Saturday, April 27, 2013

Five Things for Saturday, Made it to Iowa Edition

-1-

We are in Iowa now!

It has been a crazy month of transitions and traveling and so it feels really wonderful to be settled into our house.  Transitions are always hard, but it is amazing how right and good this house, this community, this ward, this situation feels. It feels like we have come home, like this has been waiting for us all along. I have been so overcome with gratitude the last week as I have come to see that the Lord has answered every desire of my heart.  And I am not the only one who has randomly broke out with a " I love our Iowa house!", I think we all feel good about being here. Now if they could only invent a faster way of traveling, say teleporting, so we could still be close to family everything would be perfect!

Ate way too much fast food on the way.

-2-

Our trip out here went really well. The kids did much better on the drive than I expected them too. Abe especially did much better than I thought he would. He spent the majority of the trip looking out the window and singing songs to himself. I had been expecting him to get stir crazy and melt down, but except for two little incidents, he was a happy kid the whole way. If truth be told, the one who had the biggest break down on the trip was me.

We had planned to drive from Salt Lake to Cheyenne, Wyoming the first day, about a 6 hour drive. Well we showed up in Cheyenne at about 7 PM and stopped at the first hotel we came to. Our plan was to drop off our bags, go get some dinner, and then come back to the hotel to swim. No such luck. The hotel manager informed us that there was a Future Farmers of America convention in town and that all the hotels in town were full, except for one. He gave us the name of a that cheap hotel and wished us luck. Well, to make a long story short it took us three hours to find the hotel ( and to confirm that every other hotel was full) only to discover when we got there that it was now full too. Needless to say, Mom broke down at this point.

It was now 10:30 PM and we realized our only option was to drive two and half more hours to the next town and find a place to stay there. We stopped at a grocery store, changed the kids into their pajamas and got something to eat for dinner. When we explained to the kids that we were going to have to stay in the car for several more hours, and there would be no swimming that night, there were tantrums all around. Until, the thought came to me that we were just like Mary and Joseph, and there was no room for us in the inn. It was sweet to see that idea take hold in the kids minds and to hear Asher comfort Rose by saying, " It is okay we are just like baby Jesus, there was no room for him either."

At 1:00 AM we finally pulled into a hotel and hit the sack. We were grateful to finally have, what we have dubbed, " That Night in Cheyenne" over and done with. Hopefully never to be repeated.


-3-

After that our trip was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that when we pulled into town we got a call from the bank informing us that they wouldn't be able to close on our house that day like we had been planning on, but that it would still be three or four days till we could close. After processing the fact that we were now homeless and that all our worldly possessions were sitting in a truck with no place to go, we found a hotel that gave us a good rate for several nights. Though I did just about die when they told me that we would have to leave by Friday because after that the whole hotel was booked for a Future Farmers of America convention. Really?!

Fortunately we only had to stay in the hotel three nights (and with one of Jon's coworkers two nights) before we were able to move in. I just about wanted to cry when we left the bank with the keys in our hands. There is nothing like being homeless that makes you more grateful for a home.



Though I will say that the first Sunday we went to church here has gone down on the books as the worst Sacrament meeting of my life, thus far. By the time our first Sunday had rolled around we had been traveling for a week and a half and had been homeless for several days, the kids were fried emotionally and physically.

I knew things were going to go bad when the first thing they did upon entering the church building was run into the chapel and start crawling under all the pews. When Jon and i tried to get them to get out they just giggled and tried to hide under them. After that it just got worse, with the climax being when both of them ran circles around the chapel giggling uncontrollably during one of the talks. I wanted to die. I had hoped to make somewhat of a good impression our first Sunday, at least make it look like we raising children and not wild hyenas, and so I was mortified. Even when I took them out in the hall to play in the nursery room it didn't get better. They started a royal brawl with the other little boy who was in there and I am pretty sure that Abe knocked him on the head several times with a car before I could break it all up.

Yet you know what, I think the people in this ward  still like us. They have seen us at our worse and they are still excited to have us, and our wild hyenas. They even seemed thrilled  when they found out I was crazy enough to be pregnant with another one, which  makes me love them. Alot.


-4-

When we get more unpacked and settled in I will give you a tour of our new place. It is a really neat 100 year old farm house, which satisfies Jon and my " old house delusion disease" yearnings. Sometimes I think we have a problem because old houses, along with all their problems, seem to make us giddy with glee.

