Sunday, November 29, 2009

My New Calling!

At the beginning of the year I got a calling that has been a bit of a challenge for me. I know it is silly- but being a Sunbeams teacher was honestly the hardest calling I have EVER had! I think most of that had to do with the fact that I live with a 3 year old. This calling took away the only 2 hours of my week that were almost guaranteed to be void of 3 year old interaction. My Sundays went from a day of refuge and adult conversation, to a day of toddlers, potty runs, head shoulders knees and toes, and attempting to keep 10 pairs of hands off of each other. It was hard- but it was fun too. I bonded with most of my kids and grew to love them very much! So, it was a bit of a bittersweet moment when I got released from the hardest calling I ever had.

When the Executive Secretary called to have me meet with the bishopric and stated that it was important that the meeting happen soon, I knew a new calling was on its way. I spent my morning contemplating the possibilities and getting excited! Speculation was rampant in the house as my husband and I reviewed who was leaving, and what big callings might be open. I knew a member of the Young Women's Presidency was moving, a Relief Society teacher had recently been released, and the choir director had recently sold his home. I was thrilled as all three of these callings are ones I have coveted in non-sinful ways, of course.

When the Second Counselor met with me, he was acting a little strange. He greeted my family and me, and painfully led us through some awkward small talk before getting to the core of the matter.

"Sister Goodman, we have a new calling to present to you, and I am a little unsure as to how to go about it. The thing is- this is quite an unorthodox calling. In fact, I have never heard of another person having this calling in any of my other wards! We had to get special permission from the Stake President to make this calling available, and it was created specifically for you. It really is quite unorthodox. This is by far the strangest calling I have ever had to extend. . ."

. . . and on and on and on. He went on for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES telling me how weird my new calling was to be and to ensure me that it had been created through Inspiration from the Spirit.

I was confused- and a little worried to be honest. I knew none of my other thoughts could be right as all of them were actual callings that were not unorthodox in any way. I seriously wondered if they were calling me to work with the young men, or help the priesthood leadership or something. Finally he came down to it- and the truth is, it was not strange at all.

". . . We would like to ask you if you would be willing to serve as the Third Counselor in the Primary Presidency."

Now, I have never had a ward with a third counselor in anything, but I know it has been done in the First Presidency at least twice. To be honest- it made PERFECT sense to me. Our Primary is HUGE and our building is too small to accomodate splitting it. This seemed like an obvious way to help the Presidency spread the burden of responsibility, and take better care of the children.

I was touched later that night when Katie, the President, came to my house to give me a brief synopsis of what my new responsibilities would be. She said she had a very strong and unmistakable prompting that told her I needed to be one of her counselors. She spent the next few days praying about which of her counselors to release, and could never feel comfortable with the idea of replacing either of them. This was frustrating to her as she still had the strong burning of revelation telling her that I needed to be a part of her Presidency. She took the matter to the Bishop (who is an AMAZING man), and they came up with the solution of adding a third counselor to the Presidency. They took the matter to a meeting with the Stake President who heard the issue, prayed about it, and came back with the answer that they had made the right choice.

I was very touched to hear that story because I had been struggling with my calling as a Sunbeams teacher because I seriously doubted that it was a calling of inspiration. I was fairly certain (and right, it turns out) that I was meant to teach an older class, but was told to teach the class that other people had refused. I had struggled a lot with it because I felt that I was serving out of desperation, and yet I had promised myself long ago to NEVER refuse a calling in the Church. It was very calming to my Spirit to know that this was a calling of pure inspiration. The Lord wanted me specifically to serve the children of this GIANT ward in this calling. I needed that. I needed to know that He was fully aware of me, and was truly directing my path.

My first week as a full member of the Presidency came a week after I was sustained. My heart broke over and over as it dawned on my Sunbeams that I was really no longer their teacher. I had tried to explain it the week before, but when they saw me sitting at the front- some of them were devastated. The horrible thing is, a little piece of me was happy! They love me too!

