12.27.2010

New Year's Resolution #1

Love it!! And my fuzzy slippers too.


Happy New Year!!

12.20.2010

A Christmas Prayer

A Christmas Prayer

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

There's not much I can add to this because it encompasses every thought I've had about the approach of Christmas this year. The blessings of Jesus can't be counted but they include the kindness, good desires, happiness and gratitude spoken of above.

At this very hectic and busy time of year, I always have to take a minute to read through this prayer. It quiets me, it centers me and it reminds me of what it is we are commemorating: the sweetest, most important gift we have ever been given.

Love and Christmas blessings to all!

12.05.2010

December

At the risk of becoming (boring and) redundant, may I just say that I am amazed that it's already the first week of December? Again, where has the time gone?


We have one of our busiest weeks ever: I had my yearly physical (I'm healthy!), a dentist appt., a hair appt., Natie had a hair appt, (which involves me as the play-mate for the kiddoes), and the biggest time-sucker was our Stake Christmas fireside. I was the accompanist for the stake choir as well as another musical number -- and when you factor practice time into that, (both with the groups and on my own) it adds up to a lot of time, especially the week before the event.

But it was wonderful. The program was lovely, the spirit was strong, and the music was beautiful. I was so grateful to have been able to be as involved as I was in making beautiful music. It filled my heart and my soul and made all the work and time worth every second. I loved it.

And now we are looking at Christmas -- and if it happens like the rest of this year has, it will be here tomorrow. And there is so much to do. I feel the pressure building already. But this is when I have to remind myself of what it's really all about. It's not about finding the perfect present. In fact, it's not really about the presents at all. It's not about the lights, or the buying. It's about love. It's about sharing. It's about kindness and friendship. It's about Jesus, that baby in the manger, truly the greatest gift ever given.

There's still a lot to do, but I am reminded of the sweet poem by Christina Rosetti -- "What can I give Him? I'll give Him my heart." And that's what I really want to give to my loved ones. My heart. Sure, I will give them the gift I picked out, but mostly what I want them to know is how much I love them, and how much they matter to me in my life.

Jesus was the perfect example. He was a teacher, a doer of loving deeds, and a friend. This is the example I want to follow. I want to be like Him.

And that's what I want my friends and loved ones to receive this year, along with their gift. The knowledge of that love and the remembrance and gratitude for that miraculous birth and life, so long ago.

So during these next few weeks, let's all slow down, take a few minutes and remember the reason we celebrate. It's what really matters.

11.22.2010

Grateful

It's nearly Thanksgiving, (how did that happen? Time is flying by at amazing speed!) and I have had gratitude on my mind and in my heart ever since General Conference. Pres. Monson's talk about gratitude spoke clearly to me and while gratitude is something I always try to cultivate, I know I"m far from perfect in expressing it. But I have so much and I truly am so grateful.


I'm grateful for all the 'usual' things - -friends, family, a wonderful husband, grandma-hood, a home that I love, and so many things. But I have been recently introduced to a new favorite song (appropriately entitled "Grateful") and there as a verse that spoke to me so clearly that I'm pretty sure I've already committed it to memory.

"I feel a hand holding my hand,
It's not a hand you can see.
But on the road to the promised land
That hand will shepherd me.
Through delight and despair,
Holding tight and always there.

Grateful, grateful,
Truly grateful I am.
Grateful, grateful.
Truly blessed and duly grateful."
(John Bucchino)

I am so grateful for that hand, which I feel often in my life. I have (finally) learned that giving thanks for the things I have makes me so much happier than keeping score and missing the things I don't have.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for all of you.

11.16.2010

True!

As I've said before -- the hope is that we love and honor much more than we annoy. I just know that my 'annoy' factor is pretty high and Mark's tolerance level is also pretty high and that's a good thing.


For both of us.

11.02.2010

Ben's Posse

This is our grandson Ben. He is 5 years old now - -and has been diagnosed with autism. Ben is funny, smart, creative and sweet, and he and his family have been working together to find him the most help he can get so that he can have the best life possible. He, his mom and dad and his big brother Daniel are amazing. The things they have done and gone through to help Ben have made me so proud of them and have also humbled me tremendously. They love each other deeply and are truly a team. Not every child with autism has a family like Ben does and they are a big advantage for him.