Maybe we are just old fashioned.

Our house in on seven acres just on the edge of town. It is perfect because we are still connected into city utilities and ave neighbors but we still get to live in the country. It is still about an 18 minute commute for Jon to get to work, but instead f driving a billboard, traffic packed freeway he gets to drive on beautiful country roads, which, i am finding out, is 100 times better for his mood.

Here is the view out my back window.



We have a five acre field that we have absolutely no idea what to do with. Jon is excited about the idea of getting a tractor, but I told him we have to pay for a baby before we get a tractor. So maybe next year. This year I think that we will probably let  some of the men in our ward plant alfalfa for their horses. Jon is hoping they will teach him how to do it  and maybe let him drive the tractor.

Silly boys and tractors.

The neighbors next door have horses and Abe loves to watch them. He can often be found near a window like so


watching them and saying " woof, woof". We have been trying to teach him that horses say " neigh" but most of the time he still woofs at them every chance he gets.

Speaking of dogs the kids favorite part of our house in the doggy door. They prefer entering and exiting the house through it than using the real door like any civilized human being. Which, I guess is okay because, since I never plan on getting a dog ( especially one that would be invited into the house) that might be the only use it gets.



-5-

One last story about Rose. Last week I curled her hair with the curling iron and afterward she looked in the mirror and frowned. "I look like a grandma! Not a little girl." It took me awhile to convince her that she did look cute and that looking like a grandma wasn't such a bad thing.


Oh,  I love that little girl.

Even when she drives me crazy.

Checking out really neat specimen drawers at the Iowa Science Museum.

We found this at a rummage sale. It was $10 so we didn't get it, but took a picture so we could make one. 


Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teaching Children Humility

Here is the third lesson in my Mom's Missionary Training Center. We did these lessons in November, so many of my lessons corresponded with Thanksgiving things we were doing as well. It worked out great for us but these lessons should work for any month of the year. If you would like to read more about how I implement these lessons in my home please read this post.


Humility
  • Pride 
  • Gratitude 
  • Prayer 
  • Repentance
Song: 
  "Can A Little Child Like Me" page 9 in Children's Songbook

or "In Humility, Our Savior" #172 in Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Memory Scripture:  

D&C 59:7 "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things"

or James 4:10 " Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." 


Chapter Books to Read-a-Loud (choose one or two):

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Black Pearl by Scott O'Dell

King of the Golden River by  John Ruskin

Sarah Plain and Tall by  Patricia MacLachlan



Week 1- Pride

Scripture Stories:

Jesus Washes the Feet of the Apostles

Read John 13

Key Concept:

Help children understand that Jesus was the Son of God, the greatest person to ever live on the earth, but that he was humble enough to do the job that a servant would normally do. He wanted us to understand that God measures greatness, not by the amount of money or power you have, but by how willing you are to serve and love others. When we humble ourselves and serve and love those around us we become like Christ and become great in the eyes of God.

Questions to talk about:

Why did Jesus wash the feet of his apostles?
Why didn't Peter want his feet washed?
Would you have let Jesus wash your feet?
Who can you show love and service to?
How are you going to love and serve them? 

Activities:

Pride Comes Before a Fall

Begin by explaining that being proud is thinking that you are more important or more valuable than others. Prideful people are also known for walking around with their “noses in the air.” They think so much of themselves that they look down on others and can't see other people's needs or feelings.

Set up a trip line in the room, make it low to the ground (about ankle height). This can be done by tying a string between two chairs. Take turns having the children say proud statements, like "I am the most beautiful person in the room", or "I am the best at playing basketball, no one else is as good as me".Have the kids practice walking around with their noses in the air when they say these things. It helps if you demonstrate first and then encourage the children to come up with their own proud statements. As they say their proud statement have them approach the string, and since their nose is in the air, have them trip over the line ( you may want to put pillows on the other side). Reinforce to the children that proud people are so focused on themselves that  they can't see the dangers ahead of them. You can also have them take turns saying humble phrases like, "I feel really pretty today, and you look pretty today too" or, "Wow, I got that shot, thanks for helping me get it." When they say humble phrases have them look around the room and avoid the trip line.

This activity can also be done using stuffed animals or dolls. Just make the trip line about knee height for the stuffed animals you are using.

