Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Raylee Elizabeth Birthday Extravaganza!!!!!!!!!

Well, well, well...

Its hard to believe that a whole year has gone by already, but it has. Exactly 1 year ago today Kiersten came out of the bathroom, sat down on the couch and said " Darn it, I just left the bathroom and I think I just wet myself." (SorryKierst, but that part of the story has to be told because we can laugh about it now.) After some fancy fanagelin' we convinced her that her water had broken and that it was time to go to the hospital! Raylee Elizabeth is a year old this weekend and I've decided to pay tribute with a cheesy photo montage!!!!!!!!! (that's right, I found my camera- and its been attached to my hand ever since!)

It all started for me last night, with the cake! Kiersten and Joe had been trying to figure out what they wanted to do for a cake, they'd asked around town and it seemed like no one had what they wanted. Raylee, being almost one at the time (and officially one tomorrow!) naturally only adores two things...Bunnytown and My Friends Tigger and Pooh- both are shows on Playhouse Disney....Kiersten was telling me of their conundrum... the deduction was logical, any Sherlock Holmes type could have figured it out...but instead of Sherlock Holmes type, it was me....they need a cake, I decorate cakes...hmmmm...

Well, I agreed to do it 2 weeks ago...before I agreed to babysit for Amber so she and her husband could have a hot date...needless to say, I was home by 11:30 and I decorated like a fiend until 1:30 AM before...I was EXHAUSTED!- the sad part was that I only had about a third of the cake done! (when I say cake I mean cupcakes, we'd decided that it would be fun to watch Raylee pulverize a single confection all on her own!) However, the following cheesy photo montage will show that the horror was almost forgotten by the splendour of the final product- and notice thart I spelled splendour with a "u"- that's right, its so fancy that it gets a British spelling! (as promised, one of many...think of it as a single photo essay within a larger work...)

So, the cake was done, the day continued. We went to Sizzler for a late lunch, and shock and awe, Kiersten decided to try and see what would happen if we let Raylee feed herself. We had a mess on our hands, but Raylee started getting really really good at it! I think after she almost choked once from putting too much food in her mouth she got the idea. We went to the store and picked up the last few things that we needed for the big day. Kiersten and Joe wanted to get one more present and I needed wrapping paper.

We got back to the house and decided that a grumpy baby needed one open all her presents! We decided it would give her some energy, and oh boy did it! She would open one thing and want to play with it and scream until you showed her that there was something else to open! Once all the toys were out, Raylee sat on the living room floor and worked her way around a circle of toys, playing with each one, dropping it once she lost interest and moving on to something else.

Well, I'm sure you're al reading and waiting in dire anticipation? What about the cake? Was it pulverized? Well, here for your viewing pleasure I give you..the many faces of birthday cake! last but not least...WHEN DECORATIVE BOWS ATTACK!!!!!!!!!(Hey, I have to put a Brittany spin on things, its my nature!)

Hugs and Loves until next time!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Okay, so I am super excited and I can't contain it- so what better to do than blog???!!!

In a few hours I am headed to get my garments and temple clothes for the first time!

I can't wait for July 26th- it seemed so far away when I scheduled the date to recieve my Endowment, but here it is next weekend. If I could manage to find my camera I'd take some excited pictures for you all- but alas it has disappeared off the face of the planet!

Ahem....and for the I'm not getting married, no I'm not going on a mission... its been a crazy few months but the one resounding thing that has repeated in my mind is that it is time for me to go to the temple. I feel like it is the next step in my spiritual progression. It is kind of scary and daunting to think about where I may be a year from now, but I also know that as my relationship with my Heavenly Father has grown I have had the overcoming urge to need to feel and be closer to Him.

I know that God looks out for all of us, I know that no matter how bad a situation may seem God makes sure it always works out for the best.

I've had what seems like more than my fair share of trials in the last few months, but I am so thankful to a loving God who knows and understands the big picture far better than I. I know that He directs all my paths I know that He loves me and he is making sure that I recieve every blessing that I deserve and have worked for.

My step-dad and I were talking a little while back about a few of my woes and he said..."Brittany, the people who wait the longest for the things they want most in life always end up getting the better part. God saves the best for last. If that weren't true you wouldn't be here in the latter-days." At the time it didn't really sink in, which is probably why I heard it from my Branch President a few weeks later in his office as I was recieving my first temple recommend. I will operate in faith knowing that it has to be true because I do know what I know.

Knowing what I know doesn't stop trials from being difficult, but it definitely makes them more bearable. I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, he has a plan and purpose for me that was defined before I came to this Earth. I am so fortunate to have been born to a home with goodly parents who taught me the Gospel, who made sure that I know who I am. On those days when I feel small it helps so much to know that I am a daughter of God, I am of noble birth because of that. I have a birthright- the same birthright as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob- a birthright that I get to claim through baptism and the making and keeping of sacred covenants in the temple.

