Thursday, January 17, 2019

Beehive State

After nearly a month of flirting with the idea of visiting Utah, we finally made it happen. 


Since Rich is still banned from his office, we decided to take advantage of these forced days off and visit family and friends in our beloved Utah County.  We rented a car which was upgraded to a van (better to fit in with the locals I guess ;) and trekked across snowy + windy Wyoming.  One closed road, endless slowdowns, and nine hours later we made it to Grandma's (Rich's parents) house. The kids instantly made themselves at home in the toy room and could NOT wait to sleep in bunkbeds!! 

Looking forward to a long weekend of visiting + catching up, delicious foods and creating memories.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

talk

I was asked to speak about President Nelson's worldwide devotional from June in Sacrament meeting today and while I really don't like speaking, I knew these words are what he wanted our congregation to hear and that made it easier. I've decided to share the majority of my talk in hopes that it helps you see the good in our world.

"Just over a year ago I was called as the young women’s president. I don’t remember much about my first interactions with the youth but I remember their smiling and encouraging faces and my promise that I would be physically, emotionally and spiritually present for them, always. We’ve shared hopes, broken dreams, heartaches, tears, anxiety, and laughs. We’ve had young women move out and new ones arrive and through it all this group of youth is the most accepting, patient, diverse and friendly and there is no doubt in my mind that they are the hope of Israel. 

I want the youth and all of you to know how they are exactly who the prophet has said they are.
We watched this devotional at the Ferrin’s home and Adriana and I were the only yw representatives, Dawson, Talia and Mattie were watching on the beach and the others were watching at home. I remember being extremely moved with the Prophet's words. Thinking of the incredible opportunity it was for the youth to have the prophet speak directly to them.

The youth have listened to, read, and reread this talk. We’ve had the bishop give a lesson, there has been a fireside, stake standard nights and I’m sure other outlets where this devotional has been discussed over and over again and for with my time with you today, I want to focus on making his words personal for our ward.

I know families are concerned with raising children in these trying and hard times with all the pressures of the world and I want to illustrate for you the truth that as the bad gets worse, the good gets better. And that good is our youth for they are the rising generation that will gather Israel. 

I want to share with you how our youth are doing exactly what they were born to do.
  • As one of our yw was called as class president she sat down with her mom and counciled about the needs and how she could help each yw under her care. 
  • Our youth, keep their Tuesday nights open for mutual regardless of other stresses or demands. 
  • Our youth are Assigned ministering brothers/sisters and in our ward those assignments are adopted grandparents They are incredible ministers and allow these adopted grandparents to be a part of their lives. They invite them to choir and band concerts, go on walks, invite them to share their talents at mutual visit when they are bedridden and sincerely become their friends. 
  • We have 5 young women and 7 young men who have entered the Youth program this January and will be interviewed to be found worth and able to receive the priesthood and go to the temple at age 11.
  • Early morning seminary. What are you doing at 6:20am? And did you know we have a family That drives more than 40 minutes to attend each morning? 
  • Our youth created a movie at the drop of a hat highlighting the yw values and standards to be shown during the chapel tours. Our newest convert participated without any hesitation. 
  • If someone asked you to give a spiritual thought with 30 seconds notice, could you do it? Our youth can. 
  • At Bishops youth council the love and awareness these youth have for their struggling peers is incredible. “I’ll call them” “I say hi at school” “we haven’t seen them in a while” are constant. 
  • New beehive asked about personal progress, and before a leader could respond an miamaid instantly said “come over anytime and I’ll answer any questions”
  • Our youth work as music teachers, help with summer camps, babysit, volunteer weekly at a horse stable and are part of Superior's youth leadership all while being valuable members in their family. 
  • One young woman started coming back to church and when we gave her scriptures engraved with her name with tears in her eyes she said this is (we) are her family. 
  • We’ve had a Fireside where youth have talked about struggles with mental illnesses and were completely vulnerable with each other 
  • A large majority of the talent for the nativity was youth and nearly all our sacrament musical numbers involved them. And when was the last time we didn’t have a youth speaker? 
  • These 12-18 year olds have high standards amidst temptations of vaping, alcohol, cheating, immodesty, vulgar language and sexual pressure.
  • A young woman didn’t get accepted to the collage she had dreamt her whole life about and when I talked to during a break after her first semester elsewhere she radiate as she said she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
  • We had a guest in for mutual and the next Sunday I was reminded that we  “shouldn’t we send her a thank you card”.
  • These youth Go to the temple on days off of school and always bring their own family names. Indexing should be our middle name.
  • At girls camp they sit anywhere they want for dinner and the one night I was there I asked if we could sit as a ward and with some hesitation they agreed. I’ll never forget the respect they showed me and the love I have for those young women. 
  • And to gather Israel we can begin with ourselves. We have a young woman who seemed to be missing during class which resulted in two beehives giggling as they hunted her down to invite her to join. After a few months of this, the typically missing young woman showed up in class on Sunday and said “I saved you the walk to find me” we may be a smaller group but each one of us is needed and an absence is deeply felt. 
To close I want to share some words from President Nelson, 
“My beloved younger brothers and sisters, you are among the best the Lord has ever sent to this world. You have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation!”

