I have this really distinct memory from my childhood.
I'm playing my backyard wandering in the trees and hiding in the leaves, when I overhear a conversation my neighbors are having in the next yard over. A little boy was asking his father, who was pretty young himself, where heaven is. The father knelt down at the boy's side and pointed to the sky. "Do you see that tiny little star way over there? It's way way beyond that."
I was a young girl, probably only about 8 or so. But I remember knowing that heaven wasn't far beyond the stars, deep in space. I knew and felt that it was here around us, that angels and loved ones were close watching and guiding us every day. I understood at that moment that not everyone knew, as I know, how much God loves us. And that is truly a precious gift.
This Sunday was my daughter's first day as a little Sunbeam. I was hoping to send the Hubby and the Bubby to Sunday School while I went with the little lady to her first primary class, but Heavenly Father had different ideas.
The Primary chorister called a few days before and asked me to substitute for her. I was tempted to say no and tell her I wanted to be with Boo Bear, but I know how hard it is to find someone musically inclined without other commitments to substitute. So I said yes.
There is a brand new song for the kids to learn. It's so new that it's not even in the Children's Songbook yet.
I prepared a pretty average singing time. I wrote the lyrics on butcher paper, printed pictures to put with the lyrics, and came up with a simple game for the kids to put the pictures up and pick primary songs to sing with them.
My goal was pretty much just to not make too big a fool of myself and keep the kids entertained for the 20 minute singing time. If they learned any of the song that would be a bonus.
Boy, did I underestimate those kids.
Baby Bear did okay at first, until she saw me stand up to lead the opening song. She wanted to come too, so I ended up just holding her and singing really loud in front of the piano. I couldn't get her to sit back down with her class, so she sat with me up front. That was okay until she saw that the other kids got to go up to the podium for the scripture and prayer. She wanted to go too and cried really loud when I wouldn't let her. So we found Daddy and he and Bubs sat with her while I led singing time.
The little kids go first while the big kids go to class. Most of them can't read so I had them take turns picking a picture and finding where it went on the poster. There were pictures of Jesus, listening ears, a heart. Each one had a primary song to sing written on the back. Between me having no idea what songs the kids knew and some of the kids being pretty new to primary, I assumed I'd just be singing for them. I was wrong.
They each sung with all their little hearts. Even the songs they didn't know. They'd sing something and as soon as they'd catch a word they'd belt it out really loud. Totally off key and totally adorable.
Each picture they picked went with a line of the lyrics. I explained each line a little bit as we put the pictures up. We talked about our hearts and how they helped us feel feelings. We talked about how Jesus loved to talk with the children where He lived. We talked about how Jesus doesn't live on the earth now, but He still lives and loves each of us. He loves us and wants to talk with us every day. We talked about how usually you listen with your ears to the words people say, but you can also listen to your feelings and what they say to you. We learned that it's the Spirit that speaks to us with our feelings and tells us the things Jesus wants us to know.
I didn't expect it to be so easy to talk about the Spirit. When you try to talk to adults about it, especially if they are hearing it for the first time, it can get complicated and confusing. It can be hard to find the words to explain how your feelings know so much, how you can communicate with deity through emotions, and how to know if your feelings are the Spirit or just your own worrying and contemplating.
But the kids listened and answered questions, volunteered the things they already knew, and soaked up things that were new to them.
They got it. And it didn't seem foreign to them.
We repeated the words to the song and listened to the music of the song. Then a magical thing happened.
They sung it nearly perfectly. This song that they'd never heard before sounded fantastic, like they'd been singing it for years. We sung it a couple more times and by the time it was time to break for classes, the kids knew the song.
I walked with Boo Bear to her class and she waved goodbye with a smile.
