Sunday, March 31, 2013

Family Picture...kind of...

After trying a few times, this is the best we could get and wouldn't you know it would be Brigham to...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Activities

The boys got an Easter package a few days ago from my parents and of course they were thrilled.  I remember how much I looked forward to the packages that my parents and Grandparents sent when I was in college so I know how much it means to them when they come in the mail.
There were lots of goodies but my favorite was all the eggs they sent.  I asked the boys if they would be willing to share with Sam and Dushan.  They are pretty much a part of everyday life in our house so it just seemed right to invite them.  By the time we got outside to hide the eggs so all the boys could find them, a few more boys showed up and I am so proud that my boys didn't complain, as they knew that would mean less for them.
There was an Easter egg hunt and entertainment at the mall today so we kept busy with that for a while.  Hyrum was the only one who was willing to take a picture with White Rabbit and Alice today even though he doesn't believe in the Easter bunny anymore.  I still can't believe I don't have any children in the home that believe in the Easter bunny anymore :(

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sabbath Day Observance

I am giving a talk on Sunday and wanted to record it so I don't forget just how very important it is.
A few weeks ago David got a phone call asking if we would give talks in Sacrament meeting.  We were given the choice of Patriarchal blessings or Sabbath day observance.  I knew immediately which one was for me.  Though seeing how David got off with only giving maybe a 5 minute talk last week, I may have chosen the wrong one! (I said this because he was the last speaker and by the time it was his turn there was only 5 minutes left of the meeting....lucky duck!  But seriously, he is such a good speaker.  I would never have been able to quickly pick here and there, out of my talk, what needed to be said and cram it in 5 minutes without it sounding terribly choppy but he did wonderful, as usual.)

Exodus 20:8-11

I find it interesting that out of the 10 commandments that Moses brought down from Sinai, only the commandment of keeping the Sabbath Day holy is mentioned for 4 verses.  Except for the verses of having other Gods than Him, the Sabbath Day observance is the most focused on.  When I realized that it hit me hard because of my personal struggle with fully keeping the Sabbath day holy, lately.

Earlier I said that I knew I was to give the talk on Sabbath Day observance, because of a goal that I am trying to meet this month.  Just as the new year of 2013 was beginning David and I talked to our boys about New Years resolutions.  After I explained to them what they were, I told them about how I had heard of church members turning their New Years resolutions around to giving something back to Heavenly Father instead.  After each of us spoke of what we could do, well, I felt as if I HAD to stick with my idea.  I have never been good at New Years resolutions and after maybe trying a couple of years, I have never even attempted News Years resolutions anymore.  I know it is pointless for me.  But Levi said that he was going to read his scriptures every night in his way of giving back to the Lord.  I was absolutely amazed.  If any of you know Levi, he does exactly what he says he is going to do and so every night since that declaration, I have witnessed Levi keep his word.  I don’t know how many times I have walked in to check on him before I go to sleep just to find him asleep with the scriptures wide open next to him.  He will have read the Book of Mormon at 10 years old.  I don’t know how old I was when I read the whole Book of Mormon but I know I was an adult! 

So yeah, he put the fire under me but I knew I could still possibly fail and I really didn’t want to this time.  So each month I have picked a new thing to work on for my Heavenly Father.  The month of March just happened to be me keeping the Sabbath Day more holy.  I love how the Lord works like this.  He finds ways of strengthening me through things like this.  Just a little side note.  The reason I chose this months goal to be Sabbath Day observance was because of Brigham.  David and I are not perfect on how we observe the Sabbath Day but we are pretty picky about what the boys are allowed to do.  There are no electronics played in our house on this day but we do allow them to watch what we call “Jesus Movies.”  So things like Veggie Tales and The Living Scriptures are some things that are played often on Sundays in our home. 

So a few Sundays ago, we put the kids to bed.  David and I go downstairs to watch movie.  We are laughing real loud….ok, I’m the one laughing real loud.  Like really loud…as you get to know me you will find that I have a hackle instead of a laugh…when we hear Brigham yelling from his bedroom, “IS THAT A JESUS MOVIE?!!!!  YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING A JESUS MOVIE!” 

You know, I don’t know how many times I heard my Dad telling us kids growing up how we made him better.  I remember my Mom telling us that when we were really young and we were not active, that the only reason we got back into church was because we begged our Mom to take us almost every Sunday.  I never knew that those influences that we were on my parents would be so similar to the way my children are to me.  They definitely make me better. 

So, while I am on the subject of children, I want to share a quote I have from Mark E. Petersen talking about the importance of helping our youth understand how keeping the Sabbath Day holy will teach them how they can be unspotted from worldly enticements.

