29 July 2011

The Day the Music...

About two months into my calling as Primary Chorister, I remember making a joke about once I knew all the kids names and figured out how to do this calling properly, they'd release me.  Who knew it would only take about a year and a half to accomplish that?

See, I planned on having that calling forever.  I loved it.  Every Sunday my day was filled with music & laughter & smiling children.  Its the best calling ever.  Children can be a much more forgiving audience than adults.  I was busy planning for the program this year, plus some of the kids had been asked to sing at a special Stake Conference on Father's Day. 

So it was somewhat of a surprise when we got called into the Bishop's office and I got a new calling.  Okay, that's putting it nicely.  I was totally blindsided.  I was in love with my calling, I didn't want a new one, but who am I to say no when I got asked?  So I agreed.  Then I had to keep it in for a whole week before the release.  Did I mention that I found this out before church, so I had to keep quiet for 3 hours knowing that it was going to be one of the last times I got to perform my favoritest calling ever?  Needless to say, I kept it in (almost) and then bawled the whole way home.  For at least a day, I was devestated.

Then I got over myself a bit.  I still had this special musical number to work on with some of the kids for stake conference.  We were singing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" (not my choice) and "Love is Spoken Here" (def. my choice, but that's another blog post entirely.)  Elder Cook from the twelve apostles presided at the conference.  The kids sang beautifully.  It was fantastic.  I was so touched by those beautiful spirits. 

After that, I kind of needed to let primary music go and start focusing on my new calling.  It was easy & hard at the same time.  I subbed a couple of times for the new chorister.  (His wife had a baby, and they had a vacation, yes I said his.)  I had also committed our primary to sing "Love is Spoke Here" again in sacrament meeting the second Sunday in July, so I filled in (it was one of those Sundays the new chorister was gone.)  Those kids sang that song for me.  I really appreciate their voices, from the oldest 11 year olds to the youngest sunbeams.  After that Sunday, I felt I could finally let go. 

It hasn't been easy.  On the one hand, church is a lot more serious when you're not in primary.  Sometimes I just want to stand up and sing a wiggle song.  On the other hand, its been better.  I'm not the chorister anymore, so I don't receive the revelation or responsiblity for that calling.  I didn't realize what a weight it had been on my shoulders until it was lifted.  Of course I miss those kids, but I still see them and they say "hi!" to me.  And I'm free to subsitute on Sundays now (like I will be for the next two weeks.)  So its not really goodbye.

(But if they ever want to call me back to the Primary Chorister, I'd be there in a heartbeat...)

08 July 2011

Poof! What do you need?

Almost a month ago I was released from my calling as Primary Chorister (more on that next week) and was called to be the Relief Society Compassionate Services Coordinator.  It has required quite the shift in focus on my part.  But that's really not what this post is about.

See in my ward we have a lot (a lot, A LOT) of pregnant woman because we have a lot of young families that move into our ward.  That being the case, there is a great need for service.  We also had a bishopric change in the last year and with all these changes, evaluations are made and questions are asked on how we can best serve each other verses being more self reliant.  But that's really not what this post is about either.

I've had a meeting with our Relief Society President where we discussed how we go about serving a sister in the ward once she's had a baby.  In the church we are really good at bringing meals.  Often meals are a wonderful service.  I've been the beneficiary of some incredibly tasty meals.  I'm not knocking meals. But meals aren't what this post is about.

What this post IS about is how do we go beyond or how do we customize our service for those we are serving?  Here's some more questions to ponder:

Is service more than a meal?
Is our service (as a ward) "rote"?  (Think Matt 6:7-8 where the Lord talks about repetitious prayer and sub service for prayer)
Poof!  What do you need? (Think the Genie in Aladdin)
Everyone could use a friend?
Who isn't lonely?
Customize your service?
What kind of service are we giving?
Are we giving the correct service?
Where should service start from? (from the Visiting Teachers/RS/friends?)

The purpose of this is not to give anyone a guilt trip or to get down on ourselves.  Rather I'm looking for your opinions on how to best help others to serve others. 