The big kids came in next and it went just as fantastically. The big kids really engaged in the conversation. When we talked about not being able to hear Jesus's words with our ears, they reminded me that Joseph Smith had actually seen and heard Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. When I asked them what our hearts did, they responded with intelligent answers about the circulatory system and how the heart pumps blood that carries oxygen to all the parts of our body. Then we related how the figurative heart helps us receive inspiration that is just as vital to our spirits as oxygen is to our bodies. They were not only listening, but excited to learn about the gospel and how to build a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
They also sung the song to near perfection on the first try.
It was a great experience. As the day went on I pondered about the lessons I had learned. I thought about how easy it was for the kids to learn spiritual truths because of their openness and their purity. I also thought about how easy it was to learn something that I would be hard because they did work to prepare by learning the lyrics and the meaning of the song before they sung it. I ended the day grateful that I had been able to participate so much in my little lady's first primary day. I was grateful that He had better ideas than I did.
But the very best part came a couple days later when I was coloring with my kiddos. I was drawing shapes and having her tell me what they were. When I drew a heart she answered with, "Heart uh-minds us Jesus wuvs me." And then my heart uh-minded me that even the littlest Sunbeam can feel His love with their heart.
Hooray for happy Sunbeams.
just a note to say hi and happy love day! There are some fabulous things around the interwebs to help celebrate the happy occasion. I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.
For your Valentine's weekend soundtrack, try the Alt Indie Love Songs radio station on Pandora or check out this great list of Country love songs.
For movies check out some of these favorites and don't forget my mom's favorite, Pure Country. Also, check out a beautifully written reason why there is one movie you should definitely skip over at Scissortail Silk.
For some golden advice on love and marriage, check out Lessons in Love from the prophets and their wives or the Best Conference talks on LOVE.
And if you are lucky enough to be planning your own special day to say I Do, gather some inspiration from Chris Thile's beautiful wedding to his love, or some of the gorgeous new gowns over at bhldn ("beholden").
That inspires me to share some of my own amazing wedding day with all of you! Stay tuned for that and have an amazing Valentine's Day!
On this crazy road we travel together, our family had a lot of twists and turns this past year. Most of which were unexpected to us, but all leading to the right places.
I left my office job that I'd had for five years, the place where BH and I met.
I found immense joy and freedom in not having a job, something that had only happened one other time since I was 15.
I took a fantastic opportunity to work on a couple of projects sewing costumes with the Utah Opera costume shop. I met wonderful, wonderful people and discovered how crazy full filling it was for me to sew on that level and to create on a regular basis. And I got to work with my creative genius of a sister who I look up to so much. If I didn't have to be away from my babies I may have stayed forever.
Instead I tripped into an incredible opportunity altering wedding gowns from my studio at home, something I have always dreamed of doing and something I have been working toward since design school. I love love love it, I really do.
Somewhere in the middle of all that we decided to list our house for sale. Our beautiful little house. Our first home we'd bought together. The home that housed all my memories of my little girl.
It sold in a couple days and a month later we moved back to my beautiful home town that I love. Now I see my family almost every other day and I cherish it so much.
And as the cherry on top of all those wonderful things, we welcomed our beautiful bouncing baby boy in November. All of us are smitten, but especially Boo Bear. She thinks the world of him. And BH is so proud to have a boy he can do manly things with one day.
There are so many things I could say about the lessons learned if I could find the words.
The difference between a job and your passions.
How alive you feel when they are the same thing.
The difference between a house and a home.
How peaceful and centered you feel when they are the same thing.
The difference between your friends and your family.
How blessed you are when they are the same thing.
The one thing I can tell you with all certainty is that God guides our lives, if we let Him. He seeks our greatest happiness and knows a way we can find it if we will listen to Him and follow His loving words.
I know He's not done with us yet. This year promises to be an even bigger year than the last, with bigger challenges and bigger rewards for loving and living in faith and hope. I know we'll be happy wherever we are, as long as I get to share the journey with my best friend and two little side kicks.
Here's to hoping 2015 brings you as much joy as my 2014 brought me.
Happy New Year.