Sunday, November 13, 2011

Every Mile a Memory...

Today I decided to go through my scrap booking stuff because my Mom's craft room is finally usable (after maybe 14+ hours of cleaning)!! HUZZAH! As I was sorting through notes, programs, tickets, pictures, quotes, handouts, and other random things I have collected these past years, I happened upon some pretty interesting and funny stuff! Here are some of my favorite finds:

I was sorting through notes from Girl's Camp when I was a Camp Leader. I had made a box where the girls could put in notes for other girls, random jokes (cause I like silly jokes), and shout outs. Some of the jokes I found were pretty funny and a lot of the notes I kept were super cute and made me feel better. BUT. There was one note I found that was the only one to make me actually laugh out loud. It read:
"Madi, I drooled on your pillow. <3 ya!"
I don't know who it was (or which year it was either) but I do know I was thankful for the laugh. So, thank you mysterious girl who played a prank on me. 
At least I hope it was a prank...

    Continuing on through my pile of "memories", I noticed a handout that I had gotten from a Youth Activity. The laurels were all sitting in a circle on a blanket outside. Sister Boinay placed a colorful gift bag in the middle. She informed us that the bag was filled with different candies. Each candy represented a different type of guy (because that's all that girls think about at age 16: Guys and chocolate). Each of us went around the circle and blindly chose our candies. Some got "Big Hunks" who ended up being hot baseball players that weren't active and others got "Snickers" who ended up being sarcastic guys who put them down. When it was my turn, I reached in the bad and pulled out a candy, immediately blushing. Mine said "Kissables". All the girls giggled. However, when I read the description of my guy, the giggles quickly turned into "AWWWW"s. Want to know what it said?
"Kissables: This guy wasn't the cutest guy you dated, but he was the most fun. He never took you out to dinner and a movie. He was too creative for that. He proposed to you when you were eating a candlelight dinner on a road median. You found the ring underneath your Washington DC Temple-shaped strawberry shortcake (where you later married---in the temple, not the cake!) He even brought along some ring cleaner so it wouldn't be sticky when he slipped it on your finger. He says he wants 15 kids. You joke with him that you'll have the first 8 and he can have the rest. He's fun to tease and joke around with. He giggles if you make him laugh really hard. You're not rich but you get by on his salary."
    It's kinda silly, but there are definatly some attributes that I look for that are similar to that guy. I like his creativity, thoughtfulness, a giggler (guys are funny when they giggle!) but most importantly, I love that he can take me to the temple. I also don't mind if I'm not rich. So thank you Sister Boinay for the fun activity and fun memory!

Last favorite find was another handout that I found that was also about guys. We made a list of attributes of what a worthy guy was. My first attribute was: Smiles a lot. I thought that interesting considering my taste in guys. Definatly still one of my number one attributes I'm lookin' for. Yeah that's all on that one.

Just some more Love Like Crazy memories. 

Prayer is like a little seed...

I love this picture. It reminds me of when I was little.
    This last week as I was working at my endeavor to be more courageous, I learned something. I'm going to need more than a week. So, this next week's courageous attribute to work on is: PRAYER! :) But I will say that this past week has helped and made me realize a lot of things about me. Some of it I already knew but apparently needed to be reminded of. This may seem a bit personal to you but I'll say it in hopes that maybe there are others like me. 
    First, I learned right off the bat something that I've known for a while. Satan does NOT want me to pray. He wants me to think I'm not good enough to pray, it won't matter if I miss a prayer, or I don't have anything good to say. Sometimes it's hard to remember that none of that is true. But that's part of the learning process. 
   Next, I noticed something about me. I don't like to say my prayers out loud. I don't like the sound of my voice actually and even though it's a very silly reason, it still hinders me none the less. I noticed (and have noticed this before) that not saying it out loud makes it a little harder to concentrate on what I'm praying if I'm just thinking it. One day I remembered a Sunday School lesson on prayer. I remembered the teacher saying "You need to pray out loud... Heavenly Father wants to hear your voice." I like thinking about that. Some all-powerful being in heaven wants to hear my voice. So this next week I'll be saying my prayers out loud, remembering that He wants to listen to me. 
    Last, and most classic realization of all: My day doesn't go nearly as well if I forget to pray. Plain and simple. Pray = Good day. I'll wake up on time, I'll be more productive during the day, I make better choices. It's like the people who wouldn't look at the snake to be healed because it was too simple. Silly right? So is not praying and thinking I'm going to be fine.
    There was a talk I read on prayer by Richard G. Scott that I liked a lot. I actually first read it because I thought it said supernatural gift not supernal gift. Upon looking up the definition of supernal(celestial; of exceptional quality), I found that it is even better than any supernatural gift! The talk is called "Using the Supernal Power of Prayer". I liked the back to basics feel of it and loved the information that I either learned or was reminded of. It seemed to answer all my concerns I had with prayer. I highly recommend it. 
Just another Love Like Crazy moment.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a Goofy Thing...

