Sunday, January 06, 2008

Caroline today with her "I am a Child of God" crown she made in primary

First Sunday of the year.

So forget what I said about every other Sunday being the best Sunday this was really the best. I felt a ton better and willed myself out the door. That soup must have done wonders.

We started at 9:30 am and we were 10 minutes early. I quite like the early schedule as the kids are bright eyed and busy tailed and no sleeping on the way downtown. This probably would have been a better schedule for us, but funny how we always think we know what is best.

It was just an amazing testimony meeting. (The first Sunday of the month members of our congregation can come up and share their feelings about their testimony of the church or really anything) I always get so torn with what to type and share as I know this is out for the whole world to see, but I could just write story after story. We will see how I do with sharing information in the next paragraphs but was so touched today by these stories.

Our congregation has members who worry about food and shelter every day. I have never been in a congregation like this and this has never been a worry for me in my life. "unto whom much is given much is required ” - has a whole new meaning to me this year. I feel we have been very blessed to have two highly functioning cars that have made it possible to drive each week downtown. I have felt it has been our responsibility to help bring people to church where it could be difficult for them to come. I am so grateful I have not had one Sunday (knock on screen) that I have had my three kids on the side of the freeway calling someone to help us. We didn't do anything to deserve nice cars, it has been a blessing to make it possible for us to get to church and to serve this year.

Sally Jane found a bag of gummies in my purse and put 6 green ones in her mouth at once. She chewed on them for awhile and then came and sat on my lap and then threw them up in my bare hands. That made for a nice exit from the chapel for a minute. Too bad I don't have a photo of this.

I was very touched by one girls (she can't be a day over 25) story of her trials in her life. She shared her experience of living with her young child in a motel and how every day was a struggle to find the $39 to pay the bill to be able to sleep there that night. One week they were moved from room 19 and she was not too happy about it. The next week part of the motel was permanently closed and one of the rooms was room 19. She shared what a blessing it was for her and how the Lord had watched over her to protect her and her child to still have a place to stay. Her whole life she has been on her own and has started coming to our church since before Christmas. She shared of many struggles in her life but that she feels that when she no longer has to struggle for daily necessities that she will appreciate so much more what she has because of this time in her life. She was introduced to our church by an amazing young woman who came to the city as a BYU intern for 6 months. The BYU intern had wanted while she was here to share the gospel with 5 people. This was one of those people. I am so impressed by the intern who came here to further her career, single, young - but dove into our congregation and was just amazing.
So speaking of interns we got a whole new set today. 6 couples! When they all stood up to introduce themselves it was just awesome. We need them so bad as they can add so much to our congregation. Can you imagine living somewhere for only 6 months and making such a difference in a ward? These young people have that ability! I always love hearing what they are doing for their internship - working at the Smithsonian, US commerce, the Holocaust Museum, Senators etc. I told some of them today I just want to jump into their lives for just a week.

While I was out in the hall during the first part of primary avoiding my 4 year old who climbs and is all over me like a leech, one of the couples came up to me and asked if I was in Primary. They then said "we just moved in the ward and were wondering if you needed any help today?" "WHAT?" I of course hugged them, started crying (I am always so weepy on Sunday's in this ward, Annie Kate says I could build a lake on Sundays) The older kids were out in the hall waiting to get into class. This couple just meshed with this kids and were starting to memorize their names. As we walked into the room the girl said, "I play the piano if you need any help" Our piano player and song leader were out of town. So for the first part of primary the President was teaching them the first part of the song then sitting down to the piano to play the song. Talk about a one man band. So I told this girl, "yes please can you play a reverence hymn" She played to whole time during primary and even offered to play the welcome song that we sang for her and her husband. This couple is what I like to call a powerhouse couple. They as individuals I am sure are awesome, but together they are unstoppable! I seriously could not believe that their first Sunday in a ward found the primary room and said, "What can we do to help?"