I was emotional through most of the talk, and I've never had so many grown men (and women) come up to me saying they were moved to tears as well. The youth in the Boulder ward and worldwide are phenomenal. The theme for 2019 is "If ye love, keep my commandments" and I can't think of anyone who does that better than the youth. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Shutdown

Well, we've officially made history with the longest Government shutdown ever.

Rich hasn't been allowed to go into work for the past 22 days and we haven't seen a paycheck to prove it. Thankfully, Rich is a furloughed employee and all signs point to us receiving back pay once this mess it all over.  Quite honestly, I don't know what we would be doing if we didn't have an emergency fund saved up. We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey and one of his main principles is that you should have 3-6 months of your income saved incase something happens. We've been blessed and confidant with Rich's employment status but the reality of being without a paycheck is now ours.  I can't tell you how many people have asked if we'll be ok without a paycheck and have offered their assistance and while we are deeply touched, there is such peace in being able to simply transfer our paycheck amount from savings and carry on as normal. I'm so grateful Rich and I have been able to gain remarkable educations, save for the unexpected, and live a wonderful life all the while staying out of debt, entirely, and completely. 

Now an effect of the shutdown you may not know is that Rich cannot legally accept any job offers, quit or begin new work. As you do know, his resume is everywhere and on Thursday, we received an offer from Rich's #1 choice (!!) which is exciting but we can't make it official-- they better hope we don't get a better offer before the shutdown ends, hah! With this offer we know Rich will be leaving NIST and while he cannot physically go into work he has numerous projects he needs to wrap up before he starts his new position so he's stayed busy. Oh yeah, and he's a ref for YM Stake basketball again.

This shutdown is truly unfortunate and my heart breaks for those who are willing and want to work but cannot make ends meet without their paychecks. May the shutdown end sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

M&M

Our McKay boy is now CTR 5 for Primary, but really wanted to be in CTR 6 because that's his favorite number. Over Thanksgiving, he fell in love with playing basketball with his daddy and got an over the door hoop for Christmas which quickly became a favorite activity. The one thing we know for certain about 2019, is that McKay will start school! He can write and sound out most words but whether he takes the time to do it well is another story. Recently, he attended a nerf gun birthday party and was so adorable running from bunker to bunker with his goggles and bandanna. When I pick him up from Lifetime he always makes sure I meet a new friend he's made. Each night, we watch this and he and Rich act it out-- it's the best. McKay has interest in every direction and it makes life with him so fun.

