Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Thoughts after visiting the Rexburg LDS temple open house.

Hey everyone,

I am blogging from my new computer and I think I'm in love...its a perfect pink Sony Vaio (of course, it had to be pink...but only because they didn't have yellow...) I will post pics of the trip to the Rexburg temple later; however, because they are all loaded onto the old one and I just can't bring myself to turn the poor old thing on again...its seven years old and has had better days. I will post them later for you all to see and ooooooohhhh and awwwwwww at.

Before I came back to Missoula, I had the distinct honor of visiting the Rexburg Temple before its dedication with my whole family. It was an awesome experience for many reasons...some of them too special to talk about. As for one of the big reasons that I really don't feel I should talk about, lets just say it started a mighty change or shift in life for someone that I am very close to and that person is working, slowly, on getting their life back on track. Visiting the temple has helped this person to realize what they are missing in their life, and I am so grateful for the sweet spirit that accompanied us all throughout the whole building while we were there, I know that it had a great deal to do with this change.

However, this experience also did a lot for me personally, and I don't mind sharing because I am one who believes that you should share your testimony at every opportunity and be bold.

So, the night didn't start off the greatest. It was snowing, people were cranky and the situation was volatile...which always tends to happen in my family before some great event...but what can I say, they are my family and it is one of those situations where you love everyone for their faults and try not to become too downhearted because everything isn't perfect... I am quite used to imperfection, I think it is one of my favorite things about my family. By worldly standards our dysfunction seems to make us a little closer to normal; however, also by normal standards my family still fits into the rung of perfection where despite differences we all keep trying to love eachother instead of giving up....

Anyway...tangent aside, we, in our functional dysfunction, made it to the Stake Center next to the temple without any scratches or major bodily injury to any party.

I was honored enough to be given the privilege of holding the hands of my four year old niece Macee and my five year old nephew Austin. They were in awe the entire time. It was so fun to watch the looks on their faces. As we looked at the murals in the baptistry waiting room they excitedly pointed out all the animals in the murals to me and showed me that they could name them. They held my hands tight and didn't let go. The spirit was so strong as I watched their little testimonies start to take form. Austin tugged on my dress and said "Aunt B, this is a special place isn't it...we heard the temple was special in primary, now I know that it IS as special as they say" Macee, being Macee, quickly chimed in with a "Me too!" she nodded her head and Austin put his arm around her. It was all I could do to keep from tearing up.

However, the tearing up finally happened. I started feeling funny as we sat in the Sealing Room, I knew the spirit was trying to speak to me. I couldn't be still to listen because Austin and Macee had decided that they couldn't pick a seat in the room and just sit there. Finally, I was able to grab their hands as the tour guides came to notify us that it was our turn to go into the Celestial Room. As we entered the tour guides asked us to be quiet...Austin leaned over to Macee and gave her the finger to the mouth shush (which we all know as the international symbol to be quiet) Their little hands clutched mine even more tightly as we walked into the grand room with these amazing...A-MA-ZING crystal chandliers and light fixtures.

I couldn't deny my feeling any longer. The spirit won out and the tears began to stream down my face. I heard the distinct words in my head..."Be still and know that I am God...it is enough...you are enough...be still...come here...come to me and be still, you are enough..." As these words were rolling through my mind, everything that I had needed to hear after a recent break up, I realized why I had been feeling so funny. I had thought that very soon I would be entering the temple to enter into the marriage covenant...I was prepared...and I realized that for some reason I had forgotten that I needed to care about who I wanted to enter into this covenant with. I realized that the pain of my heart wasn't so much about the lost "love" but about the fact that I had once again missed out on my "legitimate" opportunity to enter into the temple. Then clear as day, I heard my father's voice as if it was calling to me from beyond the veil "You're ready, why haven't you been here yet?" As I was hearing this I had another tug on the skirt of my dress. It was Austin. He whispered "Aunt B, do you get to go to the temple soon?" Trying to hold back more tears I replied "I hope so." He looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said " I hope so to. You deserve it, you're amazing Aunt B. " He hugged my leg and I put my arm around him.