We love them all and over time, I have learned to despise autism and all that it represents. And that is why we are joining them to walk in support of Autism Speaks. I have tried to figure out what I can do to help and there isn't much - -but I can do this. And you can help.

Please click here to go to my walking page and donate: anything helps and it all adds up. Help us support Ben and his posse. Yes, Ben has a posse and I'm a member. Please help us.

(Thanks to all of you who even made it through this post -- emotional grandma's pleas probably aren't all that fun to read.)

10.29.2010

Beach Time




"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea." ~Isak Dinesen


We decided about a month ago that it was way past time for a trip to the beach, so we loaded up the cars and headed down to Port Aransas for a quick weekend visit. This time we rented a condo that didn't really have beach access - but was walking distance to the center of town and that worked great. Our theory was that when you take kids to the beach, you need a car anyhow, to haul all the things you need for a good time: towels, beach toys, umbrellas, drinks, snacks, etc. etc. etc. And it worked out very well.

Port Aransas is a great little beach town -- kind of quiet really but everything you might need is there. It was a wonderful (if a little too quick - we could have stayed for days and loved it) trip and once again, I came back feeling kind of filled up and relaxed.

Also with the feeling that I need a beach house. Seriously. I love that place and am ready to go back as soon as we can figure it out.

But this is what I really want to know: why is it that someone who was raised on the prairies of Southern Alberta and spent many years in mountainous areas so loves the beach? All I know is that there is something there that I need.

10.22.2010

Hair

I'm in the 'grow it' phase right now but am moving quickly into the 'get sick of it' category. I always want longer hair, but after a relatively short frustrating time of growing it out - I'm ready to chop it off.


If I thought it looked good I might be able to hang on a bit longer - -but I'm struggling at this point.

Already. Sigh.

10.15.2010

Update (or where has the time gone, anyhow?)




It's pretty much been a whole month since I've looked at my blog -- amazing how the time is flying past. There's been plenty going on, that's for sure, but probably my favorite things involve the kids in my life.


Natalie called the other night to report that Simon had said his first intelligible prayer: "Heavenly Father, please bless Grandma. Amen!" Made my night to hear that one.

We had a quick beach trip a few weeks ago (need I say again that there is something at the beach that really restores me? I love it there). It was fun to spend time looking for shells and playing in the warm water with the little guys.

I got to sub for Primary music in our ward on Sunday and had such a good time with the children there. I don't mind admitting that I miss them a lot. Stake Primary is a whole different area and while it helps to know that I am where Heavenly Father wants me (that much is very clear), I sure do miss the children. It was a breath of fresh air. And there is some more music subbing on the horizon which is something to look forward to.

Miss Maya turned 7 and we celebrated with a skating party (see the above pics for proof), Simon is coming up on his 2nd birthday (Sesame Street party in the works, I think), and we are all going to be in Dallas for a walk for Autism Speaks (if you want to contribute, go here -- we can use all the help we can get). Our grandson Ben has autism and as I watch their family and what they are dealing with, I loathe autism more all the time. Ben is doing great but autism needs to be wiped out.

Halloween is next, and then we are onto November celebrations: Natalie's birthday, Chris and Tara's anniversary, Chris Cottam and Chris Mason's birthday (same day!), Thanksgiving and that will wipe out November. Add to that lots of wards to visit (watching their Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentations will be pure pleasure!) and I'm tired just thinking about it.

And then Christmas? Seriously?! Where is the time going, anyhow? I need to get moving!

9.17.2010

How to Stay Married


Mark and I have been married a long time (to be exact: 35 years and 9 months) and recently I was talking to someone about how people manage to stay together that long.

I have made no secret about the fact that when I was younger and was making the marriage decision, I wasn't especially careful, prayerful or smart. Yes, I was somewhat prayerful, but mostly, I was just head over heels in love. And that's how I chose Mark.

Fortunately for me, I was also lucky and probably a better descriptive word would be blessed. He is calm, funny, smart, loving, tolerant and patient (seriously, if you know me, that is a requirement) and best of all, he loves me. He is a great husband, a wonderful father and now a fabulous grandpa.

And I think this says it all. We do irritate the heck out of each other at times, but the love we share is stronger than the irritation. Romantic, huh?

He's a keeper!