Sometimes I am amazed that I have made it this far...but then, when you think about it, I haven't done it alone. I've had the blessing of the Holy Ghost as my guide and loving family and friends to help me bear my burdens. God never intended for any of us to be alone, and even though it may feel like I am alone sometimes, I know that this is the time when God is the nearest to me...I just won't open the door for him because I want to wallow.

My biggest prayer for everyone is that they can remember to open that door, that they can forge and create a relationship with God that is close and loving. He is like a parent, and like any parent/child relationship sometimes its hard to ask for what you want, or sometimes he can't give you what you want because the time isn't right. Make no doubt about it, if you are living the way that He asks you to, he will make sure that you have everything you need when you need it because that is what any loving parent would do- its differentiating between needs and wants that we need to learn, especially in today's society where people feel that they are entitled to things or that they have earned it. I have especially caught myself in the last few months exhibiting that sense of entitlement...allow me to demonstrate using my own example...I do everything that I'm supposed to, I work hard, I live the Gospel, I follow the commandments I deserve to be blessed! How come Jane Doe down the street who doesn't live the way that she should seem to have such a great life? She parties, she drinks, etc..and here I am trying to be perfect every day and the one thing that I want more than anything I can't have.... that my friends is feeling entitled, and I am trying to stop. You aren't good so that you will be blessed. You are good because you want to be, because, believe it or not, its easier. You have to remember that Jane Doe may seem to have a perfect life, but behind closed doors she is dealing with the binding chains that Satan tries to grab us all with-her idea of being free isn't really being free.

Free agency is about making the right choices. As long as we make the right choices, then we are free- truly free, because Satan may try to catch us, but he cannot bind us like he can someone who allows themselves to be caught by temptation. Once he has you, he pulls you further away from your Father in Heaven, and who wants that? I certainly know that I don't...I want to be closer to Him, because the closer you are the less likely you are to stumble and fall. Why are you less likely to fall? Because in being closer to God you have to be closer to our brother, Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He is the one who relays messages to God from us, He is the one who through the Atonement, picks you up, dusts you off and makes sure you can keep going, just like any other good big brother would.

I am so grateful for Gospel truths and doctrines in my life. I am grateful that I know who I am, what I'm doing here, and where I am aiming to go after I die. The temple is just the next step in this long path of life. I am so blessed to know that I don't have to walk that path alone and to know the shape of that path... For straight is the path and narrow that gate that leads to everlasting life and happiness! I bear witness of this. To all those of you who are reading this and think that I'm blowing smoke it is my humble prayer that your hearts will be softened and that somehow my words will plant a seed in your heart. To those of you who are touched by this don't thank me, thank a loving God who is always there for you, loving you,and waiting for you to draw nearer to him.

I am so excited to enter the temple. I am excited for the covenants that I will be able to make there. I am excited to be able to be in the House of God and in His presence. I only pray and hope that I am able to follow my Savior Jesus' example and that I am able to be a beacon to those around me who struggle and search to find these strong, sweet and simple truths in their lives. God is good, Jesus is my Savior and friend and I am an instrument in their hands. I only pray tha I am close enough to the spirit so they may use me as they see fit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Okay- so I've spent the last four days in a nausea induced haze, and I'm not quite out of it yet, but I felt like I needed to blog a little bit about the joys of being sick...

So, Friday I started to feel a little woozy after lunch- I ate some rotten lettuce (Note to self: if it tastes rotten after the first bite, chances are its rotten... just thought you should know!) But I was super excited so I decided nothing would get me down. I was going to go to the 35th anniversary performance of Saturday's Warrior at the Civic. But wait, there's more- not only were they performing Saturday's Warrior...they were also performing the sequel the White Star. I was so excited to go and take part in something I'd grown up with- my mom had a Saturdays Warrior tape and we used to listen to it and lip synch to it as kids. I think more kids should do this growing up! The television was rarely on, we always had on one of my mom's records or tapes and we were coming up with a show! Saturday's Warrior was one of the faves- along with Star Child (another Mormon musical) and a few secular goodies- Mary Poppins soundtrack, The Carpenters and Ray Stevens the Streak! I was so excited to finally see if any of our ideas about how we would stage a musical number came true... and best of all I got to go with Amber! It was so nice to sit before the show and reminisce about these times and see that I wasn't the only one who looked back fondly!