When Ammon found out, he ran into the hall with his mom and I could hear him screaming, "No! I'm not going! I want my teacher!! No- the GOOD teacher! I don't want that other teacher- I want the NICE one who likes my sweater!" Awesome- and I do love his sweater. Hannah just sat and sobbed quietly. She put her head in her lap and just silently cried. She would lift her head up, look at me, and tears would just spill over her face. Jonas refused to sit with the class. He spent the first week sitting at the front with me. He went to his class after singing time only because I told him it would make me happy.

I felt bad that they were so sad- but it really meant a lot to me that they were that upset about me not being their teacher anymore. I think it says a lot about how much teachers truly affect their student's lives. I only saw these kids for two hours a week- and most of that time I was reminding them to be reverent and stay in their seats. Somewhere in between all of that, we formed a bond. That was the hardest calling I have ever had in the church (WAY harder than this new one!!) and so I guess it is fitting that it was the hardest one for me to let go as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Miracle

Emma: Mom, can we play a game?
Mom: Sure- what would you like to play?
Emma: Can we play that game where we make your bed and then Sara's bed and then my bed?
Mom: *A little stunned* Absolutely, we can. What should we do after that?
Emma: Ummmm, then I can lay down and take a rest.

No joke- this really happened. We played the game and she had a blast! She is now resting on her bed reading books and listening to music. Sara is napping, and I now have at least 20 minutes (the average length of Sara's mid-day naps) to clean the house and get some work done. Someone knew I needed a bit of a break today, and I am grateful for His timing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Made Me Smile this Morning!

I don't know what she is doing, or whose foot that is, but I love that smile! She is such a cutie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halloween- At Least I Got Them Up Before Thanksgiving!

Actually, it was really hard to get pictures of them in their costumes because they were WAY too excited to go trick-or-treating.

This is Emma showing me her Princess curtsy. I thought she was going to be Snow White. I was wrong. She was NOT Snow White. She was Princess Emma.
That's our cat. He stuck around the front porch while I was handing out candy, and was a big hit with the kids.
Emma got her dress from Heather and Caulene for her birthday, and Sara's Little Red Riding Hood costume is recycled from a few years ago. Expect to see that Snow White dress again in a couple of years. . .
They really aren't the best pictures. I will have to dress them up again and take some better ones to scrap. The good news is their cuteness won them LOTS of candy! They only get a couple pieces a day, so we are still going through the bag.

Battling the Guilt

I have this problem. I am certain I got it from my mother. I have an addiction to guilt. It's true! I just cannot get enough! I find myself wallowing in self-pity and self-imposed guilt on a daily basis. This is something I have battled for YEARS, and I thought I was getting better. Maybe I was. Not now, though.

I am pregnant, and I am super excited about this. We tried for a while and I had a few miscarriages before I felt comfortable enough to tell family and friends. I wasn't going to blatantly announce it, but the truth is, I am showing, and I am miserable, and that makes it hard to hide. We are very excited! We really are!

That being said. . . I am struggling. See, before I got pregnant I had things around here DOWN! I was awesome. 2 hours of writing. 1 hour of teaching Emma. The house was clean and a dinner was made before Ross got home from work. I played with my children, and nurtured my marriage and even made a moderate income in my spare time. I took pictures and scrapped them faithfully. I was teaching 10 adorable children every Sunday and never once asked to be released even though the inundation of child interaction was weakening my resolve to even show up to church. I was organized, and on top of things!

In short, I was pretty happy with myself.

Not so much now. My house is not clean. I have not cooked once this week. There are stacks of laundry, I am behind with my work, and I have yet to get on here and blog the cute pictures from Halloween or write about my new and exciting calling. I just barely finished cleaning 3 days' worth of dishes, and the water is still sitting in the tub from the girls' bath this morning. I haven't vaccuumed in 2 days, and my bed has not been properly made in over a week- mostly because I rarely leave my bed when I am home.

