Monday, March 30, 2009

Call coming

I have created a new blog for Alex's mission. I know it may be a little premature, but we are expecting his call Wednesday or Thursday. Go check it out here and leave a message with your guess as to where he will be sent.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Strange Bishop Aaron

The first item of business on this absolutely glorious day in late March is a birthday party for Katie Young....well, after Taylor got off at 9:00 for ACT prep and Mary Catherine and Sarah Beth left for a bike ride and run! So, I need to do a little background on this story I have to tell. At New Year's the Young's have been having a sleep over for Katie and Sarah and their friends to ring in the New Year. But, to avoid staying up ALL night they set all the clocks in the house back a couple of hours. Well, in past years this has posed no problems, but this year for Christmas Emma received a watch. Sarah Beth was the first to think about the problem this could cause for the Young's. So when we dropped the Emma and Lily off we informed Bishop Aaron of the problem. We didn't really know how to handle it and finally he just said, "Emma, you have a watch! You're going to have to give it to me. We don't allow anyone but ME to have watches in our house." Emma seemed confused, and reluctantly gave it to me to bring home. Well, ever since then, when she goes to play with Katie she will just give me her watch. Nothing is said, she just kind of rolls her eyes and hands it over. So, today for the party, she had already hopped out of the car and got to the door where Bishop was, when she wheeled around and ran back to my window where she tossed the watch in to me! It is so funny. I guess we should tell her at some point. I don't know.

Did I mention what a wonderfully beautiful day it is today? It is in the 50's this morning, warming to the 60's with big bright blue skies overhead. Not a cloud in the sky and the new leaves on the trees are just shinning! It is amazing. Makes me happy to live in the South on days like this. And Zack and I are about to go out and plant some fruit trees! Finally!

And remember.....Do not wear your watch to the YOUNG's!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Aunts and Uncles

My brother, John, and his wife, Kristy, and their baby, Julia, are in Park City for John to attend some continuing education workshops....and to play. They went to Provo on Tuesday to visit BYU and Alex. Today, they invited him to come to Park City and ski with John. Alex had a great time. I am so grateful that they did that for Alex and that they got to spend some really great time together. And see that really cute baby that Kristy is holding. Can't wait to hold her at Easter!!

It got me thinking how grateful I am for all the aunts and uncles that my kids have. They all add something great to our lives, either by example or by action.
1. Aunt Ang--Alex started calling her this when he was little. Funny, because she doesn't really go by Ang at all, but that is what we call her. She is a lawyer and stay-at-home mom to my 4 nieces and nephews. Angela is extremely well read. She loves politics and knows something about just about everything. She is very organized and my kids love to go stay there in the summer and best of all they are moving to Natchitoches this summer and will be so close we can go for the day! Can't wait!

Of course, there is her husband, Ted. He is a dentist and the reason they are moving to Natchitoches. Ted is always on the go. He loves to play, loves bad weather, and doesn't mind watching a load of kids. He is a committed man and just good.
2. Uncle John--John is a doctor and just moved back to south Louisiana. He is such a great example to my kids about staying in school and working hard. He also challenges the kids to think. John also likes to play and entertain. I have to say, as much as I think Angela knows about most things, John knows more. He researches absolutely everything. To me he knows something about all things.
Aunt Kristy is also a doctor but has retired to stay home at take care of baby Julia. I am so proud of her decision to do that and am glad that my kids can see her make such an important decision. Kristy has always been sweet to do cute things with the kids and be a great aunt to them.
3. Aunt Tara--Tara works at the LSU library as an archivist and has a Master's Degree. She has always done sweet, thoughtful things for the kids. Recently she crocheted Lily and Emma little blankets for their babies. She sent Alex homemade cookies at BYU. She is a great cook and is always thoughtful of everyone. Such a good example to our kids.
Harry is a professor at Southeastern University. Although we should have known, because he is a professor, Harry has his doctorate in history and has even taught at West Point. He is such a humble quiet spoken guy that we didn't even realize this until Zack googled him one night. He is a great professor, too. He often takes his students on "field trips", even in Europe. He and Tara love to travel, making several trips to Ireland.

