Sunday, April 29, 2012

Prayers Appreciated

My husband lost his job...

The details are unimportant, trust me, we have run through them 10000x...

End result- no job.

He is our sole financial provider. I stay home full-time as a mother, homemaker, and homeschooling parent. We have 2.5 children- I am 21 weeks pregnant. My husband is devastated.

He is such a good worker. Such an honorable man. Such a "stuffy-shirt" guy (my little brother's way of describing those always-happy-Stepford-type-workers that do everything "for the company").

Kurt has been contacted by employees who wish him well, obviously he must have left for "something much better"- they are shocked to hear he lost his job- it was not his choice. It was not something we saw coming.

If my husband- the man who can turn profits and always be in perfect work mode- can lose his job... is there any safety?

There is, but we will not find it on earth.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 
                       -Psalm 34:6

There is safety. There is security. But it comes through Him, not through an employer.

This is hard. Kurt really loved his job, and we were quite comfortable and happy. We are sad.

We do not live in fear for our futures- we are fortunate beyond count and know that we have options. It is mourning the loss of the comfort we were so lucky to have felt. It is the loss of a position and company Kurt loved. It was the loss of our momentary earthly security- an imaginary security that we had come to depend on. But today at Church we were reminded of a scripture in Jacob that spoke loudly of what our priorities need to be:

But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them... 

Today I insisted our family keep the Sabbath. We attended Church, we spent time together, and we did a lot of meditation and prayer. This may sound like a simple thing to do- but with so many jobs to apply for and so many contacts to make, it was very difficult for Kurt and I to sit still and meditate on our faith and feelings.

Our Bishop and Home Teachers know of our situation. I told my family and friends. I asked for prayers from members of some of the social media groups to which I belong. My husband is a strong and capable man, but this news has set him back. He is devastated. I humbly ask for prayers for us during this time- especially for him- for comfort.

I have unshakable faith that this happened for a reason. I do not know that reason, and perhaps never will, but I trust The Lord. He has never failed us. He has always had a plan for us. If we are open, His plan will unfold and we will follow.

Thy will be done.

My mind thinks of Jesus. Alone, praying. His words going into the night, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." My trials, and my husband's burdens, are nothing- absolutely nothing- compared to the tiniest fraction of what our Savior experienced. I am strengthened by this. I, too, can shoulder my earthly trial and say, "thine [will] be done."

Jesus did not jump for joy at his trial, but was brave and submitted himself to it fully. He knew that God has a plan, a purpose, for everything- and He knew that He played a part.

God still lives, and he does so many of His works through men on earth. We can be brave. We can remember that our trial has a purpose, and we will humbly submit ourselves. Is it easy? No. Is it comfortable? No. Is it something we are overjoyed to experience? No. However- the peace that comes from knowing that God is in control helps us immensely.

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

We will get through this. We will be strong. Everything will be alright.

So tonight, we count our blessings. We are literally listing them, one by one, on paper. In our minds we hear the song:

  1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    County your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by.

    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
    Count your many blessings; money cannot buy Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.
  4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
    Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.

I have been so blessed to have such a warm response to my requests for prayer. I thank every single person who says a prayer on my family's behalf. Every prayer counts, I know it. The small messages, the phone calls, the words of comfort and inspiration- all of them matter. We are blessed. This will pass. And we will be even stronger and better for it somehow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Monterey Bay!

My mother and I took the boys and their cousin to Monterey Bay, California. It was a great trip! The boys adored the aquarium! The view was wonderful and the whole trip was quite a treat. Before we arrived we stopped for a tour at the Jelly Belly Factory, it was loads of fun!

 Harrison just woke up from a nap, gotta love the nap-hair!

 Jelly Belly Time!

 The boys were *thrilled* to see the puffins! They remembered them from our homeschool unit on birds!

 Took a break for lunch, Carter couldn't resist trying on Forrest Gump's shoes!

 The kids loved touching all of the interactive aquarium exhibits!

 Sean loved playing with the puppets in the children's area!

 Carter played in the children's area for a few minutes, but preferred being on the balcony (right next to the children's area) and watching the ocean and spotting animals. 

