We started our Saturday/anniversary by going to the St. George temple and performing sealings for the dead. This was the first time Andrew and I had done sealings together (besides our own, of course), and I was flooded with the spirit. It reminded me of our own wedding day and the promises we made to each other and to God, and I was so honored to have the opportunity to stand as proxy for another couple and provide them the opportunity to be together forever.
The rest of the day we took on the tourist role and went to all the Church historical sites in town. We started with the Tabernacle, then went to Brigham Young's winter home (even he knew that snow is not meant to be lived in!), and finally the home of Jacob Hamblin (I didn't know who he was, but his stories were AWESOME! I loved hearing about his life and the amazing spiritual promptings he received throughout it.) If you've never visited those spots, do it some time. It was really fun. (Even Andrew, who was not excited at first to visit said sites, ended each tour interested and grateful we had gone.)
Our day ended at Anasazi Steak House, a restaurant recommended to us by Andrew's sister, Tiffany. What a way to end an anniversary! It was delicious. Cooking our own steak on a 700degree rock and sandwiching that awesome experience with cheese and chocolate fondues. Yum!
On our last full day in St. George, we went to Zion's National Park. It was beautiful, but it was also a zoo! Oh my goodness, apparently Memorial Day weekend is the time to start hiking. Because of the insane crowds, we were really only able to do one small hike up to a lookout. Still, it was worth it. We already have plans to return in a few months and try some of the more intense hikes.
So I'd say our trip was a success. It gave Andrew and I some time to just relax and talk. I love spending time with him . What a great life I have!
I was blessed to have the opportunity to teach Relief Society last Sunday. The lesson was based on President Eyring's October 2015 General Conference talk entitled "The Holy Ghost as Your Companion".
From last week's spiritual musing post, it's no secret that happiness has seemed to evade me for the past few months. While I set some goals to prioritize my life and focus on things to make me happy, I think the real purpose of those goals is to help me feel more of the Spirit in my life. So this lesson's topic was a great way to remind me of the many blessings of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Eyring starts out his talk by stating his objective (as a teacher, I love that he does this). He says it this way:
As I read this, I interpreted desire to be the acknowledgement that we want to have the Spirit. In order to increase this desire, President Eyring goes through a list of blessings that we receive through the gift of the Holy Ghost. These are:
Just from reading this list, looking for examples of these in the scriptures, and contemplating how I have seen these blessings in my own life already helps me increase my resolve to have these blessings more abundantly in my life.
But President Eyring acknowledges that we know that it is difficult to maintain the Spirit in our lives. That is where determination comes in. In my mind, determination means that we are willing to do anything to have the Spirit. Here are the things President Eyring suggested for qualifying for the gift of the Holy Ghost:
This post is seriously just a quick skim through his talk. Within these teachings, he gives examples taken from the life of his own father. Go read it here! It's wonderful.
But by far, the most wonderful thing I experienced while I shared this lesson on Sunday was the simple, small hug of the Spirit reminding me that my Heavenly Father loves me and wants to bestow all of his promised blessings upon me. As I shared my thoughts, I began to cry because I knew the Spirt was in that room testifying of what I taught. I knew that, even through my unhappy moments in the last few months, my Father in heaven was aware of me. I've promised Him that I will strive to live more worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost that I received shortly after I was baptized. I will not forget that gift.
I've decided I want to write on this blog at least 2 times a week. One will be about the weekly going-ons for Andrew and I; the other will be a focus of something spiritual I have contemplated throughout the week.
So here is my 1st spiritual musing: how to be happier.
Now, I don't want to come across as super negative, but I also want to be honest in this first spiritual post. The truth is, I haven't felt truly happy in a while. (No, this is not about my marriage. That part of my life at least is exactly what it should be). This Saturday, when suddenly I burst into tears during a date with Andrew and cried that I didn't feel happy, I knew I was hitting an all-time low...and I didn't like it.
Luckily, I am married to an amazing man who has wise spiritual insights. As I cried into his lap he asked me two simple questions:
Andrew explained that his mission president taught them years ago that there are 3 important relationships to focus on as missionaries: 1. their relationship with God, 2. their relationship with themselves, and 3. their relationship with the Taiwanese people (where he served his mission). The mission president explained, "If you don't first have a solid relationship with God and yourself, you will not be able to fully connect and love the people you serve, and you will not be able to experience a true fullness of joy."
As I've thought about this, I've decided that I really do need to spend more time every day strengthening my relationship with God and learning to love myself more fully too. This is how I plan to do it:
So there you have it. I am going to experiment with these goals for happiness over the next few weeks, and hopefully I will be able to report back good things.
Well, I didn't want to announce it until it was official, but now it is so......
Next year I will be the new 9th grade honors English teacher at SRMS!!!!
I am really excited ... and really nervous. It is flattering that the current 9th grade honors teacher personally suggested that I take his spot. That in and of itself is quite a compliment. After thinking about it and discussing it with Andrew and other trusted family and friends, I decided to accept the offer. It will definitely be a change, but I think I'm ready for a change.
8th grade has been wonderful these past 3 years. I feel like I have been a positive influence on the 8th grade Language Arts team, and they have definitely taught me as well. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to grow close to some amazing educators and friends because of this job. Now in 9th grade, I will be able to extend my circle of friends at Sunset Ridge Middle School even more.
One of the big factors that helped me choose to accept the 9th grade position was the prospect of having new creative opportunities in mapping out my curriculum for next year. This will definitely help me keep sane during the summer months while Andrew still has to work and study. I am excited to try and implement new teaching strategies and more rigorous material to challenge these honors students.
By far, the best reaction I've seen about this announcement has been from my own students. I know that many of them were sad to find out that the current honors teacher would be leaving for an administrative position at a different middle school. However, when they heard that I might be taking his spot, their reactions were so positive and full of excitement. It really made me feel good to know that they enjoy learning from me. What a blessing these students have been in my life.
* PS: If you know of any honors Language Arts teachers who are generous with their curriculum maps, rubrics, essays and assignments, book units, and any other ideas, please send me their contact information. I will be desperately taking resources from every website, teacher, and friend I know throughout the summer. Thanks! :)
This week was a busy one, and it included one of my favorite teaching moments of the year: the boxcar simulation during our Holocaust unit.
At school I have officially ended all my state and district testing, so I can go back to actually TEACHING! Yay. We are in the middle of reading a historical fiction book based on the Holocaust (it's called The Devil's Arithmetic). During our reading, I have activities, simulations, and discussions planned to enhance my students understanding and appreciation of what people experienced during the Holocaust. This week I did a boxcar simulation and recruited the help of my vice principal. My students were thoroughly confused/angry/scared as both I and the vice principal spoke harshly to them, took away their phones and electronics, forced them to move quickly into a line, and marched them into a small, darkened room. While squished in there, I took out a flashlight and read a section of our book that described the trip on the boxcar. Afterwards, we walked quietly back to the classroom and students were able to write about their feelings and reactions to this simulation. The discussion that emanates from this activity is always so powerful.
While I am enjoying this unit, I can't deny that I am SOOO excited for school to be out. Only 19 more days of work and then I'm free for the summer! :)
Andrew and Maichael
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