8.30.2010

The Road Not Taken

Simon - nearly 2


Daniel - 7
Ben - 5

Mason - 4 1/2 (the half is very important)

Maya, nearly 7, with Lucy, 3 1/2 months

"Yes, it would be fun to go back and travel the road not taken, especially with the grandkids." ~Robert Brault

I ran across this thought today (Robert Brault is a writer whose thoughts seem to connect well with my own, only he has the facility to put things much more clearly than I do!) and loved it. Anyone who knows me knows that the topic of grandkiddoes speaks to my heart. I knew long before I ever had any that I wanted grandchildren. I love children in general, love my own children so much -- but I knew somehow that the grandma experience would be exceptional and I wanted it badly. And as I have had that experience (with the most precious of children, I might add!) my heart has surprised me by the strength of the emotion I feel for them.

They make everything better. It's always fun to do even the simplest things with them because to them, life is an adventure. And being included in those adventures is what makes my life rich and full. I often muse about the road not taken and I love the thought of the fun exploring it with a grandchild. They have such curiosity and that wide-eyed excitement that pulls a willing grandma right along with them.

They are all different, they are all funny and bright, and they are all loving. And they are all loved immensely by their grandma, who is grateful for them every day of her life.

Which makes me even more grateful for the knowledge I have of the eternal nature of the family -- to be with these precious family members forever is one of the greatest blessings I can claim.


8.23.2010

A New Start

"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me". ~Author unknown, variation of an excerpt from "The Serenity Prayer" by Reinhold Neibuhr


How can it be the first day of school? (and I know that it's already been the first day of school in other places!) The summer has flown for me. And I am having this fall-ish feeling that I love -- sort of the feeling of a new start (you know what I mean) and time to get back on a schedule etc. Which is weird considering I have no one who lives at home with me except Mark -- and he's on the same schedule he's always been on.

But I do love that feeling. It's the right time of year to step into the routine, to feel the steadiness of scheduling, to get back to (trying, anyhow) being better about keeping dinners fixed on time, to stay up on my church calling, to get my house in order. That's what fall says to me -- even when the temps here are over 100.

And the above thought spoke to me today so loudly and clearly that I couldn't not post it -- the person who always needs the most work is me. And what better time than now to work on that?

Happy First Day of School, wherever you are!

(it doesn't look like the picture here -- but it sure says fall to me!)

8.09.2010

Road Trip!

Looking forward to a Mason family reunion in Missouri - we leave on Thursday and I think I'm as bad as the kids are: the anticipation makes it twice as much fun!

8.01.2010

To Be Useful

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and have lived well." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mason loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Maybe not quite as much as he used to, but still -- a lot. So we have gotten to know Thomas and those who populate his world. What Thomas really wants is to be a 'really useful engine'. Which to me means that he wants what he does to count for something. I like that. Because that's what I want too. I want what I do to matter. I want the things I do to be pleasing not only to myself, but more, to my Heavenly Father.

So as I go through my days, I remind myself to look for opportunities to be an instrument in His hands. Because I want to be like Thomas: 'a really useful engine.'

7.31.2010

New Phone

So recently our Chris decided he wanted one of the new Iphones. I think he figured that the only way he'd get one was to get rid of his (perfectly good) 'old' one. So he offered to sell it to me. I wasn't so sure I needed a new phone, but was willing to go along with him.

Tara, however, heard about our potential arrangement, and absolutely let him have it: "You don't sell your phone to your Mom!! She was in labor with you for 3 days! You GIVE her your phone!" She cracked me up and I loved it. (Chris has a good wife!)

So he gave it to me. He got his new one (loves it), and I got his 'old' one. Recently I got it all hooked up and am learning how to use it. And I am finding that the above cartoon is 100% accurate.

I am getting behind in my TV shows. (And I am loving the Iphone)

7.28.2010

Going Home

Welcome to Alberta! (pic is not great -- taken from a moving car - -but still -- you get the idea!)

My cute sister and her first grandbaby, Oliver. She couldn't keep her hands off him, with good reason. He's beautiful.

Oliver and his daddy, my nephew Eric. So fun to see him grown up, and being a husband and a daddy (and doing a great job!).

Val and Keith - my only sister and together, one of my favorite couples (and relatives!)

Ian and Ashley, just after exiting the Alberta Temple in Cardston. Aren't they gorgeous?

Val pinning Ian's flower on him after the temple ceremony. He's a married man!

