14 September 2009

My Personal Statement

I've been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life lately and what my goals are so I came up with a personal statement. I want to share it with everyone in an effort to really commit myself so here is my first draft:

My goals in life are not about doing something but about thinking differently. Overcoming our negative thoughts are one of the hardest but most important things we can do in our lives. When our thoughts change, our actions will follow.

I want to experience maximum joy and peace given my circumstances. This means I need to spend as much time in my life as possible in doing things that bring me joy like:

  • Teaching my children to be good

  • Helping my children be awesome

  • Spending time with my husband

  • Playing with my children

  • Preparing good meals for my family

  • Reading scriptures

  • Doing my calling and other church things like volunteering for things

  • Exercising

  • Decorating my house nice

  • Crafts

  • Playing my flute

  • Preparing for the future

  • Taking and organizing pictures

  • Having a clean, organized house

  • Working on my family history

In order to have time to do the things I want to, I need to spend less time doing things that don't bring me joy. I will achieve this by:

  • Being happy and grateful with what I have. It's not about where we live or what we have.

  • Having positive, optimistic, ambitious, consistent thinking. Don't be afraid to have joy. We are what we think.

  • Making sure I'm never to busy to read my scriptures, exercise and do my church calling.

  • Being healthy.

  • Simplifying. Try to buy less “stuff” that just clutters the house and mind and takes away from my joy.

  • When fixing up the house, focus on organization, saving time, saving money and preparing for the future. A place for everything and everything in it's place.

  • Going to bed right after my children go to bed (try to be in bed by 9pm)

  • Making maximum profits in my business with minimal effort.

  • Becoming financially independent so that everyone in our family can spend the maximum time doing things that bring them joy.

  • Paying off the house and car as early as possible so we can be free from debt

  • Eventually finding a way that Norm can have a job that brings him joy and passion and more time with the family.

19 October 2008

My testimony

I didn't bear my testimony in church on the day Kayla was blessed. It was just too soon after her birth for me to gather my thoughts. I am still forming my thoughts but I want to write down what I have been thinking about lately.

We watched the movie August Rush a few nights ago. It was really emotional for me to watch because it illustrated so well how strong energy can be. I mean the kind of energy where you just feel drawn to someone or something and you can't really explain it. Or when you can feel someone's presence near even when you can't see them. Or the energy field that surrounds each of us and flows through our body. As a member of the LDS church, we know that some of that is the Holy Ghost. Some of it is something else though. I also believe they are somehow intertwined. I have had some experience lately with energy.

I felt a very strong energy pull with each of my children. With Megan I felt very strongly about nine months before she was born that she would be born soon. We had one adoption after another not go through and I just felt the energy toward my unborn child stronger and stronger. I knew she was out there and I just had to find her. I would have been found her if it wasn't for this pull because I found the agency we used on the internet after another adoption fell through. I just happened to email the agency right when they were looking for a family. It turns out the first adoption we tried to do with them failed but the second one was Megan. Megan was meant to be in our family. I know this because I know everything wouldn't have worked out the way it did if it wasn't supposed to.

With Tyler I really knew I was going to have the second child soon. In fact, the day we first heard about Tyler Norm was home off work on a Monday and got the call. He was home because we were starting to do tests and go to appointments for fertility to try to get pregnant. It was really soon after Megan was born but I just knew it was going to happen soon but didn't know exactly how so I wanted to explore all the options.

With Kayla I knew for a long time that our third child would be our biological child but a certain part of me just couldn't believe that. Especially right after Tyler was born, our health was worse than ever and it just seemed impossible. I just felt such an energy pull

13 January 2008

My testimony

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on testimony today and at the end bore my testimony. I typed it all out since it was a talk and that's how I still give talks. But the advantage I have of that is that there's somewhat a record of what I said. I want to put the end of my talk on here, which is my testimony because I know not all of you were there. This is how I wrote it ahead of time and not exactly how I gave it but pretty close.

I'm going to bear testimony about two gospel truths I have been focused on lately. They are trust and eternal perspective. As many of you know, we didn't get Megan until we had been married for over eight years. That took some trust in the Lord. To know that we can't put timetables on the Lord and that whatever the Lord thinks is best is what I really wanted, even if it didn't fit in with my plans. I had to constantly remind myself to keep the eternal perspective in mind. That life isn't a big race to see who can have the most grandchildren. That eternally things will work out. A lot of people aren't given the opportunity to have children, get married, or they died at a young age, or are divorced, etc. It makes it a lot easier to accept these things if we don't expect our lives to go a certain way. If we just trust that whatever the Lord wants is the best thing for us.

Well, this has been driven home lately. I had a few premonitions about Megan and Tyler. Like before we got Megan I had this reoccurring thought, and it may have first been a dream, that in the future I would have a conversation with a person and they would ask me which one of the ways we got our children was the best. I say something like, well, my first child was really great because we waited for so long and she was so sweet and it was so new. My second child was great because it happened so fast. Then the third child was great because I got to experience childbirth, which is very different from adoption. And then after that, the rest is history. Well, I've had this run through my mind hundreds of times. It made me prepared when Tyler was born because even though it was so soon, I kind of knew it would be.

Well, then after Tyler I had no desire whatsoever to think about adoption anymore. I had a mental block whenever I would think about it. I just had the reoccurring thought that I needed to just wait and that I wouldn't have to worry about how the next child would come. It was actually very relieving to not worry about things. Well, then my health got really bad and I had a lot of little problems after the stress on my body from taking care of two little babies. It seemed impossible that I would ever be able to have a child. My infertility problems were worse than ever.

