Saturday, September 13, 2008

Women's Forum and What I Learned

Today has been a Great Day! The town of Kanab had their annual Women's Forum today. I have always wanted to go to something like this where women come together and are edified by different people sharing thoughts on different subjects according to their expertise. I finally took the opportunity thanks to Leif who graciously care for the kids the whole time. He even brought Caleb to me twice for feedings. (Thanks My Love!)

The keynote speaker of the forum was actually a woman who has impacted my life for the good. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her for a moment as well as hear her address the women on a couple of occasions. Her name is Anita Stansfield. You may be familiar with her work. She is the author of 39 published books. The majority of her books are romance novels written for Latter Day Saint and other Christian readers.

I was introduced to Anita's books a little over two years ago when I was pregnant with my twin daughters. I love her books because every single book focuses on change and healing. Two subjects that I am poignantly familiar with. I love being able to read a book and feel like I am a much better person because of reading it. That is how I feel every time I finish a novel written by Anita Stansfield.

I received some valuable information for me personally at the forum today. The first was an answer to my question: "How can I help my children respect my work rather then resenting it when they get older?" The answer that was given by Anita (who has juggled writing and motherhood to five children) was this: Allow the child to come to you as you work as often as it is possible. Address the child's need. Ask them if whatever they need you to do is something that has to be addressed immediately or is it something you can set a time to come back together to and address later. Then, Follow Through with the appointment!"
I know that this simple technique will be very helpful for me in the long run of my life.

I believe that by establishing guidelines of communication between parent ans child and respect for each other's time and circumstances we can help our children recognize that they are valued. And in turn, they will learn to value their parents and the parents personal life. In my opinion, when we constantly drop everything we are doing so that we can help our child with things that they can do for themselves, we are crippling them. I hope that one day I will be able to look at my teenager and see some initiative and independence. Not too much:) Yet, enough to make them a healthy confident adult.

Today was an eye opener for me. I realized that I was on a dangerous path. As a nanny, for many of the jobs it was part of my job description to "wait" on the children and also the parents at times. I did this for over 10 years. It was not uncommon to make 3 different meals for one meal setting. As a mother, that has trickled into my mothering job description. Granted there are some things I WILL NOT do, separate meals is one of them as well as Sippy Cups constantly full of chocolate milk. But up to this point, Jakob has had A Lot of help.

But this afternoon, I took my first conscious step in a healthier direction. I was standing at the sink up to my elbows in suds and dishes. Leif was downstairs working on homework. And Jakob asked for some ketchup to eat with his snack. My first instinct was to drop the dish I was washing, wipe my wet hands on my shirt (for the tenth time) and grab him the ketchup. But I stopped, smiled, and I said "ya think you can get that all by yourself:)" He of course thought that was so cool and jumped down and got it out of the fridge, poured it, and put it back in the fridge without me asking him.:) Mission Accomplished! Only 20 more years to go!:)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Favorite Television Show

When Caleb was born I was converted to We don't have a television and I needed a show to watch that could entertain me during the late hours of baby time. So I started watching Dancing With The Stars. Jakob started watching it with me during the day and it gave us some special yet, down time. Of course it gave me teaching moments about modesty and valuing our body, as well as some intro to dance time for Jakob. It was fun while it lasted. But the season ended and life moved on without television.

And then we found Extreme Makeover Home Edition. This is now our Favorite television show. Leif and I Love this show because it is purely an act of an incredible service. Jakob Loves it because of the demolition of the house at the beginning and the fun bedrooms and houses that they build. But we can tell that the "goodwill" part of the show reaches him too. He is calm and kind when the show is on. There is just a good feeling while we watch the show together. That is a VERY rare opportunity now days while watching television. I sure hope that the series doesn't change and only continues they're great example of service.

If you ever feel like you just need to refill your cup a bit, maybe you could try a round of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Yes, it is hard not to feel a bit envious of the new home owners. But at the same time, it kind of gives us some motivation to reach out and strive to be worthy of the blessings that come when you serve others.

