Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Suck It Up People

After talking to a good friend of mine today I decided that we as human beings really are lazy and full of excuses. It is in our communities and it is in our church. The conversation today was about visiting teaching.

For those of you who are not Mormon, visiting teaching is a big part of the women's organization called Relief Society at the Church. It is one way that we learn to love and serve others and it is how the Lord, through His Church, makes sure that all of his flock are taken care of. If you are willing to be a visiting teacher, you are assigned both a partner and usually 2 or 3 other women in the congregation to visit and you are charged with checking in with those sisters and helping to meet their needs every month. The fruits of your visits are then reported at the end of the month to the Relief Society president who can organize more help to those who may need it. Companionships and assignments are often long thought about and prayed about before they are given.

Now I know that I am going to offend some people here but just let me rant. I know that I don't know everyone's circumstances and that there really may be some legitimate excuses. I also know that I am in no way perfect or an expert. I also need to note that my rant is in no way aimed at anyone. So this is just my from my perspective and you can take it or leave it. I used to be the visiting teaching coordinator in our ward and I didn't see too much going on but I am hearing more and more lately about women just complaining and making excuses for not doing doing their visiting teaching because of who they have been partnered with or the ladies that they are assigned to. Really? Are we in high school again?

First of all, you were asked and have accepted the responsibility to be a visiting teacher. If you don't want to do it, then don't say you will. You do have a choice.

Once you've accepted then you have to put a little faith in the Lord. Like I said: It is something that has been prayed about and a lot of work and thought has gone into the assignments.

"But, when I call they never answer!" SO WHAT!?! If it's your companion, then check in with your sisters on your own. That's no excuse for you to not take action yourself. If it's the sisters you've been assigned to, show up without calling, send them a note, "friend" them on Facebook, simply smile or say hi or sit next to them at church. That is ALL you really have to do. It doesn't have to be a long, organized, quiet visit to their house. You are not called to make a visit, you are called to get to know them, take care of them and serve them.

"But, we don't get along at all!" SO WHAT!?! Did you ever think that maybe there was something that  you needed to learn from that person? Maybe it is something that they needed to learn from you? Are we really so narrow minded that we will only visit and take care of the people that are cool or are our friends? Are we really so lazy that we won't step outside our comfort zones, become pliable and allow the Lord to mold us into the person He would have us be If we can't do it within our own congregation then how will we ever be able do it for those more needy that aren't.

I have gotten to learn this first hand. I got a visiting teaching companion that I swore did not like me and would never work as my companion but as I have gotten to know her and serve with her and be served by her I have gained a real friend. It just took a little bit of stretching me beyond where I was comfortable. I also have been assigned to serve sisters that I thought didn't like me and have come to learn to be more open minded to the fact that maybe their personality is just different. Regardless of how different we are I can still love them. The Lord has helped me learn many great life lessons just through visiting teaching.

From The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19 says:
 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

So I say, "Suck it up people." Serving Christ is not about only doing what is easy or convenient for you. If your goal is to become more like Christ then we need to put off those "natrual man" tendencies to be lazy and full of excuses. We need to be "willing to submit to all things" including our visiting teaching assignments. I know that as we do we can truly learn to feel the love of Christ.  So maybe if we don't think about it as a call to visit a particular person but a call to serve Him we will be less inclined to come up with so many lame excuses.

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn awisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the bservice of your cfellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.- Mosiah 2:17

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Lesson in Being Quick to Judge