Austin always amazes me...he says things that seem so beyond him, like telling me that I'm amazing. He has this huge vocabulary and I don't think he realizes how smart he is....but that is a story for another day...right now all I want to do is thank my Heavenly Father that I had him there to make this experience even more special.

As we walked down the stairs another tour guide came up and watched me as I led the kids down the stairs. She told the kids to look over the rails to see how far up they'd come. We all looked over and there was the general Macee/Austin ooooohh awwww session. They kept looking over the rails as we went down the stairs. They were baffled that the building was so tall...My heart had wings as I helped them down the stairs...I was ready to go home and try to digest even a tenth of all that I had experienced...I am still digesting it.

After much prayer and meditation, I decided that I needed to talk to my Bishop. I kept thinking, how could it be fair that I, someone who feels spiritually ready to go to the temple, be banned from it because I am not going on a mission or getting married...After more prayer and meditation, I realized I wasn't banned...I just needed to prove that I was prepared and wanting to go for the right reasons. I made up my mind...I needed to talk to my Bishop.

So on Tuesday, I went to his regular office hours. He wouldn't have asked me to be in the temple prep class last semester if he didn't see that I was ready... I needed some direction. We chatted and laughed and I told him about my impressions and all about how I was feeling. I was by no means expecting him to hand me a temple recommend and tell me to see the stake president, which is good, because that definitely didn't happen.

He explained that the new temple policy didn't apply to me. It applied to people 19, 20(etc.) years old who want to go to the temple to watch relatives or friends marry and aren't really prepared for the covenants that they make there. He said that he definitely sees me taking out my endowments this spring... I am supposed to do a reading assignment, write down my impressions, and go back and talk to him after conference...I am very eager and excited to undertake this, I'm not going to lie...

I feel ready to enter the temple. I can't explain it...but I have grown so much closer to God in this last few years...the last few months especially...maybe it is because I don't have my own parents to lean on as much...I don't know. But I have learned the contentment that comes from knowing how God speaks to you and the feeling of peace and security that comes from knowing that you have him at the helm in your ship of life. It has caused me to be able to go with the flow more, I trust that all will work out for the best and that if I have done my part to make situations improve that God will do the rest. It is a very cool feeling...this loss of control... I wish everyone could find this contentment...it brings you to this point of realizing that in reality yes, you have choices to make, but God will always tell you what is right...he will always put you where he needs you and in turn you will be placed where you need and want to be...

Okay... I'm not making any sense. Long story short...my big announcement is that I am working with my Bishop towards taking out my temple Endowment. I am very excited. I feel like it will open a new chapter in my life...a chapter where I can continue to grow spiritually and become more of the person that God wants me to be, more of the person that he planned for me to be.

There isn't any solid date yet, but I will keep everyone posted. Right now, it is looking like I will take out my endowment in May after I get home from school, but we shall see...who knows, I may do the reading and some more meditation and realize that maybe I need to wait just a little while longer.

I am at this point of complete peace and I love it. I wish I could break off a small shard of it to share with everyone. All I can say is, if you want complete peace, give your life and your problems over to Heavenly Father. If you've done all you can do he will do the rest, he will make sure that if you are living righteously things will work out in your favor. Send what you want out into the Universe and it will come back to you...right now I am sending out a vibe for hot chocolate...and what I can to do get that is actually make it for myself...I'm sure that it will taste even better than I imagine though...aren't your senses super cool...so much better than imagination...

Alright...I am talking nonsense. It is late and I need to meet with a man about some sand. The pumpkin hour is upon us kiddies. Good night...and believe me when I say that all the negatives in your life right now are for the greater good. Give the problem back to God...stop wrestling with it, and he will pave a golden path that is smooth and easy to follow...because he loves you that much! Hang in there...I rooting for you, I'm nothing if not a cheerleader!

Hugs and Loves to you all!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Diary of A Delirious Diva: Christmas Break...The Final Installment....

Well all, Christmas break was tiring to say the least... as you can see. The first part of this blog is something we're going to get through really fast so we can get onto the juicy and fun stuff.