“We constantly talk about the worldliness of the present day and speak of the fact that our young people face more serious temptations than did those of a generation ago, and this is probably true.  Also, more parents seem to be caught up in the worldliness of today than was the case a generation ago.  What can we do to protect ourselves under these hazardous circumstances?  How can we better help our young people to remain unspotted from the world?  The Lord gives us the answer, and says that it can be done by sincerely observing the Sabbath day.  Most people have never thought of it in this way, but note the words of the Lord in this regard; “That thou mayest more fully keep they self unspotted from the world” –note these words- “that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, though shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up they sacraments upon my holy day.”  Think about that for a moment.  Do we really believe in God-sincerely?  Are we convinced that he knows what He is talking about?  If we are, then will we take him and his word seriously?  Or will we further trifle with divine revelation?  The Lord knows what he is talking about.  Sabbath observance will help us to more fully remain unspotted from the world.”  Mark E. Petersen

Brother Petersen gets this idea of being unspotted from the world when we fully keep the Sabbath Day holy from D&C 59:9.

I love those words of reminding us to take the Sacrament seriously, that is will help us to keep unspotted from the world.  I know that probably seems obvious to most of you.  I know that taking the Sacrament properly is like being rebaptized but I also know that I struggle with thinking of it that way while I am trying to get my boys to be quite during those few minutes as the Sacrament prayer is being said and the minutes that follow as it is being passed.  Our family struggles with getting to church on time and sadly when we walk in late, have almost always missed the announcements and sometimes even the first sacrament prayer I think, well at least we made it for the water.  This scripture has opened my eyes once again to how important it is that I am fully focused on the blessings of the sacrament.

So we know the importance of taking the sacrament on Sunday and I think most of us would say that we also know how important it is to be here for our meetings, not only for the fellowship but for the reminders of things we already know but have either forgotten or put on the back burner.  But what about appropriate activities after church?  I know there are a lot of opinions on what should or shouldn’t be done on Sundays but a lot of times they are just that….opinions.  So, I am just going to read some quotes and weather or not we want to accept those is up to us.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The purpose for this day of Sabbath rest many members of the Church, apparently, fail to see, and they make excuses for not observing it as the Lord has directed in revelation….It was not made for the purpose of giving pleasure to the Lord, but for our own spiritual uplift and preparation for the things which are to come.  The spiritual side of man needs attention, to be fed the things of spiritual life, to be mellowed by thought, humility and prayer, and instructed in the things of the Kingdom of God.  This Sabbath day has been set apart that mankind may spend their time in worship and have their minds centered on the things of God free from the influences and distractions of the business and work-a-day world.  A little reflection will reveal to us the reasonableness of this demand made on us and our time by our Father in heaven, and that it is given for our own good.”   Elder Joseph Fielding Smith

I loved the part where he said that this is for our spiritual uplift and that is was for preparation of things which are to come.  Think about that for a moment.  We are here to prove ourselves to our Lord…to return to him.  We know that but hpow better to prepare ourselves than to keep the Sabbath Day holy.  His quote can’t help but make me wonder if our future Heavenly experiences will be mirrored as to the way we SHOULD be spending our Sabbath days.

Another quote to guide us on what we should be doing is by Elder Ezra Taft Bensen, “Now, what about those activities that do not fit the spirit or purpose of the Sabbath?  It seems to me that the following should be avoided on the Sabbath: Overworking and staying up late Saturday so that you are exhausted the next day.  Filling the Sabbath so full of extra meetings that there in no time for prayer, meditation, family fellowship and counseling.”  Elder Ezra Taft Benson

Again, a quote that made me uncomfortable as I realized that I do exactly what I shouldn’t be doing on Saturday night.  I try to get as much out of my weekend with my husband and stay up way to late only to be cranky with my children come Sabbath morning.

Dallin H. Oaks said, “An owner who keeps his business open on Sunday prevents his employees from attending worship services and being with their families on the Sabbath.  Modern-day prophets have encouraged us not to shop on Sunday…Those of us who shop on the Sabbath cannot escapes responsibility for encouraging business to remain open on that day.  Essential services mush be provided, but most Sabbath transactions could be avoided if merchants and customers were determined to avoid doing business on the Lord’s day.” 

I really liked that because sometimes when we are taught in church of Sabbath activities we almost always talk about not buying stuff but fail to acknowledge that the real problem is that when we do this we are making others work on Sunday.

