Monday, March 30, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Forgiveness

I came across one of the best stories of forgiveness in the Book of Mormon this weekend.  It's one that I hadn't really taken much notice of because the person being forgiven is a character we usually consider practically perfect, Captain Moroni.  I mean afterall, in Alma 48:17 it reads, "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had ceen, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

Moroni is amazing.  If I was in his shoes, I definitely wouldn't have stepped up to the plate as he did.  But Moroni isn't perfect.  Nobody is but Christ.  And in Alma 59-60, he makes a mistake.  In these chapters, Moroni becomes angry with Pahoran, the chief judge of the Nephies, because his armies hadn't received enough supplies and man power to fight the war.  Moroni writes Pahoran a letter chastising him for not sending him the things that he needs and speaks very strongly to Pahoran.  There's too many things to quote, you'll have to read chapter 60 to see what I mean.

As it turns out, Pahoran was having just as many problems, if not more, as Moroni was having.  Pahoran was dealing with rebels who were so against him and the war, that they joined with the Lamanites and were planning on taking over the Nephite lands.

Now if I were Pahoran, I would be pretty angry for getting such an angry letter with no provocation (at least any that I knew of).  Moroni hadn't asked why he wasn't getting the supplies he needed, he just accused Pahoran of various things. 

But amazingly, Pahoran didn't respond with anger; he doesn't fire back with a why are you treating me this way response.  First he is understanding of Moroni's feelings and says in Alma 61:1, "...I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it greaves my soul."

He then goes on in verses 2-8 to explain why things were the way they were in a non-defensive way.  And then he ends his letter to Moroni by asking him to come to his aid to defend their land from the Lamanite-rebel army.

As I was reading these two letters, I was really impressed with Pahoran's kindness and forgiveness.  If I had received a letter like that, I would be so angry and probably would have written an angry letter solving nothing.  Pahoran is an example to me of how we can respond to things that have the potential to offend us.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not Moving... Yet

So silly us, we didn't actually check our lease to make sure it was up March 31st.  And it's not.  It's up April 30th.  Which didn't make sense to us because we signed a year lease starting March 1st 2008.

Hmm, I guess that's what I get for assuming things.

But the good thing is it gives us plenty of time to move out, and when my grandparents come in April, they'll have a place to sleep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Finds: A Link Round-up

Man Officially Recognized as Victim of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings, Japan Probe.  What rotten luck this guy had!  I'm glad he's finally gotten the recognition he deserves.  I think he's the only person to be exposed to both bombs!

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit, Overstuffed.  I never knew that that Payless was so cool!

Someone I'd Like You to Meet: Annette Lyon from the Lyon's Tale, Scribbit.  Interesting interview with the LDS author who just published the book, Tower of Strength.  I haven't read it yet, but as soon as I can get my hands on it, I'm reading it!  I've heard it's great!

Under Cover, Susie's Big Adventure.  I love Susie!  She writes honestly about her experiences as an American in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Girls and Too Much Time on Their Hands, American Bedu.  The American Bedu also has great stuff!  I love to read about other countries and cultures.  This post was really interesting to me because it involved women's issues, education, Islam, and Saudi Culture.  Interesting!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday - My Dad

This week I'm really grateful for my dad.  He's great.  Everyone says that their dad is great, and I'm sure they all are.  But my dad has been doing some special things for us lately.

For instance, my brother and my husband have been struggling with making a good income the last couple of months.  My brother hadn't been able to find a job (He has one now working with my uncle, at least temporarily!), and Derek's handyman business has been a bit slow in the winter months, but things are starting to pick up a bit now.  So my dad thought and thought of how he could help his sons earn money for their families, and he bought a lawn aerator for them use.  As they aerate lawns, they'll give him a percentage of the profits.  Thank you dad!

And if any of you local readers need your lawn aerated, or know of anyone who needs their lawns aerated, let us know.  Derek's charging $45 per yard unless it's extra large.

And my dad is helping us pay for this...