Esp. when it comes to having new babies, every experience is different and I don't want to try and squish round pegs into square holes.  For example:  I know Sisters that when they are expecting a baby they have a freezer full of food prepared and family coming for 3 weeks to help.  Those sisters probably won't benefit from a meal right away, or maybe ever?  What do those sisters need?  Maybe some sort of contact to let them know they are thought of?  Maybe two or three months later they might just need someone adult to talk to, or hold the baby so they can shower, or do their dishes.  Maybe sometimes we're that person and we are just to embarrassed or scared of rejection to admit that we need help. 

Here are two scriptures that I think really pertain to this topic:
Mosiah 8:18  Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.  (I like this one so much, it might be my motto while I have this calling.)

Doctrine & Covenants 81:5  Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strenghten the feeble knees.

Okay, now you (and maybe myself) are asking at this point, what is her point?  What is she trying to do?  What does she want from me? 

So these are the short term goals:  Write a 200 word "article" to go into the RS newsletter about service.  Create some sort of  "assessment worksheets"  that visiting teachers can use when someone they visit is expecting a baby (or in several cases in our ward, babies.)

Will you share with me your thoughts to any or all of the questions I've raised, and/or share experiences of service that was rendered unto you when you were having a baby (or any other time that could be relevant.)  If you are uncomfortable sharing on the blog, you can email me (sisterrigby (at) yahoo (dot) com)  or message me on facebook. 

I appreciate any help.  Its a strange, new, scary calling, but I want to make the best out of it.

07 July 2011

Circus Star!

We have a pretty awesome library nearby. Every Summer they put on super special events that coincide with the theme for the reading program. (Which Sariah is also working on.)  This year's theme is "One World, Many Stories." 

Every Thursday they have free performances.  We went two weeks ago for the hula dancing, and today we attended the performance of Circus Manduhai: A Mongolian Circus troupe.  They are a family group, with 4 performers.  There was lots of acrobatics, a contortionist, jugglers, unicycle tricks and so much more.  The kids loved it! 

This kid had balance!

There was lots of audience participation. Usually Sariah doesn't seem that interested when they ask for volunteers, but this time she willingly raised her hand. It was the first trick, so most of the kids were sort of uncertain about volunteering, so Sariah was choosen! She got to go up to the front and do a handstand on two metal pillars. This was one of the tricks that a boy (he had to be 8 or 9) did.

Here's Sariah after she tried it out.

  Here's her big moment!


Most of the acts were really cool, although the unicycle was a little scary.  Check this out!

They had a kid in the audience do this afterwards, I'm glad Sariah didn't get choosen for this one.

All in all a neat way to spend the afternoon.

01 July 2011

Flashback Friday

If there was any year to look back at 2005, the year Doug & I dated, it would be this year, when the days of the week match up. Its also fortuitous, since we just had new family pictures taken, so I can show you the very first picture of Doug and I and the most recent.

Doug and I were not dating pros, and I'm pretty sure we had no idea what we were doing most of the time. At the same time, I knew almost from the beginning that this was going to be something special. We both made up excuses to get together, everything from helping my mom move her office and babysitting my friend's kids, to making me the FHE leader at his house.

My calling at the time was ward temple trip coordinator, which is why big moments in our relationship happened around the 2 trips I actually put together. The first one was on Saturday, July 2nd. (The other, was August 13th, one year to the day I came home from my mission and the day Doug proposed.) We weren't even offically dating when Doug held my hand in the Celestial Room. (How's that for bold?) I didn't complain.

Here we are that day with our friends Dean and YiJeng after the session. If you want to read more about those days, scroll down to the bottom where I added my (unedited) journal from that weekend.

Here we are 6 years later, happily married.
It was the weekend that changed my life forever, for the better! Every July 4th I'm blessed to celebrate the great nation I get to live in, with all its freedoms, and also I can celebrate the start of my relationship with my best friend, Doug, who is the best man I've ever met. It is the day we agreed we were offically dating (yes, after temple hand holding.) We had gone down to Fredricksburg with Doug's parents for a 4th of July parade, and we spend a whole wonderful day together talking, and hand holding. :)

This July 4th, I'm hoping to find another parade we can go watch. It can be a Juy 4th Monday tradition. Maybe one year, we'll even make it back to Fredricksburg.

