Monday, June 29, 2015

Lambs' Visit 2015

My sister Miriam and her family visited from Texas last week, and they left this morning. It was so great to see them, and I always enjoy getting to see my nieces, especially since they're only able to visit once a year. We really didn't do anything very "exciting" since it was supposed to be rainy on the day when we were planning to go out, but I don't think anyone was too devastated. It was just nice to talk and hang out together.

My sister Chandra lucked out and her two days off were both when Miriam's family was here, so she was able to come over and spend some time with everyone. One of the things my nieces look forward to the most when they visit is having Aunt Chan braid their hair. Chandra was a good sport and didn't let the girls down. She spent about three hours on her feet braiding hair, and was sure hot, tired and hungry when she got finished! (She is 29 weeks pregnant, so she was a real trooper!) I helped Chan find some tutorials for new braids to do on the girls, and they were all pleased beyond belief with the results. 
I had to get a few pictures with the girls, too:
I made everybody pose for a few pictures before going into the house after church, since we didn't really have many pictures to show for this year's visit. The pink/aqua theme was not planned, I might add...just a pure coincidence!
Chandra came back over to say goodbye on Sunday evening after she got off work. She hadn't felt like posing in the pictures we took of the girls after they had their hair braided, so we made sure to get some pictures with Chandra this time. The girls were pretty wound up, so it was hard to get a picture without at least one of the girls looking the wrong way or with a goofy expression, but that's the way it goes! I suppose that's better than people being grumpy or refusing to smile. 
This picture of Miriam and Chan turned out really cute, so this is a good way to end my post. We a wonderful visit that went by too quickly. 
I sure love spending time with family, which is fortunate, since my sister Sharon and her family arrive tomorrow afternoon. More fun times ahead!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

31st Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and I turned 31. It was a relaxed, low-key day and I really didn't do much to celebrate, unlike my 30th birthday where my family surprised me with a visit from my sister Kristin who I hadn't seen in over four years. Even though I didn't do anything exciting for my birthday, it was still a great day.

My sister Chandra lucked out and wasn't scheduled to work, so she came over to hang out. We thought about going to the movies or maybe going shopping, but it was very rainy and soggy, so we stayed home. (I really don't like going out in the rain, because I hate getting wet!)

Mom, Chandra and I spent the day together, which was great since they are honestly two of my favorite people to be with. I opened all of my birthday cards, which I always save to open on my birthdayjust another way to make the day seem special. I also opened my presents. My family and friends are so good to me. I told my mom and Chandra that I wanted to try the Lindt Excellence candy bars that come in different flavors, because I love Lindt chocolate (it tastes SO much better than Hershey's chocolate!). My mom got me three of them, and Chan got me a big box of them that was an assortment of the different flavors, so I got eight of the Lindt candy bars, plus a Dove candy bar from my friend Kellie. It was pretty comical to get so many candy bars. What can I say...I love chocolate!
I love Chinese food, so my mom went and picked up some takeout for dinner. We got sesame chicken, egg rolls and crab rangoon. I love Chinese food! I told my mom that I didn't want her to make a big cake or anything since I knew I would be consuming a lot of calories with my Chinese dinner. She couldn't help herself, though, and she made three of those tiny chocolate cakes that you just make in a mug in the microwave. I've tried these kind of desserts before, and they are always leave me disappointed. This one was pretty good, though.
My first year in my 30's has been a good one, so I hope things keep going well. It's good to be alive! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Oh, baby!

Here are two baby-inspired stories that were in the news recently. I've written about the first couple before, so it's just an update on their family's latest news. And then some adorable pictures of the prince and princess.