Another variation is to put glasses covered with dark paper or a blindfold on the child and have them walk and try not to trip. You can explain that pride makes you blind but when we are humble we can see the needs of others and what God wants us to do. 


Power Struggle (from Kids of Integrity)

To play the game Power Struggle, one person begins by thinking of a small and insignificant animal, like a flea or an ant. The name of this creature is then inserted into the following rhyme:

Person one: There once was a flea who spoke right out loud,

“I’m so big! I’m so big! I’m as big as that cloud!”

Others respond: “Hey, little buddy,” said God with a wink,

“You’re really not quite as big as you think!

I hate to disappoint you, but I have a strong hunch,

There are quite a few others who could eat you for lunch!

After everyone else replies with God’s lines, the next person thinks up an animal slightly larger than the previous one. For example, the flea could be followed by a spider. The game continues until the creatures named are as large as dinosaurs.

You can use puppets, stuffed animals or pictures as a visual for each of the animals/creatures you name.

When the game is finished, take a minute to point out that God is bigger and more powerful than all of the creatures named.


Books to Read

The Tower: A Story of Humility by Richard Paul Evans

Yertle the Turtle and other stories by Dr. Seuss

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Mufaros Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale  by John Steptoe

Petunia  by Roger Duvoisin

Why Noah Chose the Dove by Isaac Bashevis Singer



Week 2- Gratitude

Scripture Stories

Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers

Read Luke 17:11-19

Key Concept:

The lepers were unable to help themselves and when they asked Jesus for help He had compassion on them. He told them to go and show themselves to the priest and then they would be healed. All ten lepers went to the priest and afterwards they were all healed. To say thank you the lepers would have had to go back and find Jesus and express their gratitude. Out of all ten lepers only one leper was willing to go to the effort to find Jesus again and thank him. Stress to the children that sometimes showing gratitude is not easy, but that when we do we gain more blessings from God, just like the leper who came back did.

Questions to Talk About:

Why did only one leper go back and say thank you?
How do you think this made Jesus feel?
How do you think the leper felt after he said thank you?
Have you ever forgotten to say thank you to someone after they did something nice for you?
How did that make you feel?
What can you do to help you remember to say thank you?

Activities

Count Your Blessings

Help children "see" their blessings. There are several different ways to do this. You can:
  • Keep a gratitude Jar. Have children write things they are grateful for on slips of paper and have them put them in a mason jar (or another large type of jar). Keep it out all month (or all year) and have  them add things they are thankful for. Open it up and read the slips occasionally as a reminder. It is also fun to spend time decorating the outside of the jar with things the kids are grateful for. 
  • Make a long list of everything that you are grateful for. You could use a cash register roll and see who can make the longest list. Keep it up all month and have the children add to it so that it grows and grows. This is also a fun idea to do on  Thanksgiving, and every year see if you can get your list longer than last year's list.  Children can draw pictures if they are too young to write.
  • Make a gratitude wall or gratitude tree. At every meal have a pens and a pile of sticky-notes available on the table. Before eating have every member of the family write (or draw) at least one thing they are grateful for on a sticky-note. Stick the notes on a wall or create a "gratitude tree" somewhere in your house where you can stick or hang the notes. When we did this we used the sliding doors in our dining room. Our goal was to have the whole door covered by the end of the month and we did! Well, at least the top half that the baby couldn't reach and pull off. 

Some of the notes my two-year-old drew
 

Thankful for Thankless Jobs 

There are many people who perform thankless jobs that make your child's life easier. This could be a teacher, janitor, librarian or someone who organizes a community event. Start by helping your child identify these selfless people in his life. Next, provide materials for your child to create thank you cards to give to these people. Helping your child see how he benefits from others humility, can help him become more humble too.

The Present Game

Give your children each a gift bag and have them run around the house to find one ‘gift’ to give each other. They don't have to be real gifts, just objects, toys, books, clothes or something that they think the other person might like. Remind them that it should be something that they own and that they won't mind if they don't get back. When everyone has found a gift to give take a moment and talk about the correct way to give and receive gifts. Explain that when they open each other’s presents they must 1) thank the person and 2) say something nice about the gift... even if it is something silly or something that they don't like. It may help if you model for the kids by opening a gift first yourself and showing them how to respond gratefully. Kids usually love this game, so play it until they loose interest.


