Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Timeless wisdom from my boys

I wrote these notes down to myself. These are things that Michael said in late summer or early fall of 2012.

He was working on an experience for Faith in God. He read a favorite scripture story and then had to talk aboutwhat it taught him about faith. He read about Helaman's 2000 stripling warriors. When I asked him what he learned about faith from this story he said, "When you have faith in Jesus Christ he can help you do hard things."

Then he pulled out the illustrated scripture book to read the chapter of this same story. He read the caption under each picture to himself, then we talked more about the 2000 young warriors, "mom, this is what you do." Then he read about how they did not fear because their mothers had taught them to believe in Christ. I thought to myself "Michael, This is what I try to do."

I don't remember how this next thought came about, but I think we were talking as I cooked dinner one day. We were probably talking about the song "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man. (I think he was learning to play it on the piano.) I don't remember his exact wording, but this is what he said, "Building the house on the rock reminds me of the 'rock of our Redeemer'. I think it is like repenting and keeping the commandments and having faith in Jesus."

Nathan shared the following experience in Primary in March 2013. In Primary every week they give the kids opportunities to share when they have felt Heavenly Father's love. Yesterday (March 3) Nathan shared how he had piano festival and how he was nervous about a song because he hadn't been playing it very long and how he didn't think he could do very well at all. He told the primary how he prayed and prayed and how he felt he played well and that he scored a 37 "which is a really good score." He said that he was so grateful that Heavenly Father helped him. Candy (his piano teacher) just teared up as she told me about it. (She was serving as the primary music leader at the time.)


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fools

I dislike April Fools Day . . . a lot. Thekids are cute about it though, playing simple, little, harmless jokes on each other. A couple of the kids' teachers did cute things for the day as well. Megan's teacher had the school announce that the second grade field trip was canceled due to weather, then told them "April Fools!" And Mike's teacher made a few changes to their daily schedule, listing things like multi variable calculus in the place of "math". I don't mind these harmless jokes, but I am certainly not a fan of anything that hurts or embarrasses people.

Anyway, back to my story. The kids had gone to bed, and Megan had come down for a drink of water. Then she said, "Mom, I didn't April Fools anyone, not once." She was so sad. I said, "If you think of one, then do it." A few minutes later I was sitting at the computer and she comes down the stairs, trying to look frightened, but really looking excited. "There's a lion in my room!" I jump up, trying to look frightening and said, "Oh, no." I hadn't gone more than two steps when she said, "April Fools!" She was so proud of herself.

I wish I could just keep her at this age forever.

Girls and Goalball 2014

Yesterday the girls had their goalball tournament. They have both been attending practices since January and have really been looking forward to this day. Megan practiced last year, but wasn't feeling quite ready for the tournament a year ago, but she was more than ready, and very excited for yesterday. Here she is in her first game. She started off at center (for the team of the left). Here she blocks a throw, then scores a goal. She scored three goals early against this team.
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Here she is playing left wing and she sneaks a goal into the very corner across the court. 
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I like this video a lot because she is blocking one way, then changes direction as she hears where the ball is coming from. 
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One more goal from Megan!
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It has been quite a difference for Liz this year as she has gone from playing with the younger kids to playing with the older junior high and high school kids. Practices have been longer and more intense. They actually measure the speed of their throws (with a a radar gun). Liz started off this season throwing at about 18 mph, and has improved over hte last couple of months to consistently throwing 20 mph. They also play with some additional time rules, which force them to keep the game moving really fast. She did great though. We are so proud of her for working so hard! Liz got off to a great start. She was the first from her team to throw the ball in their first game, and she snuck it in the corner of the goal. Then she blocked the ball when the other team threw it and she scored again in just the same way. This video shows the first goal.
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She did really well blocking, even though it is a little scary to have that ball coming at her so fast. She sure is tough!

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She is getting better nad better at knowing where she is on the court, and she did great with her teammates (they have practices together with lots of other kids, but were only divided into these particular teams for the tournament yesterday). 

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This is perhaps my favorite moment of the entire day for Liz. Her team had a penalty so the other team got to choose who had to defend for the shot. They chose Liz to defend the entire court for the pnealty shot. She has always been so nervous to do this even at practices, but she was awesome.

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Megan's team took second out of three teams. She was so excited to get a trophy. There was a darling girl there, who, when it was announced that her team won third, cheered like she had won the Olympics. It was fun to celebrate all of these great kids. 

The matches for the older kids went longer. There were five teams, and after round robin play, they had a mini play off. Liz's team lost their first play off game, but played in the "bronze medal" match. It was a close one, but they won (by one point I think). Liz and one of the girls on her team put their hands on each others' shoulders and jumped up and down cheering. It was so fun to see their excitement.
It was a long day, and the girls were both exhausted, but it was all worth it.

There was a great article in the Deseret News from Saturday, and Megan even had her picture in the paper. Here is a link to the web version. There is the same picture of Megan that was in the paper, but also one of Liz throwing the ball. We are sure proud of the girls.



Monday, March 24, 2014

Grace

Yesterday, our discussion in the Beehive class at church was "What is grace?" I liked this definition at the beginning of the discussion outline.

Grace is divine help and strength that we receive through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through grace, we are saved from sin and death. In addition, grace is an enabling power that strengthens us from day to day and helps us endure to the end. Effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace.