As we were teaching the children the song "I am a Child of God" (if you have never heard the song it is really worth listening to here) the husband of the "power couple" , and I must note he was wearing a pink shirt, asked if he could share a story. He said a family member is currently in Baghdad and often sings this song during his day to help him not be scared. He then told the kids to sing this time any time they feel scared or alone. again... AMAZING!

Wow. what can I say. Our Sunday's our packed with lessons to be learned. I get so nervous that I am sharing other peoples personal information but at the same time how can I keep all these incredible stories to myself? So since I feel vulnerable I am hoping someone will say something so I don't feel like I am talking into space
I am asking a few questions with my post... don't be shy.
  • Have you ever offered to help on your first Sunday in a ward?
  • Does this story encourage you to do so?
  • Are you a part of a powerhouse couple?
  • Have you ever sang the song "I am a Child of God" to calm your fears (I did during my MRI last year)
  • Have you ever been a ward or church congregation for 6 months felt like you made a difference?
  • Has your child ever thrown up on you during Sacrament meeting?
  • Was I too revealing in my post?
  • and is that photo of Caroline not the cutest ever??? Do you have photos of your kids in front of your church at different ages of their life. This one is one of the best, Natasha you inspired me! This is her kids on Christmas Eve going to church.. priceless
  • Next Sunday will you take a photo of you or your kids out front of your church building?


Natasha said...

I am amazed to think that I inspired YOU! No prob!
When I moved to Texas with a 6 month old baby, I knew no one except my then husband. We called information, gave our zip code and asked what Episcopal church was in that zip code, and on Sunday we showed up at that church. A woman approached me on my 1st Sunday there and asked me to teach Sunday school for the kindergarten age, right then and there. I said yes, and it was one of the best things I ever did. I stayed at that church for all 3 years we were in Texas and my church family there truly became my "family." I eventually became employed there in pastoral care, doing counseling and home visits for the sick and home bound.
Anyway, yes, I learned that jumping right in the very 1st visit to that church changed the direction of my life for those 3 years that I lived there!

Glad you liked my church pics. I find that feast days and holidays like Easter, Christmas, etc are easy way to take pictures of my kids at the church without appearing to be disrespectful. Now I am wanting to look back at all of my old pics from my church in TX too. It was beautiful, but in a different way than my current church.

deidra said...

I don't think I've ever jumped right in like that on a first Sunday. Maybe I've held the door for someone and thought that was good!

I really do feel like I'm part of a power couple, but only because I have such an amazing husband! Last night the Sunday School president called to see if they had gotten new manuals for this year (umm, nope! Just RS and Priesthood ones!). Since my husband is the counselor over SS, we got volunteered to teach the Marriage and Family Relations class. He conducted, played the piano for the opening hymn, and then we taught! What a blessing to have such a talented man for my husband.

I just read a friend's blog and he talked about never leaving early, particularly when it comes to church things. He listed not leaving until the last chair was put away, the carpet was vacuumed, the floor was swept, the last pan washed and put away and everything you can do is done. I really liked it. I think your family is a great example of this, but also showing up early, not necessarily physically, but to anticipating needs.

Sometimes I feel like I might be too eager to help, but I think as long as everyone around us gets an opportunity to serve, there isn't such a thing.

Do the BYU Washington Seminar single students attend your ward? If so, there is a certain girl with the initials CW who is amazing (we were YW together) who is out there now. Find her if you can and put that little Idaho girl to work! :-)

Traci said...

I think your Sunday posts are great and you know exactly how to word things too. I think it's great you feel so inspired each week and want to share your feelings too.
I moved into my first branch 4 years ago. It has totally changed me. After a few weeks, I did ask to be put in the nursery to teach and I have been a part of the primary since. Now I am president and doing many things at once on Sundays, which now comes naturally to me. My mom who is in Utah is always amazed, she is like there is no way she could do that, I tell her there is no one else to do it, so you just jump in and do it. I have gotten more comfortable at speaking in church too. I think it's easy to talk with the children each week, they are so loving and forgiving too.
So thank you for sharing a part of your Sundays with us. I think most of us enjoy it!