So I was looking at my phone, checking text messages, and I accidentally happened upon a text I had saved quite a while ago. 
You know those moments where you just instantly smile because something takes you back to a very good memory?
Yeah. This was one of those glorious moments.
It made my day. This is how I felt.

Whenever you feel down, remember moments like that. It might make your day again. 
Just another Love Like Crazy moment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Set me Free to Find my Calling...

    This is part 4 of my journey to New York. Actually this part is about Richmond, Virginia. I was able to take part in a very special and inspirational weekend at Time Out for Women. It was wonderful, filled with amazing speakers and music by Jenny Oaks Baker and Jericho Road. 

    The theme of the whole program was "Choose to Become" and discovering our possibilities because "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). We were given the Choose to Become Challenge, where we were asked to think and act on the question "Who am I going to become in the next year?" (to anyone who hasn't already taken the challenge, GO FOR IT!) I've thought about this for a long time and although there is a lot of things I want to become, there is one word to describe this woman I want to be: Courageous. Courageous in my scripture study, my prayers, my talents, stepping outside my comfort zone. So to become this courageous woman I want to be at the end of next year, I'll be choosing one way each week to be courageous. This week is prayer. Honestly, my morning prayers are sometimes nonexistent or if I remember, in the car on the way to work. So, next week I'll report on my progress! Keep me in your prayers and I'll keep you in mine! :)

Continuing on... 
    Mariama Kallon - She was the first speaker for the Saturday Session. A wonderful woman who has been through the unimaginable from surviving in Sierra Leon. She said a lot of things that touched my heart. What I noticed the most was her ability to quote scripture. She would look at her notes occasionally during her talk but when she would say a scripture, she looked straight at the audience with a small fire in her eyes and conviction in her tone. I loved it and admired it. She also had a quote:
"She that is too busy to pray is busier than the Lord wants her to be."
That will be the quote for this week. :)
She talked a bit about her mission as well. She got me thinking about what my "good cause" to be anxiously engaged in was. As she talked about being anxiously engaged in something she would say LDS stood for something as well as Latter-Day Saint:
I love it! This woman was so inspiring. She kept going on to ask us "why should I give way to temptation because of my affliction?" Strong words coming from a woman who had been through so much affliction in life. Through prayer and scripture study, she was able to let go of the heartache and move on with her life. Inspiring to say the least. 

    Linda Eyre & Shawni Eyre Pothier - They tag teamed it up and taught us a little something about making life holier. A simple question I got out of the whole thing was "What can I 'tweak' in my life to be holy?"
They had some simple suggestions like:
-Saying 'I Love You' when buckling your kids up (CUTE!)
-Playing music during chores 
You may think a certain trial is too hard to make holy. But you can change your perspective on that. Ask yourself, Is this going to make me bitter or better?
The basic principle is to pick a situation that isn't holy, maybe hectic, and turn it into a special time. This is going to make the Savior a part of our lives. After all, it is all about the Savior and showing our love for him.