Shortly after I met Doug, I started a journal of sorts on my computer. It literally goes from the time we met, to 10 days before he proposed (why I stopped then, I'll never remember, which is surprising, because I didn't record the events right before and after the day he proposed.) I do have, in pretty good detail, the events of this weekend, and if you're interested, I'm sharing them with you now. If you're not, feel free to skip down and just leave a comment or whatever. :)

July 2nd, 2005

So this was the big temple trip to go do an endowment session. We were scheduled to do a 8am session at San Antonio, so we were meeting at 5:30am at the church. I went to bed the night before at 10:30pm so I would make sure I got enough sleep, since I would be driving. So it really stunk when I woke up at 1:30am because of nerves and couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally I got out of bed at 2:45am and watched TV until 4am.

I picked up Yi Jeng (she was still asleep when I got there, so I left and came back) and Dean Boyer and met Doug at the church. The four of us rode together on the way down. There were 4 others that took another car. I was sure if we left by 6am we were sure to make it to the temple by 7:30am, especially on a Saturday, but I was wrong. There was a BAD traffic jam on I-35 that was caused by traffic that had to merge into the two right hand lanes, and then as soon and it went back to 3 lanes, everyone had to merge to the left hand lane because of a jackknifed truck. And all of this happened in Kyle, which is only about a fourth of the way there. In fact it was almost 7:30 when we got out of the traffic, so there was no way we were going to make our session. I felt bad about it, not because it was my fault, but because I was in charge and should’ve planned for unseen events.

So Dean called the temple to release our places in the session, and make sure we could still come and do sealings instead. So we got to San Antonio about 8am, and went to Krispy Kreme since Dean had been murmering about breakfast since we had left Austin. I felt so ill by this time. I’m not a morning person most of the time, and food in the morning is usually a bad idea. I usually don’t eat till almost 9:30am. But Dean did buy me a bottle of water, which I was grateful for.

So we got to the Temple around 8:30 and did some Sealings. It was actually pretty nice. I was kind of disappointed that we missed our session, but the work we did was important too. After about an hour, we went into the Celestial Room to sit for awhile while waiting for the session to finish. I really like the Celestial Room in the San Antonio Temple. Actually the whole building is amazing. Dean had sat down on one side of a bench in the room and Doug had sat on the other end. Yi Jeng had sat down on a chair next to the bench. I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought about going somewhere else in the room to sit and think, but then Doug caught my eye and motioned for me to come sit next to him. Which I gladly did. We all sat in silence for awhile and then he looked at me and said “hi” and I said “hi” back. Then he took my hand. It was so cute. He had been doing that for awhile now, saying “hi” when he wasn’t sure what he should do or say, but was mustering up the courage to do something.

I think at this point the people we were with all realized we were dating. It wasn’t just the 4 of us, but also Lisa LaPierre, and Chanda, the RS Pres., Shalene, and Wendy Schwausch. The only people I think that weren’t sure we were dating were us! After a while we were ready to go. So we changed and when outside. Yi Jeng had brought her digital camera and found someone to take a couple of pictures of the 4 of us outside the temple. Then we added Lisa to our car and drove home.

The drive home was pretty uneventful. Doug slept. We stopped at Jack in the Box for Dean, Yi Jeng and Lisa. I was still feeling queasy and Doug didn’t feel like eating fast food, so the others got something and we sat in the car and waited. Doug actually then invited me to his house for lunch once we got back to Austin. I wasn’t go to decline that offer, the more time I could spend with him was good with me! So when we got back to Austin, I dropped everyone off and followed him to his house.

When I finally got there, he had gotten the pasta and chicken started. Basically we had pasta shells with chicken, broccoli, and squash that he had put lemon pepper seasoning on with an alfrado sauce. He explained to me that that is his favorite kind of sauce, because marinara is just so boring. We made the sauce from a packet that had to simmer for 5 min. and he got a bit impatient waiting for it. I thought it was cute. I was a little nervous because we had just held hands in the temple and I was so unsure if we were dating or what, and I kinda wanted to bring it up over lunch, but his parents were sitting in the room with us, and that would’ve been akward to talk about with his parents there. I was totally enamored with him, but I was nervous that I was making something out of nothing.

He had work, and I went with my family to the Round Rock Express baseball game. The Express lost, which is what they always do when I go to a game.