Alisa said...

No, I don't think you shared too much personal info of others.
I loved the picture outside of the church. I will be taking some photos next sunday, and taking more of my children in front of the building we attend now. You never know how long you will be in certain places. I have a photo of me in front of the building that we attend now, and I never, ever, ever thought that I would be back at this building with my own kids!.
I sing I am a child of God, to my 2 youngest every night.
I know what you mean about powerhouse couples. I just love the example that is set, it makes me want to be better, to serve more, in my own way.

Liz said...

I'm not sure I have ever volunteered to help out on my first Sunday, if I did I can't recall. Although being in New Orleans sure called for some last minute service on some SUndays. Your story does inspire me to try this the next time we are new in a ward.

I've never had a child throw up on me during church. Unless you count spitting out chewed up goldfish.

I haven't taken pictures of my kids in front of our church, since usually we are struggling to get in the door on time. Today, with 1pm church we were 9 minutes early!!! So, next week, I will give it a shot. That picture of Caroline was darling!!

And, no I don't think you shared to much information. These were all great and inspiring stories! Thanks again for sharing your Sundays with us!

Mindy said...

I usually dred the first sunday in a ward- I always felt like a fish out of water. What an inspiring story. If I ever get a chance to be in a new ward I will remember this. I remember many sundays when we first moved here with newborn twins sitting in the church parking lot in my car (without David) not knowing how to get into church. (Do I take one carseat in with one toddler and set them inside and then run back and get the other two???) I even played "hookey" a couple of times due to being so overwhelmed with the task. Then a phone call came from a mother in the ward that had had twins. She had noticed me being home or sitting out in the parking lot. From that Sunday on her two girls always waiting in the foyer looking for my car to pull up and they would run out to help me get inside. This was a powerhouse family! I hope I can be- I want to be. Lastly, no my kids have never thrown up in my hands at church, but I've thrown up all over the gym and down the hallway while being crazily dragged by my mother to the bathroom!

Autumn said...

because I always comment to your post~here I am again! Sorry Kristi I think you might be stuck with me

I have never offered to help on my first sunday in a ward. I'm usually intimitated by it all.

Although I think I would love to do so. Your posts encourage me to do great things. I'm sure my friends are sick of hearing about my goals & everything I want to do.:)

I don't know that I'm part of a powerhouse couple b/c we both tend to be kinda quiet and don't want to over step our bounds ya know.

I don't know that I've ever sang I am a Child of God to quiet my fears but I'm sure I've sang some kind of church hymn.

No I've only be in 4 wards my whole life. One of those ward changes was because a new stake center was built and we had to move.

I've never been thrown up on in church but my oldest dd used to throw up in the car every sunday when she was a baby.

You weren't too revealing and I will try to remember to take pictures next Sunday. I've never thought of doing that!

Thanks once again for the inspiration!

Lauralee said...

First of all thank you for sharing.. I am so glad you willed yourself out the door, and hope you are truly feeling better!

Have you ever offered to help on your first Sunday in a ward?


Does this story encourage you to do so?
oh yes.. I know it can make a difference.. in ANY ward.

Are you a part of a powerhouse couple?

I don't know about that.. but I think we are good together! I don't know if you know but Curt and I met on our missions.. serving in Nebraska.. so although we never served together.. I would love to serve in some capacity like that.. he is has an amazing testimony.. and not afraid to share..

Have you ever sang the song "I am a Child of God" to calm your fears

yes! and that hymn.. the night, is dark and I am far from home.. lead thou me on...many times, riding my bike on my mission home in the dark.. I hate the dark.. especially in a city.. far from home.

Have you ever been a ward or church congregation for 6 months felt like you made a difference?

yes.. again on my mission.. getting involved makes moves and ward changes so much easier, jumping in and getting to know people thru service is just a blessing!