    Brad Wilcox - One of my favorite speakers. You know the kind that say something and totally change your life forever? Yeah. He's one of those guys. He opened with talking about when he was a mission president. One of his missionaries was discussing what would be the ultimate experience. Most of us would say seeing Christ. This missionary had a different idea. The ultimate would be Christ seeing his countenance in us. Mind blown. Hadn't thought about it like that. And the learning didn't stop there. Brother Wilcox then spoke about the first miracle that John starts with: Jesus turning water into wine. He then went on to say how the story wasn't about the word of wisdom, marriage, or titles. It was the principle that Christ can change anything, so he can change me. I don't know if this is news to anyone but I was sure surprised when I learned it. I loved it. And it didn't stop there! He told us his conversion story. It actually happened on his mission. He was seriously questioning if God was even there. So he studied with fervor, pondered day and night, and prayed like he had never prayed before. After a while of this routine, his mission president was able to simply answer all his questions. 
"Is there a God?" 
"Does he know me?"
"Does he love me?" 
Now by this time EVERYONE was in tears. It was crazy. Needless to say, he was one of my favorite speakers because of how much I learned. 

    Marrilee Boyack - What a ball of fun! She was also an inspiring person as she outlined what kind of person we all can become.
B = "I am BOLD." like Deborah from the Old Testament (Look up the story. :) It's awesome.) 
E = "I am ETERNALLY MINDED." We all make choices but are those choices eternally minded? Are we thinking about all the consequences of our actions?
C = "I am CREATIVE." Don't conform and Don't compare.
O = "I am OUTWARD FOCUSED." Service is always needed. And we are so very good at that as LDS women.
M = "I am MEEK." Like the savior, we don't need to be important to the world; We just need to do what the Lord wants.
E = "I am ENLIGHTENED." We can all be enlightened by the spirit if we listen. I decided I need to listen to promptings and act on them faster.
U = "I am UNIQUE." We all have our qualities that make us who we are, and letting them shine is part of becoming the best we can be.
BECOME U! Cute huh? I thought so. :)

    Laurel Christiansen - For this talk, the girls were able to join us. She talked about her Optimist Experiment. This turned into the Faith Experiment. She opened with a quote that I LOVE:
"Do the thing you THINK you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Love it! And so did all the hundred or so girls sitting behind us, who began clicking their pens, making a sound that sounded like rain and confusing the women who didn't know what was going on. Kinda funny. Anyways...
There were three components of Laurel's Optimist Experiment:
Pray with Faith
Think with Faith
Live with Faith
For the first two, I learned that we need to have faith in God, not faith in the outcome we are predicting. For the last one, I learned to not quit. Beware the temptation to quit! Master your fears and face your doubts! It was awesome. 

To top it all off, Jericho Road sang one last song that was amazing! I may want to sing it at some point...

Homeward Bound
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.
When the summer's ceased its gleaming, 
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning,
I'll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

If you find it's me you're missing, if you're hoping I'll return.
To your thoughts I'll soon be list'ning, and in the road I'll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I'll be retracing when I'm homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

Int the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I'll be homeward bound again.

I am so thankful for my experience I had in Richmond and I am glad that I could be there with my dear friends. Maybe next time I'll be able to go with my own mother. :)

Just another Love Like Crazy moment.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This One's for the Girls

A few posts ago I mentioned that I surprised Emma and Allegra with a newly decorated room. And now I'm showing ya'll the transformation! This is what I started with... boring, boring, and more boring.

They had a few starter ideas (if you can notice the yellow on the walls in one picture) but nothing really felt right. SO, I was called on and was very excited to make this room EXCITING.
All we had to go off of was a deep purple duvet cover and two posters with two seemingly different color schemes. We had our work cut out for us. But if you know me at all, I'm always up for the challenge. 

First we decided to pick a wall color. Home Depot was quite an adventure. First the color matching machine decided it didn't like me or Katie and froze on us. We didn't break it, promise!! After some help from a nice gentleman, trying to choose between what seemed like millions of options, and being mistaken as Katie's daughter (again), we finally made it out with what we were told was an "elegant" color. We were happy with it but also a bit nervous because of the boldness of the color. 

Next we looked for storage. We looked at multiple stores but mostly just came up empty handed. IKEA needs to open a store in Rochester. Just sayin'. We didn't get the storage that week but Katie will inform me when they do get it. 
Then we found little things. Like baskets, a mirror flowers, a vase, wall decorations, frames, and two lamps. It was time to put everything together.

