Category Archives: church

J is for …

Jesus!

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Brandi sent me a similar idea on Pinterest a few days ago and I promptly redesigned it and passed it out to my Primary class on Sunday! I totally love the idea and finished product!

Merry Christmas Eve friends! I cannot believe Christmas is here!

“Evil did not win.”

Is the title to a beautiful video designed by Alissa Parker, mother of Emilie Parker whose life was tragically cut short in the Sandy Hook School massacre one year ago today.

Last year on December 14th I blogged about my sadness and broken heart for all the families who had lost loved ones that day. I also shared my personal connection to Newtown. My mom’s sister Penny and her husband Gary raised their five – now grown – kids in Newtown. My cousins didn’t attend Sandy Hook School, but went to a neighboring one not far away and attended church with students from both schools.

The summer after I graduated high school I had the chance to fly back to stay with my cousins for several weeks at their home in Newtown. The picturesque photos you see on the news do not do this town justice. Not only is it beautiful esthetically, the sense of home and family is so strongly and deeply driven into the community is spectacular. Newtown was a beautiful place to visit, I can only imagine it was and is a beautiful place to live.

As the news broke I immediately texted my cousin to make sure everybody in her parents ward were accounted for. At that time there was still mass confusion and very few answers, but she was under the impression that all their wards kids were ok. Even though I was across the country I felt a huge sense of relief that no one they new was unaccounted for or hurt. That didn’t diminish the sadness I felt knowing 26 other families weren’t as lucky.

Later that night I came home and learned that one of the 20 first graders killed was a little girl in my Aunt’s ward. That little girl was Emilie Parker. The next day I blogged again about learning about Emilie and urged fellow bloggers to join a blog movement to step away from our computers and spend time with those we love in memory and honor of the 26th lives that were lost.

Over the following days and months my cousins shared Facebook memorial pages, blogs and websites that were being designed in honor of Emilie and other victims of Sandy Hook. I too began following. However having a connection to the Parker family, albeit minuscule, I began following their story more closely.

The more I read, the more sense of connection I felt to their family. The words Emilie’s mom writes on their family blog are beautiful, heart filled and honest. The photos are beautiful, happy and bright. She shares with the world her immense pain, anger, the good days and bad ones. She welcomed complete strangers a touching look into their families life.

As a fellow LDS woman, I also felt Alissa’s strong spirit and love for our Father in Heaven. Her trust in him, the strength and love she gains from him and her ability to so eloquently share her testimony gleams through each post I read. There hasn’t been a post that I read without crying. Sometimes they are tears of sadness, hurt or anger; while others are tears of joy, excitement and jubilation! The emotion and love is so tightly wrapped around each post.

Alissa recently posted a video on her blog that she made to celebrate the life of her little girl. Huffington Post recently shared the video, plus the background information behind it:

Parker wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post, “There have been times where I felt like I HAD to hold on to the dark things, like it was some responsibility I was supposed to carry. But Emilie’s life was about color and joy, not about pain and suffering.”

Now they’ve decided to speak about the unexpectedly good things that have happened since the tragedy, as strangers reached out to them with words of comfort and acts of kindness. The Parkers have made a video called “Evil Did Not Win,” which honors the memory of Emilie and allows her to keep bringing good into the world. They have also created The Emilie Parker Fund in her memory, which supports the arts with funding for school and community programs, due to her love of art.

I have now watched this video numerous times and each time I am struck in awe of the strength of this one family, how Emilie was wise way beyond her years and their decision to choose love instead. I felt on the first anniversary I wanted to share this video with my family, friends and followers on my blog. I recommend grabbing a tissue prior to starting, you’ll need it.

As Alissa Parker stated in the video, “Evil didn’t win that day. We’ll carry on that love that she had, it’s quiet, it’s not on the news. It takes effort to find. But what I’ve realized through all of this is, how strong and how big God’s love really is.”