I have reasons for this- I am pregnant. I am sick and constantly dizzy. My emotional state has been rather fragile and I hurt. A lot. As my first OB once said, "This body wasn't really made to tolerate pregnancy very well." Not a very tactful statement- but oh so true. My back hurts, and the pain of my stretching stomach is awful. I get migraines at the drop of a hat, and I just feel generally icky.

Add to all of that the guilt I feel as failing as a wife and mother right now, and you have the recipe for a perfect meltdown of tears, over-exurtion, and running mascara.

Now, before I get inundated with angry comments, let me say that yes, I know. I am not failing. I am doing what I can. My children are happy and fairly healthy (they are both a little sick at the moment). They get food, love, and encouragement. My priority is keeping myself healthy and focussing on NOT losing this one.

The problem is, that the little guilt addict inside me keeps reminding me of the happy and put together woman I was 13 weeks ago. This weakened version of me is still trying to keep up with that one, and it just is not happening. Welcome, guilt! I hate looking around at my cluttered floor and the piles of laundry knowing that I just can't do that today. I can't fix it. I can make myself, sure, but that will land me back in my bed in a ball of pain and tears.

My Choice:

I had a little chat with Heavenly Father while I was in the shower yesterday. (We chat there a lot!) I spent a few minutes apologizing for my weaknesses and being such a bad wife (I could hear Ross putting a load of laundry in the washer for me. . .he shouldn't have to do that. . .) and He asked me what it was I really thought being a good wife meant. I thought about that. It was a good question. What I finally came down to was that being a good wife meant making my husband happy. Simple, but true. Then He asked me what made Ross the most happy. I thought deeply about this- it was another VERY good question (He is good at that!). I realized that the happiest I had seen him over these last weeks had been when we were together and happy- whether we were chatting, watching a movie, or just snuggling before he fell asleep. Those moments usually happened on the days I had given in to my weakness and allowed the house to be messy, the dishes to pile up, and the food to be bought, re-heated, or dumped out of a can (chille and cornbread has been a weekly event).

They were NOT on the days I pushed myself too hard. They were NOT on the days when the house was clean, and I was too exhausted to leave the house. They were NOT on the days when a good meal was prepared by me, and the floors were vaccuumed. In short, they were NOT on the days when I tried to match up with my previous non-pregnant self.

My choice right now, then, is simple. I can have the appearance of my version of a happy home, or I can be a happy person and make my husband happy.

I can let Ross do the vaccuuming (seriously, why is vaccuuming so exhausting?), or I can spend our rare time together in a haze of medicated comfort.

I can try to keep up with 13 weeks ago Amanda, or I can figure out how to balance where I am at now and what I CAN do now.

I cannot do it all anymore. I cannot be that wife, mother, and super-hero. I CAN feed my children, and get those dishes into the sink and possibly the dishwasher (if it has been unloaded). I CAN put clean laundry in a pile on the bed and tell Ross how hot he is while he puts it away. I CAN tolerate crumbs on the floor, dishes in the sink, and knots in the girls' hair- for now. Not forever, but just for a few more weeks until I can function at a higher level.

I hate admitting that. I do. It is not really me- but this right here is not really me- not permanently at least. To some of you who are the super-moms I strive to be (Carrie, Penny, Brittany. . .) This may sound a tad pathetic. Maybe it is.

This is me trying to bury my spiritual weapon (guess where we are reading from in the BOM. . .) of guilt. This is me trying to be better. This is me sacrificing some things that are very important to me in hopes of better serving those that are most important to me. This is me posting something intensely personal thinking that maybe putting it public will help me stick to it, and possibly help someone else.

My friend and hero Maria recently posted on her blog a very personal account of her struggle with depression. For some reason, I feel the need to follow suit. I feel that purging myself of the secrecy of this personal struggle will not only help me deal with healing from the wounds that guilt has caused, but maybe show others that this is not an uncommon affliction.

I know some of you will disagree with the appropriateness of this, and if you are one of them, let me just say that if you say something mean to me, I will cry and it will be your fault! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Loved This- Some of You May be Offended!

