Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Lift Where you Stand"

This post is for my mom. She asked me to write this down for her, so here it is.

Our 4th Sunday lesson today was on President Uchtdorf's talk entitled "Lift Where you Stand." The talk is from last October's Priesthood session of General Conference, and is a fantastic talk, so I won't try to duplicate what he said. At the end of our fantastic lesson taught by Rachelle D., she asked for comments if any of us had an example of those who sought service opportunities, without seeking for "a crown or a cave." I shared with the sisters a story about my mother. I didn't do it as eloquently or as lengthy as I will here, but since this is for posterity...

Shortly before my twelfth birthday, my family moved from Moscow Idaho, to Minot, North Dakota. We hadn't even unpacked the truck when both my parents were called into Stake service positions. Throughout the twelve years we lived in Minot, my mom never had fewer than oh, about three callings at a time, and not just visiting teacher either! She served as the Stake Relief Society President, in the LDS family services, as a temple worker, in the nursery, as well as being the Bishop's wife and making more than her share of long-distance, less-active (and even hostile), visiting AND HOME teaching assignments. I remember as we drove to Minot that first time, mom was so excited that she could pleasantly ignore the fact that she knew everything about the scouting program and could play the piano--and thus avoid music and scouting callings for the first time in her life. I laughed aloud when we had barely walked in the door of the church when mom was volunteering to help with scouts and music. Needless to say, she became a powerful example to me of service, and not just a little bit: service wherever, however, and as often as the Lord can possibly cram into one day for one person. (Dad, you did too, but since this was a Relief Society Lesson, I wanted it to be about a woman. But know that I really looked up to your influence as well!)

This June, Mom and Dad tearfully and respectfully packed up and moved back to Utah, after thirty years of living away from Utah. Mom was released from her current five callings, having to do several trainings to ensure that her vacancies would be filled appropriately.

Mom then found herself living in a well established, well staffed ward, with more than enough help around. She confided in me that she felt alone, depressed, and un-needed. How could you not, when you don't receive a calling in over three months? Especially after you feel like you are really the Lord's tool, and you feel like you're really irreplaceable? But mom didn't hide away, or let the depression overwhelm her.

She rose to the challenge. She volunteered for things, began attending the temple weekly (never an option before), and spread her talents out as best as she could. I'm sure she wondered why these months with barely a visiting teaching route for service happened. Was the Lord displeased with her service? No. I venture to guess on this--I think the Lord was giving her the opportunity to find her own burden to bear up. After years of being given service opportunities, this was her time to find service opportunities, and a trial period to see if she could govern her own talents, and still magnify them without being imposed upon.

To correlate with President Uchtdorf's analogy of lifting a grand piano: Mom had always been right at the head, with a big open space to lift. This was the first time that she walked up to the piano and had to look around for a space. Some people might look at that piano surrounded by people, and say "Oh, they're fine, they don't need me." But not mom! She strode right up, snuck in her one finger, and lifted where she stood.

I really respect that, mom, and I'm impressed with your talent to share your talents, and find the work that needs to be done, with or without the calling. I'm putting this on my blog with the hope that we can all learn from it, and remember that with a "piano" this big, there's always room for someone who is willing to lift.

The end of the story? Mom just got called as Relief Society President.

Jumping Annalisa

Not that she really needs to strengthen her legs--she's already crawling and supporting her own weight really well. But she likes to jump, and it keeps her occupied on otherwise very busy Sunday mornings.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Relay for Life

My little sister Sara was the chairman for this year's American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Utah State University. We went up last night for the opening ceremonies, stayed for about an hour and a half, and then went up again this morning and happened to be there for the closing ceremonies. We had a great time, especially Lee. Lots of the teams had brought games or activities to their little campsites, and Lee took advantage of every single one. He loves his necklace with the 5 beads he collected (1 for each lap), he stole candy from anywhere he could find it, colored luminaries, flirted with the girls, waved at the boys, putted some golf balls, and found a basketball to shoot some hoops.
Granddad H. and Mom F., walking in the survivor's lap (the first lap of the whole relay)Dad F. and Annalisa, cheering on Mom F.
Lee showing his Luminary. It said on one side: Granddad H, Grandma F, we love you! and the other side, Karon P., Keep fighting!Sara, Lee, Big Blue, Me (Lisa), Annalisa, and Alisa (Yes, lots of 'Lisa' in our family.) I may have my eyes closed in the picture, but Lee and Anna's faces were too funny to pass on this picture.

