Sunday, September 14, 2014

apparently, i'm a cry baby.

Ok...I can finally blab my news across cyberspace.  After serving in young women's (our church's organization for girls 12-18 year olds) for 3 years, I was released today.  I've known it was coming for a couple of weeks and have already shed my fair share of tears over this, despite Chris' insistence that I should be celebrating.  (He really was very confused that I would be crying over something that made him so darn happy!)  I have loved this calling to death.  Yes, it has taken a lot of my time.  Yes, sometimes it makes me want a nap.  But I have been working with my three oldest daughters and a group of 30 spectacular young women (and women!) that you just can't help but love.  When I went into young women's, the teenage years scared me.  I wasn't close to any of the girls in our ward that were older than my own girls.  Within a very short period of time, I was able to get a glimpse of our Savior and Heavenly Father's love for each of these young women.    Their love for these girls was contagious and it is what has made the last three years so stinking awesome.  And that love is what made me sob all day long.  It was pretty ridiculous.  I can't imagine a ym president carrying on like this, but in my defense: I tried to stop crying.  Really.  And now I am writing about this without crying, which I see as a pretty big victory.   Lilly and I have even made plans for this Tuesday night. (I would normally be at our weekday activity until 9 pm)  We are making cookies and playing the electric ukulele together.  I tried to get her to invite dad, but she says he doesn't play the ukulele.  I guess he can make the cookies?

What really got me to pick myself up off of the couch (Autumn was sweet enough to cuddle me all better without any of the judging.  Hannah made it very clear that I cry too much. Maybe so, but shush. ) is my new calling.  I decided to start working on it and that just kind of made things all better.  My new calling is amazing.  Not YW amazing, but pretty amazing.  As in, I told my dad that I was going to request this calling whenever they released me from YW.  The kicker?  I didn't even have to request it. (which is good because I probably wouldn't have actually asked for a calling.)  Heavenly Father is that cool.  I am the new ward family history coordinator.  Which is fancy talk for a made up calling that I get to figure out.  I am to work with the adult and youth consultants and get our ward on fire, blazing through their family history like never before.  Pretty amazing, eh?   Family history, here I come!  Which also means that next February...I'm going to rootstech.  Again. I love, love, LOVE family history.  I also have a very strong testimony of the blessings that family history work can have on teenagers. (ok.  it blesses all of us.)  So put all of that together and it makes an amazing calling.  I am thrilled!

My little rays of sunshine on a kind of hard day?
•The sweet sweet yw that acted sad enough to make me cry more.
•Lilly's response to my release: So we're going to need to pick you up from relief society after church now? (like I'm in primary, needed a parent to pick me up)
•Walking into the chapel (straight from a mtg so I didn't get to see what my girls chose out for church) and seeing little Lilly, dressed up like a mini "Sister Dunford", who is a scarf loving sister missionary from the neighboring ward that Lilly LOVES.  She could have gotten away with murder in that outfit with all of its adorableness.  (Although that would be highly inappropriate with her being a missionary and all!)
•a pile of thank you's from the yw thanking me for small acts that I have done over the last 3 years and realizing that the cards were really just a short list of the many promptings that I have received  from their Heavenly Father, who knows them in such a personal and loving way.
•having my new visiting teach-ee share a quote that summarized my feelings and brought me peace:
"There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.  Why is this?  Because we are made of the stuff of eternity.  We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number.  Endings are not our destiny." Dieter F. Uchtdorf, I love you. And these tears are because I am made of the stuff of eternity.  Ha. :)
•hearing Rachel refer to the yw changes (I'm just going assume that she was referring to my release and enjoy this moment here) as someone ripping out your heart, stepping on it, poisoning it and putting it back in.  A. Did she just say she is going to miss me??  That's what I heard...  B. That is pretty much how I felt.

Friday, September 12, 2014

the good, the bad and the downright cute.


And here are our uniforms that have arrived so far.  Lilly spent an afternoon in tears after finding out that her jumper was backordered.  The end of September seems as far off as Christmas to a 6 year old that just wants to wear a cute outfit.  Cute, right??  I have a laundry hamper just for them (theoretically.  I found towels in it today but I will get everyone trained.  Soon.)