Books to Read

The Lion and the Mouse by Aseops Fable

It Could Always Be Worse by Margot Zemach

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle by Margaret Read MacDonald

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson

Rabbit's Gift by George Shannon

The Hand-Me Down Doll by Steven Kroll

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie  by Laura Joffe Numeroff



Week 3- Prayer

Scripture stories

The Lord’s Prayer


Read Matt. 6: 5-15

Key Concept: 

Explain to the children that Jesus taught us the correct way to pray. Read through the Lord's Prayer and help them identify the different parts of a prayer. 
  • Prayer should come from our hearts, we shouldn't use vain repetitions
  • When we pray we begin by addressing our Father in Heaven
  • Express gratitude for blessings seen and unseen
  • Humbly ask for what you or others want/need
  • Close in the name of Jesus Christ 
It may help to have children draw  a picture of each of these steps and have them posted some place where they can see them when they pray.

Esther's Powerful Prayer

Read Esther 4-7 ( you may just want to read pieces of the story and summarize the rest, as it is long)

Key Concept:

Esther had a big choice to make and she was afraid that if she made the King angry she would be killed. Esther was afraid but she had faith that God could help her. Before she made any decisions she asked all her friends and the rest of the Jewish people to pray and fast with her that she would be safe. When Esther approached the King he was kind and loving and when he heard her concerns he wanted to save her people. She knew that the Lord had heard her prayers. Just like Esther we can pray to God when we have big choices to make, and we can ask others to pray with us too.

Questions to Talk About:

Why do you think Esther asked everyone else to pray with her?
Have you ever had a time when you had a problem you couldn't fix?
Did you pray?
How do you know that God hears your prayers?


Activities

Every knee shall bow (adapted from Kids of Integrity)

Show the kids pictures of real (current and historical) Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses. If you can find story books about them even better. Talk about how people show respect to these rulers by kneeling before them.

Have one of the children dress up like a  king or a queen and sit on a "throne." Have the other children pretend to be subjects and approach the king or the queen. When they approach have them kneel and bow their heads when they ask them for a favor or a gift. Let each child have a turn being the king or the queen. You can also have the kids see what happens when the subjects approach and don't treat the king or queen humbly. Is the king or queen as willing to listen to them and give hem what they ask for when they don't ask humbly?

Explain that God and Christ are more powerful than any of these rulers and that we kneel to show our respect. Remind them that when we pray to God we bow our heads and kneel to show our respect and love for them.


Books to Read

Old Turtle by Douglas Wood

Boris is Missing!: And Other Really Good Reasons to Pray 
by Sandy Silverthorne

The Monk Who Grew Prayer
by Claire Brandenburg 

Emma and Mommy Talk to God by Marianne Williamson

Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson
 


Week 4- Repentance

Scripture Stories
 
Naaman and the Little Maid


Read 2 Kings 5:1-9

Key Concept:

Teach children that Naaman was a rich and powerful man and that the little maid was a poor and powerless servant. She showed courage in approaching Naaman's wife and bearing testimony that she knew the prophet Elisha could help him. Sometimes when we have great trials (like the leprosy that Naaman had) it makes us more humble, and Naaman showed humility by being willing to listen to her and follow her advice.  Even so, when Naaman heard Elisha's advice his pride took over and he didn't want to follow the prophet. Luckily Naaman repented of his pride and obeyed and was cured of his leprosy.

Questions to Talk About:

What do you think made the Little Maid  bear her testimony about Elisha?
Why do you think Naaman didn't want to do what Elisha asked him to do?
What happened when Naaman did obey the prophet?
Have you ever had times when you didn't want to do something you were told? Why not?
How do you make things better when you make mistakes?

Activities

Practice Repentance (From Kids of Integrity)

To complete this science experiment, you will need these supplies:
- a white cotton cloth
- berries (fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries)
- lemon juice
- measuring cups
- a cookie sheet
- a spoon

Prior to beginning the experiment, create a stain on the cotton cloth using the berry juice. Invite your children to try to wash the stain out using water. (Bath time is an ideal time for this activity!) Point out that the berry stain is like sin; no matter how hard we try, we cannot get rid of sin on our own.

Next, place the stained cloth on a cookie sheet. Have your children pour lemon juice on the stained area, one teaspoon at a time. As you do so, explain that the lemon juice represents God’s power. Read 1 John 1:9 and rinse the fabric with water. Explain that our job is to confess our sins and that God is the one who purifies us (or washes our sins away). You may need to pour hot water through the fabric if it is a tough stain.