Yes, we are expecting.  So far, my due date is September 24th--one day after my dad's birthday oddly enough.  I had my first OB appointment yesterday evening.  Everything looks good so far.  And lucky me, I had some suspicions but really had no idea I was pregnant until earlier this month because I've had no noticeable nausea!  I bet that means I'll be in for it later... :)

Our maternity insurance is kind of stinky, so while we figure out a better way to handle doctor bills, my dad has offered to lend us the money we need.  And we can pay him back when ever we can.  Thank you dad!!!  We love you!!!

My dad, my mom, me and Derek last September during lunch

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Way Back When Wednesday - Jenny

I told an abbreviated version of this story last night to our Home Teachers.  It probably wasn't the best story for me to tell them, but they are our friends and I think they thought it was funny... or they were laughing so hard because they were really embarrassed. 

We had a lot of really funny and bizarre experiences while we were teaching in Korea.  A great many of them came from our co-workers.  They had some interesting personalities.  I couldn't tell how much of it was a culture difference thing, but they definitely kept us laughing.

The story I'm about to tell you comes from a study session I had with my co-worker Jenny.  I don't remember what her Korean name was.  Maybe Jin Hyo Lee?  A lot of Koreans studying/teaching English choose an English name.  I guess it's cool.  She picked Jenny.

Anyways,  I "taught" Jenny three times a week.  Our class was more of a Q&A study session for her.  Which I didn't mind.  I didn't have to prepare anything.  Jenny would ask me all kinds of questions.  She had pretty good English, but had a lot of grammar issues.  Most of which would come up over and over.  I wasn't sure how I felt about helping an English teacher study her teaching materials, but whatever.  At least she didn't look stupid in front of her students. 

On this occasion, we were just talking.  I don't remember how we got on the topic of my bras and underwear.  Maybe we were talking about household appliances and my washer came up.  It's spin dry function was so powerful it had ruined a couple of my underwire bras. I probably should have used one of those little undergarment bags they have for washers, but I was cheap.  Jenny asked me where I bought underwear in Sokcho (the town we lived in).

I told her I hadn't bought any yet because I couldn't find any in my size.  She looked at me with a blank expression for a second, then got that I'm thinking of how to say this in English face.  We saw it all the time, and I prepped myself because often the words that come after that face are a little odd because they're usually directly translated from Korean.

She looked a little down and to the left (a normal Korean conversational thing) and started tapping just below and in front of her right shoulder with her right hand.  "My friend.... umm..... my friend has... big, umm... bumps?"

I tried really hard not to bust out laughing.  "You mean boobs.  Not bumps."

"Boobs?"  The her face was classic.  Confused and a little embarrassed all at the same time. Plus she exaggerated the shape of her lips to make the "oo" sound.  Again, it was hard to hold back laughing.

"Yes, the word you would use in this conversation is boobs.  But that's because we're both girls and we're friends.  There are lost of other words, but that's the one you want to use in this situation."  I tried not to act too embarrassed, but it was getting harder by the minute.

"Oh.  My friend has big... boobs.  I can show you where she buys her underwear."  I politely declined. Koreans shop owners and salespeople are a bit too involved when you go to buy underwear.  I would get some from the States the next time I went.

After a pause she continued, "would you teach me all the words for... boobs?"  She was completely serious.

That time I did laugh out loud.  "No," I answered with a red face.  "Most of the words people use for that area of the body aren't very nice, and most of them are boy words."  I did teach her the official anatomically correct term and then quickly ended the anatomical conversation. 

She and I had plenty of other equally awkward conversations, but none were quite that personal and embarassing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - Arizona Trip

Derek and I traveled down to Arizona to visit family last week.  Making a stop in Provo on the way down and back up.  We had a blast!  We have the best family!  It was great to get away from life for a week and just relax.

Along with visiting, playing games, and doing personal history interviews with my grandparents, we were able to visit three national parks and a national monument: the Petrifiied Forest NP, the Painted Desert NP, the Grand Canyon NP, and Walnut Canyon NM. 