Has your child ever thrown up on you during Sacrament meeting?

no, but I have had diapers leak..on me!

Was I too revealing in my post?

no no and no.. I wish I could hear more! but I totally understand.. what blessings you are getting from getting to serve there!

and is that photo of Caroline not the cutest ever???

she is adorable!

Do you have photos of your kids in front of your church at different ages
no..I have a few, I guess, but I always take a picture of my kids when they become a Sunbeam..they are always so excited to be going.. and it is such a cute age!

Next Sunday will you take a photo of you or your kids out front of your church building? I will try to remember..

Stephenson Family said...

I love reading your Sunday posts. They are very inspiring and it is comforting to know that there are other areas of the church where there are so many people young in the church so excited and trying to do what is right. It wears off on you and makes you want to be a better member and a better member missionary. I don't think you share too much.

Our first Sunday in our branch here in New Jersey - we were just visiting to check it out as we were getting ready to move into a rental in the branch boundaries - a member of the branch presidency met us at the door and said, "A little birdie told me you play the piano." We knew absolutely no one in the branch - the few people that were there. I told him I did and I could even play the organ if he needed me to. The look on his face was something I'll never forget. He told me his family was in the midst of moving. His wife had already gone ahead of him and she had played the organ and the piano for almost every other auxiliary - no one else played. So, I've been playing the organ from that first Sunday!

Even days when I feel so stressed doing 5 different things - going from playing the organ, to teaching a class in primary, to singing time . . even playing the piano, and doing sharing time - it is so worth it! Just being able to touch at least one person with something we've prepared is so worth it!

So, thank you again for everything you share. I feel like someone understands!

Barb said...

*I am a Child of God* is a very comforting song. I have shared my story with primary children before. I had to stay in a children's hospital in a different city from my home by myself when I was 5 years old. On my first night alone I heard a group down the hall from me singing *I am a Child of God* and it just sounded like angels to me. And even still, to me it WAS angels.
I have not changed wards in more than 15 years, how different is that from your life, but I often offer to help when we attend another ward on vacation especially in primary and I play the piano so there you go.
I'm not comfortable with saying my dh and I are a powerhouse couple, but my thoughts on this are that you need to get the addresses of this young couple's parents and write them a card. It means so much as a parent to see your adult children serve well in the church.
I forget the rest of your questions, but that picture of Caroline IS the cutest ever.

Isaura said...

What a sweet post. I too love primary and working with the children. Since being married (4yrs) I have been in the primary in both wards I've been in. I have always loved primary children. In some of the branchs I served in as a missionary in Spain (almost 10 years ago..eeekk..time flys) I would help in Primary. I wouldn't consider my husband and I a power couple by any means, but we tend to be asked to do lots of extra stuff since it might be a little easier for us because we don't have children. My husband worked with the 11 year old scouts at one point and loved it too..

Michelle A. said...

It is a cute picture of Caroline! Being in a ward like yours, I find myself wanting to share, but not wanting to share too much or at all - as some information is too personal and meant for that Sunday at that time, to the people who were privy to hear it. I often don't write about my Sunday's because of this thought, yet often wish I could talk more about it.

I think your power couple is great! I think you can make a difference anywhere as long as you put your foot forward and just help where it's needed.

RoRo said...

I am so inspired by your posts about your downtown ward, I look forward to sunday and hope that you have posted, I think that as long as you are keeping names it would be fine to share stories, they are so inspiring, like you said hard to keep them in, I just want to read more and more, over and over.

I really wish I could say I made a difference in a ward in only 6 months, but I barely get out of my shell by then! It wasn't my first sunday in the ward but I did let the RS Pres. or counsler know that if they needed a sub for the lesson I would love to help (I love teaching RS) of course that was before I had ever been in Primary, I really love primary now and would love to help out anywhere, I am in YW now, first time there too!

