Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Beginnings

Hooray!  We DID it!  New Beginnings came together beautifully.  I am so overwhelmed at the way everything worked out, and so happy knowing that the night looked just like the picture in my head.  

Just posting pictures tonight because I'm completely exhausted...I'll fill in the details later when my head stops spinning.




Monday, February 27, 2012

Young Women's Theme

I spent most of last night finishing up a million little things for New Beginnings, including printing the programs.  (And again...I don't know how I could ever have pulled this off without Google, Pinterest, and the many amazing bloggers who share their ideas.)  Since we have 6 special little guests coming who don't yet know the YW theme, I included it on the inside cover of the program.  At 11:00pm, I was a little groggy and my head is still a little spinny from this crazy GM diet that I'm doing, so that might have been part of the reason I was so emotional.  But as I wrote out the words to the theme, and really thought about them, I was completely overwhelmed.  

"We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us and we love Him"...that's my favorite part.  And to hear a whole room full of Young Women and leaders reciting this together is the most amazing, strengthening, reassuring thing.  I love being in Young Women's.  I love the girls and I love the things they remind me of.  I hope all these new little upcoming Beehives will feel the strength of these words when they hear them tomorrow night.  I'm so grateful to be part of this remarkable organization. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Dallas Museum of Art

The Scout Master took the day off of work today just to play!  I love days like this.  I've been up to my ears in New Beginnings, Women at the Well, and TCD's UIL music, and I totally needed a day just to breathe.  

We decided to explore the arts district in downtown Dallas.

 I loved that this old church was right in the middle of all those high rise buildings.

...and I definitely had to take a picture of these beautiful longhorn statues. 

We got to the Dallas Museum of Art right at 11:00am when they opened.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE museums??  I LOVE art.  I LOVE beautiful things hung in immaculate rooms with gorgeous lighting.  Some of the art we saw was breathtakingly beautiful...  

This amazing armoire is hand inlayed with little pieces of mother of pearl and tortoise shell.  Absolutely stunning!

I loved all the traditional stuff, especially the European Art and the Impressionists.  But there was definitely some intriguing contemporary stuff mingled in, too. this fun chair!  It's called Stuffed Animals on a Steel Base.  :)

 ...and then there was this one called Parallel Occurrences in the Mark Manders exhibit.  At first, his pieces were way too unconventional and shocking for me, but after reading the inspiration behind all of them, he turned out to be a pretty fascinating artist.  (Not that I would want to have this on display in my home...)  

By 12:00, I was feeling pretty light headed, so we had lunch in the little Museum Cafe.  (I'm on Day Two of that crazy detox diet.)  
This is the window right next to our table.  I wish I had taken a picture of the gorgeous mosaic outside the window, too, but I was kind of into my tomato basil soup!  It was a great lunch!

After refueling, I was able to make it all the way up to the third floor to see what became my favorite exhibit of the day!  It was a re-creation of Wendy and Emery Reves' Villa La Pausa in France (which was originally built for Coco Chanel.)  After her husband's death, Wendy Reves donated 1400 pieces of art and furniture to the museum in 1985. 

It was amazing to walk through that wing of the museum and imagine these people entertaining in this beautiful home in the late 1950s.  There were even letters from Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill thanking them for their hospitality.  Amazing...

What an enlightening and inspiring way to spend a Friday afternoon.  



Thursday, February 23, 2012


 I've been so busy planning and practicing and preparing for things, that I've been making really crappy eating choices lately.  Most days, I don't eat anything until I'm totally starving and then I devour whatever is most convenient and within arm's reach.  So last night, as I was wandering around Pinterest, I noticed "Intense Body Cleanse" written underneath a picture of some girl's perfect abs.  I read the blog that it came from and was intrigued.  

It's called the GM Diet.  And here's what it looks like...

Day 1:  unlimited fruit, except bananas
Day 2:  baked potato for breakfast with one Tbsp of butter, and unlimited veggies after that
Day 3:  unlimited veggies AND fruit, still no bananas and no potatoes
Day 4:  only bananas and milk (yep! 8 bananas and 3 glasses of skim milk)
Day 5:  20 oz of lean protein and 6 tomatoes!
Day 6:  unlimited protein and veggies
Day 7:  unlimited brown rice, veggies, and fruit juice (unsweetened)

The draw for me was the part where it said that on Day 8, I would wake up weighing 10-17 pounds lighter!  Because really...who doesn't want to lose 10 pounds in a week?  That would totally make up for the December craziness that happened here.  Oh, and it also said something about glowing skin and shiny hair, and eliminating cravings for carbs and sugar...also good things.  