I think that from the time I was little I understood on some level, that because I am mortal and because I make mistakes I need the Atonement of Jesus Christ to help me overcome sin and death. And I think that I have had some understanding that Christ is the one who helps me overcome challenges, but it has only been in the last couple of years that I have better understood that this help in overcoming, this help in enduring and the help we need to do hard things (this post form last year comes to mind) comes because of the same Atonement that helps us overcome sin and death. 

Sometimes when I face a challenge I think, "If I could just learn (fill in lesson I think I need to learn) then this challenge can be over." There is a part of me that thinks if I check everything of some invisible list then I will have accomplished what I needed to do and my challenge will be over. But I have learned that I cannot do it all for myself. I need to do my best. I need to keep the commandments, honor my covenants and try harder each day to be better than I was the day before, but at some point I need to turn it all over to my Savior because no matter what I do, I cannot possibly do enough on my own. I like Moroni 10:32-33

        32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
        33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

I like that it talks about being sanctified. It always makes me think of being clean, and being set apart to do the work of the Lord. Similar to my thoughts above I often thought of santification as a checklist. One day reading this scripture it occurred to me that this was completely wrong. Yes, I need to work to overcome weaknesses, stay away from evil and seek for good, but that is not enough. And for what I lack, that is where the Atonement comes in. That is when I can become sancitified, "by the grace of God."

Just a couple of weeks ago I had a very tangible example of grace occur in my own life. The youth in our ward were going to the temple at 4:30 AM (meaning I needed to be up at 4). My mom and I had plans to clean my sister's apartment in preparation for her to return home from the hospital that night, and we hoped to help her get home and get settled that evening. I am NOT a morning person and I was worried about making it through the whole day. I prayed the night before that I would be able to do all that I hoped to accomplish. The next morning I woke up just before my alarm (which is always a better way to wake up). I was ready in plenty of time and enjoyed the morning in the temple. It was very peaceful, especially after an anxious week. I was able to get things settled here at home, then went and helped my mom clean and run erands. My boys had piano festival and we had everyone ready in plenty of time (and they played well). After dinner I was able to go with my mom to help my sister get ready to leave the hospital. We were able to chat and visit with my sister, which helped her to avoid some of the worry that she had been feeling for days. I helped run more errands before my mom brought me home. It was late and I was exhausted, but I was grateful for the help I had received. I had energy throughout the day and I know that the help was divine.

Recently I was reminded of the parable of the lost sheep. As I read about the shepherd leaving his ninety and nine in search of the one that was missing, I couldn't help but think of me as the one. I (just like each of us) need my Savior. I need him because I make mistakes. I need him because someday I will die, and only because of Him will I live again, and I need Him because life is hard, and I can't do everything on my own. I am grateful that my Savior willingly leaves his 99 in search of me, and that He is always there when I call for him.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Liz's Piano Festival

Since Liz is older, she had piano festival on March 22nd. It was at a place we had never been and we really liked the recital hall. We had lots going on that day with birthday celebrations, but it all worked well around Liz's performance.

Liz started with her more difficult piece, Sonatina. 
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Her favorite piece this year was Tenderly. It was beautiful and she plays it so well! I love the stretchat the end that covers the entire piano. She was a litlte worried about the last note because it is hard to play something pianissimo and still be able to hear it. But she did great. (Please excuse the little bit of crunching and whispering. Our little nephew wanted to sit by Brian, who was filming.
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Liz was still nervous to play, but did great. We were all so pleased with her hard work, and she was pleased with the results.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Boys' Piano Festival

The first weekend in March, the boys had their piano festival (since Liz is in junior high now she plays later in March). It was an extra special treat to have Grandma Call here and able to attend with us.

Michael started off with "Soldier's March". He has done great with this song. The rhythm was really fun for him. (please forgive the videos. the lighting was so strange and it was making it hard for the camera to stay focuse. If you need to, close your eyes and just listen.)
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His favorite piece was "Ready for Ragtime". He loved practicing this song and would play it on every instrument setting on our digital piano. Grandma likes watching him play this because of how he smiles when he plays it.
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Nathan started with "Sonatina in F". His teacher gave him this piece to give him a real challenge. He worked and worked on it, finally memorizing it just days before festival. (His teacher had told me that if he was stressing out about it that he could play at the make up day in April, but was hoping he would be feeling ready to play on the usual date, even if it wasn't perfect.) Nathan did great! He had one part that he stumbled on, but was able to recover and did so well. We were proud of his hard work and diligence.

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Nathan played his favorite piece second. "Old Castille" came a lot easier for him, and it is one that he will just sit down and play from time to time.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Megan's questions

A few afternoons ago Megan walked around with a small notebook and a pencil. "This is my notebook of questions," she said. "My first question is, 'how does a rocket make it out of the atmosphere?' Mom, does a rocket just go so fast that gravity can't pull it down." I said, "Yep, that is basically it."

"My next question is, 'how big is the sun?' Mom, can you google that?"
"Do you want to know how heavy the sun is?"
"I want to know how big it is from the top of the sun to the bottom." So we looked up the diameter of the sun.

"My third question is , 'how does an airplane stay up?'" I pulled up a diagram about Bernoulli's principle and we talked about air speed, air pressure and lift. 
"Keep that picture on the computer. I want to draw it in my notebook, but I will put five arrows under the wing and four on top so I remember that there is more pressure pushing up."

"And Mom I brought home one book about space and one book about NASA from school. Can I get the space books from downstairs too?"

Yes, Megan, you sure can.