What's different? TWO things.
Since the end of August, I've been teaching preschool. Just 2.5 hours a day, 3 days a week. It doesn't sound like too much time, but I've definitely had to adjust my schedule and work smarter to get everything done at home. You know what? I feel GOOD.
The kids are absolutely adorable and they're always making us laugh with the cute things they say and do. I really enjoy being with them and teaching them how to recognize their letters and learn their sounds. It's very rewarding to see the progress they are making already.
I also LOVE the lady I teach with. Her name is Julie and I think I did a blog post about her awhile back. She is... well, she's just plain AWESOME! We have a lot of fun together and I really admire her. She has published the "Read at Three" reading program we use and other preschool's have purchased it to use as well.
So basically, I really look forward to "work" every other day. It's a nice break from the routine of errands and cleaning the house (which never really ends, right?). I haven't worked since?? Gosh, I had a small part-time job back in 2007 where I helped a neighbor with their home-based business (I think it was less than a year?). Other than that, I used to work in the "Bug Lab" at Utah State University in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department back in... oh, 1998. Yeah, it's been awhile.
It feels good to be contributing to something worthwhile and to spend time with the preschool kids and Julie is definitely good for the soul! I feel so blessed to have them in my life. Julie is a woman of God and I would do well to learn from and follow her example. :) Here we are on a field trip to the Fire Station:
A couple weeks ago we went to our friend's Oktoberfest. Just for the record, it was a LOT of fun! Lots of authentic German food and lots of fun people to visit with. Anyway, I've always been and always will be VERY proud to be a mother, especially a "stay-at-home" mother. It is a VERY big sacrifice with immeasurable results! However, whenever someone asks you "what do you do?" and you say, "I'm a stay-at-home mom" they almost always say something to the effect of, "oh, that's nice, good for you" and there's not much else to say. That's fine. I get that. Actually, a lot of the women I associate with are also stay-at-home moms so they get it too. :) They smile a knowing smile and we always have a lot to talk about.
Well, the Oktoberfest was the first social gathering I've been to since I've started teaching preschool and where I didn't already know a lot of the people. So with the regular chit chat, I got a lot of the "what do you do?" and I would say, "I'm raising 4 children AND I teach preschool." They would respond, "Oh, wow, you teach preschool? That's great!" Then, they would ask about our reading program and such, and wow, it felt so good to be part of something as wonderful as this preschool!
I can't wait for our Halloween Party tomorrow! Of course, I will be dressed as Luna Lovegood. I don't think the kids will know who I really am, but I have to celebrate my love of Harry Potter in some way each year. :) Okay...
General Conference. This was during the first week of October and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE. As usual, I took notes on nearly every talk. I felt very inspired and strengthened. I truly felt like some of the talks were specific answers to my prayers. However, this time, I did something else. Something more. Something I'm still doing.
The very first talk really inspired me. It was from Elder Robert D. Hales (one of my favorite Apostles --I got to meet him a few years ago) and it was called, "General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony". I really felt the need to do more than listen to all of the talks and even more than taking notes on each of them. I felt like I should use them as a road map or guide book for my everyday life until the next conference in April.
Before I forget, did I tell you I've been serving in the Relief Society Presidency? It has been such a WONDERFUL blessing in my life. I enjoy it so much. I really feel like I'm helping others and making new friends. Our Presidency has so much fun together and our meetings are always very inspiring and strengthening to me. Denise is our President and she is truly one-of-a-kind. She is one of those genuine and unfailingly kind people. There isn't a mean bone in her body. She sees the good in everyone and is quick to let them know. She goes out of her way to help everyone AND somehow she still finds time to be a wonderful mother and wife and run a full-time day care! She is SO fun to be with too.
Again, Denise is another very special woman of God. It is no coincidence Heavenly Father has put these women and many others in my life at THIS time. I need them. They help me to stay strong and to do good things. She said to all of us right after conference or was it Time Out for Women? I can't remember, but she said how important it is to continue to study all of the conference talks AFTER conference.
Denise heard someone say, "A talk a day keeps Satan away."That has really stayed with me! She said she listens to a talk every morning as she's getting ready for the day. So, I thought I would try it. I usually listen to music or nothing at all and I thought this would be a good time to focus when my mind is fresh and the kids are at school.
I have to tell you, it has literally been life-changing!!! 10 minutes a day. LIFE CHANGING! I have felt a greater desire to pray and read my scriptures. I have felt greater peace and daily inspiration. I have felt HAPPIER! I often find myself listening to 2 or 3 or even more talks. I carry my phone around the house with me as I make my bed and load the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. It has been a HUGE blessing in my life and I hope to do it as often as I can.
Here's *just a few* of my favorite talks from the October 2013 General Conference:
"Windows of Heaven" by Elder David A. Bednar
"Like a Broken Vessel" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Called of Him to Declare His Word" by Randy D. Funk
"The Strength to Endure" by Richard J. Maynes
"Look Up" by Elder Adrian Ochoa
"We Never Walk Alone" by President Thomas S. Monson
If you prayerfully read or listen to these talks I know it will bless your life.
Now that I think about it, I don't know if the "two things" are actually preschool and conference or Julie and Denise, but either way, my life has been changed for the better.