Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Happened to the Cockroaches

I don't know if anyone is curious about this, but I thought I'd give you an update anyway.

While we were staying at our previous apartment, we had a bit of a bug problem. Cockroaches became way too frequent visitors at our home and especially in our microwave. We'd see small ones crawling inside of the clock display screen, and it was pretty disgusting.

When we bought our home and moved, we tried our very best not to bring the little critters with us. We went so far as to leave our microwave and toaster at the apartment and we got new ones to replace them.

Once all of our items were in the moving van, we bugbombed the van and left it closed tightly for a couple of days. (We moved over a weekend, and since we didn't want to work on Sunday, it was able to stay closed all of Sunday as well.) Before we left, we opened the back and let it air out for a while.

Then, when I unpacked, I carefully would bring one box into the kitchen at a time, unpack it, examine each item, and then take the empty box back out to the garage where it was pretty cold. (We did move in February, after all.)

I haven't said anything before now, because I was afraid that if I said anything, the next day I would wake up to find my kitchen crawling with cockroaches. I have had nightmares for the last few months and I kept dreaming that I woke up to find one in my kitchen.

However, after six months in our home, I feel that I can finally say: WE DON'T HAVE COCKROACHES ANYMORE!

I know that was a miracle. Everyone I've talked to says that it is nearly impossible not to pack them up with you. I found one dead baby one when I was unpacking, but I didn't even see any dead adults.

I am so grateful to not have cockroaches at my house anymore.

I am grateful that we were able to leave our boxes in such a cold place. I feel like that gave me peace of mind, if nothing else. Our garage gets pretty cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

I don't know if any of you prayed that we'd move without bringing cockroaches, but if you did, thank you. I was definitely praying for it. I think we were inspired to leave the microwave and the toaster. I was going to bring the toaster, but every time I went to get it, I got sidetracked and eventually just forgot about it.

I will not miss our uninvited guests.

I am super grateful they're gone and that they didn't hitch a ride to our new house.

Monday, August 17, 2015

MM: Lessons from my Grandparents

Yesterday at church, we had one of the funnest lessons that I have had in a while. I don't know if I've ever laughed that hard during a lesson.

The lesson was about the elderly and how valuable they are. The older sisters in the ward I was in were a hoot. They teased the sister in charge and in general were quite witty.

The teacher, who is a friend of mine, asked me to share something I had learned from my grandparents. I missed the cue, so I didn't end up sharing my thoughts.

I wanted to share my thoughts here, because I felt they were worth saying.

Each of my grandparents have taught me valuable lessons.

My paternal grandmother has taught me to be respectful and kind to everyone. I have very seldom seen her get upset with someone. She is really great at making all of her grandchildren think they are her favorite. She listens carefully and really cares about what we think and what we are going through. She is a great listener, and I want to be more like that.

My paternal grandfather has helped teach me how to work. Though he is nearly 80, he knows more about computers than I do, and he still is running his own business. Since I was 11, he has given me the opportunity to work at his apartments every summer. He has taught me to be a good worker and how to maintain and repair my own home. I have learned a lot from him.
Kevin and his paternal grandparents

My maternal grandmother has taught me the value of service and homemaking. She has been teaching me how to do my own canning. She takes time our of her busy schedule to help me whenever I need it. She is constantly looking for ways to help other people, and whenever anyone comes into town, she is always ready to feed and let them stay at her home. I want to be more like that.

My paternal grandfather has taught me the importance of saving and managing money. Though he has never been rich, he has saved up his whole life and now is able to go on trips with his wife to different parts of the world. He has also served three missions with his wife. I have also learned how to fish from my grandfather. It is something that I enjoy doing with him and with my husband.

This picture was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary. The cupcakes each represent one of their posterity.
Possibly the most important thing I have learned from my grandparents is how important family is. Everything they do is because they loves their children and grandchildren. They helped me stay debt-free throughout college, and I can never repay them for that. They sacrifice to have a family reunion frequently so we can stay in touch with our family. It's not always easy (because they have so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren), but they keep doing it.

I have also learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of my grandparents have shared their testimonies to me about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Often, they haven't done it in words, but through their actions. I love and respect each of them.

As they get older, I am grateful for the time I get to spend with them. They know so many things that I have yet to learn. I hope they continue to stay around for a long time.

I am blessed to live in a church where God has called older men to lead it. The elderly have vast reserves of experience and examples to draw upon, as well as strong testimonies that have endured many trials. We can learn something from everyone, and I hope to continue to learn from those that are older than me.

Monday, August 10, 2015

MM: Family Home Evening for Toddlers

So, I decided to start a new section on this blog.