In Honor of the Victims of the Connecticut Elementary Shooting

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I mentioned in my last post, that I had talk to my cousin and all the kids they knew at Sandy Hook Elementary were accounted for.  However, I have since learned that one of the little girls who was killed in Friday’s massacre, was in my Aunt & Uncle’s ward in Newtown, Connecticut. 

I obviously didn’t know her or her family, but feel a real connection to her through my Aunt & Uncle.  They say there is only seven-degrees between two people, and in this case I’m only two.

The girl’s father gave a beautiful and courageous press conference last night.  I commend him for his bravery, strength and stamina to address the media during this extremely hard time in his family’s life.  I also want to thank him for sharing the beautiful stories and photos of his daughter with us.  Putting faces and hearing wonderful happy stories of the victims, brings a sense of solace in all this turmoil.

My thoughts, prayers and well wishes continue to be sent to the families of the victims, the survivors who are now dealing with the horrific event they endured and the entire Newtown community who is reeling from such a senseless horrific act of free agency.

Clearly, this must be a bad dream

Things like this aren’t supposed to happen. Parents aren’t supposed to have to bury their children. What is this world coming too when a young man enters an elementary school and kills 20 innocent children and 7 amazingly brave adults.

My heart is just breaking every time I think about those precious babies and heroic teachers who lost their lives today in this heartless disgusting tragedy.

As awful as watching the endless news coverage, I find myself sucked in. Unable to breakaway. Sickened with shock, disparity, anger, frustration and sadness.

It breaks my heart that this morning the victims woke up to a new exciting day of learning, discovery and pre-holiday break fun. ABC news interviewed a 1st grader, from Sandy Hook Elementary, who was in class and preparing to make gingerbread houses when the shootings began. Those kids never got to make their gingerbread houses that they had all be looking forward to.

Over and over again I hear stories of kids who just want to have Christmas and Santa visit them or finish the Hannakuh celebrations that was happening.

ABC also interviewed a 1st grade teacher who shoved her entire class into a tiny bathroom where she continually told them how much she loved each one of them, because she wanted their last memories to be how special and loved they were. (That entire class made it out safe.)

I have family that lives in Newtown, Connecticut. My mom’s sister and her family have been residents for probably at least 15 years. A couple years ago i had the opportunity to go back east and visit the beautiful small community town.

After I heard of the location of the shooting, my mind immediately raced to my aunt and uncle who still live there. I knew they would be okay and didn’t have kids that young, but my heart broke because I heard that they new many students who attended Sandy Hook Elementary and is only about a 10 minute drive from their house.

I was able to speak to my cousin, who informed me that all the kids they know who was at the school today was accounted for. Which is absolutely wonderful news.

That same cousin posted a very touching Facebook post tonight, really summing up the strength and resilience of the community of Newtown:

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My thoughts and prayers lie with the families of the victims that they may find the strength and peace needed to move forward. To the children, teachers, staff and first responders who survived and witnessed this horrific tragedy. And to the entire community of Newtown.

Our nation and the world is standing and mourning right alongside you. I pray everyone can find peace and solace in this tragedy.

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Caffeine + Cori

I don’t drink caffeine.

Actually, let me rephrase that.

I don’t drink caffeine very often.

Yes, I’m Mormon so I have chosen not to drink coffee, but caffeinated soda’s are sort of taboo.  Some Mormons drink caffeinated pops, others choose not to.  That’s not why I don’t drink it though.

You see, my body will NOT LET ME drink caffeine.  Not Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew; I can’t even take Excedrin anymore for my constant headaches and migraines, because it contains caffeine.

Do you know what soda also has caffeine in it?  BARQ’S Root Beer!

I learned this the hard way.

You see this quarter in school I’m taking 20 credits + an internship.  I’m B-U-S-Y and yesterday thirsty too!

On my way out the door I grabbed a can of pop to drink on my way to a meeting, not to stay awake but because I was thirsty.  About the time I arrived at meeting I was super dizzy, lightheaded and shaking like crazy.  It felt like I was going to pass out at any moment.  Somehow I kept my composure and made it through the meeting.