So, I'm being adventurous, doing something different, and hoping that after next week, I will feel better, look better, and not want to live exclusively on goldfish and donuts.  It's a week!  I can totally do ANYTHING for just a week, right? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Light on a Hill

7 days till New Beginnings and I am a FREAK, which means that even with only a week until the program, I am still planning and replanning and perfecting and changing...ugh!   The lists in my head start early and continue through the day.

Originally I had planned to have all the YW sing this song...

but after practicing it for a couple of weeks, I have decided to scrap the song...sort of...(this will be news to the rest of the YW Presidency who I'm sure are becoming totally frustrated with my flighty-ness.)  I love this song, and I love hearing the girls sing it, but it's 7 pages long, with two key changes, and it splits into three part harmony at the end.  After last Sunday's practice, I was a little disheartened that it wasn't coming together, especially since I have another song that I really, really want them to sing at the end of the program, and they don't even know about that one yet.

As I spent all of yesterday immersed in New Beginnings, I had an inspiration.  I decided to use the song.  In fact, it's even on the same place in the program.  But instead of having the girls sing it, I put together a slideshow of all the jillions of pictures I've taken of them over the last few months and used Light on a Hill as the background music.  (do slideshows make you cry??...they always make me could be a slideshow of a football game, but something about setting music to pictures instantly turns me into a giant puddle of tears.)   So, after sitting here for the last hour, cutting and editing and listening and watching, I am a complete mess...a happy, satisfied, joyful mess, but a mess nonetheless.   Seriously, how can you look at these beautiful faces with that music playing and not be a wreck!?

To see the way these girls have changed in just the last 6 months, to feel the obvious love that they have for one another, and to have been part of all of those activities, I am overwhelmed at the love I have for each of them.  At the end of the slideshow, I'm going to add 6 pictures of each of my upcoming Beehives because they are part of this group, too.  I already feel like those six little girls are seared into my heart. 

I'm trying so hard not to overthink this.  I don't want to put so much into the cupcakes and the slideshow that I forget the whole purpose of the event.  My hope is that the evening will be uplifting and testimony building; that the new girls will be excited about what's ahead for them, and that all of us will feel a greater desire to Arise and Shine Forth and do a little more than we've done before.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arise and Shine Forth

The 2012 theme for the youth this year is D&C 115:5  "Arise and Shine Forth that thy light may be a standard for the nations."  I've been eating, sleeping, and breathing this theme for the last few weeks.  I've been thinking about what it means for my YW, what it means for my daughters, and what it means for me personally.  How do we Arise and Shine Forth?

I've figured out what it means for my girls, but haven't yet had the opportunity to tell them.  For me, though, it means that it's time to do more than I've done before.  It's time to stand for something.  It's time to stop sitting on the fence with all those things that beckon to me.  It's time to get up more often, to speak up more often, and to get out of my comfort zone.  Those things are already happening, for sure...singing a SOLO, running a 5K, and GOING TO GIRLS CAMP!  But I think there's more...

I'm so grateful to be serving in the Young Women's program at this time.  It is a huge blessing to be able to connect with my daughters.  It's an even bigger blessing to be surrounded by this incredible group of girls on a regular basis.  And this year, it's an amazing personal blessing to have this theme running through my head all the time.   It's not just for them.

"Arise and shine forth that thy light may be a standard for the nations."  

I think I need to fill the spaces that I haven't filled before...not just with stuff...but with meaningful stuff.  It's time to be less selfish, less cautious, less intimidated.  It's time to be more sure, more confident, more faithful, more committed, and MORE SHINY.  

It's just time...

Monday, February 20, 2012


What in the world did we ever do before the internet?...before Google?...before Pinterest??

Last November, I eagerly volunteered to be in charge of our Young Women's New Beginnings night.  (That's the annual program held in the beginning of the year where the NEW THEME is officially presented and the girls who are turning 12 are introduced to the YW Program as well as to the other girls.)  I thought it would be a good way to get my current Beehives to take an interest in the upcoming Beehives.  I thought it would be a great way to get them working on some Personal Progress experiences.  And I was feeling a little guilty that I hadn't really done very much in the 4 months since being called.  Besides, I had a whole 3 months before it was scheduled and I already had a billion ideas.  

I started collecting everything I could find on Google and every LDS blog out there.  And before Thanksgiving, I had a theme, a song, a skit, and a plan.  I sent an email to the rest of the Presidency with all of my awesome ideas, and then left the whole thing alone until after the holidays.   