July 3rd, 2005

This was one crazy weekend. First it was a holiday weekend because of Independence Day and it was a Fast and Testimony meeting. Doug got asked to bless the sacrament and I didn’t get attention before the meeting to make sure he would sit by me. Actually he almost didn’t get to sit next to me because Wendy came in late and sat down next to me, so he almost sat down in front of us, but we scooted over for him and he was able to sit by me. He was really figitey in Sacrament meeting, but I found out later it was because he wanted to invite me to Fredricksburg the next day with his parents for fourth of July festivities.

Then we went to Sunday School. Dean sat in front of us and showed Doug some pictures he had taken. There was one of me in my apartment back at Christmas time that he had taken (Dean is my home teacher.) So he gave that picture to Doug. I was a bit embarrassed about it. Dean made the whole day embarrassing!

After church there was a Linger Longer and an Independence Day Fireside. So I found Doug and we ate together with Yi Jeng and Dean. Doug was talking to Bro. Simmons so Dean took the opportunity to ask how long Doug and I had been dating. And you know what? I didn’t have an answer for him! I told him to ask Doug. So he did, and Doug didn’t know either. That turned into a complicated discussion between Dean and I about exactly how one determines if they are dating.

Somehow that conversation qualified me to help Dean take out the trash in the woman’s restroom, which made me late for the fireside. I came in as the opening hymn was being sung. It took me a moment, but I found Doug and went and sat beside him. He asked where I had been, and I explained that I had to take out the trash. The fireside was really good. It was a patriotic theme and talks were given by Sharred (who’s a marine) and Bro. Simmons. The musical numbers were most impressive again.

We finally held hands again during the fireside, something I had been waiting for him to do all afternoon! After the fireside we sat and talked a bit, it was mostly just playful banter. He asked me if I was still planning on coming with him and his parents the next day, to which I said that my plans hadn’t changed since he asked me 4 hours ago. He’s so cute! And I’m so happy!

After the fireside I had to run to mom’s house and do some laundry, because I had no clean clothes for the next day. Sister Julie Hardy, one of my mission companions who I spent the longest time with, had the hardest time with, but we’re now pretty good friends, called me while I was doing laundry because I had emailed her some pictures earlier that day of us at the temple. It was really turning into an eventful weekend!

July 4th, 2005

I think this was really the big day. I don’t know what Doug thinks, but to me, this is the day we really officially started dating. I say this because we had been dating only each other before this date, and we had held hands and things, but I wasn’t really sure what we were doing until today. Things became clear.

So he picked me up from my apartment at 7:10am and we met his parents at his house and rode together to Fredricksburg. His parents are very, very nice and very, very helpful about getting information on their son! He had mentioned earlier that his birthday was in Aug., but never the exact date, well his mom spilled the beans, and not only told me that it’s the 5th of August, but explained the pregnancy story on when he was due and when they wanted him to arrive. They are really easy to talk to. We held hands in the car, something I was wondering if he was going to do around his parents.

Somewhere in the conversation in the car, snow skiing was brought up. My family is really into skiing, and I enjoy going. Well Doug has never been (silly Texan!) and kept insisting that snow skiing only causes broken bones. To which I replied that I’ve been skiing loads of time, and so has my family and no one has EVER broken a bone. So he wanted me to say that I wouldn’t make him go skiing if I didn’t have to go horseback riding. (I have a huge fear of riding horses. Sure their nice enough animals, but they are animals! And they have their own brains! And I don’t want to ride something that has a mind of its own and can throw me off any time it wants.) Well anyways, I’m not going to commit to that, because I love skiing too much. So I told him that maybe we were going to have to compromise.

When we finally got to Fredricksburg we found a shady spot to watch the parade and then we walked around for a bit before the parade started. Fredricksburg was colonized by old German settlers and there is still a German heritage there. So we walked over to an old German church and looked around a bit. Then we went back and sat down and talked a bit before the parade started. While we were waiting I told him that my mom wanted me to invite him to the lake with us the following Monday. He told me that he was worried about fitting in with my family. I told him that I don’t really fit in with my family sometimes, so it wasn’t important. We sat and watched the parade and interlocked arms. It was very enjoyable. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a parade live.