Let me start this by saying that boys suck... I have definitely come to the conclusion that I need to meet a MAN, someone with a real job who is looking to add a little something special to his life and can appreciate my opinions and ideals even if he can't agree with all of them, as opposed to a jerkface loser who has no clue about what his true values or morals are and where he is going and just wants to have fun until he gets there.

These pictures and the following video of the Houston Zoo are all that remain of my little Christmas trip (despite the saddness that accompanies my return from the trip I have to say that my photog skills are increasing with use...I love the one of the goats and the one of of the MeerKat...I have a crappy camera and despite this, I think I did pretty well for myself)

Anywhooooo...I went half expecting nothing and half expecting something extraordinary, only to come home confused and later to have my heart stomped on... I guess one thing that I have learned more than anything is that I try too hard to focus on the positive aspects of people rather than allow myself to focus on their shortcomings, it is one of my drawbacks because 5 times out of 10 it gets me hurt, I must admit; however, it is one aspect of me that I wouldn't change....yes, it gets me into trouble, but there have been so many times where it has led me to meet people who have changed my life for the better. I wouldn't give up all people that I've been able to love and change and have allowed to change me to undo the pain and heartbreak caused by any of the people thatI dated and chose to trust with my heart, because the relationships I have with those people are too amazing to lose and the lessons they've taught me about life, redemption, and love are lessons that are too precious to ever lose sight of. Why would I want to give up such golden opportunities in the future?
However, having said this, watch this video of a sweet little mole rat at the Houston Zoo to see what I compare dating to..just watch it and you will understand...
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My life must be the most watched daytime drama on the other side, just when I get settled and believe that something huge is going to happen God pulls a "dance monkey dance" moment on me and I am back to where I began. I guess, other than the fact that I need to only date real men, I learned a lot about myself and where I am supposed to be. I get so caught up sometimes in the fact that I am not married...I never thought I would get to this point in my life and not be...in fact, my high school friends would probably tell you that they half expected me to be living out my perfect 50's housewife existence by now...but then I think about things, really think...I think about all the amazing things I've done with my life, things I never would have been able to do with kids and a husband....: I've been to Europe, I've traveled all over the United States...I've had the opportunity to sing in places that many people would only dream of, I've met amazing and interesting people like the great Eph Ehly and the incomparable Weston Noble...

I was set apart for my new calling today in church (ward chorister, music chair, and choir director, on top of Relief Society Accompanist...ahhh the joys of a Singles Ward) and Brother Atkins said some things in the blessing that confirmed what I had been thinking...the talents and abilities that I have are a gift I've had since before I started my mortal existence...who am I to deny God whatever of my abilities he needs to accomplish the greater good? Yes, it would be nice to have someone to come home to at the end of the day, someone to support me and be excited for me when something really amazing happens, but it isn't absolutely necessary or the best time for me to have that blessing at this juncture in my life...

Which moves me on to the topic of today...holding one of my favorite callings on the planet...being Aunt B.

Let me preface this by saying, I LOVE being an aunt. I love spoiling my nieces and nephews, I love watching them and teaching them and helping them grow. I have to admit that when they are around sometimes I get a little sad because I wish that I had my own little ones to share with and to nuture, however, it is always nice to be needed and to be able to use my 1950's housewife skills for a good cause, and the following event was a fabulous cause for a diva of my status!

January 13, 2008 was Macee's fourth birthday. I must admit that I needed the distraction that helping with a birthday party afforded due to the constant pang of break up woe that I was experiencing, if I wasn't crying I was trying to find things to keep my mind off of it so that I wouldn't cry. I was fortunate enough to be called upon to decorate a cake and help put together the game "Pin the lips on the Frog" (It was a princess themed party for all those of you who are wondering, hence pinning lips on the "frog prince") All of Macee's cousins came and we all dressed up. Kiersten and I decided to go as beauty queen princesses. I wish I had pics of us, because it was too cute. I was Little Miss Sunshine and She was Little Miss Trouble( we found some vintage looking T-shirts that had the titles on them they were fun and on sale for like 5 bucks!).... The kids all had a great time and the cake was a huge success. Thank heavens for friends like Ashley and Cameron High, who were kind enough to bring over their jump-o-line after the Madd Kidz Jumpster went to meet its maker....