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Mathew 7:1-2) This was a lesson I decided to get out of my experience at the grocery store the other day. I learn many lessons there since that it where I do go there a lot. 
It had kind of been a long day. I got up with my usual 4:30 am alarm to go to my Crossfit class. I got a little frustrated during the WOD because I didn't do any of the movements really well. (Toes to Bar and Double Unders are not my friends right now) I came home to the kids and sent Charly off to school. Then, went to work where it had been an o.k. day but Carter was acting out a little bit and I kind of wanted to get angry at one of my coworkers that tried to interrupt my disciplining with whatever thoughts she had of her own. (Hello! I'm the mom and I'm right here talking to him already. Back off!) But of course I just smiled at her.
We left work and went to lunch. The kids begged for McDonald's on the drive home and I caved. But I just started this 21 day sugar detox. Ordering a salad with nothing on it while the kids eat their burgers and fries was not my idea of fun. Not to mention that Diet Dr. Pepper in the machine staring right at me! Today is day 3 of the detox and the side effects are beginning to set in. I am feeling a little grumpy but that could be PMS too. 
From McDonald's we headed to Costco which didn't turn out too bad but I'm beginning to feel the $$$$ pinch of eating all of this healthy stuff.  When we finished there, we made the stop at Hyvee. (I promise, telling you my whole day has a point to it.) It took a little longer than I would have liked there. The kids were obviously done shopping and Carter was everywhere bumping into people with his mini cart. (Seriously, why do they even have those? They are such a pain in the you know what for EVERYONE!) We made it through and finally got home only to realize that the baby was missing her pacifier and one for her shoes. New shoes that we just bought a couple weeks ago after losing one in a different store. Not about to just do that again.
I piled all the kids back in the car only this time we were on a time crunch to make it back home before Charly got off the bus. I immediately found the cart that we had used sitting on the walk outside the front door. I park the van there on the curb with my flashing lights and jump out. Yes, it is the fire lane, painted in red with no parking signs everywhere. The shoe wasn't in the cart so I lock the doors and tell the kids to stay put while I run right inside to the desk that's right inside the door. I luckily got the shoe back! It had made it and the binki had made it to the lost and found. Yay!
On my way back out the door this older gentleman is walking in. I'm pretty much running but we exchanged smiles and then he grabbed my arm. His smile disappeared and his face became angry. He then proceeded with this comment, "So you think that the No Parking signs apply to everyone but you do ya?" I didn't know what to say. All that came out was, "I'm sorry if you were inconvenienced but maybe if you knew what I was doing you would understand. I've got to get to my three littles." And I ran off. It didn't take much for him to let go. (After grabbing one of my "guns" he probably knew better not to mess with me too much. LOL!)
Needless to say, I got into my car and started to cry. I didn't understand how he could be so mean. How he could be so quick to treat me so rottenly? Surely he would not have done so had he been in my shoes all day. I started to get angry. Then those powerful words from the Savior popped in my mind. "Judge not, lest ye be judged." I can't be angry because who knows what his day was like. 
But then I realized that I too needed to remember how I felt right then. I needed to remember that the next time I felt like jumping to any kind of conclusion about anyone. I should consider what kind of day or life they may have had. Like my coworker earlier. She's only been working there about a month. Maybe she didn't know I was Carter's mom. Feeling angry at her right then might have been wrong. How many other times have I walked by someone and thought a nasty thought based on how things looked right there at that moment? How many times have I assumed something before I got to know the full story? 
No, I don't think that I am above the law and can park anywhere I want regardless of the signs. I know that fire lanes are important to have clear in any kind of emergency. But we all are given the liberty to choose. And in that instance, today I decided that breaking the law for that 45 seconds was going to be worth it for me. If I would have had to take a ticket or have my van damaged because I disobeyed the law, then those would have been consequences that I chose. Like any other choice, choosing to judge others too quickly has consequences. They will effect more than just you but it is you that it will effect the MOST. Because with that same kind of judgement that you gave that guy up the street or that girl at the mall, YOU will be judged. Is that where you want to be? Or would your prefer the same kind of judgement the ultimate Judge would give you? One of absolute empathy and compassion. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We bought timeshares from Wyndam while we were in college and Jason was doing well in the door to door sales business. We have, in harder times since then, regretted the amount of money that goes into it. It is when we get to do things like this that we remember the big picture and why we did it in the first place. So the deal is that we have 8000 credits a year to go to any one of hundreds of resorts around the country and in different parts of the world. If we don't use them they roll over for up to 2 years.
This time we chose to go to Grand Lake, Monkey Island, Oklahoma. Look it up. It is literally the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. But the resort and the golf course that is situated on are so beautiful!!! The time on the lake also so awesome! This particular resort happens to be almost exactly half way to my parents in Dallas,TX so it was a perfect place to meet up with them and have an end of the summer fling right before school starts back up again. We really don't get to see my family much. We get together with Jason's family A LOT since most of them live here in Iowa. I, regretably, get jealous sometimes. I have missed not getting to see my siblings grow up and be there for them more. But having this timeshare thing has given us lots of opportunities to make memories with them.
The highlight for me was at the very start of our stay. We had just gotten to the resort and my parents had beat us there by about an hour. While Jason was checking us in, I got the kids out of the car to start walking them down to where the room was and my mom came out walking toward us. From behind me, (anyone that knows Caelyn knows that her little legs are sometimes slow) I hear a little girl scream, "Grandma Bell!!!" Caelyn comes streaking past me with sounds of joy and gives her grandma a big hug. My little girl knows who her grandma is! That is why we do this! I had debated going to my 10 year class reunion in Alabama that weekend too but that at the start let me know that I had made the right decision to go see my family instead.
We did horseback riding with the girls. Lots of golfing for the guys. We celebrated our 9 year anniversary and my parents 29 year anniversary. And the last day we spent on the lake with a pontoon and a jet ski. So much fun! Even in the middle of Oklahoma!