I don't have any children so I do not have photos but yes Caroline is so cute in her hat:)

Amanda said...

A few posts ago you said you feel bad because you never sat down with anyone last year to talk about the church. Maybe you feel like you haven't..but you have and this is just one great example!

First Sunday: Never volunteered like that, but I will if we ever move again because I am much more confident now.

No child has ever thrown up on me at church. Did you say those gummy bears were green? What a sight?

When I was in college I was driving from UT to ID and my car hit a bird. The entire windshield was cracked, it was super windy. I was scared to death, alone and it was before cell phones were so common. I sang out loud every primary song I could think of to get through it. It brought me comfort and I arrived safely back at school.

We've lived in CT for almost 3 years now and I don't know I'm not comfortable saying we're a powerhouse couple, but I can say it feels so good to know that right now we are where we should be. We feel like we are learning and serving and there are reasons we have been placed here.

Never took a photo of my kids in front of church. We are now at 9...we'll see if it happens!

Love that you cried when the couple offered to help. I'm in Primary too...the tears are always right there on Sundays.

Jen said...

i really love your sunday posts- i agree with what amanda said- i think you share a lot about the church with more people than you know via your blog. it can be a powerful missionary tool and the stories you share are so inspiring. i know i've thought differently since you've shared them!

what a great picture of caroline!!! she is adorable! :) i have to remember to take the camera to church. i've never done that before! i also love the picture of natasha's kids!!! it reminds me of some of the beautiful churches i saw in texas!

Jill said...

I don't think this post is too revealing. I think you're good about sharing the best stories and not divulging too much of their personal information. It is such a blessing for us all to be able to read about these amazing people through your blog.

I've never lived in a ward where I thought I needed to offer my assistance like your powerhouse couple did today. I like to think Randy and I are a powerhouse couple, but I'm not sure about that.

I was totally bummed that I forgot my camera today because I want to get pictures of us going in the church and of the bulletin board and so on. In fact, after church today the song leader was teaching the 7 year olds a song for their baptism preview next week and was standing at the piano playing and singing with a group of 10 kids around her, I actually said to someone "that would be such a great photo." Hopefully I can get one when they practice again on Wednesday.

Creole Wisdom said...

Thank you for this post, Kristi.

I firmly believe that F&T meetings just rush in the spirit so fast. I am humbled by the experience to bear my testimony in front of my congregation. What a blessing!

What is so special I think about your experience is that it has pulled you in ways. I am pretty sure you are recognizing talents that you had, but never realized. You are so amazing Kristi.

So to answer one of your questions- I have not barfed in church... yet. But does the lawn in front of a very who-who chi-chi (fancy) door knob store count? I was with my mother... helping her pick out door knobs RIGHT after my wisdom teeth were taken out. Bad situation. Bad situation.

Shauna said...

Yes to everything except for the too revealing part. Your descriptions of your Church experiences are perfect.

I took photos at Church yesterday, only not in front of the sign. That is a great place to take a photo, especially for the new year!

Diving right in and always trying to "be part of the solution" in my ward has always been my nature so thankfully, my husband is the same we. We always get back more than we give!

Aaron and Rachelle Brown said...

My name is Rachelle and I have never commented on your blog before but I have been reading it for a about a week, but I just want to tell you that I think it is a good thing to have people talk about faith openly. Those who do not understand the Mormons or any faith for that matter - need only to find blogs like yours to understand what they are really like and that they aren't scary after all. Thanks for your courage.

Webb Family said...

Wow I'm so happy that I read your blog today! Just last night I posted about my ward & the amazing youth we have. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with all of us! It makes me want to try harder. I am a child of God has helped me through a lot of hard times.

Amy said...

Our Bishop's daughter was an intern in DC, I imagine she was just like the awesome ones you describe!

I love Sundays too...I grew up Baptist and am a convert to the LDS church. It's hard to describe, but it's just a different feeling in the LDS church...more like a family than a church so everyone's stories hit you personally.

katherine said...

