Monday, January 26, 2015

There Will Come A Time. . .

There will come a time . . .

. . . When you can no longer eat any more Mini Cadburry Eggs without killing over.

. . . That you will step on a tiny, annoying toy in bare feet and curse the manufacturer of such a sneaky torture device {honestly-- that should be part of the design process. "Okay, Bob. Now step on it and see what happens. Well done! Can ya give me a number on your pain scale?"}

. . . That you wonder why in the world you log onto Facebook. It's so-- yeah, well. Special.  A lot.

. . . When you try to eat another handful of Mini Cadburry Eggs. Just 'cause.

. . . . . . . . .

But in all seriousness, there will come a time for each of us that we'll need to decide something very important. And I'm not talking about what to order from the take-out menu or what shoes match your belt. This kind of decision will affect the rest of your life.

No pressure or anything. :)

There will come a time when you'll need to decide if Jesus Christ actually, really, literally paid for your sins.

Of course, before you come to that pivotal question, you might want to ask yourself if you believe in God the Father. And once you check that one off your list, you can move on to if He had a perfect Son and sent Him to Earth to atone for us.

And then you can tackle the looming question of if the Savior did indeed save you.


Little 'ol you.


Did He really know your sins and weaknesses inside and out; better than you know them yourself? Does He really know you now?

Does He? Or is this all an elaborate hoax? Am I a crazy lady with her brain in a jar? I mean, come on. If I have anything in a jar, it's food. I love me some good eats.

{focus, Jessica!}

So, did the Savior pay for your sins?

Trust me-- it's tempting to shout out the robust "Sunday School answer" of YES. JESUS CHRIST PAID FOR THE SINS OF ALL MANKIND.

But I want you to slow down for a minute and think about this on a personal level. This isn't a test. I'm not asking for scriptural references and corresponding conference talks. If you're anything like me, you hid behind those types of things for a long time. You knew the "right answer" in church and seminary. . . But when all was quiet and no one was waiting for an answer, it was a little intimidating of a subject.

Let me kinda give you the lowdown of how this would go play out in my noggin: "If Jesus Christ literally came to Earth, it was because He was the Son of God and had a divine mission. If He really had a divine mission, then it was to atone for the sins of mankind. And if He atoned for the sins of mankind, then He atoned for MY sins. If He atoned for my sins, then He knows me personally. And if He knows me personally, then He knows how painfully inadequate I am and how I struggle with so many things. Now I feel self-conscious."

Yeah. . . Like I said, it was an intimidating subject.

But then it occurred to me that if all the scriptures about Him atoning for our sins were legit, then the scriptures about Him loving us were legit, too.

He loves us so profoundly that He willingly suffered unimaginable pain and grief so that we wouldn't have to.

"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; . . . which suffering cause myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit-- and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink." {D&C 19:16,18}  

He loves us so perfectly that He wanted to protect us from ever having to pay for our sins without His mediation. He opened up the opportunity for us to repent here on Earth and overcome our weaknesses. Through Him, we have the chance to enter the presence of Heavenly Father and never leave. Without Him, none of us would stand a chance.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, "In Gethsemane and on Calvary, [Jesus] worked out the infinite and eternal atonement. It was the greatest single act of love in recorded history. Then followed His death and resurrection. Thus He became our Redeemer-- redeeming all of us from physical death, and redeeming those of us from spiritual death who will obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel."

. . . .

Did Jesus Christ  actually, really, literally pay for your sins?


I believe He did. When I take an honest peek inside and communicate through prayer with The Man Upstairs, I feel that, yes, He did indeed.

I may feel like a hairy-stinky-bridge-dwelling-troll sometimes; not worth a whole lot. But I honestly, 100% believe that my Savior and Redeemer sees something completely different. He sees me in terms of who I was before this life and who I can become.

He has been with me and you from the start. He has born us up through the hardest and scariest moments of our lives and has celebrated the happiest times with us, too. He understands how imperfect we are far more than we do, but He loves us anyway.

He wants us to trust Him and see ourselves as He does.