Well, I was a little worried about time, two full shows in one night seemed daunting, like I said I was feeling a little woozy, but I was trying to be optimistic! Amber and I went and bought CDs of Saturdays Warrior and White Star and I bought a score of Saturdays Warrior. Amber and I immediately made plans to have an old fashioned piano party to sing along to some of our favorites : Will I Wait for You?, Dear John, Line Upon Line and many more (do I sound like a compilation infomercial yet?)

I have to say, with the exception of the Jimmy and Pam, I was disappointed by Saturdays Warrior. It was rushed through, they cut some numbers completely and cut others in half. The continuity was gone and the actors didn't seem to have a hold on the choreography at all...I wasn't expecting much when the White Star started and I left very much suprised and happy. It was definitely amazing as far as sequels go- you don't think that I show like Saturdays Warrior needs a sequel but this completely dazzled me. I was laughing, I was crying, I was on an emotional rollercoaster and I loved it! I could now see why Saturdays Warrior seemed shlugged through- they spent the bulk of their time on the new show- which is fine, and perhaps with a little more touring another audience may have a better earlier experience than I did, but let me assure you- I felt like they made up for it in the end. The music was nice, but there was a number called Gentle Savior that kept reprising throughout the musical and every time it started I was in tears. The acting and story was phenominal, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity and go if it comes to your town! Even if you experience the same disappointment that I did with Saturdays Warrior, you will leave feeling so enriched by the White Star! Its a great story of redemption and the cealing powers of the temple and the great work of family history that needs to be done! I left so inspired, I really want to get more involved with my family history now, especially because I know for a fact that much of the Winberg family work has not been done!

But on to the rest of my story- I left enriched! Enriched, but woozy...but I continued to move forward, I had a birthday cake to make! Austin's birthday party was the next day and I couldn't let him down, he was so excited about his Brownie ice cream cake! Amber and I had been reading through recipes earlier that day and when we came to the recipe title Austin's exact words were "Whoa mom....Brownies in an ice cream cake?! You don't need to look any more, that is what I want!" I had to giggle a was so cute! So, I got home and began the task of making the brownie layers and softening ice cream. The cake was made at 2 AM, made but not decorated... and I had heart burn so bad I felt like it was coming out my ears, but I figured I was just tired and sleep deprived and in the morning I would feel better...yeah...right...because I'm that lucky.

About an hour later I was awake and rushing to talk to ralph on the big white phone (for all those of you who don't know what that means: PUKESVILLE!!!!!!!!) I cleaned up, mom (being mom) heard me and came to my aid and got me the needed anti-puke medicines and I went back to bed. After a fitful morning of sleep I awoke feeling like I'd been hit by a MAC truck. I used the walls as anchors and stumbled out the living room and the comfort of the couch. Now, I don't know if its just that mom used to lay us on the couch when we were sick so we'd be closer or what, but whenever I'm sick I always feel a need to lay on the couch as opposed to my bed... I called Amber and told her about the night's events and that the cake, albeit made, was not decorated. I assured her that I had washed my hands, hadn't licked any spoons, and that I was completely sanitary, also given the fact that the cake was in the freezer it should be frozen enough to be safe for human consumption. I told her that it wouldn't hurt my feelings if she didn't want to use it.

All I can say, is that this last few days, between body aches and grossness I have come to one giant conclusion- I am so lucky to have such an awesome mom! She left me to my own devices so I didn't feel like I was being a big baby but she also made sure to, in her own special way, make sure that she took care of me without me realizing how much she was doing. I've also been grateful to have a sister who is a nurse and has connections to doctors with magical pills that get rid of nausea...What I thought was a 24 hour flu bug has continued now for the last 4 days...and I'm still not better. I'm gradually getting there but I feel like there is an ice cream maker churning in my stomach and my head,neck, shoulders and back are still aching like I've been beaten by a herd of llamas....not that I've experienced that, but I'd imagine that if it happened, this is what I would feel like...

I keep thinking that getting sick was the last thing I needed. I have so much music to learn before I go back to Montana and I need to take time for it, but its difficult to learn music when you can't sit or stand longer than 30 minutes without getting dizzy...thank the Lord for the I-Pod... I also need to work- I gots bills to pay...but I'm going to continue with faith that I am going to have it all work out in the end.

Well, speaking of not being able to sit or stand for very long...I'm at my limit. But I love you all and I wanted you to know how grateful I am to have so many loving family members and friends who look after and support me!

Hugs and loves, and here is to the death of Killer Food Poisoning, FOREVER!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A New Attitude

So...I totally had an epiphany- which is funny, considering that my older sister just had a similar epiphany...allow me to elaborate.