Everyone was adorable, especially Macee...who looked like a real little princess...I must say that this pic is one of my favorites of her. I think I'm going to get it framed its so great...that kid is going to be a model, I swear, she is always ready for a camera...she was blessed with one of my abilities...a sixth camera sense...we always know when there is one around, a candid pic of me (or her) is a rare event indeed.

I took Macee back to my parent's house and did her hair and makeup and then she spent the rest of the day messing it up while she jumped in the jump-o-line and played with her cousins making princess and prince crowns. She opened gifts and about had a heart attack when she opened all of the fabulous goodies...new makeup, new dress up clothes, barbies...she is such a girl, I LOVE IT! Then again, I don't know what Amber would do if she had a tomboy...despite all the headaches of being a mother to a girlie girl there are definite pluses...like built in guaranteed fun times playing dress up or having a tea party...things that I hope to do someday if I am fortunate enough to be blessed with a daughter as awesome as Macee.

Well, enjoy the pics of the party! And in our next installment I will share with you my impressions upon entering the Rexburg Temple for the open house (its a little out of order because Macee's birthday was AFTER we went to the open house, but I think that blog may be too different to group with this one and I may have an announcement to make within that blog...Check back around Wednesday or Thursday!)

Hugs and loves to you all,
Aunt B. out!

Monday, February 11, 2008

R.I.P Madd Kids Jumpster (December 24, 2007-January 13, 2008)

It is always sad when we have to say goodbye to a beloved family member, especially one that had touched our lives for so short a time...but we move on and try our best to fill the void in our lives...



On December 24, 2007 the Madd Kidz Jumpster was born...blown up in the basement of the new owners Austin, Macee and Addie Wray. It was preceded in death by several other toys of no notable worth.



Countless hours of joy and excitement were found during its short life....I think that young Addie said it best when she stated "Jump mama, jump! (giggle giggle)"



It was a slow death, agonizing if you really think about it. After several holes were made in the seams it was all downhill, as the life and ability for countless hours of enjoyment slowly leaked from the vital part of its being...



Rest in peace our dear dear Madd Kidz Jumpster...we will always remember the moments of joy, excitement and cardiovascular workouts that you delivered to all who came in contact with you....below are some memories of your short life for all to enjoy.


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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cutefest 2007: Episode 2, It feels like Christmas...or atleast it did...

"Mom, its a miracle...Santa remembered to come to our house!"


-Austin Kelly Wray-


I think that pretty much sums up the whole Christmas morning experience, especially considering the night before...The heavens opened and yea verily there was snow...lots and lots and lots of snow! I wish I could upload the picture from my cell phone camera so that you all could believe me, if you didn't experience it, you wouldn't believe it- we got what seemed like atleast 2 and half feet in one day in Idaho Falls, and of course that day had to be Christmas Eve.


I had promised Amber that I would come spend the night at her house and help her and Kelly wait for Santa to arrive. Despite horrendous driving conditions Amber was brave enough to come pick me up when my car was snowed in, seriously, it was SNOWED IN! The image of other cars down my parent's street trying to get out is an image I will never forget....my brother, brother in law, and step-father were nice enough to go help dig people out; however, when I was ready to leave they were pooped! Amber called, she was on her way!


I began the walk down the street to meet Amber, I didn't want her to get stuck down at the end of the street where my parent's apartment was. I watched as she slid out onto Hoopes Avenue like a star baseball player sliding into home. She stopped, I hopped in and we were off "Baha-ing it" down the road, as Amber would say. We laughed and made our fake Yee- haw sounds even though I think deep down we were both terrified that we would only make it halfway... but we made it, the kids were in bed and it was time to wait for Santa to arrive...


We finally got to bed at around 11:30, I think we were all exhausted, Amber and Kelly from a long frightening drive home from Blackfoot earlier that night and me from trying to dig my car out alone with no success. However, I think as you can see from the pictures we had amazing results. ( Sorry, no candids of Santa, he declined to appear on camera!)