It was funny to go up at the start and back at the end. As it started, there was excited cheers, people running laps, bright eyes and bushy tails. This morning, the average pace of the walkers was about half a mile per hour, and several people had zonked out right on the track. It would have been fun to camp out all night, but I'll admit--I was grateful for my warm, soft, quiet bed.Annalisa, enjoying the sucker that Dad F. snuck for her. Mmm, my first taste of sugar!

All told, they raised just over $9,000. Way to go, Sara! I was really impressed with the event, and we had a good time. Keep your eyes peeled for a "Prudential Team" or something of the sort next year!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your Daily Lee-Laugh

At least, it made me laugh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

"This too shall pass"

I need an updated picture of Lee. So I thought I'd try with my camera. I did a good job at capturing Lee's essence, but not of capturing a good photo of him. Silly boy! He can't hold still for anything. I suppose that's just part of being two and a half. As frustrating as little things like this can be for me, I try to remember that it will not last, and that Lee is growing up quickly. Sometimes I remind myself: "There will be a time for posed pictures. There will be a time for an impeccably clean house. There will be a time for folded towels and sheets. This is not that time."

He found these bunny ears at Grandma F's house and Uncle Matthew was teaching him to hop around the house saying "Boing, Boing, Boing." Like the smiley face Grandpa F. drew on his nose? It is kind of wobbly, and kind of faded.

Friday, March 20, 2009

And...We're back

We're home from our vacation now. It was needed, and I feel refreshed. Now I need the vacation from the vacation, where I can just take a few days to clean, put things away, and go to the grocery store.

Here's more pictures, and movies, of our week away.

The "Bare Naked!" comment is an inside family joke. One of Cody's nieces was riding a horse bareback, and called to her mom, "Look! I'm riding a horse bare naked!"

Now the Lisa rambling; I won't be offended if you want to skip it. However, I use this blog as a journal as much as anything, and I want to record my thoughts.

This vacation was a needed break. I learned a lot about myself. I have troubles letting go and letting things happen as they happen. I want to plan everything, make sure the kids are 100% safe, and it makes my heart ache to hear them cry. Because of this characteristic of mine, I had a hard time being away from home. I had a hard time when Lee would get muddy hands or dirty pants, or go for more than half an hour without blowing his nose. I had a hard time when Annalisa cried in the back seat and we weren't at an appropriate place to stop for me to nurse her. But I also learned my kids could survive it, and more importantly, they could thrive. Lee was totally in his element, and I feel proud of my little boy. He is a BOY. He got dirty; he scraped his elbows; he did some dangerous things like riding an untrained horse. And it was OK.

I did get what I needed from this vacation. I filled my heart with happy little moments--some captured in the photos above--when I received the satisfaction and the peace that comes from being a mother. As I watched my boys walk hand in hand, daddy explaining things to I watched Annalisa learn to crawl and discover the I heard Lee sing "I love you, a Bushel and a Peck" to his I witnessed the miracle of life and my beautiful children take it all in.... Yes, these are the treasures of a mother's heart, and this, this, is why I chose to be a mother. So I could feel the joy of these tender little lives as they reach out and enter the world around them.

Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for helping us to slow down our hectic lives for just a few days, and helping me remember how short life really is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mid-week, Mid-Vacation post

We're down in Southern Utah, visiting Grandma and Grandpa S. It is only Wednesday, and we still have a few more days of vacation, but we spent too much time yesterday fixing mom and dad's internet and phone cords to not take advantage of it today.