I know I have a ton of quotes but I really wanted to make sure that all who are listening today know that this comes from the Lord’s disciples.  This next quote comes from a published letter given in 1992 from the first presidency of Ezra Taft Bensen, “We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath.”  From published letter in 1992 from the First Presidency (Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson)
And to further make us realize how serious this is President Kimball compared supporting things on the Sabbath day that would break it, to be as rebellious as the children of Israel.  Wow!  Leave it to President Kimball to put it so bluntly.  Are we really that blind that we can be compared to the children of Israel.  Those same people who wondered for 40 years in a desert when all the Lord wanted of them was obedience.  All they had to do was obey and blessings would flow. 

John H. Groberg goes on to testify of these possible blessings.  “There is power in keeping the Sabbath day holy….As we keep the Sabbath day holy he will bless us, and we will achieve a quiet power for good as individuals, as families, and as nations, that we cannot obtain in any other way.”   John H. Groberg

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Saving Pennies

We have started a tradition that we eat at HomeTown Buffet, here in Tracy, every Thursday.  The kids get to eat for .99 and there is a lot to choose from.  We all eat WAY to much on Thursday nights :)
 But we have fun while we do it!
I told the boys yesterday that we are taking them to Disneyland during spring break.  I told them that we wouldn't be going to HomeTown Buffet this week so we could save up for the trip.  Later that day, Hyrum found a penny, gave it to me, and told me that it was for me to "save up for Disneyland."  

Man, he is cute!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Humbling Experiences

 On Saturday, the boys and I headed to Ron Yerian's (our Allstate agent) ranch so the boys could see some calves.  Hyrum can be timid when it comes to things bigger than him, or something he isn't used to being around, so it took Ron's daughter a while to get Hyrum to help her feed the cows.

But before long he was giggling at the cow sucking up those Willow tree branches!

One of the cows and her calf got out and so the boys were helping to get them back in.  It was fun watching them :)

I am pretty darn sure they are Catholic, and good ones they are.  To me, a good member of any church isn't so much about going to church but how they treat their "neighbors."  Ron already had my business but once he found out the boys were in Cub Scouts he was willing to give up some of his Saturday time to let the boys be around nature.  His wife was darling and his children patient with my boys as they showed them around.  They sent us off with some of their cow meat and I left feeling loved by some people I barely knew.

I bring up me thinking they are Catholic because of a discussion that took place in Sunday School today.  It was over missionary work and a few people made comments about how hard it was for them to let their children go to other churches with their friends but are perfectly fine with their children's friends coming to church with them.  Ok, fine.  I can understand the uncomfortableness of the fear of your child straying from what you have brought them up believing.  But as the discussion went on, there were a few comments that indicated that some of them felt that it wasn't an option.

I have to admit that it made me mad.  How do we expect to ever pass the gospel, as we know it, to someone else of another faith if we aren't willing to do what we have asked them to do?  Why would a Catholic ever want to come to a church function with me if I snub them on their offers to come with them to their church?  But even worse, it really bothers me that some feel as if we are "better" than others of another faith because we have knowledge of the true and everlasting gospel that others don't.  We certainly aren't better.  I have no doubt we are blessed because of it, but better?

So, I'm fighting my urge to raise my hand and somehow give a "gentle" backlash at their, oh-so-holier-than-thou, attitudes when suddenly the Holy Ghost whispers to me, just as the meeting is almost over, that I was once one of those people.


How often do I forget what my "life lessons" have taught me?  Don't I only have this strong belief in loving other religions because of my upbringing in the Bible Belt and being surrounded by many faiths?  Don't I have this belief because once, I feared their influences only to finally figure out that they all have one purpose....a strong belief in our Savior, Jesus Christ?  I have no right to be mad at anyone who hasn't had those same experiences yet, to help them see differently.

It's good to be humbled sometimes, isn't it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Scout O Rama

 (Levi-bottom, Brigham-top)
On Saturday, the older boys had a Scout O Rama to go to in Stockton.  David worked until around 10:00 a.m. and so he was able to take them once he got home.  Every since he has been out of school I have really been pushing for him to do the Cub Scout stuff instead of me.  I have to admit, it is reeeeeal nice! 
 By looking at these pictures, you can tell they had a great time being outside and I probably should have went but I did get a lot done around the town-home and got some stuff at the store that I had been putting off. 
As usual, at these things, the scouts are usually really good about letting the little ones participate also.  I love that these rope bridges were made out of only ropes and sticks.

