Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiritual Thoughts

I had a really great day at church last Sunday. I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you all.

My good friend Katie Walker gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting on the Saviour's ministry and one of the stories that she told was of Mary and Martha. You know the story- Martha is encumbered about with serving the Lord while Mary sits and listens at Jesus' feet. Martha get frustrated and asks the Lord, "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me." and the Lord tells her, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10: 40-42). She then shared a story that she remembered from one Relief Society lesson. She was sitting in class and the lesson had taken a turn for the worse- namely male bashing. One sister innocently commented, "It doesn't matter how many times I tell my husband to pick up his socks he never does! And I ask him and ask him and I always end up doing it." and a woman, who had been recently widowed and was sitting in front of Katie, quietly turned to the sister behind her and said, "I wish I could still pick up my husband's socks."

This story was very powerful and Katie used it to make the point that we should always be looking for the better part. Even if you didn't have time to get the house clean for some friends coming over, at least you are sharing a meal and fun with some friends; so what if your husband's weak spot is picking up his socks, or in my case, I've recently developed a tendency to leave open my dresser drawers (pobre Casey when he bumps one!)- at least you have an eternal companion and best friend. Then Katie shared this inspirational poem:

Wait
by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

© 1980 Russell Kelfer. All rights reserved.

There is a purpose in having trials- it is an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord. He weeps with us through those trials because he loves us and doesn't want us to have pain, but the pain is a necessary part of life- trials do have purpose.

The other thought I had came during the Relief Society Lesson. The teacher asked us how we could combat our own apostasy and the standard church answers were given; read scriptures, pray, go to church and it all of a sudden struck me why we go to church. This may seem obvious to most of you but thinking about it in a metaphor somehow made it more meaningful to me. It's kind of like going to a gym. You get on a work out routine but after doing that routine for awhile your muscles will eventually plateau (they will get used to the exercise routine) and you won't continue to progress. It is at that point that you need to go to a personal trainer who has the experience, the knowledge and the research to help you to further your development and move you onto the next step. Speakers and church leaders are like our personal trainers. I know most first-time teachers or Sacrament Meeting speakers would blush and oppose such a comparison, but they have done the research and put in the time to qualify themselves as our spiritual personal trainers for the time that they teach us. They are the source from which we can get the ideas and help we need to continue our spiritual progression. They give us tips on how to better study the scriptures, insights to talks and scriptures that we never would have thought of and they can strengthen our testimonies by sharing theirs. They are valuable and irreplacable parts in our continued spiritual growth. That is why we are instructed to attend our meetings; to be spiritually trained so that we can be stronger warriors of God.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

Hello Hello everyone! I hope you had a fabulous Valentine's Day or, as I would say when I was single, Single's Awareness Day! Last night, Casey and I went out to eat at a really great little Italian restaurant called I Fratelli. While we were there I saw 5 young girls all sitting at a booth together, dressed to the 9's and having the time of their lives. That got me thinking about the meaning of Valentine's Day and I think that I have had it all wrong in past years.
Valentine's Day is not just a day for celebrating love between a man and a woman, it is a day to spread love to everyone. I remember when I lived at home and I would wake up for Valentine's Day, come downstairs and there would be a big vase of roses and a can of those Chocolate Pirouette things for me and my mom. My Dad always left us a little Valentine's Day card and I remember feeling so special- even though growing up I never had a significant other to spend the day with. Valentine's Day is about being with people we love in general. It can be spent with all the family, your spouse or with a bunch of girlfriends- it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that we take the opportunity to show someone we care.

Well, that's my thought for the day! lol. After I Fratelli's Casey and I came home and I made up a FABULOUS fruit and cheese platter- I think Dad and Papa Zaugg would have been jealous of our spread- I know how much you guys love cheese! We drank Martinelli's from our wedding glasses and picked from a box of chocolates while laying on a bunch of pillows on a blanket on the living room floor. Frank played quietly in the background and we lit a bunch of candles for light. Then we watched "Chocolat"- an awesome movie! And had a really great time. What did you guys do for V-Day?

Going clockwise we had Grapes, Goat Cheese with Cranberries and Cinnamon (awesome!), sliced pears, brie (great melted), apple slices and a new one for us, Halloumi cheese- you can grill it or put it in the pan and it becomes a cross between the rubberiness of Colby-Jack and the crumbliness of Parmaesan. Casey wasn't a big fan but I thought it was good with the fruit. :-) We also had Ritz and Wheat Thins, which were a good complement.

"Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important--and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know...We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us. Send that note to the friend you've been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug and say "I love you" more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." ~President Thomas S. Monson

Friday, February 13, 2009

Driving me INSANE

I am essentially a social creature. The problem of what to do with my life has been a source of much irritation to me lately. What am I going to do if I am not chosen for the Australia job? Yes, I have things to look forward to like my triathlon and Casey is wonderful- I couldn't ask for a more wonderful best friend- Relationships are not the object of my concern. It's my career.

Most of you probably know that I am a legal secretary for a private lawyer in my Ward. This job was frustrating to me at the beginning but I thought it was just the learning curve- it wasn't. :-) Sometimes when my boss, Larry, hands me a stack of papers to file I just want to throw the papers up in the air and run out of the building screaming- never to return! Triumph! But somehow that feels like quitting... probably because it is.  Larry is a funny man, the other people that work on my floor are really nice and the work really isn't bad; I'm sure lots of people would like it- it just isn't my cup of tea. I am a social creature and spending all day in a cold office with only one other person popping in to give me work doesn't give me the energy that being around a lot of people does.

Pampered Chef is the other option I am looking into. I'd be my own boss, I'd interact with people, I'd get to cook and and get lots of cool kitchen gadgets that make me excited. I would also have to sell products and, if any of you remember when I worked at Kamp Kreatures, you will know that I am simply not a salesperson. I don't like pushing people into buying things they don't need. However, the Consultant that I talked to said that she feels the same way and she never feels that she has to be a saleswoman. Mostly because there is not boss over her telling her to sell, sell, sell. She picks her own hours and how many parties she does. Also, she loves the products (as do I) so her belief in them sells them to others who can also get great benefit out of them. I do see the use of the products- They help save time which can encourage people to make dinner at home which would be healthier and it would ultimately save them money. So I think I could do it.

I don't think I could earn as much money as I do here, as a secretary (it depends on how many parties I have), but I think I would be much happier. Also, being a secretary is the more stable job in an unstable economy.

Casey thinks I should wait until I am at least finished with my two classes because doing classes, secretary, trying to start a new business and training for a triathlon would be too much. But the longer that I continue the routine I am in- the more frustrated I will probably come. Plus, if Casey gets staffed on another travel case, which it sounds like he soon will, I will have a lot more free time nights.

Maybe I will start a poll and see what you guys think I should do. Either way- I know that God has a plan for me and as long as I am trying to do the right things and be in the right place, he will guide me to where I am supposed to be. I know he just wants me to be happy- the hard part is figuring out the path that will lead there. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Australia

So, there have been a lot of questions about this Australia job that I am applying for- hopefully this will clear up some of the confusion. It is in Queensland, Australia, more specifically Hamilton Island. The job includes delivering mail by air, feeding the fish, keeping the pool clean, eating at restaurants, trying out spas and reporting back to the world about your experiences via video blog.

Here is the dates: March 2nd they pick 50 applicants for the "short-list." People vote on the person that they think would be best for the job. Queensland Tourism picks 10 people, plus the person who got the most votes, the "wild card candidate," and flies them out May 3rd for additional interviews, psychological and physical testing etc. May 6th they announce who they have chosen to the be island caretaker of Hamilton Island!

Now, there are over 14,000 applicants right now and there are still 9 more days for people to submit applications. But Casey and I have put together a really good video and I'm really hopeful. I would LOVE to go. If I was chosen Casey would try to transfer to the BCG office in Australia.

We made two videos, the first one we submitted but I really wasn't pleased with it. Casey and I talked about it and decided that it wasn't up to "Casey-Courtney standard" so we made a new one that is much better. We are in the process of submitting it to the the site now. I've posted both of them for you guys to see. video video

The First One

Here is my first attempt at blogging! I got to thinking about how far away we are away from all of our family and how hard it is to keep touch with everyone. We have so many pictures and things are happening really quickly for us- how to keep everyone up to date with everyone's busy schedule?? Then some of my friends introduced me to blogging. I can post pictures, videos and everyone can visit our site at any time they want. You can comment on pictures and if everyone really likes it we can create another website where everyone can write their own blogs about the stuff going on in their lives! Great idea huh?

Let me know what you guys think- meanwhile, I hope you have fun exploring our website and seeing what we are up to.

Love you all so much!
~Courtney and Casey