I felt like I had barely been asleep at all when I hear the screams from upstairs..."He's been here! Santa's been here! Wake up Austin, Santa was here and he brought me my Baby Alive, and he brought you your Transformers Mask!" The Holy Grail had been discovered, and there was no stopping the insanity that was now awaiting us. Austin dubbed it a Christmas miracle (as you saw earlier!) Macee was so caught up in her happy new Baby Alive world that I don't think the magnitude of her other presents set in until later and Addie would just get so preoccupied with one toy that she didn't want to open anything else.



....that my friends is when you know there are too many presents under the tree ( if there is such a thing, which believe me, there is) when the KIDS get sick of opening presents! Here for your viewing pleasure is our feeble attempt to convince Addie to stop playing with one of her new treasures to open something else...oh the older two were only too happy to open them for her...

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(This is me exhausted!)

The kids opened and opened and opened presents and we were exhausted, exhausted, exhausted. Once all presents were opened (excepting presents from my parents since they were due to arrive later that morning) we all tried to sit back and relax as much as we could. Amber started working on hors d'oeuvres for our Christmas dinner and I started the prime rib. We waited, eagerly anticipating the arrival of my parental unit and other siblings, the big question of the m0rning was Would they make it? would they be able to dig out?" About an hour after their initial call telling us that they were on their way (mind you that in good weather they are only a short 5 minute jaunt away) they came baha-ing it up the street (thank you Amber, I love that word, and it really is the only way to describe driving in those conditions)


We all settled in and then we proceeded to open, yes, EVEN MORE presents. By this time, Macee was so happy with all of her Polly Pockets that the Littlest Pet Shop that my parents gave her made her feel like she was rich, the playtime possibilities were now endless! Austin was speechless when he realized that his loving grandparents had given him EVERY SINGLE STAR WARS MOVIE! I think the look on his face in the picture says it all.









Even more adorable, is Baby's First Christmas....I think that our little Raylee caught on rather well! She opened her own presents and like most babies was more content playing with the wrapping paper as opposed to playing with the actual presents underneath it.






Aaron and Holly's first Christmas as a married couple and it was nice having them there. Our family feels so much more complete and next year we get to experience another baby's first christmas as we celebrate with their little bundle of joy that should be about 3 months old around that time....aren't honeymoon babies the greatest?
And now we come to the pinnacle of our entertainment! Addie was so THRILLED to have. Raylee there! She is such a little mother and she just couldn't get enough of talking to Raylee and Raylee ate every bit of the gibberish that she was speaking up! This my friends is how we know Addie is a genius, we asked her questions and she just kept on talking and Raylee cooed in agreement with whatever Addie was saying. They say that babies and toddlers speak in an eternal language, Addie was so content gabbing that I really wish I could have known what she was saying, she was very happy to tell us all about it!

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We all hunkered down to dig in to some tucker in Amber's basement...Austin said he was sick, but we all knew the real reason he didn't want to eat...the brand spanking new hand held V Smile system that he had been playing on all morning! Let me tell you, that boy is exactly like his uncle Aaron in every way! He is quickly on his way to being a video game officionado!


Well, dinner was eaten up and everyone decided to play some new board games that Amber had purchased for her family. We all played Scene it, Jr. Aaron, Austin and me were all on a team, and we totally kicked some keester! Mom was baffled by my movie knowledge, I think she worries that she didn't have me doing enough fruitful things during my childhood, but hey- my brain is a receptacle of useless knowledge, always has been, always will be- just make sure that if you are playing any kind of trivia game that you are on my team, otherwise you'll get to experience the floor wiping that my family members got (tee hee....)


Well, all in all, I'd have to say Christmas day went off without a hitch! I think it was the best family Christmas we've had in a while! It was so nice for everyone to be together and enjoy each other's company. We had some great times, like the Dart Board Challenge of 2008, Aaron refused to admit defeat, it was fantastical... and as for the rest of the day the food was wonderful and we got to spend time relaxing together!


Good times...good times! Well tune in to our next episode kiddies...we will welcome and bid adieu to a beloved Christmas treasure all in one fell swoop...get ready to tear up, it truly is tragic!