He wants us to love ourselves as He does; unreservedly. Wholeheartedly. Purely. Without guile.

. . .

So when the time comes. don't be afraid. Grab an extra handful of Mini Cadburry Eggs and have faith that your answer will come if you honestly ask for it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hannah's Memoir : 3 Years

Hey, everyone! It's Nanny here, checking in for another report.

Being 3 years old is, in a word, CRAZY-AWESOME-FUN. {What do you mean that's more than one word?! Don't you know a "-" when you see one? Golly.}

. . .

I live off of mainly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, quesadillas, jalapenos, and bread. And milk, of course.

If my dad hooked me up with a little shack out among the backyard weeds, I'd never come inside. Well, I take that back. I'd also need a blankie and a coloring book. I do so passionately adore coloring! Couple coloring with the great outdoors? I'm sold.

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{No, Curtis didn't have a growth spurt. That's my friend!}

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{adorning Dad's birthday card}

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. . .

I recently graduated from Nursery and have the first week of Sunbeams under my belt. Let's just say that I'm famous for a couple things. . . namely needing a change of clothes for reasons that shan't be disclosed here, and being deathly allergic to my chair during singing time. I mean, in my defense, WHERE ARE THE TOYS?! What's this "lesson" stuff all about? Thankfully my teacher is awesome and welcomed all four of us onto her lap while simultaneously handing out suckers. That's my kind of lesson! I think we'll get along swimmingly.

. . .

To commemorate my turning 3, mom went a little wild and asked my "other mother" {Alana} to give me new look.

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Now I can be cool like mom with her new bangs! I always want to be a twinner with my mom. . . Until, of course, I turn into a moody teenager and prefer to skulk around wailing about my unfair life and odious parents. But for now? We be tight.

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. . .

I learn something new each day. Sometimes it's how long I can get away with pulling Zoe's tail before mom catches me. . . and sometimes it's something infinitely more useful, like how to arm wrestle. But the important thing is that I'm expanding my knowledge. ;)

. . .

I am loving this snowy season! I ask to be let free into the waiting arms of the winter wonderland every four seconds. . . despite the fact that I don't actually own a snow suit or waterproof boots. But don't you fret-- I have cheap pink gloves and a mom-made owl hat to keep me warm. That, and the determination to have fun no matter how cold and wet I end up, of course. Can't forget that.

Too bad dad's "mickey mouse boots" don't quite fit yet. Maybe next year. They say anything is possible when you're 4.

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. . .

That picture reminds me. . . have I told you guys about my new modeling coach? Well, that's probably because I don't have one. But somewhere along the line, I decided that whenever someone announces, "Say cheese!" before taking a picture, I strike a pose previously unequaled in glamour and poise.

You may notice said pose in the pictures already posted if you care to scroll back through them, but trust me. . . there are many more to come.

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My secret? Squinty eyes and a subtle 90° neck kink. Oh, and the occasional eagle-arms. My only foreseeable competition is Curtis' blank stare and gummy smile. . .

. . .

I'm still a smidgen behind in my language development for the average 3 year old, so I'm gonna go hang out with some speech therapists later this month. Something tells me they'll get me right as rain in no time! And besides, I always love making new friends and this will be a great opportunity!

. . .

I love playing with the new marble tower Santa Claus brought me this year. There's just something immensely satisfying about dropping 12 marbles at once into an intricate maze that I built {OK, fine. I dumped out the basket of pieces all over the floor and supervised the construction}.

The only thing that compares is the gratification of building something with blocks. . . even if it's not a tower. :)

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. . .

I adore my dad and can hardly wait for him to get home from work each day! I like to bombard him the second he walks in and say "swiiiiing?". He usually acquiesces immediately which makes me so very happy. Soon I'll be too tall, so I have to enjoy it while it lasts!

. . .

I think I've already found my passion in life. . . and you'll never guess what it is.

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Never mind the fact that I'm not supposed to touch the nail polish and that little boys aren't supposed to even wear toenail polish.

I must answer the call.

Who will be my next client? One at a time, please. I simply won't stand for a stampede on my doorstep.