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, and Obama supporters,

We have stuck together since the late 1950’s, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know, we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but, sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot, and will not ever agree on what is right, so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile, chalk it up to irreconcilable differences, and go our own way.

Here is a model separation agreement:Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friend ly agr eement. After that it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA, and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O’Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We’ll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens. We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s, and rednecks. We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks, and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.

We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, and Shirley McClaine. You can also have the U.N. But we will no longer be paying the bill.

We’ll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.You can give everyone healthcare, if you can find any practicing doctors. We’ll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right.

We’ll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya", or "We Are the World".

We’ll practice trickle down economics, and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot.

Since it often so offends you we’ll keep our history, our name, and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots, and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely, John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Salute to Veterans

On this day, I thought I would come on and say a few words since it is a day to remember those we have lost protecting, those who have protected and those that are protecting our freedom and liberty and way of life. I personally feel as though I owe so much to those who have gone before and wish daily that I could have done more when I served.

Many of you know I served in the United States Air Force for a short while, and that something very unfortunate happened to me during that time that has altered my life and continues to shape who I am today. To many, it is quite apparent who a veteran is when we see someone so young in a wheel chair or missing a limb or two, but to so many we don't recognize those who served because we don't see the physical scarring of war, we don't see that which lies within, the memories of those we lost and the sights and sounds we saw and heard so many miles away from home.

On this day I pause to remember one of those whose life of service and service to his country has shaped my life. My grandfather Jack Erwin Fish whom I was named after "my middle name is Erwin" served proudly in the United States Marine Corp from 1941 - 1946, he left the states under the Golden Gate bridge to help protect the islands of the Pacific during WWII, during which time he was captured and tortured in the Japanese POW camps. Being only one of a few thousand that survived the Bataan Death Marches and battle of Corregidor, A feeling of deep respect wells up inside me every time I think about what he survived and how honored I am to be a desendent of such a great man that gave so much to protect the lives of those he loved and those whom he would never meet, only to serve a master greater than us all who has provided a land for us to enjoy such freedoms provided to us under our constitution.

As some of you know I work for the Department of Veteran Affairs. I work directly with those for whom this day is dedicated. I feel it a great honor to serve those who have served and feel as though, if you do not feel as though this country is the greatest ever, you really need to talk to few people I meet every day. We are all given certain rights by God, but freedom and liberty are the things we must fight for. If we aren't willing to fight for them ourselves, those who fight for us deserve all our honor and respect.

We truly live in the greatest county on God's green earth. I feel honored this day to have served for as long as I was able and am so proud to be a desendent of such a great man that almost lost his life doing what was right. I love serving those who served to keep me and my family free.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Our FHE Tonight

My Aunt Carrie found this and linked it on facebook. It is such a fun idea, and we are totally starting it today. It is found here:

Also part of our FHE may include starting to put out our Christmas decorations. Don't judge! :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I'll Be Honest. . .

. . . I have kind of felt like this lately. My kids haven't been to Primary in weeks, they didn't go trick-or-treating with any of their friends, and I have spent my last few weeks in large groups covering my face and slathering myself in my hand sanitizer. I am grateful that I am doing home-preschooling with Emma so she has had less contact with children who could have possibly had contact with family members with the Swine Flu. I am a bit paranoid, but I am DETERMINED to not have our house infected with it. Ross got the vaccine at work, so that makes me feel more comfortable about kissing him when he gets home from work, although I still make him shower first. . . ;)

I actually had a scare earlier this week when Emma started throwing up. I was sure that despite all my efforts, the pig flu had caught up with us. I took her in to the Pediactrician IMMEDIATELY, and was relieved when they said her lack of coughing or a runny nose was a good indication that her flu, while miserable, was not of the swine variety. Huzzah!

The funny thing is, that despite a high fever and the throwing up, Emma seemed fine. She was talking and acting normal, would run to the bathroom to puke, and then come back and pick up right where she left off. The nurse even said she didn't think Emma was sick at all because she was being so cute and talking about the baby in Mommy's tummy. Just as the nurse was about to send me away, Emma said she had to throw up. The nurse grabbed her a puke bucket, and Emma filled it up with the granola bar and apple juice she had enjoyed in the waiting room. She believed me after that.