Yesterday was a kind of sort of eventful day.  I heard a crash right after the girls had left to seminary.  Apparently it is easier to pull out of the garage if the garage door is open.  Go figure.  My car was stuck in the garage, I cancelled appointments and waited for a very nice garage door repair man to help free my car.  Today I got the estimate.  $1600 with the charge for freeing my car.  (it took a while  and was definitely worth it.)   Who needs a trip to disneyland when you can replace panels on your garage door, right?  Or college.  Or piano lessons for 9 months.  Plane tickets to Korea.  There are so many other things I rather spend money that I don't have on.  Everyone tells me to make her pay the bill, but she actually doesn't have $1600 sitting around.  Anywho.  Just kind of a bummer of a deal. Of course, I'm thrilled that she didn't hit another car.  I'm thrilled that nobody was hurt.  I'm thrilled that this was a rather minor event.  I'd be more thrilled if it wasn't costing an arm and a leg to fix.  The end.  And I am done with my rant for the day.  Maybe.  I actually can't promise that.

On a good note.  We only have 2/sort of 3 soccer games tomorrow.  Two of the girls have byes and one is opting for a bonus game because one game just wasn't enough.  ;)  It was actually a little sad to have Elise walk into the room and say "So...Who  is coming to my game tomorrow???" when there is no game tomorrow.  Apparently she didn't get the memo.  And I may have discovered that lavender is pretty delicious when sprinkled into bread.  I wish I could share it with the two of you that read this.  Chris was pretty bummed because it makes one loaf off limits to him.  I guess he should start liking lavender, eh?  Nah.  I don't like to share anyway.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

sunday recap

Today was a nice and slow Sunday.   My poppy seed muffin adventures (did I tell you that I'm attempting to make breakfast this school year??) turned out pretty tasty.  I've decided to first try out an unhealthy version before adding in the weird replacements and critiquing myself for being a bad cook.  If I can make it yummy with a ton of butter, I can then move onto whole wheat and applesauce.  Step 1 is complete.  Yummy, unhealthy muffins are done.  Half of them are frozen for breakfast on the go while the other half are for breakfast tomorrow.  The best part? (Besides the taste!) I made them while we cooked dinner so it didn't take up extra time or mess up the kitchen again.  I love that I have daughters that enjoy pitching in when it involves food.   :)

The darling sister missionaries from the neighboring ward took Rachel with them on their missionary efforts.   She  got to bike around town with them and they happened to be eating dinner at Rachel's friend's house.  I'm actually a little jealous.  Lucky girl.   Our sisters (yes, we are just adopting them into our ward) are kind of amazing.  Seriously.  We have been so blessed to get to know them more.  I love sisters!!  There is the tall and lovely Sister D, whose family we stalked while in Utah.  They are just as amazing as their daughter.  Surprise, surprise.  Then there is the short, sassy and sweet halfy (Asian) that was baptized as an 18 year old.  And is now out serving The Lord.  Basically, they're overflowing with the light of Christ, which makes them pretty darn fun to hang out with.  We can't hang out with elders quite so readily. I'm sure they're overflowing too.  It's just different.  

Ok, so all of that was lovely.  Church was wonderful.   Our walk to the park?  Fantastic.  The most exciting part of the day (the poppy seed was a close second) was receiving my personal progress award in young women's today.  I have spent the last three years serving in young women's and have slowly plucked away at this achievement program that is designed to help our 12-18 year old young women strengthen their testimonies and grow closer to their Heavenly Father.  It has experiences that the young women work on in 8 different values.  We do 6 experiences and then a 10 hour project that incorporates that particular value.  Yes, this is designed for teenagers.  I may not actually be much of a teenager but I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father, and I'm pretty sure it was designed for them.  ;) I have been blessed by the strength that this program has offered me.  I have been able to build new habits, work on breaking a few bad ones (killing my diet coke habit/exercising was my knowledge project!) and have learned a lot while studying my scriptures.  The biggest take away that I got from working on my personal progress was that we are blessed when we obey.  I know there are some young women out there that don't like working on personal progress simply because they don't like being told what to do.  Yeah.  There is kind of a lot of commandments, standards, guidelines and advice that is given to us through our prophets and scriptures.  I've found that when I try my hardest to listen to do this and obey, I am blessed in miraculous ways.  I love the saying that says "obedience brings blessings.  Perfect obedience brings miracles." This doesn't mean that we're perfect, but instead that we are trying are darnedest.  I've seen countless miracles as I have worked on my Personal Progress and I'm sure that I will continue to see more as I work on it again.  (With 6 girls, I think I should finish it at least twice as I work with them, right?