Well, to make a long story short, about a year ago I prayed a lot about what I could do to prepare myself to get pregnant. I knew it wasn't just going to happen over night. I had a feeling I was going to really have to work at it. Well, it turned out that I slowly received inspiration about what I could do to change my health. I would say I ended up have 20 or more inspirations of things to do that, in the long run, have really added up to something big.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. My body has permanently changed for the better. I hope to never go back to my old self. I'm not there yet. I still have some things I am trying to clear up and they may take years, but I am on the way and feel like I am a partner with the Lord in healing my body. I have noticed many positive signs that my body is working better inside. But the best one of all is that I am now pregnant. I am due on August 6.

I can't believe how guided I have felt in this whole process. Like someone has been taking my hand and showing me exactly what to do. I've had so many prayers where I asked the Lord for me to get pregnant, but then I would think, what's the point of asking? I know he will do whatever is best for me. I KNOW that. Well, he says it is still nice to ask. So my main prayers would focus on what I could do to get pregnant. I continue to put all my trust in the Lord in this pregnancy.

It's a scary thing after such a long time, but I know that whatever is supposed to happen will. I can't put any expectations on the Lord. I know that what is supposed to happen will. I am grateful that the Lord answered my prayers and that this new blessing has happened in our lives and I pray that you will be able to put all your trust in the Lord too. It's a great feeling to really do it not just hope that you can or wish that you could. I would now like to bear testimony that:

Testify God is our Father and Jesus is the Christ.

The plan of salvation is centered on the Savior’s Atonement.

Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon is evidence that our testimony is true.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

06 September 2007

Family History Recommendations

The past couple of months I've been discovering a lot of great family history resources on the internet. I want to post them so others can see what's out there. It feels like the internet and family history/genealogy are really just beginning and there is so much out there that still isn't on the internet. For example, my aunt and I still have to go look at microfilms and do original research for most of my Italian ancestors. But the great thing is that once I do that research, I can supplement it a lot by going on the internet.

Here are my favorite websites right now:

www.familysearch.org - This is one I have been using for years now. There are several parts of it to note:
  1. Search - You can put in a name and it will do a search of all the millions of records. They have tons of vital records indexed on here and is a great place to start. I would get all the information from here before I looked anywhere else, if I were you. I have had really good luck with my ancestors from Gaeta, Italy.
  2. PAF - This is a basic, simple and free family history program great for anyone just starting out. It's what I still use.
  3. Family History Centers - You can do a search by location (Family History Centers) and find one of hundreds of centers all over the world with people ready to help you do your family history research for free, no matter your religion, etc.
  4. Microfilms - What you do is go to the catalog and put in the location you are researching (here are the ones we have spent all our time with in Gaeta, Italy) and it will bring up a list of microfilms they have. Each microfilm has thousands of records on it that volunteers photocopied out of books years ago. Then you figure out what film(s) you want and then look up the location of the nearest Family History Center to you (see above). Then you go there and take the film number with you. They will order the film for you, you pay like $3.50 for a three weeks rental or something like that. Then you can go back when it's in and look at all the records on the microfilm reader.
  5. Indexing - You can help index all the tons of records out there. It's a huge project with thousands of volunteers all over the world. Check it out here: Indexing

www.worldvitalrecords.com - This is a great new website. They are constantly adding new things. There is a lot of stuff you can access for free and you can also access all the new databases for 10 days for free. They have a great search engine. I love it because you can search just by last name or things like that.

www.findagrave.com - I just found out about this through World Vital Records. This is actually a free site where people post information about their ancestors buried in cemeteries all across America. There are a ton of names on it. It's also linked to World Vital Records.

www.footnote.com - This is another free website. The main thing I use it for is naturalization records for my ancestors that immigrated to Italy.

My website - Family Tree Guide has this awesome free service where you upload your current gedcom file and then it creates a website for you that you can customize and do all sorts of things to. I'm getting a lot of great hits from people like on Google and other search engines. I'm hoping to eventually find someone I'm related to or at least help a bunch of people with relatives in Gaeta, Italy. It's also free to sign up and then costs like $40 a year if you don't want to see ads, but I don't mind a few ads.

www.familylink.com - This is a free new site that was really upgraded last week and is related to World Vital Records. It seems a bit like Facebook for family history. You upload your Gedcom file and then try to link to other people that are working in the same location or the same last name as you are. It has a lot of potential, I believe.

PAF Insight - I can't believe how much time this software has saved me. I started using it a few years ago after major frustrations with PAF. This has a few great features. IGI Search - It will search the IGI files at familysearch.org but does a much better and faster job then you can manually do. I've found a ton of information this way. Merge - The merge feature is so much better than PAF. It tells you what percentage of the two people are matched so you can sort by percentage. It shows you where the differences and similarities are. Also, another great feature is that you can mark it as "Not a Match" and it won't tell you about it again. Sync - I use this a lot since I have two main files - related and non-related people. It compares them and tells me where I have matches so then I can easily move the non-related people to my related file. I would highly recommend it. It costs like $20 for a lifetime with free software downloads.

Massachusetts Archives - This one is not applicable to everyone but it's great for Massachusetts Births and Deaths between 1841-1910. All you do is put in the name and then it lists all the birth and death records they have and then you write to them and get copies of them. It's so nice because you know exactly what to ask for and you can see people you wouldn't even know that they existed to know to ask for. I wrote a letter requesting copies and haven't gotten it yet but I'm very excited because I easily found at least 20 people I want to eventually get copies of birth records for and this could help a lot with my family history. There are also a few other databases on the website too. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/SearchWelcome.html

Well, these are kind of in a random order but I wanted to put some of my family history thoughts out there somewhere. It's fun to help other people and see how many blanks I can fill in my family history puzzle.