Derek at the Petrified Forest
My grandparents at the Petrified Forest
My aunt at the Petrified Forest
My grandpa in his truck.  He really isn't as rough as he looks in this picture.  
He's really the nicest guy around.  
Derek and I couldn't help taking it when we saw that he had his sunglasses, hat and toothpick.
Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff
The plants at Walnut Canyon.
The main attraction at Walnut Canyon are the cliff dwellings.  
They are seriously right on the edge of the cliff.
This cliff dwelling was partially destroyed.
Derek at the Grand Canyon.  It was his first time.
We were lucky to be there around sunset.  The colors were great!
On another more newsworthy note, Derek and I are moving.  But just within town.  And actually just within a couple miles.  My dad is needing a bit more help and support taking care of my mom.  So we'll be moving in with them. It will be a big adjustment--their house isn't very big--but it will help us out as well.  Maybe we can actually start saving some money instead of spending it all on life! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Peace to my Soul

Well, I've been bad.  No posts for a week!  But I do have a good excuse.  I was in Arizona visiting my grandparents and aunt and uncle doing a bit of family history work along with some sight seeing and game playing.  I have a lot to tell and a ton of pictures to post, but I just got back last night and haven't had the time or energy to get things together, yet...  It will happen someday this week.

And as all good vacations end (even bad ones), so did this one, and I was really dreading going back to real life.  Moving out of our apartment, getting taxes done, getting back to work, paying bills, etc.  I was feeling really anxious.  This week is going to be pretty stressful and I have been feeling it.

So last night and this morning I prayed really hard for strength and courage (sounds overly dramatic, doesn't it?) to face the challenges that I knew would be coming.  And when I read scriptures this morning with Derek, this is what I read.

11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.  (Alma 58:11)

That sounds a little dramatic, too.  But the part that spoke to me were the words "visit us with assurances," "speak peace to our souls," and "grant unto us great faith."  Those were all words I needed to hear.  They were the words I wasn't able to form in my mind as I prayed, but were what I would have said.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday - A good packer

I am very, very grateful for my husband who is an excellent packer.  Meaning he can make almost any and all dirty dishes fit in the dishwasher, every suitcase fit in the car, all my clothing and other items (as well as his) in the suitcase, groceries in the fridge and cupboards, and items in boxes.  He's amazing at it. 

Maybe I feel this grateful because I suck at packing anything.  But I really think it's because he's got mad skills.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - A Pirate

I bet you'd never guess, but when I was in Kindergarten, I was a pirate!

Not really, but I wore an eyepatch for a few months.  In the begninning of the year, the school had vision tests, and evidently I failed, miserably because I came out of it with glasses and a prescription for an eyepatch to cover my right eye.  My right eye was and is stronger than my left.

And to add insult to injury, the eye doctor (or maybe is was my mom, I don't remember) gave me stickers to make the eye patch cuter.  Ha ha, like that was possible.  They weren't even great stickers.  Just the little round boring ones!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - My SD Card!

It's magic! My SD card has healed! I have no idea how, but when I turned on my camera this morning, and it worked! My brother kindly offered one of his cards, but since mine worked, there was no need. Thanks PJ for helping out!

And I saw this--and many other CUTE videos--on Cute Overload. Watch it, you'll love it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Just a quick thought...

Just a quick thought for today.  I was reading yesterday night about Helaman's 2,000 stripling warriors, Alma 56.  That's 2,000 boys.  2,000!  And I think they were only the second generation since the people of Ammon were converted.  In verse 46 Helaman says, "For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young)..." 

The thought that really struck me last night and this morning was that the group of people Ammon taught must have been quite large to produce 2,000 sons who were willing to fight for their freedom.  I wonder if he knew the effect that he would have on future generations.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rachel is like...

Saw this on my friend Lara's blog.  I like these things.  I think they're funny!

  1. Rachel is like a bit of wood!
  2. Rachel is like Jon Stewart.
  3. Rachel is like a whetstone to sharpen the mind.
  4. Rachel is like the coolest celebrity out there.
  5. Rachel is like nails down a chalk board for me.
  6. Rachel is like my role model!
  7. Rachel is like a volcano ready to explode.
My favorite is #3.  It sounds cool.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Finds: A Link Round-up

Family Home Evening Games,  They have a great Sunday Bingo game as well as a ton of others here!

I found some new blogs this week through one of my new favs, Susie's Big Adventure.
American Bedu
American-Arab Dialogue
Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday - My Grandparents

My grandparents are coming today at noon if all goes well with their travels!  I'm/we're so excited!  It's great that they're able to drive all the way from Arizona to come visit us!  They've always been great about visiting even when we lived in North Carolina.  They were really the only relatives who came to visit us.  And they did it almost every year!

