Sunday, April 25, 2010

Candice's New Job

Last week I was sustained and set apart as the Relief Society President of my ward. It is funny that I knew it was going to happen for a week before it actually happened, yet it was still shocking. The week between the bishop calling me to this position and being sustained and set apart was a week of nerves, but also a week I will never forget spiritually. In many ways it was one of the most solitary weeks of my life. Ben's ship was gone most of the week and so I didn't have anyone physically present to talk to about all I was feeling and thinking. I did a lot of praying and listening to the spirit to try to discover what the Lord wants me to do in this position. During that week, Julie Beck, General RS President for my church, came to my building to do a fireside for all sisters in our region and a training for all RS presidents in our region. I was blessed to be able to attend both of those meetings, even though I was not yet official. I had been thinking a lot about where to begin this task the Lord has given me and found that the thoughts and ideas I had been contemplating most were confirmed by Sister Beck and the spirit that night. I am sure that those I was sitting with thought I had lost my mind because I could not control the flow of tears down my cheeks. It is difficult for me to be so wrapped up in the spirit and control my emotions. I had pretty much been crying all week but it peaked that night. I am so grateful for the priesthood and the setting apart blessing I was given last week. It has done a lot to calm me down and give me confidence as I do my best to follow the directions I receive from the Lord. I can feel that the Lord loves the sisters in my ward and wants me to do my best to serve them. I have faith that he will make up for the many areas I feel I am inadequate. This has been a busy initiation week, but I was happy to be faced with many firsts right away so that next time I won't be as nervous when I am faced with the same situation. I love the gospel and my Heavenly Father.

9-11 Pentagon Memorial




On our way home from DC from our Easter weekend, we went by the Pentagon to see the 9-11 Memorial they have there. The kids were definitely too riled up to behave in such a solemn place. The guard actually came and asked us to be more quiet. It is a big, open area with a memorial for each person who was killed on 9-11 at the pentagon. (So much room to run, which is where the kids got into trouble.) Each person's name is on their memorial and a metal line leads you to the year of their birth, making it easy to realize that two sisters were killed that day, the youngest just Aven's age and the other just a year older than Drake. I have thought about them a few times since my visit. I wonder why they were there in such a forbidding, intimidating place. If I had not been there with my rowdy children, I think I would have read the names on all of the memorials to try to find a father or mother and help solve that mystery. Stupid terrorists!

Arlington National Cemetary
















The day after Easter, we were still hanging out in DC so we decided to take the kids to Arlington National Cemetery. Ben had never been there and when I took the kids during his deployment, they were very small. The flowers were all in bloom there so it was gorgeous. For some reason, I love the nice tidy rows of headstones in a military cemetery. It isn't that I love to think of all those lives cut short, but the sight seems to speak of a sacrifice that was made by them for something bigger than themselves. I am sure that not all of them enjoyed the rigid discipline of the military while alive, yet still were willing to conform in order to serve their country and now lie in rank and file just as they served in life. It is a place that commands a quiet reverence fitting to show respect to those who sacrificed for this country that I love so much. I think the kids even felt it.
Of course the highlight of an Arlington visit is watching the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The photo above shows the walkway we took on the way to watch that ceremony. Both times I have watched the changing of the guards ceremony, I was so impressed with the solemn respect the guards exhibit while tending to their duty. Their shoulders never slump and they never miss a step. They are carefully scrutinized by their commander in front of the public to ensure that their grooming and uniform are immaculate. I know the requirements of the Army to serve in that post are higher than those for other positions and the place has a reverent feel to it because they take their duty seriously.

One thing I wanted to do while we were in Arlington is take a picture of Zoa in front of the space shuttle Challenger memorial plaque. She is the exact age that I was when it blew up on national television. I remember very clearly sitting in my talented and gifted class in 5th grade watching the launch on tv and seeing the explosion. I am sure the shock I felt at such a young age was not as great as it would have been if I had been older but I remember feeling stunned and seeing the tears in my teacher's eyes. I felt so grown up and now my daughter is that same age. Time definitely flies.

Easter weekend


Our good friends, the Warners, moved to DC last summer. This works out nicely for us on holidays and long weekends because we feel like we have something similar to family close enough that we can actually make plans. That was the case on Easter. The kids had the week after Easter off from school and I had a desire to go to the temple so we called the Warners and were allowed to crash in on them for the weekend. We spent the day before Easter in Baltimore doing a little sightseeing. The best thing we saw was Mother Nature dressed in her spring gowns! The flowers were gorgeous! Zoa is in the picture above with Whitney's girls, Hunter and Aspen showing off the tulips. Poor Drake, the only big boy between the 7 kids in both families, left them to climb a tree. Aven is with the Warner's 4 and 2 year old playing in the dirt, even though they are surrounded by a plethora of gorgeous flowers. The three little kids are why things are so hilarious and crazy when we get our families together. Everyone seems to have a lot of fun, though.

The Easter bunny did find the kids at the Warner house on Easter morning. They gorged on candy while we watched conference. We had them do their egg hunt that night in the dark with flashlights. Whitney and I pooled our resources and each kid got to find over 30 eggs. They had a great time hunting for them all. We appreciate the grand Easter feast and the fun time we had with the Warners for Easter. We are happy to have such good friends just up the road.

Cyclops

This is the tale of an eye stye gone bad- very bad! Zoa noticed some pain in her eyelid during the week before Easter but we didn't think too much of it until she woke up one Thursday morning with a swollen eye lid. Since 5th graders can be brutal and she didn't want the nickname "Cyclops" to follow her throughout the rest of our sojourn in Virginia, she was allowed to stay home. We put hot compresses on it and it was looking quite improved by mid afternoon. However, as we headed into the evening, the swelling began to return. The next morning it was completely swollen shut and much more red than her other eye lid. She had missed some end of term tests the day she stayed home from school so I emailed her teacher and arranged for her to be hidden away somewhere with an aid in order to take those tests before the break from school for spring. While dropping Zoa off at school, I decided to take advantage of the school nurse for some free medical advice and had her look at Zoa's eyelid. I could tell it was not pink eye due to the lack of redness in her eyeball, but the eyelid was looking even more red than when she woke up. The nurse encouraged me strongly to get her to a doctor asap. I left Zoa to take her tests and drove home to see if I could arrange a doctor visit for her. Then I turned around and drove straight back to the school to pick Zoa up to get her to the doctor appointment that I was able to arrange. They were very happy that I had brought her in. Zoa had an infection called periorbital cellulitis. (Medical people-sorry if I misspelled, etc.) This infection has the potential to infect the cavity behind the eye where the optical nerve runs, which can cause loss of the eye! They got her on antibiotics and gave me a list of symptoms to watch carefully for (none of which I ever saw) and scheduled a follow-up appointment. Only then were they willing to tell me it was ok to take her out of town for spring break as we had planned. Happily, the swelling and redness decreased a little more each day until about day 5 when we couldn't tell anything had been wrong. After that doctor visit, I definitely felt the relief of having dodged a crises. I would also like to say that I am very grateful for antibiotics.