4. Aunt Stephanie-Stephanie has a degree in Education from LSU and had a successful career before she quit to stay home with Rebecca and Erica 17 years ago. She is extremely well organized and a great mom. She is also very thoughtful of our kids and has gone out of her way to know each one of them personally. She is such a great example of how to run a home. I am grateful that my kids have had her in their lives.
Uncle Rick-Rick is a partner in an Architecture firm in Dallas. He has been very successful in his career and is a GREAT dad. He is very involved with his daughters. He is funny and fun. Rick is just an all around nice guy. He is always interested in what is going on with the kids...spending time talking to them and playing with them. I am grateful that he is their uncle.
5. Aunt Jill-Jill has worked with Zack for many years...putting up with him!! She is currently back in school working on her degree. I am so proud of her and am grateful for my kids to see that it is never too late to do that. She is very dedicated to her work and makes straight A's. She worked hard for years raising her 2 boys. She is a great housekeeper. I admire that.
Kevin and Jill have been married for several years now. Kevin works shift work at one of the plants. He is an avid Dallas Cowboy Taylor lots of opportunity to trash talk! He is a father to two teenage s and has stayed very involved with them. He and Jill like to go to Toledo Bend on the weekends and fish and play.
These are Jill's supercute grandkids who made Zack and me Great Aunt and Uncle!!!

As I sat here to write about our aunts and uncles I got overwhelmed by the diversity that we have in our family. They are all great people who add a different dimension to our family. I love that they all have sacrificed in many different ways for their families. They are a great example of commitment and love for family. I hope that my kids will follow their examples and know that they always have them to turn to. Thanks for all you do!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Alex submitted his mission papers kast night!!! It should take 2 weeks to find out were and when he will be going. We are super excited, but probably not as excited as he is. He is off to Washington tomorrow with his roommates, John and Dustin. They are going to have a blind date and do a mystery dinner date for the girls. How fun! John is also going to the temple in preparation for his mission. I can't wait. It feels better than Christmas as a kid!!!


Mary Catherine and I went to the eye doctor yesterday. I needed some new glasses and she was complaining of trouble seeing. I probably should have taken her earlier, but it's been hard to believer her because she wants glasses so badly. In fact, she has wanted them VERY badly for years and years. She tried to tell me she needed some in the 3rd grade so we signed her up for an appointment, only to be disappointed when they said she had PERFECT vision. What in the world would they say that for? Didn't they know how they disappointed a little girl? So, Aunt Tara was sweet enough to give her for Christmas a fake pair of really cute glasses. After the holidays she began wearing them to school everyday. One day she just didn't wear them and left them in her backpack. Her teacher noticed that she didn't have her "glasses" on and sent her to get them on. Well, in those days Mary Catherine was pretty quiet in school and didn't want to tell Mrs. Blaire that they weren't real, so she just went and got them and wore them the rest of the day!!! We have laughed and laughed about that story over the years. Then last year Whitney got real glasses and Mary Catherine loved them, but she didn't think she could still get them, because it would look like she was copying Whitney. So, you can see that glasses to Mary Catherine has very little to do with actually being able to SEE! So, finally she has been able to justify real glasses after 6 years of trying really hard to get some.

Mary Catherine is doing so great! She is a very genuinely happy girl. She smiles all the time, flashing her beautiful pearly whiles. Recently, a friends daughter got her braces off and asked her mom if her teeth looked as good as Mary Catherine's. She loves to show them off! She is also doing great at school. She is on track to earn a 4.0 for the year end grades. In French she has to make a 99 on the last 2 six weeks AND the final to pull out an A, but instead of thinking it is impossible, she is trying! She is being much more careful about her studies and is very independant about it.

I love Mary Catherine very much and am very pleased with the Young Woman she is becoming. She is a great example to us all of happiness and reading the scriptures and making good descisions. And now she will be able to happily wear her glasses, too. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I already have butterflies

I went to Maplewood today and Mrs. Goode, the principal, stopped me and asked if I would be interested in taking a 6-week maternity leave at the very beginning of school next year. There would be a 1st grade or a 4th grade. Oh, wow, while I AM very interested, I am also VERY nervous about this. I need to think about it, but I think that it would be a good fit. Emma will be a 4th grader and Lily will be in 1st grade! We would have the summer to prepare for the changes by getting the house in tip-top shape and I would have that time to prepare for the teaching. Just the idea makes me nervous.
But, first things first....I have to get certified. My pay would just be a sub pay unless I was certified and then my pay would increase more than 4 times. THAT is a big difference. So, I have to take the Praxis test and then apply for certification. It shouldn't be that big of a deal.
I feel changes coming that I have been nervous about for years!! There will be lots of prayer about this.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Goals for Monday, March 16.