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My poor neglected blog...

I just happened over to my blog and noticed that it has almost been a full year since my last blog post.  In my defense, this last year has been a doosy.  I have cried more this last year than I have any other year in my life.  I have struggled, I have been stretched and I have grown.  Quite honest rye, I couldn't blog because it was just too raw.   I am grateful to have made it with a few shreds of sanity left and think that this next year will be much better.  So here I am, in an attempt to bring my blog back to life.

School starts next week at the Kang Academy.  We have had an increase in funding (we partnered up with a local charter school to receive a curriculum stipend for each of my elementary students) so we are doing a few new and crazy things.

Uniforms.  Yep.  No, I am not a control freak parent that wants my girls to look all neat and tidy. No, I don't want to take away their individuality.  I am actually encouraging their individuality because they came to me and asked if they could wear uniforms this year.  I've let them all choose pieces that they love. Lilly wanted a jumper, knee high socks and a matching headband. (Sorry, Lilly.  No $13 headband for you!) Chloe wanted skirts, blouses and cute little Japanese Schoolgirl ties.  I can do that! I did not get Elise the gryffindor tie that she requested simply because I'm trying not to encourage her obsession with Harry Potter too much. I'm already considering putting all of the Harry potter books on a high shelf during the day just so she can do some school!  (She has reread the series countless times and is always reading one of the seven books) I am thinking of surprising her with a gryffindor tie for Christmas.  We'll see.

Lab kits.  I always put off science labs because we are missing this item or that item.  This year, we have all of the lab items in a handy spot and we are going to rock science.  We love apologia science like crazy and will be studying swimming creatures and land mammals. Apologia has a great way of  going into great detail with their science books while still keeping it interesting for all if my girls.  It is meant for k-5 but I think it is even good for middle schoolers.  Normally we order just one of their notebooks and make copies every lesson.   (Or just skip it because I'm too lazy to make copies) but this year, our sugar daddy charter school is buying notebooks for everyone.  Wahoo!!

History redone.  We've done story of the world for my older girls and they loved it.  My you gees have whined with it a little more and just haven't loved it.  My girls love literature so we are trying beautiful feet's history this year.  I haven't used them in the past because it can be kind of pricey to buy all of the accompanying literature BUT I think it's going to be spectacular.  I may have a history of judging a book by its cover and I'd say it works for me about 95% of the time. Every now and again, cute graphics are just a front for a pro communism book about a red balloon.  Anywho.  I think the literature used by beautiful feet is amazing, even if I haven't actually held it in my hand yet.  I have seen the cover, and that's like the same thing.

The last two pieces of our curriculum that throw us over the top? Korean (cute korean literature included!!) and Ukulele lessons.  I know I don't have pictures for this post, but just close your eyes and imagine my adorable daughters playing the ukulele IN THEIR UNIFORMS.  I know, right?  This year is going to be amazing. There is no way around it.  And, I'm going to have a lot more free time pretty soon, which will have to be a good thing. But more on that later.  (Or I'll cry some more.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

conference quotes


Conference today was yet another confirmation to me that my Heavenly Father knows each of us very personally and that he knows our needs.  We had a family home evening (yes, every now and again we have family home evening) about preparing for conference but writing down questions or problems that we needed help with.  My heart was very full as I saw our divinely inspired leaders working through the spirit to help us each so individually.  I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to be happy and tries in so many ways to guide us through this life.  