After leaving my meeting I was on my way to work, when I suddenly remembered that one brand of Root Beer contains caffeine.  I immediately grabbed my old can of pop, and sure enough I had drank a Barq’s Root Beer and it contained 22mg of caffeine.

You might be thinking, 22mg of caffeine that’s nothing compared to the 320mg of caffeine found in a Starbucks Grande Brewed Coffee.  The difference?  My body isn’t used to caffeine and my body doesn’t like it!  I need to remember to avoid Barq’s in the future.

How long did it take me to feel better?  I drank the soda about 3:30pm and I was still feeling jittery when I went to bed nearly 12-hours later at 3:00am.  Crazy, huh!

 

Hi, I’m Cori, I’m a college student, blogger and social media guru. I’m a Mormon.

i am mormon

Hope over and check out my profile on Mormon.org!

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The Rock, the Match, and the Candle

During the hustle and bustle of this season, it’s easy to forget the true reason of Christmas.  My friend, Elana, shared this story with me last year, and I love it!  So I wanted to share it with all of you!

The Rock, the Match, and the Candle

     Many years ago a farmer gave each of his three songs a bag of gold and and sent them into the world to choose a gift for him.  The gift was to represent the knowledge and wisdom that each son had gained from his father.

     The first son walked along a dusty road and met a man with a wagon load of wheat.  He thought to himself, “I will use my gold to buy all this wheat.  Then we will never worry about going hungry during the winter.”  So he gave his bag of gold to the man with the wheat and hurried home to his father.  On his arrival, the father greeted him and asked, “My son, you have returned so quickly.  What have you brought?”  The eldest son proudly showed his father the bags of wheat and answered, “Father we will not worry about going hungry for many years.”  The Father was very happy an helped his son unload the wheat into the barn.  When they had finished, the wheat filled one whole corner of the barn.

     The second son also walked along a dusty road in a different direction, and on his way met a man with a load of hay.  The second son said to himself, “If I buy this wagon load of hay, father will never have to worry about the animals this winter and the farm will prosper”.  So he gave the man his bag of gold and took the wagon load of hay.  Again, the father was waiting for his son and upon his arrival, asked, “My son, what have you brought back?”  The son happily showed his supply of hay and said “Father, the animals will be well-fed this winter and the farm will prosper.”  The father was pleased with the second son as well.

     The third and youngest son pondered the responsibility of buying a wonderful gift for his father with his bag of gold.  As he walked along the road, he thought of the many things he had learned in his life and wondered what he could buy his father that would show how wise and careful his youngest son had grown.

     As he walked, he say a young boy playing happily and running.  The boy was tossing a rock up in the air and catching it as one would catch a ball.  The road was rocky and filled with thistles but the boy was barefoot.  “Where are your shoes?” the son asked the little boy.  The boy replied, “Haven’t got any.  Doesn’t matter.  I can still run pretty good without any!”  The son walked into town with the young boy and took him into a shoemaker’s shop.  “Fit this boy with the warmest and sturdiest pair of boots that you have,” declared the son, as he took out some of his gold coins.  As he left the shop, the boy ran after him and said, “Sir, why did you do that?”  “You need them,” was his reply.  “I have nothing to repay you with,” said the boy, “but, please take my favorite rock as a gift.”  The youngest son smiled and put the rock into his bag of gold.

     Walking through town he noticed a mother standing on the corner, with three youngsters around her.  She was selling matches.  “Dear lady,” said the young man, “why aren’t you home with your little ones?  They look hungry and cold.”  “Well, I must sell these matches first,” she replied.  “so that I may buy a loaf of bread to feed them.”  The young man thought his heart would break and so he went into a store and bought two bags full of food and returned to the mother on the corner.  “Here you are.  Now take your little ones home and rest today.” he said as he turned away.  “Stop, I have nothing to repay you with, but please take one of my matches.” the young mother said with tears in her eyes.  The third son smiled and and placed the match in his bag.

