17 April 2014

Changes and seasons...

It's quiet and peaceful here at the house this evening...this is my favorite time to sit and veg--put up my tired feet up-- reflect on my day and do a little writing. I finished putting Taylor and Gavin down to bed a little bit ago and Noah is in the other room watching one of his favorite movies-- E.T.  He's all excited that mama is letting him stay up later than usual tonight and watch a movie.  His school is closed tomorrow and Monday in observance of Easter--so we're  looking forward to our 4-day weekend.  I'm sitting here at my computer, trying to figure out how to put into words what I want to say---all the while eating a pack of Skittles  (I snagged some from the kid's Easter basket stash that I have put together for this weekend--I know--bad mommy!)  and listening to my country music playlist on iTunes. :-)

The hubby is out of town on business--again--I so wish he were here tonight to enjoy this peace and quiet with me. He's been super stressed these past few weeks preparing for a 3-week trial that is set to begin on Monday. There are 18 expert witnesses that have been designated in this case--which is ALOT-- which also means he's had to travel all over the country the past month deposing them. A very tedious process because this particular case entails lots of technical medical "stuff".  So with all of his travel and late nights working at the office, we haven't seen Daddy much these past few weeks--boy we sure miss him when he as to be away for work and these long trials.  He did have a somewhat exciting experience while deposing one of these experts in Los Angeles a few weeks ago--the morning of the deposition--he was awakened by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.  He called me just after it happened and said his bed was shaking so hard in the hotel room--he thought the hotel was going to collapse.  Yikes!!  We were so grateful that didn't happen and he was watched over and protected.  

Let's see--in addition to my hubby's busy travel schedule--we've experienced some big changes around here ...we moved to a new home...yikes!  Bad timing in every way--but thankfully we've quickly gotten settled into our new home.  Well, not really "our" home--but a beautiful (and more spacious) home that we'll be leasing until we either decide if we want to buy it at the end of the lease --or-- build somewhere else.  Living so close to the Mexico border like we do--one has to be extra cautious and careful where you buy and/or build a home.  Since the sale of our home back in early 2013--we just haven't felt good about buying/building in any certain area down here.  There is border and Mexican gang violence that has flooded into many of the areas down this way--and random home invasions/kidnappings are not uncommon--even in the nicest of neighborhoods.  We'd love to move to the country but that isn't safe, either.  The illegals who cross the border--they are notorious for walking across people's land who live out in the country down this way during the night.  They hide in your barns/stables--eat the animal's food--and ruin the surrounding property fences by climbing over them travel on foot during the night to pass the border patrol checkpoint. Crazy stuff, I know!! Definitely something this East Texas girl never dreamed I'd be living around.

This move has been super stressful and tiring for me--especially since Jody had all the travel away from home mixed in and I had to do so much of the moving myself.  Thankfully my mom flew down and stayed with us for 4 days and helped me with the kids so I could box and move things. I don't know what I would have done without her.  

Now that we're settled--the kids are LOVING the new place...we have a great backyard (with no pool--thank goodness--I couldn't relax at our old house with it having a poo) for them to run around and play--and lots more space inside the house for them to hang out.   We've had beautiful weather this week, so we've been spending a lot more time outside.   













Let's see--another big change around here is my husband's release as the Bishop of our ward at church last Sunday. As you may recall, he has served in this calling for almost 4 years now (a lay ministry calling in our Mormon faith).  He has served faithfully and I couldn't be prouder of him.  It has been such a blessing as his wife to watch him minister to so many in need and grow so much in the Gospel.  But I must also share that it has been one of the most challenging experiences for him and our family--one that I can tell you allowed for much growth in the Gospel.  As Bishop, the time commitments required him to be away from home and our family a great deal.  And as you can imagine--it's no easy task to be a busy working professional by day and then be responsible for a large congregation of church members and their endless needs.  In his absence at home, it required me to do pretty much everything on my own with the kids on the home front.  This came with some real challenges for me in the beginning.  This was especially true when our family grew overnight with the arrival of baby Taylor and Gavin.  

Without question, this season of our life has been a trying one---it has stretched my heart and testimony in ways that I never could have imagined. I learned to be more self-reliant as a mother.  I learned to lean on the Lord more--to pray more and to draw closer to Him through my scripture study and prayer.  I learned that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for.  And I also learned through some very specific experiences that when we put the Lord first--we will be blessed twofold.  This is why when our church leaders extend this type of calling to a priesthood holder--they always include the wife in the decision because it truly takes a sincere commitment from both the husband and wife to make it work. Early on after my husband was called, we saw how important it was that we both embraced this calling individually and as a couple--which we wholeheartedly tried our best to do these past 3 1/2 years.