. . . .

Living life is pretty darn awesome, minus the constant colds I bring home from church. So go on out and give someone you love a hug and a kiss and live your life {assuming you're not a carrier of disease like me}!

The way I see it is-- I'll only be 3 once, and you'll only be 498 once, too. So we should enjoy our time here with the people we love.

Huh? What's that you say? You're not 498 years old?!? My mistake. It's just that everyone outside my social circle of 4.5 friends seems sooooo old! :)

Take it from me, life is much more CRAZY-AWESOME-FUN when you greet it with a little neck crimp and a cheesy smile.

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Peace out, my friends. 'Til we meet again.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Intimidation {and Christmas Pics, of course}

Gather 'round and let me tell you a little tale.

It all started when I got my new car last year, which was {well, is} a standard transmission. But, wait. Maybe we need to go back a little more.

Over the years, countless empty church parking lots and quiet country roads had been subjected to my poor attempts at learning to drive a "stick shift". I still remember sitting in the drivers seat of my dad's old truck and feeling overwhelmed by the touchy relationship between the clutch and gas peddle. I was just happy I got the thing started. . . now I'm supposed to actually drive it?!


. . .

Well, I finally got to the point where I wouldn't break out in a nervous sweat whenever someone asked if I could drive a standard. Instead, I'd smile bravely and say, "Yes. . . but not very well." Most often, they'd return the smile with a smirk and quickly catalog me under "delusional but optimistic" . . . and hide their car keys.

I kept explaining {to those willing to stick around} that my lack of a hearty "YES! I CAN DRIVE A STANDARD!!!!" was due to the fact that 1) I'd scare people if I spoke that way in real life {people generally don't appreciate 4 exclamation points in daily conversation}, and 2) I would never be brutally efficient at driving a "stick" until I had one. Attempting it once every other year for 15 minutes just wasn't gonna cut it.

. . .

So fast forward to the purchase of the Acura TL.

It was love at first sight! However, blooming adoration quickly morphed into overwhelming intimidation as I timidly slid into the drivers seat. It had pretty multi-colored dashboard lights and a GPS. It had more buttons than I remember seeing in a cockpit {or so it seemed}. And let's not forget the most terrifying aspect of all - three peddles.

It took a long time for me to really feel confident in that seat. I'd boot Chuck over to the passenger seat every chance I could get so that I could practice. It was like I had my learner's permit all over again :)

. . .

The point I'm trying to make here is that there will come a time {many times, in fact} that we may feel uncomfortable facing something new. It doesn't really matter if it's a circumstance or an object or something in between.  What you have to ask yourself is what you're gonna do about it : let the fear intimidate you or learn to work around it and perhaps eventually overcome it entirely?

As 2015 gets started, let's not be afraid of what may come. Let's not allow our doubts or fears to intimidate us and paralyze us from achieving any goals. Did you set resolutions? That's swell! Good on ya. Now don't allow past slip-ups to keep you from giving it your best effort this year. I know how it feels to fail and never want to "try again" ever again.

And perhaps most importantly, don't think you have to wait until next January to make a change. If you want to learn something new, learn it. If you want to kick a bad habit, kick it.

Practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature, just like driving a standard. Don't give up until you're satisfied.

. . .

Now, in completely unrelated news, here are some of our pictures from this Christmas season. I can't believe it's already come and gone. . . time sure flies!

Enjoying the Christmas lights and crushing crowds at Temple Square :

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{obsessed with the fountain much?}

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. . . .

Building Nanny-Banany's first every snowman {which really consisted of her running amok screaming "Isss SNOWWING" while I slapped together a snowman the size of an underfed chihuahua and dug around in the flowerbed for his accessories} :

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. . . . .

Celebrating Christmas at my Pa's house :

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{Random side note : I wish I could tell you how many times I drove my army of Matchbox cars around on that very couch growing up. Many, many times. And still it lives.}

. . .

Christmas morning with matching jammies from Grandma Becky :

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Merry, uh, January 5th, everyone!



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