Friday, August 3, 2012

NMFN Annual Meeting part 3

 Probably the biggest highlight for Annual Meeting was the Maroon 5 concert. We had a such a great time. We were probably only one of a very few that had little children with us. The concert did only go from 8-9:30, there was only 1 curse word said, and since it was a private company concert nobody was going super crazy. Likely the most sober Maroon 5 concert ever. Unfortunately, I think the guy from Alabama sitting next to me might have left with the impression that we were polygamist because Jason and I were on either end with Kiera and the kids inbetween us and then I told him I graduated from Brigham Young. He didn't talk to me after that. Oh well :). This was at the end of our busy day at the museums and water park and while the kids did all get good naps before dinner, Caelyn was pretty tired at the end of the concert.
 Past concerts we've been to at Annual: Earth, Wind, and Fire, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Sienfeld. But this year was definitely the best so far!
Our pre-concert ritual is to go eat at a place called Kopps. I'm not sure if they have any restaurants outside of Milwaukee but we LOVE it. They do the big burgers, baskets of homemade fries, jugs of homemade root beer, and really tasty ice cream. Most of their seating is also outside which just adds to the experience. We highly recommend it! I'll have to take pictures next time.

Payphone is the opener (the clean version)

So funny and really came across as a class act, down to earth guy
 They looked like they were going to end the concert early without even singing "Moves like Jaeger" until we gave them about 10 minutes of cheering then they came back out with 3 more songs. In one of them Adam Levine  conducted the audience in a round using parts of their song "Beauty Queen" and teased company execs about not singing. Charly thought it was cool that we made them come back out.

Wednesday was the last day so Jason went down for the closing meeting while we cleaned up and checked out of the hotel. By the time he was done we were able to meet up and we headed to the Milwaukee Science Museum where we saw the dinosaurs, an IMAX about monkeys and elephants, and this very cool butterfly room. There were so many butterflies!!! We've been here before and there have never been so many. The girls were screaming and freaking out about the bugs flying all around them so Jason took them out but Carter, Kiera and I stayed. Carter was having the time of his life getting the butterflies to land on him.
We had an all around good time in Milwaukee. It was so busy that it just few by in a whirlwind. I'm so glad that we had Kiera there for extra hands and added fun!!! We are sad that she has flown back home to Texas because we really enjoyed having her, especially the kids.

NMFN Annual Meeting part 2...