However, when Emma said that her back hurt, the doctor got concerned that she might not have a flu at all, but a urinary tract infection. This required a urine sample for testing. Thus began the most fun I have had all week! I spent two hours on the floor of the restroom contracting Hepatitus and holding a cup, begging my three year old to, "Please pee pee in the cuppy so you can get a special treat." No dice.

The nurse kept giving her juice boxes in an effort to hydrate her and get her to have more to work with potty-wise. Well, guess what happens when you give copius amounts of liquid to a child who has kept nothing down in the last 8 hours. . . The answer, of course, is not pee-pee in a cup, but throw up on the floor, the bucket, the sink, the toilet, and a few other awesome places for puke to be found.

After 3 hours of no luck urine-wise, they allowed me to take the cup home with me to fill when she was good and ready. I still haven't taken it back even though we did get it filled. She seemed totally fine the next day, and has been a perfectly active and sweet little girl all week, so I am just assuming it was a 24 hour bug, and she is now fine. I should probably get the cup out of my fridge though, because there are few things more embarassing than your daughter proudly showing off a cup of her ice cold urine to visitors. . .

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pumpkins with the Wallaces

My Grandma always has a big gathering at her house before Halloween where all the cousins get together and carve pumpkins. I love it! This year, the celebration doubled as a birthday party for my cute Cousin, Garrett. Here are some pictures. A lot of them!

Dana's pumpkin was huge! I was trying to show the frost that was inside in this picture. Look how thick the stem was!
Emma liked helping scoop out the seeds,
I loved this. Jessica is funny! (it's pumpkin pi!)
Look at all of that concentration! This is a big deal!
Lara made this AMAZING cake for Garret's birthday. This is after it was cut and the Batman on the motorcycle was taken off the top. It has a utility belt!
Garret and Sara.
Dana is getting too pretty. How do I stop this? He is excited because he knows the kissing picture (not shown) is coming next! ;)
Spencer's green cyclops.
Emma wanted me to carve a Snow White to match her costume. This is how it ended up.
Aubrey's (Heather's friend) Bat Signal, and Kassidy's (Dana's friend) PacMan. The Pac Man carving went all around the huge pumpkin with dots, a goblin, and a strawberry. It was awesome. Kassidy rocks!
Dana's peace sign (she was a hippee for Halloween), Heather's Gotham (I told her to put the scraps from Aubrey's pumpkin on top of her city scape to be the bat signal), and Aaron's Tiki Man.
I realize it is a silly and useless hobby, but I thoroughly enjoy this tradition. Not pictured was the scones and sparkling apple juice fresh from the orchard.

Hi Heather! :)

My sister, Heather, let me upload pictures of my girls from her memory card. These were on the card as well, and I love them! Enjoy! Don't be mad- I love you!
She is single, and so very much fun to have around!

California Trip: Part 3

These are out of order. Deal.

After Joe's talk on Sunday, there was a dinner at the Goodman house with some of Joe's cousins and aunts and uncles and other such relatives. It was the first time I had met many of them, so that was interesting.

Joe, Ross and Ashley? Grandma Goodman. I almost deleted this, but Emma LOVES it! :)
Pretty Sara.
Grandpa Goodman, Emma, and Charlie?
Grandma had Emma pass out fruit snacks to all the visitors. She was very happy to have such an important job.
Daddy Bear and Baby Bear
Ummm, this is from Saturday. Lucy wrote a play version of Stone Soup for all the cousins to perform.
Sara and I hung out on this porch swing quite a bit.
Macey and Emma on the Alligator Teeter-totter. I think Lucy is on the other side. . .
The moral of the story is, we had a fun trip. It was a long drive both ways, and I am not sure if my expanding frame will allow that to happen again at Christmas, but either way, we are glad we were able to do it. Welcome Home, Joe! We will be excited to have you down here at BYU in January.