"Where we love is home -- home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes Sr.

Mark and I just returned from a week in Alberta. The purpose was two-fold: to visit with my parents who live in Lethbridge (where I grew up) and to attend my nephew Ian's wedding to his beautiful new wife, Ashley. There's something that happens to me every time I get back there -- there's a pull for me to drive by the house I grew up in, to check out the schools I attended, to look out over Henderson Lake (3 blocks from our house), and to soak up the family that I don't get enough of.

The wedding was wonderful. Ian and Ashley were so ready to spend their lives (and beyond) together and it was a gift to be able to watch them make that commitment to each other. It was wonderful to spend time with my sister and maybe be of a little bit of help in her involvement with the wedding. It was great to be with her husband Keith and son Eric (with his wife Jacquie and new baby Oliver -- both wonderful!). I even ran into some seriously old friends (from way back when -- probably haven't seen them for nearly 40 years -- amazing) and had a little visit with them.

I loved spending time with my parents. I get bothered because they don't get around as well as they used to (or as they'd like to), and I wish there was something I could do to change that for them. But it's fun to be able to spend time with them, even if we aren't doing anything especially exciting. Just being together is really what it's all about.

That week in Alberta has brought out that Canadianism that isn't buried as deep as I thought it was. My feet may have left Lethbridge, but not my heart.

7.14.2010

Good Grapes

"Wisdom doesn't come automatically with age. Nothing does -- except wrinkles. It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place." ~Abigail Van Buren

I have heard it said that learning is an ongoing process and I'm finding that to be true. There isn't a day that passes (super-quickly, I might add!) that I don't pick up something that I really hadn't known before. And I love that. Time is passing and I am learning.

The wrinkles are definitely there. And I want to improve with age -- which means I need to be good grapes. I'm working on it.

7.02.2010

Phases of Life

This is the truth! As I look back (which is easier to do all the time, because there is more and more to look back on!) I wish I had enjoyed every phase of life more, even when it was a hard, frustrating phase.

I think that's the key - -to enjoy where you are while you're there. Like Mason says, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit!". Just love it while you're in it.

I'm so loving the grandma phase I'm in right now.

6.24.2010

Missing the Children

“Every member of the Church is important to us. Indeed, every person—member or not—is important to us, but surely among the most significant of all our responsibilities is the responsibility to protect and nurture the children of the Church. . . . We care so much about you and about the children you are teaching. Prepare well to bless these little ones. Give it your best effort. Your influence will, quite literally, affect these children for eternity. Enjoy the assignment that you have, and discharge it faithfully. . . . However much we love and admire children, I am certain we underestimate who and what a child is and what in the hands of God he or she may become. May God bless you always in your sacred opportunity to help save the children of this Church” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Message to Primary Leaders, Mar. 2006).

Not long ago I was called to a new position -- counselor in our Stake Primary presidency. That of course meant a release from our ward Primary, where I had served for nearly 5 years, 1 year as the chorister and nearly 4 as the President. I love our Primary, the children and their teachers more than I had imagined possible. I loved being with them and serving them. I loved feeling the spirit with them and talking about the gospel with them.

I also knew that Heavenly Father had something else in mind for me. I know that I am where I am now for a reason. I know that His hand was in this change. But I miss the children and teachers of our ward.

Stake callings are different. I know this because I have had them before. You are dealing with the adults, training them, and helping them to love their Primary (or whatever organization you are serving in) calling. It's very different from serving in the ward. I had a dream presidency when I was released, wonderful teachers and Primary workers to serve with and children that I will always love. And change is hard.

Now I have a new presidency to learn to know and love. The fact that most of us are in different wards makes it harder. And that it's summer doesn't help either, with many people traveling. And have I mentioned (ha!) that I miss the children?

I have such a testimony of Primary and the love that the Savior has for the children. That's where I have been planted, and that's where my heart is. Working directly with the children.

And now I have to figure out how to help other adults love serving in the Primary. I hope I can do it.
(picture of our Primary in a Christmas Sharing Time)

6.09.2010

New House

family room

Front door, looking from living room into family room


Upstairs playroom (ours looks a lot the same as this)


Other side of playroom -- our TV is there along with the elliptical


kitchen

Dining nook (not very big - -not sure what we'll do when we have big dinners here -- like Christmas. We'll figure it out, I'm sure!)


kitchen

Front yard (don't you love those trees?!)

