky bamboo plant. I remember when she first got this plant. She had now had it for at least a few years, and it had grown to be the biggest lucky bamboo plant I had ever seen. We didn't know what to do with it, or where to put it because it was so big. We decided that we should cut the branches down, and let it grow again. 
We didn't know it then, but only a month later Roni got very sick. She had several very serious health problems. We also didn't know that 3 months from the time she first was taken to the hospital, that she would pass away. During all this time I would look at the lucky bamboo plant that we had cut back, and wonder why it wasn't growing. All that was left now were "sticks", but it never seemed to change. I put it in our bathroom where it receives plenty of light, and would water it regularly. After she passed away I felt terrible when I would look at this plant, and what I had done to it. It felt like it was a piece of her, and we had ruined it by cutting the branches the way we did. I had the thought come to me many times that I should just throw it away, it will never grow. The "sticks" were still green though, so I wondered if somehow it could still be alive, even if it didn't appear to be growing. I kept watering it, even though I didn't think it was doing any good. 

I walk by this plant several times a day, and each and every time I see it I think of Roni. I would be lying to say that things have been easy since her passing... they haven't. It has been the hardest time I have ever been through. It has been physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. Some days are better than others. One difficult day as I walked past this plant, I felt discouraged. Why wasn't it growing?! I decided to pray for the plant. I have never prayed for a plant! And I know it sounds silly, but I did it. I prayed for Roni's lucky bamboo plant, that it would grow. Still time passed, and it didn't seem to change. Each time I would walk past it I would say a little prayer in my heart. Please grow. Still nothing seemed to change.

Throughout this difficult time I have prayed, cried, studied the scriptures and general conference talks more than any other time I can remember. I have been seeking peace and light, where all around me I felt was darkness. As I have done this, I have been able to find that peace. Sometimes it is only for a moment, and other times it lasts longer. 

One day about 2 weeks ago (about 6 months after cutting the branches) I walked by the plant, and the thought came to me.. throw it away. It will never grow. I pushed the thought aside, and instead grabbed a cup of water to water it. As I got close to it, I saw something that brightened my day, and filled me with great hope and gave me great comfort. I saw some leaves!! The leaves were small, but after all this time the plant had started to grow! 
I know it may seem strange that this plant has meant so much to me. It may also seem strange that I have put so much focus on such a seemingly unimportant thing. But for whatever reason, this plant meant a lot to me, and I have learned some very valuable lessons from it.

The first lesson is one of FAITH. I think often times we have more faith than we even realize. I prayed for this plant, while also doubting it would really grow, and yet I had HOPE that it would. This plant now represents hope and faith to me. Don't ever give up, even when things seem hard, or pointless.... keep doing the things we know we should (like watering a plant that doesn't seem to be growing), and you will be blessed for it in time. He is mindful of even the most simple desires of our hearts, like a plant. Heavenly Father knows each one of us, our struggles, and will never leave us alone.

I thought as the lucky bamboo started to grow, it would grow from the top of the branches. That is where I kept looking, and I felt discouraged when I wouldn't see anything there. I now know, that was wrong. When it finally started to grow, it was on the bottom of the branches, near the dirt. Through this I have learned that sometimes my focus has been in the wrong place. As I have gone through this trial, I have started to change, and focus on the things that are the most important to me. Those things are my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and my family. I still have a long ways to go, and am constantly learning, but I have finally been able to find some peace through this. I have learned to hold onto that hope and comfort that comes through living the commandments, and given through the Holy Ghost. I have been able to better appreciate the good times, instead of always focusing on the hard times. 

Does this mean that there will be no more hard days?! Of course not. I am also learning to be patient, and to take one day at a time. This has been the most difficult lesson of all I'm afraid. But I am trying, and I will not give up.