These pictures give just a little hint of all the fun we're having. People from Cody's family will probably recognize some of the places.

Here's what we've done so far:

Friday we got up early and went to Salt Lake. We visited the Dinosaur museum, hung out with family, and rented a hotel with a swimming pool that night. Lee loved going swimming...I mean, REALLY loved it!

Saturday we had a big date with all of Cody's siblings. It was a lot of fun. We got to meet our future brother-in-law Levi again. Congratulations on the engagement, Kami and Levi! After dinner, we drove down to Panguitch, where mom and dad live.

Sunday we went to church and recuperated from the late night. Lee found a cowboy hat and has been wearing it all week, saying, "I'm a cowboy!"

Monday we went on a Picnic up Red Canyon. It has been simply gorgeous down here, and we love visiting Red Rock country.

Today we went out to the ranch for a picnic. Lee liked hiking around with Daddy, and even snuck a few mouthfuls of snow. (Naughty boy).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Be right Back

We're going out of town next week, and I'm not sure how much access we'll have to the internet and computer. This is an exciting adventure for us. It will be the first time I've spent the night away from home since long before Annalisa was born; pushing 8 or 9 months now. Annalisa, by the way, is now six months old. So enjoy some movies, and I'll post again when we get back!

Last week's bowling adventure

Poor, poor baby.

Huh? Weird kid...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weird things

Cody and I just encountered an odd end to a long problem.

When we got married, we transferred Cody's phone number from his roommate's name to his name, and moved it to our apartment. When we moved to the house we live in now, we took the phone number with us. Not long after, we started getting strange phone calls. They would happen once or twice a day, then wouldn't come for a couple of days or even weeks. Then we'd get two or three again.

People would call us; strangers, claiming they'd just been contacted by the police. At first we thought nothing of it, strange wrong numbers. It became more and more common, and went on for more than a year. We called the police office, and were told what you'd expect to hear: probably just a glitch, wrong numbers, and don't worry about it. The receptionist told us she'd write it down, and we doubted she would. We called our phone service provider, who couldn't find anything wrong with our account.

The weird phone calls kept coming, and I started to get worried that we might be accused of harassment. I wanted it fixed. So, we bought me a cell-phone last month and decided that we would disconnect our home phone when we were certain that everyone had our new numbers.

Today, I was sitting, watching Little Einstiens with Lee and nursing Annalisa, when I got another weird phone call. Another one came a few minutes later, and was the worst one yet. A young man's voice swore at me and called me a nasty name, and I hung up on him. I am a decent young mother, I don't need to be called bad names and told that I am a bad person. I made up my mind, I was fed up with these phone calls, and I went and got Cody's permission to end our phone service.

As I was waiting on hold with the company, trying to disconnect the phone, there was a knock at the door. A couple of massive guys, one shaved bald, the other wearing ominous sunglasses, wanted to talk to Cody. I showed them downstairs, they asked him to come outside. I heard them say "Hi, Cody, we're detectives from the Logan Police Department..."

Oh no, I thought, they're going to arrest my husband, and take him away, and I'm going to have to post bail, and our insurance rates are going to go up, and we're ALL GOING TO DIE!!

So maybe I overreacted just a teensy bit. I was still on hold a minute later when the detective came inside and asked me the same questions about the strange phone: were we impersonating officers? How long had this been going on? Had we contacted the police about it? They left, I finished cancelling our service, and sat down in a mild panic with Cody laughing. Then Cody and I started grilling each other, making sure our stories (the plain and simple truth) had matched, and I secretly plotting how to jump my innocent husband from jail, if the need arose.

A few minutes later, the phone rang. I said aloud, "This phone shouldn't be ringing! I just disconnected it!" But I answered, and it was the same detectives who had just been at our house, with a solution.