 Harrison merged the worlds- he brought the costume from the children's area outside to join Carter! (He is Nemo, and he is swimming, can't you tell? LOL!)

They loved watching the ocean!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Disneyland Part 4

Our last day!!! We were at the park when it opened, and we were ready to go! We asked the boys to start the day with their favorite rides, and Harrison wanted another ride on Star Tours! Carter wanted to ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! After the rides were complete we made our way to Mickey's Toontown! The kids rode rides and got to tour character homes. What a fun time!!! The highlight of the morning, by far, was when the boys got to meet Mickey Mouse himself. They shocked me by rushing up to him and hugging him happily! Lots of smiles and pictures! We then toured Mickey's house (his washing machine was running, and wouldn't you know it was full of his white gloves, lol!) and then played around some more. This day was super relaxing. We re-rode rides that we loved, rode a few we had not yet tried, and we took it really easy.

Blurry because our boys literally stampeded Mickey!

Of course, train rides were a given. Carter is still obsessed with trains!

We were sure to take a break this time, and we went back to the hotel to swim and splash together. It was such fun! I love the enthusiasm our boys have for play, and their smiles were huge!

Carter was far too busy going down waterslides to stop for a picture- but Harrison cooperated!

We played around and then showered and dressed for dinner. We had dinner at Goofy's Kitchen! This was the first "character dining" experience we ever had, and I don't think I would ever go without doing one again! What a *FUN* experience! The boys *ADORED* seeing so many different characters and getting to talk to them! Carter met his first princess (Hey, don't judge me! Our kids don't *want* to meet princesses so I never got to go meet them myself!) and he was quite taken with her- it was Snow White! After she left Carter sat in quiet thoughtfulness and when I asked what was on his mind he replied, "I like Snow White, but I love Kayla." He smiled and helped himself to his third dessert. LOL! Kids!

(Their dinner choices interested me. Carter picked pizza, Harrison picked broccoli, corn, and cupcake frosting- he avoids the cake but loves icing, lol! The Disney characters would pretend like they wanted to steal food!)

We rode more rides, and then took our place for the fireworks show. We had a spot right in the garden in front of the castle, and the view was amazing. Seeing the fireworks and our kids smiles made the day perfect! The park was busier than I had ever seen it, or even could have imagined, so we hung back when we realized that most people were on their way out. We took the kids shopping and they picked things for themselves (we only buy things the last day there because I do not like hauling things around) and then they picked gifts for their cousin Sean. Our children picked Star Wars toys, lol- of course.

We were going to ride the Monorail back when we saw that the line for the Autopia ride was nearly empty. Carter had wanted to ride it desperately but the long lines and the complications of seating (Carter wanted to drive, but had to have an adult with him. Harrison wanted to drive and needed an adult too- but it recommended pregnant women not ride because of possible bumps and crashing) we had always passed, but this was the time to ride- I felt it! The night was calm and peaceful, the park was emptying, and I wanted to finish the day off perfectly!

We got in line and Kurt worked it out (being the genius he is) that Harrison and I (note to self: don't ever allow Harrison to drive!) would be the very last car in a group so no one would be behind me and bump me, and Kurt positioned himself and Carter in the first car of the next group so that eventually when there were cars behind me it would be Kurt and Carter in the lead, and they wouldn't crash into me. All seemed like a good plan until I snuggled next to Harrison, buckled our shared belt, and heard his little voice ask me, "Mommy? Is this a *real* car?" I thought for a moment- took in the engine, pedals, steering wheel, and I answered, "Yes, it is." Harrison then let out a malicious laugh sounding something like "MMMUUAHAHA!" and started turning the wheel this-way and that with a crazed look in his little eyes. It occurred to me, this is the first time, in his whole life, he ever got to steer or drive anything. Carter always "called" driver position in bumper cars, driving games, and even those grocery carts that look like vehicles and Harrison always went along with Carter's request. Harrison went crazy with glee and took me on quite a ride. I admit, it was a bit frightening, but by the end we couldn't stop laughing- we were having so much fun! Near the end of the track Carter and Kurt had caught up to us (but maintained a safe distance) and I was able to snap pictures.

With smiling faces we left the ride and we piled into the Monorail and went back to the Disneyland Hotel for our last night. Perfect day, perfect sleep, perfect trip.