Questions for discussion

Could you wash the stain out using your own strength?
How do we get the dirt off the outside of our bodies?
Can we wash our insides?
What did get rid of the stain?
Who does the lemon juice represent?
What do we need to do to get rid of our sin?
What is the difference between a proud person and a humble person?

Rotten fruit and good fruit (adapted from Kids of Integrity)

Get a large piece of paper and help the children draw two trees on it. One tree will represent pride and the other will represent humility. At the base of one tree, write “pride.” For pre-readers, it’s helpful to replace the “I” in pride with an illustration of a human eye. Explain that the “I” in “pride” stands for living life as if it’s “all about me!” A proud person thinks and says things like, “I’m the best;” “I know everything;” “I am more important than you.” Remind your children that what we do comes from what we think. The “fruit” in our lives is our actions. Just like a tree grows fruit from the water and food that comes from the tree’s roots, the way we act is rooted or based on what we believe.

Help the children think of examples of proud behaviors. Write them on pieces of construction paper (which you can cut to look like fruit) and paste them onto the pride tree. Here are some examples of behaviors you might help them talk about:

Selfishness

Greed

“I‘m more important than you.”

Insisting on being first.

Wanting the best for oneself.

“I deserve to have everything my way.”

Refusing to share with others.

Self-righteousness

“I never do anything wrong.”

Refusing to say, “I’m sorry” and unwilling to ask forgiveness.

“I’m perfect.”

Refusing to admit faults or wrongdoing.

Poor sportsmanship

“I’m better than you.”

Overly upset when losing at a game.

“I know everything.”

Refusing to take advice or being unwilling to listen to others.

After you have a good list of behaviors show the kids a fresh banana and explain how it represents the fruit of the pride tree. Get a strait pin and as you read the list of proud behaviors the kids have pasted on the tree poke the banana with the pin. You can make them big pokes, and even wiggle it around inside the banana a bit so that it mushes up inside. Tell the children that you are going to leave the banana out on the table (or wherever) for the next week and tell them to watch what happens to it.

Next (this can be done on another day if you like) have the children work on the humility tree. Have them draw a crown at the base of the tree and tell them that the person who owns this tree believes that Jesus is King. Explain that when we believe that Jesus is King, it changes the way we think and act! Help the children think of humble behaviors and paste them on the humility tree like you did for the pride tree. Here are some ideas of behaviors you may want to talk about with them:

Consideration

Thoughtfulness

“We are all important to God.”

Willing to let others go first.

Kindness

Generosity

“God wants us to share His love with each other.”

Willing to share with others.

Willing to admit and confess sin

“Sometimes I sin or do wrong.”

“I sometimes make mistakes.”

Willing to admit faults.

Willing to say, “I’m sorry” and ask forgiveness.

Graciousness

Patience

Love

“No one is perfect. God forgives me and I should forgive others.”

Lets little things slide instead of getting upset with others.

Choosing to live in peace or harmony

“Life is more fun when we choose to get along.”

Politely accepts winning.

Loses without whining.

Teach-ability

Attentiveness

“I still have a lot to learn.”

Being willing to accept advice and listen to constructive comments.

After you have a good list pasted on the tree bring out another fresh banana. Explain that this banana represents the fruit of the humility tree. Get a wet washcloth and as you read the list of humble behaviors wipe the outside of the banana. Leave it on the table next to the "pride" banana and tell the children to observe what happens to each of the bananas over the next week.

Hopefully, what will happen is that the "pride" banana, the one with the pokes, will start to get brown and ugly faster than the "humility" banana. At the end of the week you can open up the bananas and look at the inside of the fruit and see that the "pride" banana is more rotten than the "humility" one.

Explain to the children that  if we don’t have Jesus’ help, our "natural man" will lead us to grow “rotten fruit.” If we want to produce “Jesus fruit,” then we need to ask His Holy Spirit to live in us and help us to live and love others like Jesus did. When we do grow Jesus fruit, God is pleased and others find us much more pleasant to be around.

Let your children know that even if you make proud choices, and have rotten fruit, that you can always change and become better. Tell them that you will watching them for good choices. When you notice them making good, humble choices instruct that child to pick one piece of rotten fruit off the tree and put a fresh fruit on the other tree instead. The goal is to get all the rotten fruit picked off and replaced with fresh fruit. Remind them that Christ wants all of us to be good, fresh beautiful trees and that each of us can through His love and power.