Sure enough, as we had suspected, someone from the police department had been calling people, and our phone number was showing up on caller ID's. They were very apologetic for our inconvenience, he told me he had "Chewed out" the guy who had sworn at me, and they promised to fix the problem. I told him that I'd already disconnected the phone number, so it didn't really matter.

One thing I learned today: if a weird glitch with caller ID and someone swearing at me can make me break down into hysterics, I don't think I'd make a very good con artist.

Music of My Life

I got tagged by my good friend Aubri, and since I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to post, and I'd been scrounging for something to blab about, here we go.

Pick one album you remember the most about every 5 years of your life and tell us why its important to you.

0-5: Holst The Planets. I remember dancing and faux fighting with my brother, Matthew, to Mars, and thinking we were really, really cool.

5-10: Kurt Bestor's An Airus Christmas. Again, this involved dancing with my siblings. One of the most famed family videos we possess is of my siblings and I, running around the living room like crazy banshees, grooving out to "Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant" in matching purple tee shirts (inside-out, so that they wouldn't have the printing showing) and blue sweatpants.

10-15: I was just beginning to realize that the radio really wasn't evil. But I can't give you an actual album for this period of my life. I've never really listened to a lot of music; instead, I played a lot of music. I'll say this was probably marked most by the theme song from Jurrasic Park, which I memorized at the age of 12, and played incessantly for about two years afterword. This is also the time of life I discovered I had a real talent for singing.

15-20: The Seminary CD's. I also made my own combination CD's that I would play in my car, and I was singing with Change of Pace, our school's jazz choir. Again, I can define my life more by what I was playing and singing, rather than what albums I listened to.

20-current: The Luckiest by Ben Fold's Five, and of course, Sesame Street Platinum All-Time Favorites. Ben Fold's Five gave Cody and I "Our Song," and now, with children, we listen to "C is for Cookie" and "The Moon Song" very often.

I won't actually tag any one else. But it is kind of interesting to think back through my life, and see what music was a part of it. Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring Break

It's our first day of spring break, can you tell? And just for your information, we were almost completely melted of all snow before this morning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuppence a bag

The Gospel According to Lee

Cody: Tonight our lesson is about choosing the right. Mom, do you make choices?
Lisa: Yes.
Lee: I want to go swimming, too!
Cody: I make choices. Lee, do you make choices?
Lee: Nope, I want to go swimming!
Lisa: Lee, you make choices, huh.
Lee: Yeah.
Cody: We want to make good choices so we can be like...
Lisa and Cody: Jesus Christ.
Lee: Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!
Cody: Jesus Christ always made right choices, because He was...
Lee: A Snowman!

We clarified the snowman issue and bore testimony. And then Lee got to go swimming.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Report

I like to read. When I find a good book, I don't just read it, I devour it. That's what I did this weekend. My dad loaned me the book Marley & Me by John Grogan, which has recently been made into a film starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. I haven't seen the movie, but I loved the book. I laughed, then cried, then laughed harder, then cried harder. Overall, it was a day and a half's read full of emotion.

Cody loves it when I read. And for good reason too: when I get sucked into a novel, a big change comes over me. I firstly feel guilty for spending my day balled on the couch, nursing and reading, so I become overly affectionate and grateful to Cody for holding down the fort while I slip away into Neverland. Then, second, the mental stimulation reading brings excites my creativity, which has a tendency to then explode in great gobs all over whatever I attempt, usually bringing about very good results. I want to cook, write, change my haircut, try new things, and I become generally excited about life and the world I live in.

So, finishing this book last night has now sent me into creative-frenzy mode. I have come up with about eighty blogging topics, and I have finally stumbled past my writer's block and can get back to the story I'm working on. Maybe my food blog will get a new post sometime soon. I want to sit down at the piano and play, or perhaps sew a quilt for Lee's bed. Who knows? It's amazing what reading can do!

PS, the book was a good one too, you should read it! Any suggestions for my next reading adventure?