1. Clean all floors in house
2. Clean bathrooms
3. Make Menus for the week
4. Cook supper
5. Plan Famiy Home Evening
6. Feel happy and what I got done for the day


So, the other night, Thursday, to be exact, Zack went out with one of the missionaries to visit people. After they visited all the people on their list, Zack suggested they visit the widowed mother of a friend of his from high school. We have remained close to her over the years and she is so sweet and kind. So, they went to the door and when she answered Zack introduced "Elder Cox" to her. For those of you who do not know, we call all missionaries "Elder" as their title along with their last name. She quickly responded, "Well, hello Albert!!" Not wanting to draw attention to it or be rude they didn't correct her. They visited for a while and when they were leaving she again said, "well, Albert, it was so nice to meet you!" Zack came home and told us the story and we all just laughed and laughed. So funny. So, as we were all laughing Sarah Beth, also laughing heartily, came bouncing up to me laughing and laughing and said, "Who is Albert Cox!?!...HAHAHAHA" Sweet Sarah Beth, but that just prompted more and more laughter! We sure do love her innocence.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My cute little-soon-to-be- missionary!!

If this is not just the cutest thing....

....Alex's picture to go with his mission papers as he applies to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This seems so much more real than before. He is getting SO very excited. This has been a very good process for Alex. He is taking a mission prep class at BYU and just loves it. We are way excited, too.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This is for all the Smith boys out west!! This is Zack's 1970 Chevrolet. It is his "Other 1970 ". I am the First one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lily and Emma went to Bret Anderson's 6th Birthday party today. It was a Scientist party. Lily was really invited, but Emma is friends with Paige, his sister so she tagged along. When we got there they gave out kid sized safety glasses. Too cute. Emma immediately asked me if SHE could have some glasses, too. Thanks, Mrs. Lisa. They made slime that was hard if you poked it quickly and soft if you slowly pressed your fingers in. Very cool. Then they each got a bottle of their own to do volcanoes. Next, they did homemade rockets. Lisa told me that after the first few launchings the other kids wandered off, but Emma and the Dads stayed around the table and played! This is right up her alley. All day she has been asking if she can have a scientist party when she turns 10! Well, ok, seems a little old for a girl, but, hey, this is Emma we are talking about. She doesn't care what is typical. So, even though we have 9 months to go till her birthday.....scientist party it is.

When we got home we worked in the yard. Emma left those safety glasses on ALL day. When the wind blew leaves into her face....what a relief that she had her glasses on. It didn't get in her eyes!
When Daddy was cutting some sawdust in HER eyes! She had her glasses on.
So, still tonight she had them on when Zack asked, "Who wants to put lotion on my feet?" Emma and Lily both yelled, "ME!!!!!" What wonderful fun. They used their safety glasses and their medical gloves. Probably the best need for them all day.

Sarah Beth and I were at Walgreens today when she decided that she must dye her hair. Now, I do not like dying hair and especially not in 12 year old ladies, but for some reason she hit me right. I have to say no to her alot because she is constantly asking to do something or go somewhere. And this seemed harmless enough and the kit was on sale for $3.50. She chose Strawberry Blonde and we brought home a Blonde in case she chickened out on the Strawberry part. So between digging in the garden I put the dye in her hair and we have a new red head in the family! Zack told her that my red hair was why he married me. So she said, "I want to be mama's daughter!" To which Zack replied, "Don't worry, you already are!!!" If she only knew how much she is just like me she would be very afraid!!
Mary Catherine and Sarah Beth spoke at New Beginnings on Wednesday. MC about Individual Worth and SB about Divine Nature. They did a great cute and sweet. Sarah Beth was honored as the only new Beehive from 2008. Coneen (the president) asked me to write a few words about SB. This is what I wrote:
Sarah Beth is a super sweet . She loves children. She has done more to influence the schedule in our home than anyone. She also appreciates the traditions that we have established in our family. She is very proud of these things. It is diffucult to be lazy with Sarah Beth around, because she is always encouraging us to do something. She is self motivated to do right things. She worked and achieved her Faith in God award almost entirely by herself. She had a deep desire to do good, to follow the commandments, and to learn. Sarah Beth loves to design houses and is thinking of being an interior designer or a pediactric dentist when she grows up. I know she would be wonderful at either one. But, most of all Sarah Beth desires to be a mother. I know that she will be an excellent mother and teach her children many wonderful things. They will be lucky children to have such a mother as she is learning and growing to be. I love her and am so proud of her.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Taylor has been invited to Barbe's Prom. He is excited to go and immediately started talking about what he would wear...because apparently both my sons are now clothes hounds. Taylor has been wanting a suit so he decided that he would wear a suit to Prom instead of a Tux. So, the next week I went to Dillard's and found one on serious sale. He is very proud of his new suit. He said that he definitely needs to do something that he can dress up in everyday when he grows up. He suit even came with a vest. This picture is from Wednesday when he went on splits with the missionaries and he came out with the vest on. Zack told him that was too dressy so he took the vest off. He even splurged for the tie with his own money and ended up spending 1/3 of the amount of the whole suit on just the tie!!
Taylor has been very good with his money, though. He cashes his check every two weeks and immediately divides out his tithing, long term savings, short term savings, and spending money. All of these have different compartments in his wallet. I am so pleased that he was willing to take a little advice from mama and daddy about his money. I know it will do him well if he sticks to those principles about money.
Taylor has been struggling with working so much at Subway and getting his school work done so this week we decided he would just quit and be poor. School is more important, after all. So he went in to his boss to quit and his boss about you just work weekends? So, now Taylor only will work Friday and Saturday and can take those off if he needs to. It pays to be a good employee who people are willing to help out. He is doing so good. I'm a proud Mama!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Relections of Christ