Things are (finally) slowing down - -and I have had numerous requests for pics of the new house. I want to make it clear that these pics are not of us moved into this house - they are the pics that were posted when the house went up for sale. So it doesn't look like this anymore. I am not ready to take pics of it yet 'cause it's still in a mess. But here's what it looks like in general.

We love it.

6.02.2010

Moved In

I am finally feeling like there will be a time (still in a fairly distant future - but now there is hope) that we will be all moved in and settled. Even though we've moved a lot, I had forgotten that when you change houses, everything changes. The rooms don't work with your furniture, or the places you used to store stuff don't exist anymore. You know what I mean. So we've bought new shelving, new TVs (yup, you read that right -- we figured we deserved it since our newest TV was over 10 years old), new organizers for the drawers, etc. etc. etc. We still need to get a cabinet to hang over the toilet in our bathroom (where else am I going to store the TP?!), the king guest bed takes up the entire guest room so I think we're going to go to a full instead, and bunk beds are what we want for the room for the little people who visit.

Mark has a lot of things to put together or to hang or to do something to and then I can continue what I need to do. More, I need help with trying to figure out how to set up our family room. I'm so not good at that - but what I do know is that it doesn't look right. And my Candice has moved! Ack! So we're kind of still in a mess - -but progress has been made. And that's good.

Just another little (sort of) funny note: as we were clearing out the storage unit on Saturday, we made one last trip and in our zeal to be done, we over-loaded the back of the pick-up we had borrowed from Mark's work. Math was riding back there, keeping his hand on a purple chair (that's why it it was in storage - - no purple at either house anymore) that was a perched just little bit precariously. Just as we came down Slaughter (quite a busy street here in Austin, especially on a Saturday afternoon), a breeze came up, pretty much swept the chair away and it landed in the middle of that busy street. Math said that he felt it coming, but if he had held onto it, he would have gone along with it. (Good call on that one!) Math's friend Kim was driving behind us and she managed to stop, and everyone else around us managed to do the same, thank goodness. Math and Mark leaped out and put Little Purple (didn't know we named our furniture, did you?) onto the median and then we just kept on going. No one knew what else to do and I think it was the right answer.

We rushed home, unloaded the truck, formulated a plan and headed back to rescue Little Purple. But in that short time period (no more than 30 minutes, I think), Little Purple had been kidnapped. So RIP, Little Purple. We hope you like your new home!

'Cause we like ours. A lot.

5.27.2010

Change - and Frustration

Who was it who said that there is nothing in life that is as constant as change? Whoever it was was right. This has been a 3 month period full of change.

We did get the move done. It wasn't easy - complications with the IRS and their missing paper (that was needed by the title company) and our buyers (first-timers who were extremely difficult to work with - our agent Nolan was amazing which made a big difference) as well as rain (not good for a do-it-yourself move) and a deadline to get our truck emptied that I was sure we were not going to be able to meet. But we have amazing friends and family and every one of them (it seemed, anyhow) came through for us in ways I couldn't have predicted. We got the closings done (eventually, anyhow), the move made, the truck returned (in time!), and then we began the settling-in process.

After nearly 2 weeks we finally have a home phone again, internet (woohoo!) but no TV yet. The biggest down-side of that is that all the shows I've followed have ended -- without me. Sigh. Interestingly enough, though, I seem to have survived it. Who knew? We should have our TV going within the next week. Apparently we have to trim a big old tree out front for that to happen. What?!

It just seems that everything that has to do with this move has been complicated, and if something could go wrong, you could count on the fact that it would (and did). But we have come out on the other side and the house is wonderful. We love it and look forward to staying here forever.

And our family have been joined by Miss Lucy, who is beautiful, sweet and calm. What a gift! Add to that the MBA our oldest son Chris received last week and I have to step back and count my blessings. There is so much to be grateful for -- and I am.

But I need a trip to IKEA to buy some things so I can get this house organized -- and then, I think I'll feel settled at last. And you should come visit.

5.05.2010

Sad Day

Yesterday we got word that Mark's mom, Mary Lou Mason, had passed away in her sleep. This was totally unexpected and utterly heartbreaking for our family. Grandma Mason was a precious, special lady who has a tender place in all of our hearts. She has been an example of kindness, patience, long-suffering and good humor and good cheer for as long as I've known her (35+ years now).

