Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time for Tulips!!

Many of you may remember that tulips are one of my favorites... I'm certain part of the reason is that they are some of the first bursts of color after long, drab, cold winters. And, true to the nature of spring weather, the tulips always get snowed on... bending under the weight of the precipitation (science vocabulary word) and they perk back up and let their light shine! It's definitely tulip time and I'm so excited!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The REST of the Story ....

Some of you know I work in the Young Women's program for my stake. A few weeks ago we attended the 5th Ward Sacrament Mtg. because the young women and their leaders were the whole program. Each young woman and each leader spoke. They also sang a beautiful song we learned for camp last year... which is the real motivation for sharing this story... not the song... camp.

We needed a new Stake Camp Director. As I sat and listened to each speaker I felt really impressed that one of their leaders was supposed to be called as our Stake Camp Director. I was concerned about it because that ward struggles and they have the best leaders in place to really help the situation. The Spirit persisted and I relented and turned in her name... Emma Leavitt...she gave me permission to share her story.

I had the privilege of being there when Emma was set apart. The 2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency invited her husband to stand with him as they laid hands on her head. Afterwords, I thanked her husband for sharing his wife because I knew it was going to take a lot of time and work. He smiled. And then she said, (with tears welling up in her eyes), "We are grateful to serve because we have some challenges and we need the blessings."

Little did I know that her challenges include the fact that her husband has been ill and doctors can't figure out what's wrong... Little did I know that three and a half months after they were married he had an unexpected seizure that would change their life forever (that seizure left him in the vulnerable and precarious state of a child and many of the things he'd been doing for years, he had to learn all over again... like walking and personal hygiene). Many people, in and out of the church, told Emma to divorce him. She clung to the hope that their marriage is eternal and that one day he would be fully restored. They have been working with this challenge for 6 years now.

Little did I know that their Bishop and both of them received the witness that he would be called home soon. Little did I know that he's already said his goodbyes to his family and friends. Little did I know that the funeral is already planned and that they are saving pennies to pay for it. Little did I know that, in a nutshell, she is facing widow-hood at 36. When I learned all of this I wept and I also looked with new perspective at my own challenges. And she sat there in the Presidency office with gratitude in her heart for a calling that will take quite a bit of time because she says it will help her take her focus off of her sorrows.
What an inspiration! And what a testimony to me that the Lord loves His children. In this instance, it's a good thing I didn't know, "the rest of the story" from the beginning or I might have completely ignored the Spirit... Thank you Emma for your valiant testimony that God blesses and lifts those who serve Him!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

At Least I Waited Until I Got Home...

Early this year the principal came in and asked me to please get my ESL (English as a Second Language) Endorsement. I refused based on the fact that I'd heard many of my collegues over the last few years complain about how time consuming it was. After my year last year, dad passing away, court case with Mark's former spouse, etc... I just wanted a simpler year. Well, he told me they changed the format, that the colleges were no longer involved and that it would take less time. I relented and have had this class nearly every Monday night since school started. I'm down to just three more sections! Woohooo!

Anyway, last week the instructor showed this amazing video of a beautiful Chinese boy experiencing his first day of school in America. With all the hope of a new life, his parents work at a resteraunt late into the night. His mother comes home at 1:00 AM and leaves a shoe box and a card on his bedroom floor. He's pretending to be asleep. After his parents go to bed he gets out of bed, reads the note, puts on the bright yellow tennis shoes and crawls back into bed. He gets up in the morning and makes his own breakfast, walks himself to school and then experiences a really sad day because he doesn't understand English. I can barely type the story here without bringing up all the emotion that little film found inside my heart... I got teary during class but managed to contain the flow to only a few that trickled down each cheek. I really wanted to run out of there and find every sad and lonely child and bring them home to my house...

When I got home, I shared the story with Mark... there is a lot more detail than I'm including here. As I told Mark the story, I sobbed. In fact, I cried so hard I gave myself the suck-ups. At least I waited until I got home. I don't know if you can find a copy of this film to view... it was made for educational purposes and is more expensive than a normal video. If possible, it is so very worth the effort and the time because the application is so much more than the original intent! If you do find a copy... maybe you'd better wait until you get home to watch it... truly touching!