I love reading about your ward experiences. It's that humbled, pure, faith portrayed in your stories that makes a woman vulnerable to tears. It's good to hear your perspective and insight and you do a great job of using individual's stories in a way to show awesome gospel principals. I love feeling needed in a ward. Unfortuneately my shy side takes precedence usually and it takes me a while to actually "see" where I can help. I love being directed to what to do. And one of my favorite experiences was working with the Young Women in our ward in Tulsa, Ok. I met so many great young women it gave me a surge of hope and happiness for the future of womanhood, they were such great gals! God Bless you and all those who are in your ward :)

Elizabeth said...

After singing that song for 30 years nowit just barely made me start crying everytime I hear or sing it. I think I finally felt the meaning of those words.

tammy said...

Just blog hopped over here and have to say I LOVE this post! That's one of the things I love about blogs, you can hop around and read stories like these and realize the gospel really is everywhere, and Heavenly Father cares about each of us. Thanks for sharing that story!

michelle said...

You definitely did not share too much! You didn't use names, we don't know who these people are, we can just be inspired by their acts of service and kindness! I don't think I'm part of a powerhouse couple, but it is sure something to aspire to!

The Isom Eight said...

- Have you ever offered to help on your first Sunday in a ward?
yep-I offered to play the piano when visiting Peru and played the piano at 14 when we visited Scotland. (both times were so scary!)
- Does this story encourage you to do so?
oh yes-I think I get more nervous now, I think I will try and be even better about stepping in and offering to help
- Are you a part of a powerhouse couple?
I am not sure how you judge that-but we work as hard as we can and both have multiple callings-it keeps us busy ;-)
- Have you ever sang the song "I am a Child of God" to calm your fears
all the time-the song brings me so much peace
- Have you ever been a ward or church congregation for 6 months felt like you made a difference?
no-I haven't moved that much
- Has your child ever thrown up on you during Sacrament meeting?
not me, my husband this last Dec. 23rd (while all the men were coming down from singing their song on the stand). it was bad-him in his Christmas clothes, luckily he missed the YW Pres. sitting in front of us!
- Was I too revealing in my post?
no-not at all, I love to hear about your experiences and relate to some of them and enjoy the rest!
- and is that photo of Caroline not the cutest ever???
You have the cutest kids!!
Do you have photos of your kids in front of your church at different ages of their life?
No, but I really think I just might have to do this soon...
- Next Sunday will you take a photo of you or your kids out front of your church building?
next Sunday is Stake Conference...and then I am visiting another ward for my calling, but the Sunday after that it would be a great idea!!

Melissa Marilyn said...

Hi! I am new to your blog. I was inspired to read it after Jill's great birthday tribute to you.

I am so moved by your Sunday experiences. Thanks so much for sharing them. My heart aches for the mother in your ward who bore her testimony about her blessings; I was definitely humbled.

I absolutely love love love my current ward. I serve in the RS Presidency in my singles' ward and am overwhelmed with love and appreciation for the sisters in my ward every week. I am especially blessed with the friendship of an amazing RS President. I have been in this ward for a year and a half, and have only gotten to know her since we began serving together five months ago. Who knew that we were "soul sisters." Cheesy, I know, but my snobby attitude kept me from getting to know her until now and I can't imagine my life without her. I love how Heavenly Father calls us to serve others, but we end up reaping the benefits.

Please keep sharing your inspiring Sunday stories. This one helped me to want to be better, and isn't sharing the gospel all about edifying others?

zeebee said...

I know first hand what it is like to need help so desperately at church, so I love what that couple did for you. Also, I got teary eyed when I read about the story of the soldier singing I am a child of God to calm fears and I know that I was meant to read that so that I could share it with those in my own Primary. Hopefully it will help even one child who is afraid. Thank you so much for your inspiring words, you truly are an amazing person and you are making a difference.