Afterwards his parents wanted to go antique shopping, and were sure that we weren’t interested in coming. (We weren’t.) So we split off and planned to meet later. We walked around some more and found another old German church. I don’t think we were really sure what to do, so we found a shady spot near a fountain and sat down to talk. He put his arm around me for the first time, which was very nice. We sat and talked about family situations, mostly mine. He was very curious how I gained a testimony when my parents became inactive when I was only about 11. We talked a lot about marriage and divorce. I have a lot of concerns about divorce. Since my own parents are divorced and my brother just got divorced in June, I’ve been really worried about making the right choice in who I’m going to marry for a long time. If you think about it, that decision is something that effects you for eternity! That’s a really long time! I just don’t want to repeat my parents mistakes, and I never want my children to go through what I went through, because I don’t care how old you are when your parents separate, it hurts.

After a while we decided it was time for lunch, so we walked over to an authentic German restaurant, der Lindenbaum, and had German food for lunch. Its an interesting little place, while I’m sure the owners are authentic Germans, our server and the others working there looked like they were of Mexican decent. After looking the menu over, he decided on Knockwurst and I chose Currywurst and we decided to share a bit. He told me that there were very few people he’d actually do this with, so I felt special. The food was very good, although I’m not much of a sauerkraut person, so he had mine. Which was just as well, because he eats faster and more than me, so it all worked out. The most interesting thing was the warm potato salad, which was really sweet, which is weird since most German foods aren’t that sweet, they don’t use much sugar. But everything was still very good. I like German food, and I was so full afterwards!

After lunch we decided to walk back to our shady spot. We walked back much faster than we walked there, mostly because on the way there we were holding hands and he wasn’t sure exactly where the restaurant was. On the way back we knew where we were headed and we probably walked at a missionary pace. He mentioned that people must walk slower when holding hand, and I said “well, that’s the perils of dating” to which he replied “are we dating?’ and I said “I guess so” and since we both hadn’t been seeing anyone else, we agreed that we were dating! Hence the reason I make this the official day we stated dating, because we both admitted we were dating, and all the uneasiness I had been feeling about our relationship went away.

So we sat back down on a bench near where we had been sitting before. He picked up a stick and started breaking it. Then he apologized for always having to do something with his hands. I told him that I had noticed that he was a figiter and he had a hard time sitting still (especially at church). He apologized again, and I told him not to because I think its cute. He responded “You think I’m cute?” And I said yes. He said “Awwe, I think you’re cute too!” and put his arm around me.

Just then his parents called my phone and invited us for ice cream, we finally found where they were after a bit of confusing direction giving. They both had root beer floats and we both had orange sherbert, because I like orange sherbert. Afterwards we drove back to Austin and I slept a bit in the car. It had been an eventful day so far and it was nowhere near the ending. Plus I had gotten up way earlier than normal.

When we got back to his house we still had some time before we had to go to the church for the big 4th of July FHE picnic. So we decided to start watching Return of the Jedi, which we got part way through before we had to leave. We left early to set up for this big thing because he was actually in charge. The whole FHE still feels like a whirlwind event since we were there setting up and preparing and during and then clean up. He was so nervous about the whole thing coming off, that he ran around like crazy. Poor guy. I had a small problem of my own to worry about. Their person giving the spiritual thought cancelled at the last minute, so I got asked on Saturday if I wouldn’t mind giving the spiritual thought instead. And for some reason I agreed to do it. So I had only a couple of days to prepare, and by Monday morning, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to say or how I was going to say it. I was so thankful when inspiration hit. The thought didn’t come off very pretty, and I wasn’t as eloquent as I wanted to have been, but it was okay.

So after we got cleaned up we left and tried to make it back to Cedar Park to see the fireworks. He called his parents to figure out exactly where the fireworks were, but we still weren’t totally sure. Then they called me back since Doug never answers his cell phone to give us more directions. Finally we just gave up and went back to his house. We could see the fireworks starting as we drove home on 183. When we got to his house we walked over to a clearing so we could see the fireworks better and watched the end of the show. We put our arms around each other and stood and watched. It was very nice.

After we walked back to his house and decided to finish watching the Star Wars movie. Then he took me home. When we got back to the apartment he got out of the car and walked me part way to the door. Then he gave me a big hug and told me that he loved me! For a second I was a bit shocked, but I realized I loved him too, and I told him so. We parted and I went back inside with the biggest smile on my face ever! What an amazing day it had been, and HE LOVES ME. I’m the luckiest person ever!