Thirteenth Child

Remember Jay and Kateri Schwandt, and their 12 sons? 
Earlier this year I heard that Jay and Kateri (Teri) were expecting another baby—their 13th. They didn't find out the gender of the baby beforehand, since it's their tradition to always keep it a surprise. Jay was hoping for a girl so he could experience all of the fun and differences that come with girls, but also said that he would be pleased with a girl OR a boy, so long as the baby was healthy. Teri felt the same way, too. The chances of having 13 children that are all the same gender are actually 0.025%, but they have defied the odds with their 12 boys, so it could've gone either way! The new baby arrived on May 13, and it was…another BOY!
Royally Cute

These pictures of Prince George and Princess Charlotte were released earlier this week, and were supposedly taken by Duchess Kate, herself. The royal cuties are ADORABLE! I wish I could see them in person, because I love babies/kidsespecially cute ones!

Friday, June 5, 2015

National Doughnut Day

I'd never heard of National Doughnut Day until last year. At least, that was the first year that I remember hearing about it. If I knew about it before then, then I've forgotten about it! My sweet friend Kellie brought my mom and me each a doughnut when she came over this morning. She knows that I like cake doughnuts, so that's what she picked out for me. I do love cake doughnuts, and if they are chocolate, then that's even better. Add sprinkles, and it takes a doughnut straight to the top! Sprinkle doughnuts have always been my favorite since I was a little girl.
In order to satisfy my curiosity, I turned to the Internet to look up the origin of National Doughnut Day. This is what I learned in a TIME article:

During World War I, women volunteering for the Salvation Army made doughnuts for soldiers serving overseas as a way to boost morale. National Doughnut Day was launched in 1938 by the Chicago branch of the Salvation Army, in part as a way to raise funds for, and awareness of, the organization’s work in the community. But the spirit behind the day was the recognition of these women’s contribution to the war effort.

Salvation Army volunteer delivering doughnuts to soldiers. These workers became known by the servicemen as "Doughnut Dollies":

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Reluctant Speaker

I've written before about how public speaking is NOT my favorite thing to do. It's not the "public" aspect that's the problem; it's the actual "speaking" that I dread! I always think, "If I could just speak normally, this wouldn't be so bad!" But I don't have normal-sounding voice, so I feel very self-conscious about speaking in public. Nevertheless, I've made a personal promise to myself to never turn down an opportunity to speak if/when I'm asked, so I always agree.

I spoke to two different groups of people in the month of May. The first was on Mother's Day, and I spoke to the congregation where I go to church. My talk was on the plan of salvation (basically, the purpose of life). Of course, my accident figured greatly into what I said, because that huge, life-changing event has changed me in every way, including my perspective and outlook on life. My accident has definitely increased my understanding in some some complex areas, such as the purpose of life and why God allows us go through the things we do, even if they are very difficult and unpleasant. This is a quote that I used in my remarks:

"If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective."  – Spencer W. Kimball

Then, this past Sunday my mom and I went to another nearby ward (or congregation) and we gave a combined lesson to all of the youth and adults (which was everyone age 12 and up). Our lesson was on maintaining hope in the midst of trials and adversity. Again, I didn't want to do this, but of course, I said yes when I was asked. My mom and I came up with a lot of good thoughts, and we both found a lot of good quotes to use (I'm posting one below). I started bawling and completely embarrassed myself when my mom was closing and was reading an excerpt from an article that I found the previous week. It was very moving, so it could easily cause someone to cry, but since I'm always so good at maintaining my composure, I was shocked that I cried, especially since I'd listened to/read the article five times and was very familiar with it. Crying in public is so embarrassing, especially when you can't even use your hands to hide your face and/or wipe your tears!

"Life is hard. There are times when we question, when we lack confidence in ourselves and in our abilities to triumph over adversity, when we lose hope. Often it can feel like our trials will never end. … we need to seek out those assurances that tell us there will be reprieve from our trials." 

Both of these speaking engagements went well, and I'm glad that they are in my past! I'm always filled with dread when a speaking opportunity comes to me, but I know it's good for me, as well as for other people, so I never object. I really feel like part of the reason why I survived my accident is so that I can spread joy and hope in Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.
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