Macey Mack is our favorite Sunbeam! She couldn't get out of the "baby class" fast enough but doesn't love that she can't sit by whoever she wants in primary. Each night before bed this little lady is reminded to stay in her room and if she gets cold/scared/peed her pants/wakes up for any reason she is to cuddle with McKay and NOT go in mom and dad's room-- with the help of locking her door and ours, it's working! Most days she's up before 6am and demands daddy to go downstairs and eat "dinner "with her, it's the cutest, as long as I get to stay in bed :) Everyday I'm impressed by her taste buds and the fact that she eats everything, not a lot of anything, but a large variety.  Recently, her favorite has been my zucchini and mushroom saute. Her horse love is holding strong and she is counting down the days until she can ride one for her birthday again. One of my favorite things about her right now is when she says " I don't love you" and then I make a sad face and she says "I super, duper love you!!"

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019

Since April, we've felt like we were moving to Berlin for two years for the Humboldt Fellowship but then that door closed and we haven't had a strong sense of direction since. Currently, we are waiting to hear back about a position at NREL which is a National Lab in Golden, Colorado but with the Government shutdown things have been at a standstill. Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque is another option but again the shutdown is affecting progress there. All the while, we've been told we can extend our time with NIST another year but formal paperwork hasn't been submitted nor a formal offer given because, you guessed it, the shutdown. If we stayed with NIST another year, we could be sponsored to go to Germany for a few months which would be awesome.  However, we'd want to be back for McKay to start school in the fall.  Unfortunately, paperwork takes three months and hasn't been started because we don't know if we want to extend with NIST because we haven't been able to receive other offers due to the SHUTDOWN! Oh, and each of these positions would be for another post-doctorate which means in two more years we'd be unsure of our future again--which I'm finding is a fast turn around! 

Additionally, we've looked at industry jobs and have exhausted everyone in Rich's network with nothing to show. Earlier this week I ended up googling "Molecular Simulation Engineer" and randomly (or divinely) found the perfect fit for Rich in Lawrence, Kansas and a semi-good fit in a dream location of Raleigh, North Carolina-- so we've added them to our deck of unknown cards.

On top of all this, we need to let our landlord know in 10 days if we are signing another contract or not.  Which we would gladly (besides the 10% rent increase each year) sign another 12 month lease if we were staying at NIST or going to NREL but we would want to give our 60 days notice ASAP  if we go anywhere else. The chances of us knowing all we need to know in 10 days is near impossible.  The drama.

BUT through all of this, I've never, ever, doubted that it'll all work out. All my blessings and prayers have all been full of calm and peaceful feelings-- which I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for, but I can still be an anxious mess, right?

Back to the shutdown...Rich hasn't been allowed to go into work since the day after Christmas which has been a fantastic and unexpected break (but the reality will hurt when we don't get a paycheck on Friday). I instantly started thinking of where we could visit and day trips to spend our days together but what we ended up needing the most was a chance to reset. Rich spent hours elbow deep in grease, watching youtube videos, took a handful of trips to NAPA and with his buddy Lance repaired + FIXED the Jeep, we've deep cleaned the whole apartment, library story time as a family, I've been able to have lunch dates with friends sans kids, put all the Christmas decor away, clean and reorganized the kids room and garage, Rich has been able to workout each morning while the kids and I are at Lifetime (childcare has now increased to 2.5 hours/day!!), attempted and half succeeded to get new discount batteries in our iPhones, scored on deals the day after Christmas, stalked the freezer full of omelet muffins for me and lunches for Rich, gone to soccer fields to fly McKay's drone, had game nights with our neighbors, we've eaten all three meals together, Rich does preschool with the kids and we all have downtime in the afternoon. Let's not kid ourselves and say we want the shutdown to last forever BUT if it's still mid January and we finally go stir crazy,  we're coming for you Utah!
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Now, what I'm about to say was all I was going to post today, but apparently I needed to get a lot more out ;)

Last Sunday, a new family in the ward asked if we wanted to do a babysitting swap so we could go to the Temple as couples and we jumped on the opportunity.  A few days later we heard that there had been some changes in the Temple and we were even more ready to attend. At the start of a New Year, with all our questions + yearnings for our next step and concerns + thoughts about my new young women, the Temple was the best place for us to be today.



Now, we didn't come out of the Temple with six job offers sitting in Rich's e-mail but we did come away with a calm assurance that he cares.