Carissa's First Oreo
Jason was busy the Monday that we were in Milwaukee. He had meetings starting at 6am and he wasn't done until midnight. The day before had been pretty busy between church and race and zoo so we just hung out at the hotel. We took our time at breakfast, swam in the pool, took good naps, and had treats. Carissa really enjoyed being allowed to eat a cookie. So cute!

Charly working in the deli
 Monday was relaxed but Tuesday was very busy. As part of Annual Meeting the family can get passes for all of the different attractions downtown. So we started the day by going downtown with Jason. We found a place to park that was kind of in the middle of everything that we wanted to do. Then, we walked to the Children's Museum which is very fun. Each year they have different themes. In previous years they've had things with golf balls and things with potato heads but this year they had a stand for each of the 50 states to represent what each state is known for. It was a blast!
Carter fishing in Minnesota

Caelyn working the construction zone

On the bridge to the Art Museum
 After the kids museum we got a snack and walked across the bridge to the art museum. For the past 4 years we've always just skipped past this one but my sister, Kiera, is a little bit of an artist so we decided to venture in. The buidling from the outside is a beautiful work of art itself and it's right on the lake so the view from inside is breathtaking as well. If you watch Transformers 3 this is the building that Patrick Dempsy has his office and cars all set up in. The movie shows an arial view and then all the cars are set up in the big lobby area. We didn't realize that until we were watching the movie back at the hotel and the kids all shouted, "Mom, that's were we went!" The kids were all really good in the museum. We didn't destroy any art so I call that a success.
The kids after we were done swimming.
 The art museum is close to the Northwestern Mutual Home Office and they were running a shuttle all day if we had our name badges so we caught that back to the mall instead of walking. Once there, we ate lunch and then changed into our swim gear and headed over to the Hilton where there is a very cool indoor water park that we hadn't ever done before either. There was lots of shallow water so Caelyn and Carter felt confident enough to run around without floaties and go down some slides. Once we got changed we went to go pick up Jason from his meetings. Caelyn and Carissa were both asleep before we even got out of the Hilton.

NMFN Annual Meeting

Last week we made our treck to Milwaukee for Nothwestern Mutual's Annual Meeting. We always start out checking in first and letting the kids run around the information stands inside. This stand had info on being politically involved and there was a cardboard pic of Obama and Romney. This is who the kids wanted to get their picture taken with ;).

We also had to take a look around for the quiet bear. Charly wanted her picture taken with him but Caelyn and Carter were crouched down behind me and Carissa was mostly just curious.

There is an Elephant behind him but it's dark.

You  don't think that Jason enjoyed doing that do you?

The kids' favorite part of Annual Meeting is getting to go to the Garden Party at the Milwaukee Zoo. It is not a huge zoo but we have a lot of fun. They put up inflatables, we go through the zoo, there are huge tents set up with live music and different kinds of food and there are lots of games set up for the kids. Everything you walk by like the popcorn and ice cream stands are all free. Our favorite foods are always the ribs, mozarella sticks, grilled corn and lemonade.
There is a race at on the first official day of the festivies. They call it Roots and Wings because it is a race between the home office and all of the district offices. This was the 35th year they've done it and Root won, darn it. It is huge though. 7,500 runners all taking over downtown Milwaukee. Jason ran the 10K and my sister Kiera ran the 5K but the rest of us just did the 1 mile walk.

Charly's Cheer Camp

Charly got to participate in a one week cheer camp this summer and really loved it. You can tell by the huge smile on her face. The camp was put on by a few of the Waukee High School Cheerleaders. Charly has never taken dance but after watching her it made me rethink puting her in a dance class or something. She's pretty good.

They were taught a few cheers as well as some jumps and this beginners lift. The smallest girls got to be the ones to stand. Sorry, Charly, though you did start out very small, you will never be one of the smaller girls. You can blame it on your mother's genes.

She got the award for the best moves.They danced to the song "So Call Me Maybe." So proud of her and happy that she had fun!