Remembering September 11, 2001

I was on a mission in Northern Illinois for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on September 11, 2001. I had been on my mission for over 1 year. The majority of the time on my mission was spent serving the Sailors in the United States Navy on their training bases in Chicago. The Navy Boot camp is located in a suburb outside of Chicago.

As a missionary, we serve with other missionaries (called companions) by teaching the people in our area about Jesus Christ and his gospel. Serving on the Navy base was a different type of area in a regular proselyting mission. It was a non-proselyting area. We did not solicit religion. We simply lived the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lord directed people to us who were interested in learning more about the gospel.

The months leading up to September 11, 2001 were packed with what we would call a season palnting and of harvest. The Sailors were so ready for the gospel. My companions and I volunteered in many different ways on the Navy bases. In their USO's for example, their Thrift Stores, and in many other ways. We would attend every single Pass and Review (Boot Camp graduation.) During these ceremonies we sat on the stand with officers and honored guests. When we were not volunteering we were teaching the gospel. During this time the director of the USO had a religious meditation room built for the Sailors and us to conduct our spiritual discussions. This time was an incredible experience. Little did we know what lay ahead of us.

On the morning of September 11th we woke up and studied just like every other day. That morning after study time we left for a District Meeting with all of the other missionaries in our area. I remember that the sky was a beautiful blue, the sun was shining, and the air was perfect temperature, and it was quiet. It is important to mention that as missionaries we do not watch television of any kind, we don't listen to the radio, and we don't read newspapers while on our mission. So we live quite a secluded lifestyle.

As we entered the parking lot of the church the first thing that struck us as odd is that the other missionaries were still sitting in their cars. We parked and began walking toward them and they rushed to us and told us that someone had flown into the twin towers in New York. They had been told by one of their neighbors and they immediately turned on their car radio. We rushed to listen just as the second plane flew into the second tower.

The feeling that overcame us was chilling. I can feel it even now as I write this. For my companions and I this single event impacted us more then any of the other missionaries in our mission. We instinctively knew that this blatant attack was an act of war. War had taken on new meaning for us. We now knew and loved those men and women who would fight this war for us. We knew that the Navy base that we served would be strongly secured and there was a very real possibility that we would not be allowed on the base ever again. But we also knew something else...

We knew that our Father in Heaven loves the men and women serving in our armed forces. We knew that we had very pure intentions to serve these Sailors and bring them the hope and guidance that they would need in such a difficult time. And we KNEW that it was the will of the Lord for us to serve them directly and be in their midst. We knew that without a doubt.

When I need a reminder of what it feels like to have true faith, I think of this moment. We knew what the Lord's will was, and we knew that He would open up a path for us to do His will. We just had to move forward.

After our meeting we went directly home. I will never forget how it felt to be so clearly guided by the Lord. We as sisters (missionary companions) were all of one mind and one spirit in this endeavor to go out and gather our Sailors. The following is what we were directed to do through the gift of the spirit.

We went home and began a batch of chocolate chip cookies to give to the Sailors, just like we always did. As they cooked we all changed our clothes into our most professional looking dress suits with our military issued black dress shoes. We knelt down and prayed fervently for guidance and for a miracle. We then left for the Great Lakes Navy Base. As we drove we were all in a state of humbled silence and prayer.

We had a list of Sailors that we had to talk to. These were Sailors who were scheduled to fly out that day (before the attacks), Sailors who were scheduled to be baptized during the upcoming Sunday services, Sailors who were in the middle of learning about the gospel, and the Sailors who were members of the little Branch of the church organized on the Navy Base. Before we left we prayed for each of these Sailors by name and asked the Lord to direct them to us.

