Today I did a crazy thing; I think I am in shock.

Some changes have been afoot in my life recently and I haven't been sure where they were leading.  Yesterday I got my answer.

So after talking with my bishop last night and then my mom for a long time I have decided to enroll with the training/employment assistance program offered through DI.  I guess they employ you part time and then help you with training or whatever you need to be moving forward.

I was actually surprised this was the answer, I had thought I was going to do some  piano lessons to keep us afloat for a while and everything would work itself out.  But all of a sudden this was the answer.  I fasted yesterday and clear until I talked to the bishop this wasn't my plan.  But I walked out of the door with a peace I hadn't felt in weeks and a sudden understanding of a plan that has been unfolding around me for some time.

I had felt like I was here in Oregon for reasons other than working on the farm, but I wasn't seeing it.  I have been praying and praying to see what that reason is, but I've had no idea.  All of a sudden so many little things are clicking together like pieces in a puzzle.  I see how I have been prepared for this day in so many ways, millions of tiny ways, really, and now that it is here I feel totally fine.  Probably each of you has a part in things that have shaped this moment.

At this moment the hardest part of all of this is that this afternoon I went and enrolled my kids in the local public school.  I NEVER thought I would do that.  I always thought I would at least find some private school or something, but suddenly it was the right thing to do and although I have moments of sheer dread come over me, it is the right thing and everything will be fine.

I think it was funny that my kids took it way better than I had.  They were pretty excited.  I had to restrain myself from letting them know the extent of my feelings.   I ended up asking for my kids to be put into a grade higher than their ages, so Elizabeth is in a 1st/2nd grade class as a second grader and David is in a 4th/5th grade class as a 4th grader.  We will do some testing tomorrow morning to make sure my assessments are correct, but I feel like this is going to work out.  David has a man teacher and I know that will be so good for him.  Tons of kids in our ward are in the school, so they already know a bunch of people.

I feel like one of the big reasons I am here is to minister to the people in my ward.  I feel like I need to be more "mainstream" for that to work best and the Lord has been preparing me to let this happen.  It is all part of His plan.

When I talked with my Mom yesterday we talked about the possibility of my returning to Utah.  I have to say  it was a bit tempting, but last night I felt strongly again that I am here in Portland for a reason, not Utah.  One of the reasons I could see last night is that I am thinking I will transfer (yet again) to a school here in the area and finish my degree in Social Work.  I had thought I might be here to get my master's degree, but I had another year to finish at George Wythe.  It turns out the school here has an accelerated program that will allow me to finish both my bachelor's and master's degrees in about three years: the same amount it would have taken me to finish at George Wythe and then get a master's degree.  When I started looking, this degree was not available in Utah County, and I can see how I needed to be HERE to feel like I should move forward with it.  I will be able to pay for school with a pell grant and that will help me to really finish this time, unlike the last few years when I've struggled to come up with school money on my own.

So tomorrow is my birthday.  And tomorrow my kids start school.  I figure I can either bemoan my fate and have a miserable day, or I can look at it in a different light:  Heavenly Father has chosen this day, more special to me than any other, to provide me with a large step on the road to my mission.  I choose to take that step with a straight back, a clear conscious, and a twinkle in my eye!

You know how sometimes the day is super cloudy and it feels all oppressive and awful, and then all of a sudden the sun breaks through the clouds, and for a minute it is so cheerful and bright you just want to soar?!  Even when it goes back to being cloudy that happy feeling lingers on...

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Lately I have been working really hard to eradicate some negative things I've seen in my kids.  Things like minor bickering, eye rolling, having a hard time sharing, grumpiness, etc.   Little things, but worrisome nonetheless.  I'm sure lots of people think these things are unavoidable in children, but I believe differently. I've seen differently.

I tried adding a lot of things: extra scripture time together, books with an extra moral "punch", more sleep, extra vegetables, lots of long "talks" about behavior. No big difference. So I tried removing a bunch of things: excessive free play time, frequent play time with other kids, "twaddle" in excess, sugar. Still no big change.

The other day I was disheartened to witness the following interaction:

Child 1 (calmly, trying to lift a large box of toys): Can you help me?
Child 2 (enroute to another room, instantly on guard): No! I'm busy!
Child 1 (whinily): Please!!!
Child 2 (storming away): NO!

Such a small thing, I thought, it would have been so easy for them to help each other and instead it is bringing such a spirit of contention into our home. Why are they acting this way? As I pondered on the sad state of our family, I was reminded of an interaction I had had with my child only moments before:

Child 2 (cheerfully enjoying the last of the school day): Mom, can you help me with this problem?
Mother (at the computer): No, I'm trying to finish this last page, it's time for lunch. In fact, it's time for you to put your work away...
Child 2 (caught off guard): But Mom, I'm almost done, I just need some help.
Mother (turning off the computer and hurrying into the kitchen): No, put your things away now and come set the table!

Oh, my little apples! I'm so sorry.