And then, the next morning, we headed home.

(Yes, I adjusted Harrison's chest buckle before leaving!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Disneyland! Part 3

Wednesday we were sooooo tired!!! We decided that we needed to "sleep in" and we would start the day at Disney's California Adventure Park when it opened at 10am. It was *so* worth it! We woke refreshed and ready for the day!!!

We walked into the park and Carter asked to stop and take a picture with the airplane on display. So- we did!

We rode a lot of rides that day! But the first ride the boys enjoyed was Grizzly River Run! They really enjoyed it, and they managed not to get too wet!

Kurt is waving, the boys are wearing green shirts and orange hats.

I am not sure of why, but we did not take a whole lot of photos on this day. The boys rode a *lot* of rides- from Goofy's Sky School roller coaster to Monsters Inc- they had to ride it all! Along they way the boys were delighted to see a show by Phineas and Ferb! If that wasn't exciting enough they also saw a Toy Story Green Army Men (our boys call them "hut huts" because of the noise they make when they walk, in the movie) drum corps! We had lunch at a small Greek restaurant, and we enjoyed live music!

We waited longer for the Toy Story ride than any other ride. The reward was not only a great time- but as we were leaving the ride BUZZ LIGHTYEAR walked past us! Harrison looked at us for approval, and upon getting it shot to Buzz's side!!! He *loved* getting to walk next to Buzz!!! Harrison followed Buzz (and we followed Harrison) for about 100 yards, when Buzz was taken to a crowd of people who were lined up to take pictures with him. Buzz was taking over for none other than WOODY! Carter was *so* excited!!! Buzz and Woody stood together for a moment, and one of the Cast Members approached us. He saw our boys' "1st Time!" buttons and asked us about our trip. The boys were speechless, they couldn't take their eyes off of their heroes. We apologized for our children's rudeness and the man smiled- little did we know he was Woody's escort through the park, and when Woody came through the crowd the man arranged for Carter to have a moment with him! Getting to high five their favorite Disney characters was so magical, and they couldn't stop smiling! We did not get pictures of the event- we were too in awe! (*It was *VERY* crowded, and seeing that we allowed Harrison to run ahead of us we needed to keep our eyes on the boys and not on cameras!)

We rode a few more rides before it was time to head over to Disneyland for dinner.

Kurt rode the Bug's Life bumper cars with both children. However, Harrison was... um... less skilled at driving near me so I could snap a photo. So, here is a picture with Kurt and Carter! Kurt was able to ride with Harrison, and then swap children and ride with Carter- so everyone had a turn.

Dinner time! We had reservations at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. It was *SO* much fun!!! The live entertainment, great food, and gluten-free options (they had gluten-free cake!!!) made it so special for us!!! The entertainers got a huge kick out of our little Harrison- who freely got up to dance with them! His nickname was Hop-along Harrison, and Carter's was Cowboy Carter. It took Carter awhile, but at the end even he couldn't resist dancing- and before we were finished the boys were on stage!

Harrison was so happy to be able to eat cake- because it was gluten-free! Here is also enjoys cocoa! 

Carter enjoyed eating ice cream! (He also needed some cocoa!)

After dinner we headed back over to Disney's California Adventure park and took our places for the World of Color water and light show. What an amazing production! The graphics, lights, and water were so spectacular! We were so sad when the boys insisted they needed yet *another* bathroom break (despite having one less than 20 minutes before) and we missed the last few minutes. However, because we left a bit early we were able to take the boys to the restroom and then ride on the new Little Mermaid ride with ZERO line (this is a big deal, the line is usually at least an hour long!). I was thrilled!!! The boys have never seen The Little Mermaid, but they thought the ride was pretty fun nonetheless- and I was delighted!

Then- time for bed!!! We hobbled back to our beds yet again! This was the only day we didn't take a break at the pool, and we could feel it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy 7th Birthday, Carter!

Carter's birthday was such a great day! We kept it really small, family only, and it was a really special occasion. Carter requested a repeat of last year's cake (in his mind, why would we mess with perfection?) and I was happy to drive to the bakery and make it happen. Such fun!