So we painted the room the elegant color, spray painted other things like my hand, and put together all the little decorations. All the while, the girls had no idea what was really going on in their room. We told them it was bright orange with a pumpkin face on one of the walls. hehe. We're so devious. 

Finally we were ready to unveil it. We closed the door and I was ready with the camera. The girls opened the door. And this is what they saw:

Aren't these the CUTEST?
Ben helped shape the flower formation on the wall, and take the cool flower picture below. The picture of Ester and Emma were our beginning inspiration. If you can't tell the wall color is a soft purple. Kind of like lavender.  

 You can also see the purple duvet cover. Katie also made (she's the seamstress queen I've decided) these GORGEOUS silver pillows. Her secret? Curtain fabric from Target. Yeah, didn't see that coming did you? Maybe you did but I didn't.
I loved helping redecorate the girls room and I also enjoyed the time I spent learning new skills and getting to know my dear friend Katie. 

Just another I Love you girls Like Crazy moment. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is Halloween

I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I'm pretty sure it is my favorite holiday. Here's my reasoning:
10.You get to dress up and no one looks at you funny.
9.All the superheros, princesses, wizards, animals, and other awesome creatures come out for a day!
8.Scary pranks are hilarious and acceptable. 
7.Your cheese sticks are now breaded fingers, olives are bat heads, and other foods now have creepy names. 
6.Mom makes spider hot dogs and chili. YUM!
5.We also make our Frankenstein Head out of rice crispy treats. YUM!
4.Cute kids in cute costumes coming to your door saying "Twick or Tweat!"
3.Complete strangers in costumes give you candy.
2.Watching scary movies is done while eating that candy you got from that stranger and in your costume.
and the # 1 thing I love about Halloween is...
We always do the coolest pumpkins on the block. I don't remember ever doing a simple jack-o-lantern face EVER. It seemed the more intricate, the better. We do use stencils but I'm down to drawing what I want because I can't find the stencils for it.
Last year I made one awesome pumpkin that I don't think I'll ever top. Here is a picture of Morph from 2010.

This year I actually had a bit of trouble deciding what to do. But after searching for a while I came upon a pumpkin that I thought was too cute to pass up! It reminded me of my Aunt Cami and her little boys. Read further to find out what I picked! :)

 The boys are all making their pumpkins. Carson hard at work and Brady glaring at the camera as usual. You can kinda see my picture but not all the way... Logan is working on his flaming car (or flaming hovercraft as I called it) and Dad Is carving his Cardinals sign out. 
  From right to left: Carson's Atomic sign, Dad's Cardinal's Logo, Jeremy's Skull, Logan's flaming Car/Hovercraft, Brady's Beach, and Mine. Can you guess what it is?

 It's Toothless the Dragon! It's so cute I couldn't resist! So this one's for you Colton, Carter, and Spencer!

 I also had another project come my way. My Aunt Roxy decided to give me her pumpkin because she didn't want to carve it and knew how much I loved to carve them. She told me it was an 80 lb pumpkin and I couldn't resist the challenge! I thought of the brilliant idea to celebrate the last Harry Potter Movie being made this year with a wizard duel. Most of the time was spent on gutting the pumpkin. The design was easy enough. I also had some help from my friend. Below is the finished product!

I love pumpkin carving. 
Just another Love Like Crazy moment. Happy (late) Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Free as We'll Ever Be

During my adventure to New York, I was fortunate to visit Gettysburg and the memorial there. We viewed a show about what went down in that historic place (narrated by Morgan Freeman none the less!). We also saw the Cyclorama. For those of you who've never seen one or heard of one, its a painting of the battle of Gettysburg that is displayed on the walls of a circular room with a viewing platform in the middle of the room. It's kind of hard to explain but it was pretty amazing. Above are some of the scenes from the Cyclorama. It was pretty amazing how detailed the whole thing was. It was incredible and kind of inspiring.

Continuing on, here are some more pictures from the museum. Enjoy!