She had been confined to a wheelchair since she contracted polio back when Mark was 2 years old, and we have all only known her that way. But not one of us has ever heard her complain. On the contrary, her comments about polio are positive: she feels like she would never have been humble enough to accept the gospel if she hadn't had polio. She was and is an amazing, loving, wonderful lady.

We will miss her terribly. We will never forget her, and we will think of her often because there is something of her in each one of us. We are grateful and happy that we had the privilege of being a part of her life.

And we want to live so that she would be proud of us.

5.03.2010

Re-Tox

There is a lot happening right now, and if you look at my face, you can see a mouth covered with cold sores (ack!). I have rarely had a problem with them so I did some looking online -- and I found that stress is one of the biggest factors in a cold sore breakout (beyond the viral connection, of course). Stress? Any going on here? Maybe so.

A lot of the stress doesn't belong to me personally, but there is a lot on my mind. First, of course, the move. The house sold quickly, we found another (that we love) quickly, and now we're trying to make the arrangements between us, our buyers, our new house and the current owners, two title companies -- it makes my head spin. We need to close on this one first so that we have the $$ to put into the new one, and then we need to be able to stay here for a day or two so that we can do the closing on the other one and get moved in. Timing is everything and our buyers have been difficult to work with. Whenever I get ready to tell them to forget it, I look out my window and see the other houses that are still for sale and suck it up and try to move on. We do know that we will be moving 'on or before May 14'. We are just hoping it can be a little before then.

So in preparation for that move, we spent the weekend packing and got a lot done - but now we are living in a mess. Add to that chaos, the knowledge that our Chris is getting his MBA (yay!! I know they will all be so happy to be done with that) and will graduate here May 21. I'm hoping we actually have a room/rooms for them to stay in at that point. Baby Girl Cottam is due to arrive on May 17. And the Father/Son campout is (of course) scheduled for the weekend of May 14. We may be moving with just the 2 of us! And Chris C. had his tonsils out last week and is really suffering -- we're trying to do everything we can to help there as well.

Anyhow -- add to that the regular stuff: Visiting teaching, temple visit for May (which is closed for 2 weeks, further complicating scheduling), learning and trying to function in a new calling (it's going to be fun!), and just generally keeping my head above water.

I do need a re-tox - bring on the Diet Coke!

picture via everyday people cartoons

4.22.2010

Tender Mercies

"I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15). ~David A. Bednar

It's been an interesting few months. Probably about 6-8 weeks ago, I started having the very distinct and strong impression that my time in our ward Primary was coming to close and that I should take it in and enjoy everything in the time I had left. I dismissed that impression because it wasn't something I wanted to even consider. But the feeling would not be dismissed. Eventually I said something to Mark about it. We happened to be eating Chinese food in a neighborhood place and we both sat there with tears running down our faces as we discussed it.

It was the following Sunday that the Bishop called me into his office to let me know that I was being released, and told me that the stake had asked for me and told us the story of the inspiration the Stake Primary President had received. He said his first response was 'absolutely not!' but then decided he needed to honor her request by praying about it. The answer he received was that she was right and it was time for me to move on. So they began the process of replacing us and our presidency, and I was called as a counselor in the Stake Primary.

What's really wonderful is that when the Bishop asked if I had any recommendations for a replacement, only one name came to me and I passed that name on to him. My counselors and secretary all came up with the same name. And when the new presidency was sustained, the new president was the person whose name was so clear to me. It made it very easy to sustain and support the changes.

But I wanted that feeling about my new calling too, and I've been praying for inspiration about it. The feelings I have had are very specific and very clear: that I need to pay attention, listen, work hard, and learn all I can. Also, that I need to love the ward primary leaders, and do everything I can to help them love their Primary children and their callings.

Last night, I was set apart by the high councilor who supervises the Stake Primary and it was truly a tender mercy for me to hear the things he said as he set me apart. They were the very impressions and feelings I've had already. He reinforced those things, reminded me that I am loved by our Heavenly Father, and that I need to seek out the one, whether it's a child or a Primary leader. He also told me that I had a job to do that no one else could do - that it was something only I could carry out. And he ended by telling me that Heavenly Father had great confidence in me and loved me.

What a gift! And now I am ready to go. I'm so thankful for that specific tender mercy in my life.