Books to Read

Somebody’s New Pajamas by Isaac Jackson

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag

Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone

The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth

The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin



Final Program

Put on a program for parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, or stuffed animals and review what they have learned. Include the song and scripture they have learned as well as some of the stories they have learned over the month. Instead of doing a lesson the day (or two) before the program we spend it getting ready for the program. It doesn't have to be anything big, just a chance for them to teach what they have learned... because when you teach something you learn it the best. 


If you have any other good ideas for scripture stories, activities or books that go with honesty please leave a comment. I plan on using this same lesson plan again with my children next year and it would be great to have some new ideas!

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Covered Wagon


Our car broke down a few weeks ago. We were on our way to Idaho to visit my family, in the middle of a bad snow storm, when our car started to make strange noises.  Jon exited at the nearest exit and as soon as he turned off we heard (and felt) something snap and our car lost power. Luckily we were at the top of a hill and were able to coast down to the nearest gas station, with only a minimal amount of pushing on Jon's part. Needless to say it was quite an eventful weekend, as family drove out to rescue us and let us borrow their cars so we could finish our journey.

When we finally got back home Jon and I had a pow pow and decided that it was time for our little Pontiac Sunfire to finally go the way of the earth. We really did need a bigger car. Three car seats crammed into the backseat works but isn't much fun, and in five months four kids are definitely not going to fit. We figured that now was as good a time as any to get a bigger car.

We ended up buying an older style Suburban. It was a really good deal (we didn't want to take out a car loan) and even though it is older it has low miles and has been treated really well inside and out. We had to drive about 40 minutes to go pick up the car and on the way home Jon drove the Suburban with all the kids in it, while I followed behind in another car.


Never in a hundred years did I ever imagine that I would have (or want) enough children to justify a behemoth of a car like a suburban. Yet, as I watched that huge hunk of metal, filled with everything I loved most in the world, roll down the road my eyes filled with tears.

 In that moment that suburban transformed itself into my very own "covered wagon".

In the 1800's thousands of Mormon pioneers traveled from Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley. They crossed it on foot, pulling all their belongings in covered wagons or in handcarts. These pioneers left behind families, homes, careers, and possessions to travel where they felt the Lord was directing them. The journey was filled with much joy and sorrow, babies were born and died on the way, young people fell in love, sickness and exhaustion took lives, but thousands of pioneers made the trek because they had faith that God was leading their path.

In a few days Jon and I will be loading up our "covered wagon" and leaving behind family as we re-trace that pioneer trail, going from the Salt Lake Valley back to Iowa, not far from where the Saints began their trek. The idea seems scary and overwhelming to me, much like I am sure it did to those early pioneers. Yet just like those early pioneers I know it is where the Lord wants us to go.

I really had to smile during Elder Stanley G. Ellis' talk during General Conference this weekend. The transcripts of the talks are not out yet, so I won't be able to quote him directly, but in his talk he said something along the lines of " 100 years ago the prophet would call people to go settle new areas. Today we have thousands of people who would go wherever the prophet told them to go, but  with 14 million members you can't wait around for the prophet to give you a call. You just need to go." 

This made me smile because in the past year, as Jon and I have struggled to figure out where the Lord wants us to be, I have often exclaimed that I wish I lived 100 years ago and that the prophet would just call us up and say "Jon and Heather I need you to go to the middle of nowhere and build the kingdom." I didn't care so much where we went, I just wanted to know that we were going where the Lord needed us. The problem was that none of the doors Jon and I were trying were opening. We had put offers on several different houses in Utah and none of them had worked out, and we just had a feeling that we were not suppose to stay here.

Which, isn't what we wanted.

We wanted to stay close to aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. We wanted to stay where we had grown up and what was familiar and safe.

Yet, the door to Iowa is the one that has opened up and we feel a lot of peace about going.

In my own little way I really feel like a modern day pioneer. Packing up my children and belongings in my covered wagon and heading along that well worn trail between Iowa and Salt Lake. Hoping, beyond hope that the Lord has a place and a work for me to do there.

Though, I will say I wish my modern day "covered wagon" got as good as gas mileage as those pioneer wagons did! But, hey, at least we will be making the trek in 2 days and not the 6+ weeks it took them.

And I won't have to sleep on the ground... hopefully.