As we got closer and closer to the base we realized that Every Sailor had been called to report to the base. We also realized that the base was under lock down (meaning no civilians allowed.) We knew what the protocol would be as we arrived on the base. We knew that they would search our car and review our entrance pass. When we finally arrived at the gates we knew that if we were allowed onto the base at this critical time, we would be able to continue to enter throughout the months to follow.

The entrance was lined with military police, with their guns and their dogs. We said one last prayer that the gates would be opened, and drove forward. We had a car in front of us that was being search and a car behind us that needed to be searched. Just as we got to the point that the guard taking care of us would have needed to pay closer attention to us if he wanted to send us away, he got distracted for a second. Whether he already knew who we were (which is possible) or he just felt that all was well, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that, He Flagged Us Through! We drove onto the base and away from the earshot of the guards and we let out a celebration filled scream! Behold, the gates were opened!

We knew that a miracle had taken place. Because of this, we had no doubt that we were supposed to be there and it gave us a tremendous amount of confidence in the will of the Lord. We parked our car and literally said, "Father please lead them to us." We could not go into their living quarters like we usually did. They had to come to us. And they did!

As we walked up the streets, one by one every one of the Sailors that we had on our list eventually found us. Truly a humbling experience... We wanted to learn more about what was happening in New York and now that we had all of us together we went to the Galley where there was food and televisions.

As we were there visiting with all of the Sailors, the acting Admiral of the Great Lakes Navy Base came into the Galley to mingle with the Sailors. When he saw us he came to us and gave us a hug. We knew each other from attending the pass and Reviews together as well as other events. He told us that we were needed at Great Lakes at this time and if Anyone tried to give us a hard time, to let them know that they could contact The Captain. We appreciated and used his suggestion on more then one occasion throughout out the next couple of months.

That night after we came home I will never forget the feelings of sadness for the tragic events that took place that morning and the life's that were taken. As well as the incredible confirmation of the power of our Savior Jesus Christ and His will and work.

I sat in our little apartment and recorded the address to the nation that President Bush gave. I remember the patriotism that I felt at that moment and was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had been allowed to witness the hand of the Lord so clearly that day.

There are many horrible things that happen throughout our world. Things that can weary the mind and tear down the spirit. But, if we will try to change our perspective a little and focus on the little miracles that take place after these horrible events, it makes things a little bit more bearable.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thoughts about my selfish wife :)

This is actually the husband mentioned several times in Lena's Blog. She asked me to post a quick thought.

Interestingly enough, Lena's last entry created some concerns with loved ones and friends about her becoming selfish or at least thinking more about herself more then others.

First off, as her husband, that isn't true. I have a very sweet, loving, unselfish wife.

But for all those who had concerns let me tell you that I see where you are coming from with her last entry. I believe she wrote something like "I need my needs met and then everything else will work out." It was just a poor wording. Lena and talked about it and this is more of what it should have said.

"As I do those things that make me happy and do those things that bring light and enthusiasm into my life, I am then able to share that light, happiness, and joy of life with those I serve. As a young woman's leader, I have to show up fill with this genuine energy and enthusiasm that is so desperately needed in the life of these girls. If I show up depressed and lifeless, the girls will respond in the like manor. Think of the "goth" look that is so prevalent these days! I have to be able to share light! Look around you. Some people have a beautiful light in their eyes. They make you smile with their spontaneous smiles. These people are happy because something in their life is fulfilling them...something is filling their cup so it spills over onto us. I gather MY personal light from learning, helping, writing, and staying close to the Lord. This is why my plate is full. Or I should say, this is why my CUP is full. I am now constantly filling it and sharing it with those I love."

This is just a thought. Don't take anything too serious or get offended at anything here. We love you and we know you all love us. That's all that is important. We thank you for reading our blog and staying in touch with us and hope you will continue to do so and continue leaving your comments.

Thank you again,

Leif (the hubby)

Mission Accomplished! ... Reasons For Doing So Much

Thanks to my mother in law, I finally took my Entrance Exam yesterday! Everything went very smooth. The results were exactly as I predicted great reading and writing, poor math. I'm enrolled in English 101 and a basic computers (an easy class to get me up to 6 credits.)