And then, guess what!  Over the holidays I discovered PINTEREST! which opened up a billion more amazing ideas.  Over the last 6 weeks, I've changed almost the entire original plan.  The only thing still intact is the theme.  Arise and Shine Forth.  New Beginnings is about a week away, and I'm still changing things.  (Not all the changes have been dictated by me, though...the Beehive Presidency had their own great ideas that they wanted to bring, so I threw some of mine out.)    

Here are some of the amazing ideas I've borrowed from people much more creative than me...

This blog has tons of amazing YW ideas...

The Beehives wanted all yellow and white desserts, so we decided on yellow cupcakes and lemon squares.  We're also having a "light" dinner of soup and salads (get it...that goes with the LIGHT theme of Arising and Shining clever Beehives came up with that, too.)

I'm doing a sort of combination of these two ideas for centerpieces...the Beehives will be helping me put 10 of these together tomorrow night for our YW activity.  If it works, I'll blog it so you can see how they turned out.  

I am so incredibly grateful for technology and the ability to share (and steal) ideas from people who have done this before.  It's like having an endless group of experienced friends to call upon at any moment.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

18 Years

Do you know what I was doing 18 years ago today?

...getting married to the most amazing man on the planet!  

I have known Craig since we were 16 years old...long before he was a Scout Master or a dad or a husband.  Long before either of us graduated from high school or college; before he served a mission, and before he could even drive!  He's a different person now than he was at 16.  But I knew then, just as much as I know now, that he is the person I was supposed to be with.   I am so grateful that he continues to weather the storms with me.  That he still wants to come home from all those business trips.  And that he is even better suited to me now than he was at 16.   I look forward to evolving together over the next 18 years!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Here's how my ideal Saturday would look...

1.  Sleeping in as late as I want.
2.  Brunch at Blue Mesa (or someplace else with a delicious Mexican brunch)
3.  Sitting around with a book for the rest of the day in an already-clean house.

Guess how many of my Saturdays actually look like that??  (um...I don't think I've ever had one of those.)  Here's what this one looked like...

6:00am - awake (ugh!) because that running list in my head started early, although 6:00 is later than 5:00, so technically I did get to sleep in.

8:30am - got the Scout Master and Mack out the door for their scouting thing.
8:45am - ran to the grocery store for a quick $100 worth of necessities...ugh! why is every trip $100?
9:15am - came home and inspected June's Saturday chores.  (She did a perfect job on her bedroom and bathroom.  Hooray!)
9:45am - drove June and a friend to the Stake Activity Days Service Project at the east building.
10:15am - came home and made a million pounds of taco meat and a giant pan of brownies for the scouts.
11:00am - inspected Spell Girl's room and bathroom (also perfect.)   
12:00pm - a dozen scouts arrived for lunch
12:30pm - drove TCD and 2 friends to the high school to watch a wrestling tournament (wrestling...really? yep, there was a boy involved!)
1:30pm - text from the Scout Master at the Robotics tournament:
SM:  "You should bring Spell Girl and June over to the school to see this." 
Me:   "Is it cool?"
SM:  "Yes, pretty cool.  If you come will you bring me a different shirt and a pair of white socks?  It's kinda hot in here."
Me:   "Sure."
2:00pm - decided to clean the kitchen instead of taking the girls to the Robotics thing.
2:05pm - text from TCD "we're done...can you pick us up?" 
2:10pm - took the shirt/socks over to the Robotics thing for the Scout Master since I was out anyway
2:20pm - picked up the girls from the high school and stopped at Sonic on the way to take them all home
3:00pm - started cookie dough for the 2 dozen sugar cookies I signed up to bring for the Ward Valentines Social
4:30pm - rolled, cut, baked and frosted 4 dozen heart shaped cookies
5:00pm - jumped in the shower
6:30pm - Ward Social
8:30pm - drove four girls to a dance that they thought was happening in Plano 
8:50pm - no dance in Plano
9:20pm - drove all the girls back here to play Just Dance on the Wii
10:00pm - drove all the girls home
10:30pm - TCD needed help downloading a video off of youtube for her YW lesson 
11:00pm - in BED...finally!

(OK, I actually didn't do any of the stuff that happened after 8:30pm.  That was all the Scout Master, because I'm too blind to drive at night and because I'm pretty useless after a 12 hour shift.)  

