Sunday, March 27, 2011

a painful goodbye

Today I was released from my calling as Primary Chorister.  I have served in that capacity for a long time, over 5 years.  It is amazing to me to think that the kids in Junior primary have NEVER had anyone but me.  (except for the very few times I've gotten a sub)  The kids in Senior primary... they don't remember anyone but me.  My kids, all but Aaron, have never had any music leader but me.  Aaron was only 5 when I started in that calling.  IN other words, I AM primary music to those kids.

And I LOVE them!

When Bro. Farr called me in last Wednesday and told me they were releasing me from Primary, I couldn't help myself, I started to cry.  I couldn't speak, just nodded my head when he gave me my new calling (another post to follow).   He then said they wanted me to still do the music for Sunday to give the new person another week to "catch her breath."  That was one of THE hardest things I've ever had to do!

My kids saw me crying when I got home that night and they knew where I had gone...  Katrina sobbed herself to sleep that night, she literally cried for over an hour...  broke my heart even more.  Aaron stated that he was "never going to church ever again!" and that he was going to get all of the senior primary kids together and convince them to raise their hands when the bishopric member asked if there was anyone "opposed."  I talked to him quite a bit about it all, and SOME of it sunk in.  He didn't rally anyone else to join his rebellion - but when the "opposed" question was asked, his hand shot up, straight and sure!

Trying to look at the kids and sing with them was nearly impossible.  How much I am going to miss those little monkeys.  They were so much FUN to be with.  I loved their off the wall comments and random thoughts.  I love their enthusiasm and energy.  I love their simple and sincere testimonies and desire to learn and do what is right.  and that was just junior primary.

Saying good-bye to the senior primary about ripped my heart out!  I know that every calling has to come to an end at some time, but it's like I told Tim (when he was mocking me for crying so long and hard about it) ...  In order to really magnify your calling, you have LOVE those you are called to serve.  That same love that helps you serve well, means that when it comes time to move onto a new learning adventure, your heart gets broken.

I LOVE MY primary kids, all of them.  (the 110 children currently in primary, plus all of the ones who have moved up into YM and YW and moved away over the past 5 +  years.)  I cherish the time I have spent with them, learning and singing testimony building songs.   I pray that they will remember the many messages and testimonies I have shared with them, and that during times of heartache or trial, the words and messages of the songs we sang together will comfort and lift them.

I am taking the liberty of copying the facebook thread about this tough day and I'm pasting them here so that I will have them in my journal.  You DO NOT need to read these - they are totally just "stroke my ego" kind of comments...  I worked really hard for many years in that calling, and hearing that I did well and that I will be missed validates me.

my original facebook post: 
Tough day. I have a headache from crying so much. After 5+ years of being the primary chorister, I was released today. It was hard. I love those children SO SO much!!! and I love the power of the primary songs in helping build their growing testimonies.
Looking forward (with mild trepidation) to the next adventure... Beehive Advise...r/ Camp Director. Ready, Set, GO!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

10 virgins presentation

For Christmas Tim gave me a copy of the musical presentation of the 10 virgins.  My next door neighbor Christie is the Relief Society President of our ward and one afternoon when she was over I said something along the lines of "if you want to borrow this to look it over, the Relief Society might want to use it for a RS activity.")  I thought I might get asked to participate in such a production, but felt relatively safe, since I am in the PRIMARY...

Christie returned my booklet and music about a week later and said, Bishop approved it, the enrichment committee thinks it sounds great, will you be in charge of putting it together for our March RS birthday activity?"  (not quite what I had in mind, but many people have told me, "duh, what did you expect?")

It was an interesting experience.  I should let you know upfront that I am NOT a "director."  I have no "drama" experience.  I had absolutely NO clue what I was doing.  That being said, it went pretty well.

I truly felt that things were guided by a power greater than myself.  From the very beginning, in selecting which sister would play which roles, all the way along.  I thought it was inspiring how so many times during the process, I would have an idea of how I was going to do something, then as I was attempting to implement the ideas, it wouldn't go well.  I would persevere, not knowing what else to do, until suddenly (usually at night as I was dropping off to sleep) an idea would pop into my mind, clear as could be.  And that new idea worked every time.

Each Sunday, for the 7 or 8 weeks leading up to the event, I went into RS to make the announcement.  I took about 5 minutes each week to introduce one of the characters.  I shared a bit about her strengths and her challenges.  I shared a bit about the song she sings, and the messages that I personally learned from each song.  Then I issued a "10 virgins challenge" for the week.  For example, right after stake conference I talked about the character Nava, who's song sings "I try so hard to remember, but it's so easy to forget."  and I reminded the sisters how powerful our Stake Conference had been and how easy it is to forget that power and just slip back into our "regular lives."  The challenge for the week was to fight that tendency to slip back into the routine and to fight to REMEMBER and not forget the promptings we had received during the conference.  Doing this helped the sisters to be excited about the activity, and to begin to prepare their hearts and minds for the messages they would hear.

Practices were a challenge.  Consider the fact that we were trying to arrange the schedules of 10 busy women; mothers, students, wives, etc (some of them all 3 of those aforementioned roles)... plus 2 young women, plus the ward building availability...  It was an adventure...  We actually only had one practice (well, 1 hour of one practice to be exact) with everyone there -  at our dress rehearsal.   At that same dress rehearsal, we still had several of the participants who didn't know their parts, and 2 sisters for whom it was their FIRST practice at all...  in other words it was a really stressful practice for me!  (The dress rehearsal also happened to fall on the same day as my little brother Eric's wedding - so it was an ultra crazy day for me!  Eric's wedding the weekend before was a HUGE blessing though, because I just hi-jacked the wedding cake from the reception and used it as props for our presentation.  It worked GREAT!) 