Sometimes it is hard to have age appropriate activities for a toddler in family home evening. So, I decided I actually need to sit down and plan the activities and lessons before hand. I keep reading things about how I need to be teaching my son the gospel. In a recent talk by Elder Nelson titled "The Sabbath is a Delight," he said:

We make the Sabbath a delight when we teach the gospel to our children. Our responsibility as parents is abundantly clear. The Lord said, “Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion … that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”16
Years ago the First Presidency stressed the importance of quality family time. They wrote:
“We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.
“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
So, I started thinking about how I'm sharing the gospel with my son. We have family home evening every week, but we haven't always made the activities really age appropriate. So, I'm going to start coming up with and sharing my age appropriate activities with others who are struggling with the same thing. If you want to use my ideas, please do. That's why I share them. If you want to share them with others, please just give me the credit.
A mother and her son hold pictures of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith while teaching a family home evening lesson to the rest of the family.
Anyway, I truly believe it is important to share the gospel with our children. Firm foundations must begin when the house is being built. If we wait until it is already erected, it is super difficult and tragedy may strike while we attempt it. There are a lot of resources out there to help us, if we take the time to look for them. Hopefully I can shorten the research for someone who is busier than I am.

I'll try to put up a new activity at least once a week.

Here's the first week's link!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MM: Suicide

Suicide is a difficult topic in our society.

Often, people condemn those who've committed suicide to hell or damnation, and this can be very difficult for those who knew and loved the people who chose to take their lives. We want the best for them, and often the suicide occurred because of very difficult and misunderstood circumstances.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are grateful that we are not the one who will be judging at the last days. I have been thinking about suicide quite a bit lately, because I have had some friends who have lost family because of it. However, tonight, as I was studying, I found a very comforting article by Elder Russell M. Nelson. It's called Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some Things We Do Not

This is a talk given back in 1987, but it is as true today as it was then. If anyone you know is suffering from the loss of someone who has committed suicide, I would recommend reading it. It is a talk of hope.

Elder Nelson makes the point that although the taking of human life, including our own, is a sin, the prophets have NEVER stated where such souls will end up. The Lord does hold us accountable for our own choices, but he is also a kind and just God who understands the circumstances of our decisions in ways that we simply cannot.

Many people who choose to commit suicide are suffering from chemical imbalances and other extraneous circumstances. It is hard to say how much control they really have in the end. Suicide is a tragedy, both for those who leave this earth prematurely, and especially for those who are left behind.

I also read another article tonight about a mother whose son committed suicide. It was called Sustained by God's Love. One of the things that really helped the mother feel loved and comforted after her son's death was the fact that no one in her congregation condemned her son. They simply showed love and did their best to serve them at that challenging time.

Instead of being judgmental toward those who have committed suicide, we should do our best to comfort the families that are left behind. I think telling people that their son/daughter/father/mother/other family member/friend who died is going to hell is akin to taking a knife in someone's back and twisting it around and digging deeper. They already have a gaping wound. We don't need to make it worse.

We are never asked to judge whether people are going to heaven or hell. That judgement is reserved alone for the Lord. Instead, we are told to love one another, and to do our best to help others be happy.

In one portion of Elder Nelson's talk, he quoted President Joseph Smith who said:
“While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard. … He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. … We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ed. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 218.)

The death of a loved one is a tragedy and everyone experiences grief in different ways. Listen to those who are suffering. Even after a few weeks or months, they are probably still struggling with it. Everyone deals with sorrow in their own way and time. It is not our place to tell them when they should be "over it." Really, they probably never will be.

I know I wouldn't be.

Personally, I have been blessed to not yet experience personal loss. The thought of losing any of my family members terrifies me. Even understanding the Lord's Plan of Salvation, and knowing that their is life after death and I can see my family again, I am unprepared for the separation.

However, I also know that when the time comes that my family members leave this earth, I know the Lord will give me strength where I have none, and peace that will help me keep going. The Lord loves all of His children, and He will judge each of us perfectly so that we can be in the place that will bring us the most comfort and joy.
A painting by Robert T. Barrett depicting Christ in white and red robes, standing on the water and reaching out to Peter, who is sinking.

Elder Nelson ended his talk with these words:

As I think about the worry and agony of those whose loved one has taken his or her own life, I find deep comfort and faith in the Lord’s promise and blessing to us who remain in mortality: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
I pray that those who have lost loved ones to this terrible tragedy will find comfort and joy in Christ. He can help you through any trial, and give you the strength to move forward. We pray for you and your families as you continue to do your best to continue on, when the future seems so dark. We love you, and wish you peace and joy in the memories of those who are gone.

They will live again.

I know this is true.