We're going to have tons of fun.  They are big into card games.  Not the gambling ones.  Just the fun ones like Sets and Runs, Descending Rook, and 5 Crown.  And they like to do puzzles.

Now the only question is where they will sleep!  We have three options for them! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Way Back When Wednesday - Ketchup

I didn't do too many crazy things when I was a kid.  I usually played it safe.  I think it was because I was afraid of getting caught and in trouble. 

But there was this one time that my brother and I were goofing off after dinner.  We were probably supposed to be clearing the table and doing the dishes, but hey, who wants to do dishes?!  So we were chasing each other around the house. The ground floor of our house in NC was set up such that we could run around through the kitchen, dining room, foyer, living room, and then back into the kitchen.

I thought I would be funny by hiding behind the wall separating the kitchen from the living room with an open bottle of ketchup.  My plan was to point the open bottle at his face--but not actually squirt any out--as he came around the corner.  I guess my brother's plan was to hide on the other side of the same wall and jump out and scare me. 

When I thought I heard him coming, I held out the bottle while staying safely behind the wall.  I guess he must have been startled a bit because as he came around the corner, he punched the open ketchup bottle out of my hands (who punches bottles?)!

Since I didn't have the best grip on the bottle it flew out of my hand and landed hard on the floor, thank goodness right side up.  But the force of the bottle hitting the floor caused ketchup to squirt straight up in the air. 

Being a paranoid child, my heart briefly stopped.  How was I supposed to explain to my parents how ketchup got on the ceiling?!  But when my brother and I looked up to assess the damage, we breathed a sigh of relief.  The ketchup did make a mess, but it only got on the trim of the wide doorway between the kitchen and living room.  It was easy to wipe off. 

And my parents never knew.  That is until I told them about this great story for my blog last week...  Oh well, good thing there's a statute of limitations on stupid childhood choices!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - I'm keeping up!

I've kept up with a few of my 2009 goals!  Yay!

My first goal is to become a better photographer.  I'm having a little trouble with that because my memory card is corrupt and a new one isn't in my budget yet.  Isn't that sad?!

My second goal is to take better care of my body.  The weather got a little better, so I walked to my parents' house for a few days, but then the weather got a little unplesant so I haven't been walking.  But I have been  making some consious decisions to have healthier snacks.  Like an apple instead of doughnuts. :)

Third is to increase my gospel knowledge.  I'm still reading The Infinite Atonement, and I'm still loving it!  It's got so much great stuff in it!  And my Book of Mormon Mondays posts have come in handy.  I used one for a FHE lesson yesterday evening!

Fourth is to improve my relationship with my husband.  I found an excellent book titled, Love and Respect, by Emmerson Eggerichs.  It's a great book!  He has an interesting theory about the big difference between men and women.  I felt like it was almost written about us specifically!

And fifth is to become a historian.  My goal was to read a book from or about a certain area of the world each month.  January was Africa.  And I chose the Middle East (not including Israel and Palestine) for February.  I didn't get a book picked out--February was pretty crazy around here--but I did find an excellent blog written by an American woman living in Saudi Arabia.  It's called Susie's Big Adventure.  It's so good! I love to learn about other cultures, customs and traditions.  Read it, you'll love it!  And through her blog, I found a TON of other blogs from the Middle East!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Humility

Alma 52:17 reads as follows...

17 And it came to pass that Teancum made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and march forth with his army against the Lamanites; but he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in their fortifications; therefore he abandoned his designs and returned again to the city Bountiful, to wait for the coming of Moroni, that he might receive strength to his army. 

How much humility did it take for Teancum to realize that there was no way he and his army could mount a sucessful attack on the Lamanites and then stop, return home and wait for someone else to come help him?   There are plenty of generals in history who haven't been so wise and have foolishly put their armies in harms way because they wanted the glory of the win. 

And how can I apply this in my life?  Well, I know there are plenty of times when I don't want to admit that I can't do something on my own so I don't seek help.  And then I look stupid...

Maybe I should learn a lesson from Teancum!