Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today I may have set a record.

** A record in length, folks! Consider yourself warned (Andrew!). You may need a nap**

The cheer I felt for Monday was foreign. I woke up apart of a new club. Suddenly, I belonged with a small percentage of people who begin their week breathing a sigh of relief.

"T.G.I.M." I mused aloud.

The day would be routine and in comparison to the adventure filled weekend we'd enjoyed, it would be quiet. Henry and I had the morning off from preschool which provided me the chance to decompress.

The itinerary that we never actually wrote down, would have looked something like this:

  • Wednesday night -- Andrew at Young Men activity
  • Thursday night -- Andrew on missionary splits
  • Friday night -- Andrew on a scout camp out
  • Saturday morning -- Ali at primary program practice
  • Saturday night -- Andrew to chaperon the Stake Dance (45 minutes away)
  • Sunday night -- The youth at our home for a fireside
It's a good thing the Church is true. That was my first thought. My next thought was to repent for my inner murmurings. After all, I need the blessings that I know comes through genuine service.

Even if you wanted, in a ward where everyone's time and talents are desperately needed, you can't pity yourself when you realize that the sisters you regularly associate with experience weeks similar to the one I just outlined. So, I mustered up the best of attitudes and did my best to play "Andrew" on the nights where I was tucking the kids into bed myself.

Then the blessings came; the most obvious being the cancellation of Andrew's missionary split appointment. We're in the process of refinancing and that time discussing, signing and scanning documents was greatly needed.

He'd been prepared to spend his evening with the Elders. Shamelessly, my fingers are crossed that having had our hearts in the right place, we can still cash in on that blessing... because we all know that the Lord works on a coupon type/give and receive/blessing system ;) just kidding.

Friday night was spent alone with Edward Cullen (I watched Twilight) as my dearly beloved spent the night in a cold tent. Smelling like campfire, he entered the chapel the following morning and whisked my children away in time for me to lead the music for our practice. For the next two hours, the children and I rehearsed and polished the music and their speaking parts for their program.

That afternoon, Andrew took a break to video chat with his family. To Eliza's delight, it was snowing in Utah. My adorable and thoughtful sister in law Katie made a snowman in the backyard while Eliza looked on through the kitchen window. Video chat is the best.thing.ever.

Andrew's chaperoning assignment transformed into a date as a friend graciously agreed to watch my kids. My attendance meant her husband could be home with his family that night. When bedtime rolled around, she ushered my children home and put them to bed without incident. Thank you Loranna. Due to the distance of the dance, we didn't arrive home until after eleven.

Oh wait, that's odd. What's another picture doing amidst all these words. We HAD A DATE! And it deserved documentation. So what if our date was shared with four, endearingly obnoxious, eager to dance with "hot Mormon girls" young men? It still counts. Not to mention, we had access to free nachos. I had a hard time remembering that I was there as a "leader" as I found myself dancing to 'Party in the U.S.A'. and doing the electric slide (see.. the Church really IS the same everywhere!) with the youth.

As much fun as it was having the young men throw wads of paper in my hair on the drive home; the icing on the cake came the following morning as I led the music during the primary program. As those sweet children sang, "My Eternal Family" I was blessed with the most tender of feelings. My headache, nerves and anxiety dissipated. I was filled- head to toe- with a warmth and love so pure. The words they sang were true and important. All of the singing time preparation, late night coloring, taping and creating for various activities, enthusiastic pep talks, etc. paid off at that moment. I felt their testimonies all at once. It was so powerful.

I was touched to learn that an investigator of the Church came for the first time on Sunday. He's a young man who found out about the LDS faith online. Without an invitation from the Elders (whom he had never met) or a member friend, he came. His first impression, first lesson, first testimony came from those children. Can you imagine anything better? Having introduced himself to Andrew following the three hour block of meetings, he informed him that he'd be back next week.

Last week, a soon-to-be missionary sang during Sacrament meeting. His non-member neighbors came to offer their support. A six year old girl noticed them during the meeting. Taking an invitation to the unfamiliar, yet kind, couple she encouraged them to come back the following week to watch her sing in the primary program. To this sweet girl's great happiness, they accepted her invitation. They came and with the congregation, they sang for the first time the words to the song, "I Am a Child of God." I heard from a friend who'd sat next to them, that they were especially moved by the two families who sang, "I love to see the temple."

Sunday afternoon we squeezed in a nap before tidying up the house for our evening visitors. My time was primarily spent putting the children to bed, but there was a special spirit that lingered after they'd all left.

(In the concluding paragraph, I will do my best to sound incredibly cliche and trite. Sorry if this gags you out somewhat, but this lesson is for my posterity, not yours. *insert kind smile*)

Yes, we are asked to give of our time; but what we receive in return is priceless. Despite my over-use of words, I will always fall short in my attempt to describe the gift of the Spirit; how it feels and how desperately I need it in my daily work as a Mother.

Someone is thinking, "what do you kids do while you blog?" Usually, they sleep. However, Eliza took the initiative to plan the children's morning activity when she emptied and combined each of her toy containers. I saw an opportunity. At least the dress-ups and containers of blocks had been spared (see arrow). I must have thought too loudly, as her attention was immediately turned to the remaining containers. It had been so nice to wake up to a clean living room. Oh well, half the fun is creating the mess anyway. Today she simply accelerated the process. The miracle was Henry's ability to quickly unearth his favorite toy truck.

My list of to-do's now looks something like this:
  • Sort toys
  • Shower (check!)
  • Find a "Team Edward" shirt at the mall
Wish me luck.


B-dizzle said...

Oh man. That was a good post. Ali, we should talk. I totally understand your feelings with Andrew being gone. I had a breakdown, quite a bad one, this Sunday. It is just hard sometimes. I cannot imagine what it would be like with kids.

Audra said...

YAY!! I love that you had a great week of giving service and receiving blessings! I also love that you posted a picture of your toy containers since I spent my afternoon organizing toys in similar containers! I feel so much better with organization! I plan on blogging about it soon!

Emily said...

Isn't it amazing how you can feel like you're being pulled in too many directions and so exhausted, but that's when you feel the tender mercies and have some amazing experiences? You're right, the church is true! :)

Jessica said...

I can totally relate. We live in a ward where there are very few "strong" members and LOTS of in-active, part-member, new-member, and non-members (you think I could use any more hy-phens?). Anyway, there are times I am exhausted and feel burnt out and some times even used (like when my YW I am trying to help steal from me). The truth is that the good times like practicing a song with our YW last night and seeing there faces glow with the Spirit as they sing of their Savior, brings tears to my eyes and makes it all worth it! Yes, the church is true and since it is, it's worth it.

boo face mcjones said...

amen. lovely, lovely post, friend.

savanna said...

Once again, I completely relate!

Davis Family said...

My gosh woman, when do you just veg? It always sounds like you guys are going a million miles an hour. Although I felt most a part of my ward where me and Marty had the biggest/busiest callings and sometimes wish I had more going on (knock on wood...because I don't want that at this exact moment).

Michelle said...

You did great with the Primary program. I have to agree with My Eternal Family. It was amazing. Glad it's over.