We could not have crammed one more thing into this day...unbelievably busy, but oh so worthwhile...I LOVE relaxing Saturdays, but I LOVE Saturdays like this, too.  At the end of these kinds of crazy days, I can go to sleep knowing that I spent my time doing things that were necessary, helpful, and uplifting for my family.  I look forward to a happily busy and worthwhile day tomorrow, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Women at the Well

We're about two weeks away from the first performance of this amazing show.  Tonight we had another rehearsal, this time with all the sound equipment.  To say that this is totally and completely pushing me right out of my comfort zone would be a HUGE understatement.  Not only do I have to sing all by myself, but I have to do it with a microphone pack ace-bandaged around my waist, all while BEING IN CHARACTER and dressed as a Nephite woman.  I may have mentioned that I'm not the most comfortable EMOTING.  Being on a stage, playing charades, and hearing my voice in a microphone are all high on the list of things I wouldn't choose to do...right underneath camping.

But the amazing thing about this whole experience is that ALWAYS, ALWAYS when I go to these rehearsals, I start out scared to death, and by the time I leave, I am filled with confidence and complete love for this music and these women.  They are all so encouraging and kind.  I am honored and humbled to be part of this amazing group.  I have heavily interrogated all of the key players to try and understand how they picked all of us, but I can't seem to get a straight answer.  And then tonight, one of them said something that made me stop interrogating.  She said, "I want all of you to know that you were hand picked for your song and for this performance.  There is a very specific reason that each of you is here at this time.  You should remember that when you're feeling nervous. This is a calling.  And you will have all the extra help you need, if you ask for it."  Believe me, I'm asking...regularly and fervently.  This is hard...really hard...but it's not impossible.  And I've done hard things before.  I can do this hard thing, too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Personal Progress

In our church we have an amazing program for girls, ages 12-18, called Personal Progress.

Personal Progress is a goal-setting program that helps a young woman develop a testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Personal progress gives a young woman activities to do that will help her:
  • Know she is a daughter of God.
  • Rely upon the Holy Ghost.
  • Develop personal religious behaviors, such as prayer, scripture study, obedience to commandments, and service.
  • Keep her baptismal covenants and prepare and qualify for temple covenants.
  • Develop talents and skills that prepare her for her future roles.
  • Establish a pattern of step-by-step progress through her life.
She will have a pattern of progress for her life that will bring her joy and happiness!

Once a month for our Combined YW activity, all the girls get together for Personal Progress night.  We have an amazingly creative and brilliant Secretary/Personal Progress adviser who organizes this for us every month. It's always at her house and the theme always starts with P...Pink and Purple night, Polka Dots and Personal Pizzas, and tonight we had Ponytails and Pasta night (the girls made their own homemade pasta!)

Each month, the girls can count on having a fun activity, connecting with the leaders and each other, tracking their Personal Progress online, and ideally, by the end of the night, completing at least one additional experience (or at least getting a really good start.)  

Tonight, I spent some time with my newest Beehive.  She was originally one of my Activity Days Girls when I had that calling, so it was a nice little reunion for both of us when she turned 12 in December.  She's slightly more reserved than some of the other girls in the group, and I haven't spent a lot of one-on-one time with her, so this was a great chance to get to know her a little better. Since she's so new in YW, she hadn't yet started on her Personal Progress and she was a little intimidated by the whole thing.  By the time we ended our chat, she felt much more confident about it, and she even had two Choice and Accountability experiences completed!

It's such a joy to get to work with these girls.  To have the time to sit with my newest little "chicken" and point her in the right direction was the perfect way to spend a Wednesday night.  (And the pasta was super yummy, too!...definitely doing that at home!) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Attacks

We decided to spread a little LOVE around the neighborhood for Valentine's Day...

...the kids all wrote little love notes on hearts for three families we love who live down the street from us.  

 TCD was a little less mushy in her messages.  They're casual and goofy, but fortunately these are close friends, so they already know that about her.  :)

Of the three doors we heart attacked, only two of them caught us.  (Heart Attack Tip:  When taking pictures of your kids being stealthy, you should always make sure the flash from the camera doesn't shine into the people's living room!)  This morning we got a text from the other family who didn't catch us.  "Did you guys happen to come by last night with a little Valentine cheer?  So sweet!"  I tried to blow her off and tell her I had no idea what she was talking about, but I don't think she believed me.  

Even though we totally aren't very sneaky, we still had so much fun writing those love notes and decorating our neighbors' doors with them.  We LOVE having them as friends.   And we were so happy to plaster that all over their doors so they could read it this morning!

Hope everyone's Valentine's Day is great!  Tell lots of people you love them today.