Of course, post break up, every girl pin points an insecurity (even if they know that it has nothing to do with what went wrong) and decides to pick at it until it becomes a festering pustule... for me, my biggest insecurity has always been my weight. I've always been the "fat sister" and, although I don't think they consciously try to make me aware of it, I've always felt like my sisters kind of enjoyed rubbing it in my face. About a year and a half ago, I was the "skinny sister" I was healthy and feeling good- that was also right about the time that I ended up being taken off of my medication for my Metabolic Syndrome, which basically sent me on a spiral back to sicksville...but that is beyond the point... the point is, I've been picking at it and picking at it and picking at isn't my fault- I basically live off of fresh veggies and chicken all year- but because I've been sick the pounds have come back on. I'm in no way "fat" or "obese" I would probably just say that I have a little "junk in the trunk" and not really in a bad way. Well, finding out that I'm sick and having the magic pill to fix it all has given me a new lease on things and I've been working out like a mad woman.

My sister and I have both starting kicking our sad butts out of bed at the crack of dawn to exercise every morning, and I have friends in Montana that I am keeping in touch with and we are motivating each other to stay on track. It has been a good thing, but, in spite of all of this positivity, I've still been picking...and really being down on myself.

Well, tonight I went to meet with my Stake President, and its official, I have my temple recommend and all I have to do is call the temple and set a time to take out my Endowment. I am super excited, but I also decided that I wanted to feel better about myself- I want to be at my very best as I partake of the spirit in the house of the Lord. So I was lying in bed and tossing and turning and I said a prayer...and then I kept thinking of my favorite passage of scripture. Proverbs 31: 10-31... I decided I should just get out of bed a read it.

I got to verse 18-a virtuous woman "percieveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night" so that got me to thinking. I know that my biggest desire is to live up to this passage of scripture- it has become sort of a creed for me, and I have changed aspects of my life and gone out of my way to make sure that I am being a virtuous woman.

Well, part of being a virtuous woman then, according to verse 18, is knowing that you are a virtuous woman- you don't have to flaunt it, but you have to recognize that you have divine worth and use it to make you a better person. So- in all my struggles, and in all my picking, I have started throwing that virtuous woman that I was trying to maintain out the window. So, ladies and gentleman, the window is now closed!

I know that I am beautiful and intelligent. While my deepest desire is to someday marry and have a family, I deserve the family of a virtuous woman and I don't have to settle for just any shmuck off the street (that's right I'm using yiddish, get over it!) I also don't have to settle for thinking that I am "the fat sister" because in that way I am selling myself short- I am beautiful! People have said this to me before- I've always had a hard time accepting now, I am going to work on being able to accept that complement and know that it is true. True beauty isn't about weight or the size of dress that you wear- it is about a lot of things, it comes from within, it comes from striving to be a virtuous woman, and if someone can't see that- if they can't recognize that you are beautiful when you know that you are, then they obviously aren't looking for a virtuous woman- they obviously don't want the very best- which means they aren't the very best and aren't what you as a virtuous woman deserves!

So- ladies and gents, I don't know if any of this makes sense, its late and I should be sleeping...but I had to share! A virtuous woman percieves that her merchandise is much do you think you are worth? I know that I am a daughter of God, he loves me, he has given me boundless opportunities and endless potential. I know that I am amazing, I know that I am smart, I know that I have love in my life (and don't worry Ambs I am going to use it [wink!] ) I am going to wake up every morning from now on and tell myself that I am beautiful and I am going to keep doing it until I completely believe it, until all of those insecurities that have been engrained in me slip away. I have so much potential- I am so sad that I forgot to see it for even a minute. I guess we're not all perfect, but darn it, I sure do try to be! I know that I have a lot of work to do, I know that I'll probably slip every now and again and let myself feel like I'm not worth much because I'm not exactly the world's standard of beautiful- but who cares about the world?! I am beautiful enough for me and for the Lord and that should be all that matters!

To all my sistahs out there- hang in there- you are just as beautiful and marvelous and fantastic as me...and if you don't believe it then keep telling yourself that you are until you believe it! Its funny, as a teacher, I use the whole "fake it till you make it" technique all the time... even if I don't feel completely competent as long as I don't let anyone know that I'm not no one catches on, and I am free to learn from the mistakes that I make... in this case I am kind of going to be using that same technique...not that I have to fake being beautiful, but I think for a little while I'm going to have to try to push back those negative thoughts and convince myself that I am worth more than I give myself credit for sometimes.

I love epiphanies...I just wish they wouldn't happen so late at night and that they would make sense the next day (believe me, I really hope this makes sense, and if it doesn't I apologize...I'll clarify it better when I'm not sleepy!)

Hugs and kisses until next time all! And remember- you are beautiful, handsome, amazing, wonderful, fantastic, glorious and extremely talented- take time to make sure that you believe it because I know that I sure do!