With our move to the new home this month and since we will now be attending a new ward (congregation) based on how the church has set up the boundaries-- this would require Jody to be released from his calling as Bishop.   But in our hearts despite the move---we felt it was time for a release.  With all that we have gone through the past few months with our court battle to adopt our foster son--it has all taken its toll emotionally--and so we knew it was time.  Jody needs to free up his overloaded plate of responsibilities some--he and I both had been feeling for a while that he needed to be spending more time at home with the kids.  And so this past Sunday our Stake Presidency announced Jody's release as Bishop at our ward conference and then called him to serve on the High Council.  I must say, it was a bittersweet experience him being released. The stake president walked over to me before sacrament meeting started and shook my hand and then jokingly said, "Now Sister Mask--try not do jump up and cheer when I announce his release today."  He and I had a good laugh over that--but in all seriousness--I really had mixed emotions.  I know there were a great deal of brothers and sisters in the congregation who were so sad to lose him as their Bishop and it was heartbreaking to see their tears.  Especially the youth--he had a special bond with them and they love him so much.

The stake president asked Jody to share a few remarks at the sacrament meeting just before the new Bishop spoke.  I definitely had a hard time fighting back tears as I listened to my him bear testimony about his experience as Bishop--of his great love for the members and how it has deepened his testimony and love for the Savior and this Gospel.  I'll always look back on this time in our marriage as one where I truly felt the Lord's hand in our lives--guiding us...protecting us...and blessing us for our service.

We are now looking forward to new beginnings...a new season of our life I guess you could say.  One where we can hopefully carve out more time as a family with  Daddy-- and to hopefully soon have Gavin's adoption completed.

I have been reminded this week as I've worked late each night to get our new home set up and juggle all the craziness with the kids and their activities that life is never easy...it rarely ever works out as perfectly as we planned or imagined--but it does all eventually fall into place the way it's supposed to.  There is most definitely a "time and season" to everything...and I guess in the end...I'm okay with that.  Our happy moments here on earth uplift and renew us.  Our more challenging and trying times--when handled the best we can--they only make us stronger and wiser.  I believe with all my heart that a loving Heavenly Father has a specific plan that was carefully crafted for each of one us and we have to trust in those plans and have the faith that He knows what is best.  

As we head into this Easter weekend, I am pondering the life of the Savior.  How truly thankful I am for Him--for courageously and lovingly paving the way for each of us to navigate our way through all the craziness of this world and return and live with Him again.  For loving me despite all my flaws and shortcomings.  And for providing me second chances when I need to repent and make things right in my life.  This knowledge is what I lean on most when I'm feeling overwhelmed in the midst of changes in my life.  Yes, He is the one who calms my nerves and anxieties when I begin to stress over all the things in my life that I have little control over.   

He is my anchor and safe harbor in an uncertain world.


02 April 2014

Love at home



There is beauty all around, When there’s love at home; 
There is joy in every sound, When there’s love at home; 
Peace and plenty here abide, Smiling sweet on every side, 
Time doth softly, sweetly glide, When there’s love at home. 

Love at home, love at home; 
Time doth softly, sweetly glide, 
When there’s love at home.




In the cottage there is joy, When there’s love at home; 
Hate and envy ne’er annoy, When there’s love at home; 
Roses bloom beneath our feet, All the earth’s a garden sweet, 
Making life a bliss complete, When there’s love at home. 

Love at home, love at home; 
Making life a bliss complete, 
When there’s love at home.



Love becomes a way of life, When there’s love at home; 
Sweet, insistent end to strife, When there’s love at home; 
Glad submission each one’s gift, Willing pledge to love and lift, 
Healing balm for every rift, When there’s love at home. 

Love at home, love at home; 
Healing balm for every rift, 
When there’s love at home.


Anger cools and pressures cease, When there’s love at home; 
Children learn to live in peace, When there’s love at home; 
Courage to reach out in grace, Meet a stranger face to face, 
Find a reconciling place, When there’s love at home. 

Love at home, love at home; 
Find a reconciling place, 
When there’s love at home.



There’s no question you can’t ask, When there’s love at home; 
There is strength for any task, When there’s love at home; 
Sharing joy in work or play, Confidence to face the day, 
Knowing love will find a way, When there’s love at home.

Love at home, love at home; 
Knowing love will find a way, 
When there’s love at home.



Kindly heaven smiles above, When there’s love at home;
All the world is filled with love, When there’s love at home;
Sweeter sings the brooklet by, Brighter beams the azure sky;
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high When there’s love at home.

 Love at home, love at home;
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high
When there’s love at home.

{"Love at Home", lyrics by John H. McNaughton}



This is has always been one of my favorite hymns--I listen to it often.  But as a mother, it has taken on a deeper meaning. It's a tender reminder of how important my role as a wife and mother is -- and that my family will be blessed if I strive daily to make our home a place of love, peace and tranquility. 

A place where they feel unconditional love, a respite from the world and closer to the Savior.