It's fun to be a Cub Scout!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Birthday Girls

 Mine and Brittany's birthdays are both this month so we got together for dinner tonight.  I love that I can be my old-college self with her.  It is good to be silly sometimes and most importantly just to laugh!
And how could we not laugh at this?  I always order pulled pork/beef when ever I am with Charlene and so to feel as if she were there with us tonight I just had to get it.  Funny, I didn't even want it but I just had to!  So glad that I did because as tradition always seems to follow, there was a HUGE chunk of fat in it!
As Charlene once told me, "You'd think you'd learn not to order that again!"
Hehehehehe :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oakland Temple

Today I went with 2 sisters in our ward to the Oakland temple.  It was a relaxing ride there as I sat in the back, talked here and there, and looked at all the scenery.  We got to the temple and it reminded me so much of the Laie, Hawaii temple.  Just beautiful.  The flowers outside were amazing...and then I looked over and saw polluted San Francisco.  The temple is up much higher so you can see all of San Francisco and man is that place nasty.  The smog was horrible!  I've never seen anything like it.  I may complain that there isn't anything for my kids to do in Tracy but I would take that anyday over the city life around here.
So as we were driving to the temple a few things came to mind that I haven't journaled about.  I kept thinking of Levi.

He never calls us Mormons.  He only refers to us as Christians and I have always liked that.  When we visited Steve, Barbara, and Aaron while coming out here, Levi commented to me, "I know grandpa is a Christian."  I said, "Oh yeah.  How do you know that?"  He responded with something like, "Because of all his Jesus stuff around his house."  It just made me giggle a little bit because he isn't kidding!  Barbara works for Deseret Book and so she has TONS of paintings (like several per room) in their house centered around the gospel. 

Levi also is the one who inspired me to give something back to Heavenly Father this year.  I remember Hannah saying something about not doing New Year's resolutions but instead giving something or doing something for Christ that year.  I had taught the boys about that and he decided he was going to read the scriptures every night, on his own.  He has not missed a night.  And he spends so much time doing it too.  I don't know when I read all the way through the Book of Mormon but I know I was an adult and he is going to get that done as a 10 year old.  Just amazing.

So he inspired me to do something.  Each month I am doing something different.  In January I only listened to Christian music, in February I was going to read from the Ensign everyday (which I did horribly!) and this month I am working on keeping the Sabbath Day much more holy than I have been.
So yeah, not much to report.  Just some thoughts.

(from the roof)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Henry W. Beck

Yesterday was one of those peaceful Saturdays that I love so much.  David worked in the morning but the rest of the day was all to us :)

My Great Grandpa Beck was buried in Escalon, CA (Burwood Cemetery) which is only about 30 minutes from where we live.  So just before lunch we headed in that direction to search out his grave.  David and I are a little odd in that we find cemeteries relaxing.  When we were dating, he worked for the Provo Cemetery and after being around him enough, well, I just kind of find them relaxing.  Most cemeteries are quiet, well kept, and I just like to look around and wonder what kind of life these people lived.  I don't find anything creepy about it, actually. 

It took some time finding the grave but it was a nice day, the boys enjoyed being out, and the cemetery wasn't that big anyways.

 Henry W. Beck was my Grandpa (Larry) Beck's father.  This tombstone is a little misleading though.  After Henry died, his wife (Grandpa's step-mother) remarried and when she died she wanted to be buried by her new husband.  So, she had one of her friends buried next to Henry.  A little odd, but it is what it is.
David was the one who found the grave and once we all gathered there I had us all sit down around the grave.  I gave the family a little history lesson on my Great Grandfather.  

I have often wondered how people turn out the way that they do.  What makes them tick?  Why do some people react to things completely different from the next person?  After my Grandpa Beck had written to me some information on our family history, I learned that he was not raised by either his mother or father.  He was actually raised by his Grandmother (Henry's mother).  What would make both parents not raise their own flesh and blood?  After battling depression, I have a few good ideas but is that the same reason that Grandpa's parents didn't have a lot to do with him until he was older?  And even if it wasn't, I guess it really isn't my place to pass judgment.  Still, how could it not affect Grandpa and his sister?  Yet, later my Grandpa would ask to be transferred to a Navy base closer to his father who had been seriously hurt in an automobile accident.   What makes a man forgive another for wrongs that some would not even consider forgiving?  Is it because it is blood?  Is it how you are raised?  Or is it just in the personality you were sent to this Earth with?  A lot to ponder about but it was a wonderful lesson to teach my boys about forgiveness and people changing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Slow Walk

This morning, we all seemed to drag along.  Church doesn't start for us until 1:00 p.m. so there really wasn't an excuse for our moods.  We slept in and was able to get to everything, before church, in plenty of time.  But still we really struggled with motivation and even some patience.  