The night of the actual dinner and presentation, the turn out was great!  They ended up having to set out 2 more tables as more people kept coming, and they were a little short on food.  The big panic moment for me came when one of the YW was LATE!  I knew she had a soccer game and she told me she'd be there by 6:30.  We were slated to start the presentation at 7. 7PM rolls around and Jenny wasn't there yet.  I was just a smidgen panicked!  At 7 I just started to put on a costume and figured I could do her part until she got there, then she could slip into her spot.  Not the best idea, but certainly better than me trying to sing her song!  Luckily for me, she ran in before I had to do that!

The sisters did an amazing job.  The spirit was there in abundance and hearts were touched.  I'm not saying that I'd like to do it all again... but I will say that it was a great opportunity for me and I was thankful for how much I learned personally from the experience.

I feel badly that I never thought to take picture of each sister with her props, and I sent out my camera with someone else to take pictures of the set and everything, but the camera wasn't on the right setting, so all of those pictures were blurry.  I did get a few pictures though, and here they are.

some of the lamps... I meant to take a picture of all 12, but of course I forget...

Jenny S.,  Jessica G.,  Kristen D.,  Rebecca M.,  Paula S.,  Jenny N.,  Allison B.,  Evelyn E.,  Tenille F.,  Aubrey B.,  Brooke P.,  and Emily G.     12 AMAZING sisters!!!

not a great shot, but the basic set up.  the cake is back in that closet with the open doors.  It worked perfectly, so the 5 wise virgins could go into the wedding feast and "the great wooden doors were shut."

the cake, with the 2 narrator chairs on either side.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eric's Reception and Wedding

I remember being a jr in High school, my "little" brother Eric was born.  He has been the baby of the family for so long, that it hard for me to think of him as being old enough to be married.  be that as it may, Eric is now married.  While on his mission to Australia (Korean speaking) he met Jin Sook.  He helped to re-activate her, and then was a stellar member missionary who fellow-shipped many of the people Eric helped to teach.  A while after Eric was home, She and some other Korean friends came to America for a visit.  One thing led to another - and the next thing I heard was that he was engaged.  It took a while for all of her Visa stuff to go through, but FINALLY she got the go ahead and the wedding was set.

They had their reception on Friday the 18th and then were sealed in the Mt Timpanogos temple on Saturday morning.  Here are a few pictures from the two joyful events.

the cousins admiring the cake
the cultural hall - transformed...

a picture of the cake - is my mom amazing or what???  (she made it)

the wedding party.  (since Jin Sook's parents couldn't make it over, my mom made life size cut outs so they could (sort of) be there...  They did have a "pre-wedding" reception in Korea when Eric flew over to meet the family and all that jazz, several months ago.

cutting the cake (although they didn't really cut it - they saved it for me to use the following week, which will come up in another update post)

aren't they cute?

Here's Tim and my dad hauling the cake out to my van after the reception

 AND NOW... Saturday, March 19th

happy couple exiting the temple

Eric, Jin Sook, and my parents - (they left the cut out home, no recommends for foam board, go figure)

the family - with Mark on the phone with Subway, ordering our "wedding luncheon"  We really missed having Laura & Damon and Matt & Tammy.  Someday we'll get the whole family again!

Welcome to family Jin Sook!!  Congrats to Eric on selecting a beautiful and sweet bride, and great job on putting together a beautiful reception Mom!

PS - as with any typical family event, Yes, there was "DRAMA,"  but in the interest of only speaking well of others and not dwelling on minor offenses, I am choosing to not mention any of those silly things...  because in the end, all that really matters is that everlasting covenants were made, and a new eternal family unit was formed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

time to play catch-up... again

I pulled out my "blog book" today and had a blast reading the almost 2 years of posts printed in there.  THAT is why I have a blog.  I need to get back to that.  The past several weeks have been crazy insane busy, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get semi-caught up.  I think I'll just post them in random order, depending on what I feel like writing about on any given day, but I will DATE them correctly, so they will be in Chronological order so that when I print out my next blog book, then events will be in the correct order.  (thus, even though this post is being written on 3/31 - I am going to date it march 18th) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the PUSH Challenge - day 2

yesterday's assignment was to just start thinking about my life VALUES.

Day 2 - my assignment today was to work out ON PAPER my top 3 priorities and to break them down into more specific items.

I struggled with this assignment just a little, because in my MIND I know what I want my priorities to be, but my ACTIONS are often not consistent with those priorities. I suppose that I am supposed to write down what I WANT my priorities and actions to be? With that as my base assumption – my top 3 priorities are:

#1 – HOME (to be cheerfully and positively engaged with my husband & kids -and create a loving home  environment.)

#2 – GOD (daily strengthen my personal spirituality) 

#3 – Others (reach out to others in need, give help spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc...)

Looking at those, I recognize that I "should" switch number 1 and 2/  God is supposed to come first - then everything else after that.  guess I'll have to ponder that some more and see how the challenge helps me redefine things.

OK - I pondered.  I am going to switch them because I believe it is the right thing to do.  My top 3 priorities are:

#1 - GOD

#2 - HOME


The next part of the assignment was to answer some questions about why I placed the #1 priority where I did and what actions are (and are not) consistent with that #1 status.  Then to identify what things need to change to honor that priority.

The final step was to create a"top priority clarity statement."

My number one priority is to strengthen my personal relationship with God.  The first of the 10 commandments was "Thou shalt have no other God's before me."  In the New Testament, Jesus taught, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment."  When I have a close, personal relationship with God, He can then guide me in all other aspects of my life.  I will have peace in all that I do.  I build and strengthen my relationship with him through regular prayer, scripture study, meditation, and temple attendance.