     Still he worried about a gift for his father.  Continuing on his way, he noticed an elderly man through the window of a building, trying to warm his hands over the flame of a candle.  The man had only a thin shirt on.  The third son thought of his aged father and pictured him cold and alone.  He ran into a shop and with the gold in his bag, purchased a warm coat.  Rushing back, he knocked on the window and got the old man’s attention.  When the old man opened the door, the third son handed him the coat and said, “I see that you are cold.  Please make use of this coat.”  The old man was overwhelmed and replied, “I have nothing to give you in return except…here…take this candle.  I won’t need it any more tonight.  The young man smiled and placed the candle in his bag and went on his way. 

     After  while, he decided to check his bag of gold to see how much money he had, but to his dismay, the bag was depleted of all of its gold.  He hung his head and began the long walk home.  As he approached his home his father met him asking, “what have you brought back, my son?  Come into the barn and see the wheat that fills one whole corner which your eldest brother has brought!  And see the hay in the other corner of the barn which your other brother has brought.  Now come and let us see the gift that you have brought.”

     The young man quietly told the story of the barefoot little boy, the mother with her young children, and the elderly man without a coat.  At last he declared that he had brought back nothing of value.  The father reached into the bag and drew out the rock, the match and the candle.  And striking the match against the rock, he lit the candle.  The glow of the candle fill not one corner to two, but the whole barn with light and warmth.  “Do you see my son?” the father gently asked, “you have brought back the greatest gift of all.  You have brought us the pure love of Christ.”

In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” ~ Matthew 25:40

I’ve shared this with many different people this holiday, when I brought them the story, I included a baggy of goodies that went hand-in-hand with the story.

DSCN0383 What did I bring themA copy of the story, a bag of chocolate money, a rock, matches and a candle so they can retell the story!

I brought this story to the Munro’s when I was up there this past weekend and shared it with them before we opened presents!!  Julia took some photos of me reading the story to the kids! story1

I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases!!!!

Back To Nursery I Went Today

No it isn’t permanent, just a one day escape back to my old calling!!  Oh how I miss nursery!  I spent 3 years as one of the coordinators before being released and going on to Primary for 9-months and then to Relief Society.  With that being said it’s been 18months since I was back “home”!!  I jumped at the chance to go back for one day!

Most of the kids that are now in the nursery weren’t in when I was, except for a couple of kids.  My favorite Ella Bella and Miss Ellie.  These two little girls were itty-bitty when I left – just barely 18-months old.  Ellie and I had a special bond, I was the first one to finally get her to stop crying and stay in nursery!  This was no easy task, I might add.  It took a lot of work on both my part and Ellie’s to get to that point.

Poor Ellie had such stranger anxiety that she would make herself physically sick.  I’m sure her poor gullet had to be burning from the acid coming from her stomach.  I felt awful for her, but kept in her in nursery anyway.  I knew (and her mom agreed), that the best way for her to conquer this fear would be to ride it out!  We finally were successful (you can read my blog back from that day when I had Success In Nursery with Ellie), and I am excited to announce the Ellie is now a proud nursery go-er!

I miss my nursery calling and working with the little kids, but I got lots of “oh we missed you’s” and “Relief Society wasn’t the same without you, don’t leave us again!”  It felt great to feel missed and needed!

 

 
 
Be sure to check out my QOTD on BlogFrog on your blogging!!  How long have you been blogging?  What made you begin?  What’s your favorite part about it?!

header 150x150 This post is the first time I am participating in a linked blog game and am sooooo excited to do so!!  I’m participating in a new word game, Word Up, Yo! hosted by Liz of A Belle, A Bean, & A Chicago Dog, and some blogging friends of hers.  Each Sunday they’ll post a new WOW! (Word Of Week) to be used in a blog post the following week.  This is the first week, and as you probably figured out the WOW! is gullet.  Come join us for some word fun!!  Okay….let’s see if I can do this correctly…..

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