Weekend before last the ladies--what I will be calling girrls from now on since our computer will not let me type girrl without misspelling it (CyperSitter!) and I went to Jena because Zack had to go out of town at the last minute and would be gone for Friday and Saturday. Taylor had to work and go on a campout, so we left him here! So, Mama already had plans with her sister and aunt to attend a display at the church in Alexandria of "Reflections of Christ". It is a photographers portrayal of the the life of Christ. It was held at the Methodist Church in Alexandria, but was sponsored by our Church. The missionaries were there to greet and usher people in and out. Let me just say, it was fantastic. We first watched a video about how the shots were staged and the Spirit they felt while making it. The music was heavenly. The images divine. It was so wonderful and my "ladies!!" and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect. If it comes to a town near you, you should make every effort to attend. No one will try to get you to purchase anything. It is worth the effort, seriously.

Not to mention that this is my all time favorite song. I bought the CD later and have been listening. It is inspirational.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stake Conference

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak at Stake Conference during the Saturday night session this past weekend----for the 3rd time----but who's counting!! I keep messing it up and so keep getting asked! I thought I would post my talk here so I can have it in my book when i print it. Sorry, if it is that boring. It was interesting to research, though.

I have been asked to speak about the difference between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law”. I have quizzed many people and done much research on the topic. When I mention the letter of the law most people reference the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law was given to the people of Moses at a time when they needed something strict to hold on to. They needed an exact cause and effect type principle so they could begin to understand that their actions would have consequences. Although this Law has been referred to as the “preparatory” law it did have much value. If lived as intended it would teach the people obedience. But while the Mosaic Law provided a basis from which to begin to come to Christ, it wasn’t and isn’t enough.
In an Ensign article from 1983 Stephen E Robinson, an assistant professor of religion, wrote…… The Savior himself in the Sermon on the Mount had shown that the old rules were no longer adequate and that those who wished to enter the kingdom of heaven must subscribe to a new standard of righteousness. (See Matt. 5:20.) Even the Ten Commandments, the ethical heart of the Law, were represented by Jesus as insufficient for salvation except as encompassed within the higher principles of the gospel.
For example, the Savior expanded the commandments “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit ery,” by now commanding Christians to avoid even hatred or . (Matt. 5:28, 44.) Merely abstaining from ery and murder was no longer sufficient. Christians must now change their very hearts, and this was more than the old Law had required.
In other words, we must now be willing to follow the Spirit of the Law and the Letter of the Law. Of course we know that some of the exact practices of the Mosaic Law were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and were no longer necessary to perform. But some incorrectly assumed then that we had no reason to follow any law with exactness. President Boyd K. Packer has said, “The commandments found in the scriptures, both the positive counsel and the “shalt nots,” form the letter of the law. There is also the spirit of the law. We are responsible for both.” As before living the Letter of the Law becomes the basis from which we begin to come to Christ. I understand that it is by living the law with a degree of exactness that our Spirits are prepared to receive the inspiration needed to live the Spirit of the Law, too. Now, sometimes, we like to think that by living the Spirit of the Law we are somehow above the letter of the Law. We say to ourselves, “well, I am going to the store on this Sunday because I am living the Spirit of the Law and so am not strictly bound by exactness to live the Sabbath Day.” We allow ourselves to use the Spirit as an excuse to do what we want to do. Just as the Mosaic Law was to prepare the people for the coming of Christ, living the commandments today prepares our hearts for Christ. It prepares us to enjoy the blessing s of the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit. I know in my own life as I have learned to live a principle of the gospel and do so regularly, the Spirit is opened up to me and I am able to feel the Spirit of the Law, the reason for the Law, and to find ways in which I can improve. The Spirit of the law allows for much