Sacrament meeting wasn't really any much better for us.  Odd how some feelings have a hard time leaving.  Though I do have to say that the boys did really well with being quiet during the meeting.  

Once the meeting was over, we got the boys to primary and their classes and decided that David and I would just walk around the building before we headed to our class.  I'm so glad we did.  It's not like we were in bad moods or rude to each other that morning; we just felt weird.  By the time we had circled around the building, we didn't want to go in.  We felt so good.  We lingered a little longer before heading in, and when we finally made it in to Sunday School, my mind started to open up...
...and all I needed for that to happen was a slow walk with my husband.

Friday, March 1, 2013


"The most important thing a father can do for his child is to love their mother." David O. McKay

I loved that quote from the first moment I heard it.  I remember so very clearly right after giving birth to Levi, that proud look on David's face as he gazed at me.  Yes, gazed.  I remember thinking, at that moment, of the above quote.  My David has proven that quote true as time has went on and on in our marriage as we are raising our sons.

Our marriage hasn't always been perfect.  I never want to come off that way because I never want my children or future grandchildren to read this and think they have to compare their marriages to ours.  I have done that to myself with my mommy abilities.  I read of all these prophets praising their, what seems like PERFECT, mothers and I just disappoint myself over and over again.  But through life experiences, I don't fret so much about that anymore.  I am not a perfect mother.  I'm just not.  Plain and simple.  And I'm certainly not the perfect wife.  But David and I sure do try to work hard on our marriage when we feel things slipping.

Funny how fast that can happen, too.

Very rarely is it some big "to do."  It never fails that it almost always is due to life.  I'm busy with getting as much done as possible while the boys are in school and from the second they are home, trust me, it is go, go, go!  David has a very demanding job.  He is gone a lot but he ALWAYS gives me breaks when he gets home.  If I am stressed about the boys and all their craziness, he never hesitates to tell me to go leave and do whatever I want.  Or encourages me to go on a walk or lock myself up in our room while I sleep.  I am so blessed that he does that.  He is not typical at all.  When  most men want their own "outs" well, David is getting his out when he gives me mine.  Wrestling with the boys calms him when he is stressed with his job.  And yet, I know all these things, I still take it for granted...a lot.

So, I was feeling more like roommates for a few days recently.  I didn't like that feeling so I called him up a few times throughout the week to see if he would meet me for lunch somewhere.  So much was going on at work, though, or I would call too late and it just never worked out. 

 And then Thursday afternoon happened.  

I had to take the 2 oldest boys to the doctor for a Well Child visit that the school requires.  Having 3 boys in a doctor's room is never fun but they were just absolutely horrible that day.  Brigham was already ticked at me because I grounded him from playing with Sam (our neighbor) that day because he forgot to bring his homework home.  Never mind the fact that he had forgotten every day that WEEK!  He was so mad at me that when the nurse came in to check his blood pressure and oxygen level, he flat out ignored her and when I threatened to take away more "Sam time" he barely pushed forward his limp arm and refused to answer any of her questions.  Hyrum wouldn't stop whining while insisting that he needed to be held.  Then when Brigham finally decided to snap out of his bad mood, he and Levi wouldn't leave each other alone.  

 That night was the older boy's Blue and Gold Banquet that the Cub Scouts put on each year.  They were excited because each scout was in charge of decorating their own cake with the theme of "The Great Outdoors."  But I felt so unappreciated by them that I didn't want to have anything to do with it.  I told them I wasn't going and to be quite honest, I didn't think they would care if I was there or not.  

Daddy came home and he UNLOADED on them!

If you know David, you know that you never, ever mess with his wife.  Not even his own children!  He never uses mean words or belittles them but he makes it very clear that as long as he is around, those boys will always respect their mother.  By the time he was done, all three boys were in tears and didn't want to have anything to do with the Blue and Gold Banquet anymore.  Soft Mommy had to step in then and make sure that they knew that they weren't "bad boys."  Their actions were just not acceptable.  My heart ached for Levi because even though all the boys were very upset, I knew that within a few minutes Brigham could very well be jumping off the walls again.  Levi, however, would worry for the rest of the night about what he had doneDaddy quickly realized this and made sure that they knew he felt the same way.

Daddy and the boys left for the banquet and I was extremely in love with my husband again.

Who else is going to teach my boys to respect their mother than by example of their father?  I truly am so blessed.  How quickly I take for granted all those nights he comes home and gives me my breaks when I am just looking for a date.  What more do I really need than for him to serve me the way that he already does?  I don't need more.  I am so very greatful for this man and his patience with me.