Here are a few of the quotes that I especially loved from conference:


"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"   -Dieter F. Uchdorf

“The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted.” 
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time.” Neal A. Maxwell


“Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
Margaret Nadauld

Sunday, May 12, 2013

family history whenever I darn well please it day

I am so excited about my recent family history discovery that I've decided it can't wait until Friday. I have to start back a couple of years for you to appreciate the truly cool nature of this. :) When Rachel and I were preparing for our trip to China and Korea a couple of years ago, I had a friend encourage me to video tape a lot while we were there. After debating about hauling an extra camera around, I remembered that my camera has video capability! (Yes, my memory is always that bad) I ordered some super big 32 gb cards to give me lots of storage space but really didn't video tape much of anything. (Ok, scratch that. We do have some pretty cute baby videos from starfish) On our last night in Daegu with Chris' dear sweet grandma, Chris' mom pulls out her Dad's "jokbo" (a huge book of family history going back to 1566) and says I might like it. I remember being so thrilled and thinking "I MIGHT like it??" We were leaving the Seoul at 11 the next morning and from the binding of the book, I know I wasn't going to be able to take it to get copies.  I thought about how I would be able to get the records in this jokbo home ALL night long until I had the simplistically awesome inspiration to photography each page. (yep, using those lovely memory cards!)

Skip ahead to two years later.  The jokbo has sat on my hard drive, untouched.  I was, once again, inspired to tap into our dear sweet exchange student as a resource to understand our Korean family history.  I wish I had been inspired a little earlier as she is leaving in a month, but I'm hoping that she will teach me how to fish between now and then.  She has helped me understand a lot of the basics and also helped me find a few great resources for Korean family history! (wanna translate a chinese character into Korean?  want a book with great english explanations to  the different parts of the jokbo?)  The book that I have goes to the 21st generation, which starts in 1566 and ends in the 37th generation.  I would love to know how to get the other book that goes even further back, BUT the 1400 pages of this book could keep us busy for a while.  Never has a Korean class been so tempting to me!

Bottom line, this Korean genealogy hurts my brain.   I can do a little each night before I want to pull out my hair because I am translating from Chinese (that I don't know) to Korean (that I don't know) to English.  Sigh.  Rewarding?  Oh, yeah!  And this weekend I taught Chloe and Autumn beginning jokbo translating lessons and Rachel has put her limited knowledge of Chinese characters (numbers) to use. They are in charge of translating dates while I get the places and names. I got the short end of the stick, but not for long.  Pretty soon they will be jokbo queens.  :)  And Rachel announced in sacrament meeting that I am "in the middle of translating our Korean genealogy book", so I better get past the first page!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

the happiest trip on earth

Last week our family took a trip to the happiest place on earth. (debatable about it actually being the happiest place, but it IS definitely the happiest theme park as we also went to Six Flags, which stunk in the happiest category!)  This involved two Sundays of me driving 7-10 hours instead of attending our normal church services, which really bummed me out.  I couldn't figure out a way to avoid it, but I sure do hate traveling on Sunday.   In young women's this year, the theme is "Stand Ye in Holy Places" and we've talked with the young women (girls from the ages of 12-18) about how this doesn't just mean hanging out at the temple 24-7, but it also means to learn how to create holy places in our own life.
I decided to apply this to our trip and looked for ways to make our car trip a holy place.

Sometimes I hate technology and sometimes I just love it so stinking much!  I had my lovely iphone loaded up with the latest general conference talks, hymns from the mormon tabernacle choir, and my favorite Sunday Variety playlist. (which is fabulous, if I do say so myself)  With a 7 hour car ride ahead of me, I started with conference and basically played it until the kids wanted something new. (they lasted pretty long!)  And then I brought in the music.  I love that the spirit can fill a car, a house, a room....anywhere that you invite him.  My car really became a holy place as we made room in our day for the spirit.  I felt my Savior's love as I listened to the words of the Prophet and to the many songs that sing of our Savior.  It was such a spiritual experience to feel the promptings of the spirit as I had opened up my heart.  I had opened up the door to personal revelation as I was (rather unsafely) jotting down tidbits of inspiration that I was receiving about parenting issues, ideas for young women's, thoughts about different young women in our ward and ways that I could help them and of course, things that I need to work on.

Sometimes, we tend to think of all of the things we shouldn't do.  We shouldn't listen to this music, we shouldn't watch that movie...you get the idea.  But I think it is much more important to find the things we should do.  I could have listened to any old music on my iphone and I probably wouldn't have been "hurt" by it.  I keep a dang clean stock of music.  But the music that I listened to on our drive drew me close to my Savior and reminded me (once again!) that he is so aware of each and every one of us and is WAITING for us to reach out to him.

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.  Seek me diligently, and ye shall find me.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Knock and it will be opened unto you.  [D & C 88:63]