I'm on a Horse

History is sometimes interesting to learn about from a book, but to see it for yourself is always a better learning model for me. It was incredible to learn about this pivotal moment in history. All the brave men who fought for what they believed in. All the loved one's who may have never seen their soldier again after this battle. The inspiration one man provided in a short and sweet speech that has made history. I now have a new appreciation for the sacrifice made and the history that happened on that ground. It inspired me to stand and fight for my values in today's world. It also inspired me to look for my ancestors here and maybe others who may have fought in other wars. So be on the lookout for future posts on that. :)

Lovin' Like Crazy the History I learned at Gettysburg.

Friday, October 28, 2011

These are some good times, so take a good look around...

I went to a magical place this week. 
I rode a magic carpet all the way to New York (sorta)! Once I was there, I was greeted by  Queen Katie, Ruler of the Maxwell house. We then rode in her carriage to pick up her princesses and prince from school where we rejoiced upon seeing each other. :D

During the week we participated in amazing adventures. Princess Emma and I decided to carve a pumpkin for a pumpkin walk. Thinking and thinking of what to carve we came up with the brilliant idea to  carve (you guessed it) a PRINCESS! But not just any princess. Rapunzel. This picture is the scene we carved out but with more floating lights. We had to use some serious fairy magic to pull it off. I would have a picture of the pumpkin but my camera was out of commission. ANYWAYS. It turned out amazing! 

During the week I also spent time waking up for breakfast dates, playing trains, doing math problems, and enjoying Psych episodes with the princes and princesses of the Maxwell household. I also helped out in Prince Ian's kindergarten class. This solidified that I LOVE TEACHING!

When the weekend came, the Queen, princesses and I embarked on a quest to attend a Royal Ball (Time Out for Women) in Richmond, VA. We rode for hours and even stopped in the wonderful Chocolate World! It was amazing and smelled and tasted WONDERFUL! We enjoyed a ride depicting how chocolate was made, filled with singing cows, heated tunnels, and the enticing smell of chocolate. 
We continued our adventure and traveled through vast lands like Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. However we encountered severe traffic in Washington D.C.. We almost perished from the amount of waiting BUT we prevailed (2 hours later) and made it to the ball in time to hear the FABULOUS Jenny Oaks Baker perform Disney songs and the INSPIRING Virginia Peirce speak on Mothers.

We made it to our Princess suite where the princesses and I decided that we deserved a soak in the hotel hot tub. And it was heavenly!
The day was filled with wonderful speakers and entertainment! There was so much I learned, there will have to be a separate post about the event. For now, know it was truly inspiring

The next day we attended the rest of the Royal Ball. The princesses went to Time Out for Girls while the Queen and I attended Time Out for Women. Upon entering the room a woman asked "Are you a grown up?". Someday this looking way younger than I really am will pay off...
When the weekend was over we journeyed back to Victor and attended a Sacrament Meeting in Maryland where we saw this super cute princess in the making with a big pink puff ball headband and pink tutu skirt. I also sang hymns in espanol (spanish)! Afterwords we traveled farther and stopped in Gettysburg (which will also need a separate post). We finally made it home and, worn out from the days travels, slept quite soundly. 

QUICK EXPLANATION: Emma and I thought this was funny because
 if they had to make a sign for this, apparently it has happened before...
As my trip was coming to a close, the Queen and I had a surprise for the princesses of the house. During the past week they were not permitted to enter their room. Queen Katie and I were working hard, painting, shopping, moving furniture, and putting up decorations for the girls new room (again another separate post... there will be lots in the near future!). We surprised them greatly when they were able to step in their new room

Then, with a heavy heart, the princesses, the queen, and I made our way to the magic carpet station (airport). Where we waved goodbye as I made it through security (to me that's always the most stressful part!!). I was walking to my gate, thinking of how much I will miss them, when I looked up to see the three of them again, waving and blowing kisses behind a glass wall. I smiled, returned the kisses and kept going, knowing that although we would be far apart, I would always have the memories I made with them in my heart. 

It's amazing how people can change our lives, and even more amazing how much better we are just from knowing them. I'm so thankful for the week I got to spend with them and I hope they know just how amazing they are. 

Just another Love Like Crazy week for me!