I have been lovingly warned on a couple occasions that my plate might be too full right now. Let me share my reasons for this. Before I signed up for all of these classes I had to do a lot of pondering. I had to decide where I was personally and where I wanted to be.

My first question to myself was:
Who am I? Well, I am Lena Baron: Wife, Mother, Daughter, Young Women leader, Visiting Teacher, Friend, and a Daughter of God.
My next question: What do I Love doing? I love spending time with family (especially when Leif is with me.), I love gaining new knowledge in many subjects, and I love sharing the knowledge that I gain, most of all I love helping others feel better because of the knowledge that I share. Next Question: What can I do to meet my needs of gaining and sharing knowledge and also fulfil the other responsibilities that I have? Well, my first priority is my husband and children. You know the phrase "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? That is most definitely true in our home. So in order to meet everyone else's needs, my cup has to be full first. If my cup is full, I am able to spread myself thinner and make the sacrifices necessary for everyone else including my church callings.

That is where the schooling, blogging, scriptures, and prayer come in. If I'm able to dabble in all of these things each day, then my cup is full enough to fill the other cups I need to fill. It's pretty much as simple as that. I need to fulfill my needs and then everything else falls into place. The key is to reevaluate often how everyone (including myself) is doing and rearrange accordingly. So far, our current plans are working out fine.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Jakob Started Dance Class Today!

Well, I feel good about the day. My mother in law and I decided to spend today doing the things that we needed to do and then spend tomorrow taking the test that I need to take.

I was able to get the house clean, do some shopping, and take Jakob to his first day of dance class. It feels good to go to bed with a clean house!!

Jakob really enjoyed his dance class. Leif and I stuck around and watched. It was an eye opener. He did just fine. It was cute. But it was interesting to see Jakob in the class setting from a far distance. He was the only boy in his class, so I wasn't surprised that he had a bit more energy then some of the girls. It was also his very first time learning any type of dance technique. It will be so good for him. His little body is still trying to grasp coordination and balance. So this will be really good. He will require practice outside of the class if we want him to grasp any of what the teacher is trying to teach him.

We made a balance beam for Family Home Evening tonight. We then spent the evening going through some of the things the teacher taught Jakob and played on the balance beam. He really enjoyed having Leif and I so actively focused on him. It was good for me to get up and be more active. I have never taken a dance class or anything like it. So "grace" is not in my physical nature. So Jakob and I will learn together.

This class is technically ballet and Jazz. But to 4 year old's, it's just dance!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Test Results

We had everything planned out for my "Testing Day" so I would be able to feed Caleb enough times and make it to all of the tests in one day before the school closed. Well, our plan didn't go exactly as planned. I sat in the audiologist office for 2 hours. So that messed everything up. But I did get the results back from my Dexa Scan (bone density.) My bones are at T -2.0. What that means is that I am half a point better then Osteoporosis. This may sound terrible to you, but my sister is only 2 years older then me and she is at a T -2.9 and officially has Osteoporosis. So I consider myself lucky!

I did eventually get in to take my hearing exam. I was surprised when he told me my hearing is perfectly normal. Honestly, I am questioning his opinion and am going to look into some things he mentioned. But, I do take it as good news that he didn't immediately detect a problem. He just told me to focus better when people are talking to me:) Gee...thanks!

I still have my college entrance exam test I need to take. So I will try to fit it in tomorrow. Problem is it is a 45 minute drive to get there, Leif is working, and I have the kids. I might have to take Caleb with me and they'll just have to deal with it. We'll see what happens. I would leave Caleb, but he refuses to take a bottle. Leif did get some pumped milk into him using a syringe on Friday. There's six teaspoons in one ounce. He only eats about 2 ounces per feeding... a syringe might work.:)
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