progression in the gospel. It provides for a “glass ceiling”, in other words---a glass ceiling in understanding and receiving all the blessings the Lord has in store for us. As I live the commandments I am blessed. As I am blessed I have an increase of the Spirit. As I have an increase of the Spirit I can receive inspiration. Inspiration helps me to see more ways in which I can strengthen my Spirit and bring me closer to my Savior. Inspiration is used to do the work of the Lord here on the Earth. It brings a sensitivity to the Spirit that allows me to act differently. President Monson said, “In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul the Apostle urges that we turn from the narrow confinement of the letter of the law and seek the open vista of opportunity that the Spirit provides. I love and cherish his statement: “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6). I would not imagine this open vista that President Monson is speaking of to be attained by living the commandments less strictly. But, that there is so much more to be gained than just living the commandment. We have the opportunity through the gospel of Jesus Christ for so much more than just the letter of the law. If we stop there and just focus on the letter, than we miss out on the beauty of the Spirit that can be invited into our hearts and guide us to higher principles. President Newton, in talking about temple attendance, said that we could assign people to attend the temple “2 or 4 or 6” times a week or month. But, if we asked them to attend the temple as much as they can, they can seek the Spirit for guidance, will judge for themselves and probably attend more than the original assignment.
I find it interesting when I think of the progression of the church today to see a move from being told exactly what to do to learning to be guided by the Spirit more. We see it in the lessons we are provided to teach. The missionaries used to memorize the discussions and teach them in a very exact way. It left little room for being moved by the Spirit and teaching by the Spirit. Today, they are given an outline and are to use the Spirit to guide them in their teaching. To do this, they have to learn to be sensitive to the Spirit and in living their lives with exactness to the commandments the Spirit is able to flow through them.
Now living the Spirit of the Law also opens us up to doing the will of the Lord. Sometimes the will of the Lord supersedes the Letter of the Law. It was a desire to live the Spirit of the Law and being in tuned to the Spirit that allow Nephi to know that he was to kill Laban. The Lord’s will overcame the Law that said, “thou shall not kill”. But, it was only Nephi’s dedication to living correct principles that prepared him for receiving the Spirit and making such a decision and one that he surely wrestled with greatly. I have always been amazed at how much he must have understood the Spirit to be able to do that.
One of the beautiful aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are all able to begin this process of coming unto Him at different places, yet His grace is sufficient to save us all. After all that we can do, He will do the rest and for each of us that amount the He did will be different but no less amazing and wonderful. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to continue to come unto Christ and that He will help me to see MY weaknesses as I humble myself and submit to His will. I hope to be led by the Spirit in the manner in which President Monson is. There have been many times in his life where he was redirected from an assignment or a meeting to bless the life of someone and be about his Father’s work. He tells the story of being re-assigned to attend the Shreveport Stake Conference. He was told of a young gravely ill with cancer who had requested that he give her a blessing. There seemed to be no time in the schedule for him to go see her and she was too ill to come to him. He thought he would not be able to see her. As the meeting began, he felt the prompting to go to her…to make the drive to visit her and bless her. Having learned to follow such promptings he got up and left the meeting in the hands of the stake president. He had someone take him to their home where he went into her room while she lay in the bed near death. The little , Crystal Methvin, told him that she knew he would come. He gave her a blessing and she died a few days later, peacefully and ready. I have heard this story all my life and then later heard President Monson tell it several times in conferences. Crystal was a relative of mine and I was and am still touched by how much Heavenly Father loves each of his children and that this little was more important than a meeting. Learning to live by the Spirit can provide us with these kinds of opportunities. I hope that I can learn to listen to the Spirit and do the work that Heavenly Father wants me to do And to reach the full potential that he wants me to achieve.