Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rocky Jones Art

My brother-in-law Rocky Jones is an amazing artist! Please check out his new blog which shows just how talented he is. Get your orders in now! Let me know if you would like to order some prints or originals - they will look beautiful in your home or office.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

Some cute pics from Easter... had a great family dinner at Mom's.
Maddy and her basket of eggs!
Look what I found!
Ruthie's first egg!
Hey! I found a dollar!
What is this?!?!
Little Roo - aka Michael Jordan in training... look at that tongue!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time Out For Women

Ok so I'm a little late in getting this out...

So last weekend (March 20-21) was time Out for Women in Orlando. My mom, sisters and I went together. We got a hotel for Friday night and had a wonderful time.

We checked in early and then headed to PF Chang's for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants. I of course ordered the Mongolian Beef and everyone else ordered some kind of chicken. Jessica was still waiting on her dish after we got ours. Our food was cold and when Jess' came it was piping hot... and then she cut into the chicken and it was RAW!!! Oh dear - NOT a good experience... but afterwards we went to The cheesecake Factory to get yummy cheesecake to have later in the evening.

Friday night was wonderful. I missed most of the first speaker (Chieko Okasaki). I really enjoy listening to her. She's a great speaker. We also heard from Mark Mabry who is a professional photographer. Since I am in love with photography, his story was really cool to hear. He started out wanting to be a lawyer and then quit and took up photography. There were times when he didn't know if it was the right thing to do with his life, but the Lord let him know he was on the right path. There is a line he quoted from one of Michael McClain's songs that parallels my feelings... "I took a snapshot of my life but the exposure was all wrong." Super profound.

I'm not sure of my purpose in life right now and his words really hit home for me. He let me know that everyone can have a surety of purpose thru the grace of Heavenly Father. I need to do some serious soul searching and reach out to the One who can let me know (of a surety) what it is I am supposed to be doing with my life.

Sometimes I just don't feel worthy of receiving the blessings I most desire in this life. Mark mentioned a line from the movie Meet Joe Black that says, "My wife knows the worst thing about me and she's still here." What a comfort it is to know that if I go to the Lord with the worst thing about me, he will still love me and still be there for me. I think back to when I was baptized and took the name of Christ upon me. I KNOW that I did that, but do I always REMEMBER?

Somethings I know:
1) I know what it is to be lonely.
2) I know that the scriptures contain truths.
3) I know that appearances can be decieving.
4) I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me, even though sometimes I forget.

Saturday started a new meeting and special musical numbers by Hilary Weeks. I love her. Her music speaks to my soul. She sang quite a few songs from her new CD and there is one called "Tender Behind the Mercy" that really spoke volumes to me about so many things, but especially about my Redeemer and why He is my Redeemer. The last verse and chorus:

More than once I've added to the pain
He bore in Gethsemane
Yet gentle as a morning breeze
His love reaches out to me

He's the tender behind the mercy
The unconditional in love
And when I need forgiveness
He's the Redeeming in Son
More and more I see
In the blessings all around me
I can't help but see
In the way that He loves me
More and more I see
He's the tender behind the mercy

I think probably the first hymn I ever learned was "I Am a Child of God". We start to learn this song in Primary. I have sung it millions of times but on Saturday I think I really heard it and felt it for the first time. Hilary sang it to a beautiful arrangement that she created. The words really leapt out at me. Read the words. I was so touched by this song and Hilary's beautiful voice.

I am a child of God and He has sent me here
Has Given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear

I am a child of God and so my needs are great
Help me to understand his words before it grows too late

I am a child of God rich blessings are in store
If I but learn to do His will I'll live with Him once more

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way
Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday

Emily Watts is a wonderful woman who had so much to teach me about truths and Heavenly Father's love. What is the truth we can anchor ourselves to? Heavenly Father. Soemtimes Heavenly Father lets hard things happen so that we can gain the qualities we need to do the Lord's will. I need to just be patient and trust the Lord to "untie the knots". Psalms 9:10 talks about trusting in the Lord and seeking Him. Sometimes the fruit doesn't ripen on this side of the veil... how lucky we are that it doesn't end here.

Brent Top reminded me that I need to focus on Christ and some ways in which to solidify the focus. C.S. Lewis once said, "Only real risk tests the reality of belief." I know that I cannot walk on water by myself. Just like Peter, I need the strength of Chirst to bring me to the ship.

Three ways to focus on Christ:
1) Think on Him
2) Thank Him
3) Trust in Him

D&C 121 speaks to letting virtue (godly power) garnish our thoughts. President Packer once said, "You can only think one thought at a time. When you have a good thought, there is no room for a bad one." Even when life is difficult, God is good to us. There are so many blessing that He has in store for us but only through gratitude can we see what those blessings are. We need to remember to let the Lord "hold us, confort us."

Wendy Ulrich spoke about the differences between sin and weakness. The gospel is intended to give us answers to the difficult questions in our lives. We shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, but it is imperative that we learn the difference between sin and weakness.

Sin: When you know better. Rebellion. Intention
Weakness: Limitations to being mortal. Illness. Temptation. Emotion.

One thing to remember is that Satan is the author of sin and God is the author of weakness. One of my favorite (and oft quoted on my mission) scriptures is found in Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." When we are weak, God offers us His strength to help us along the road.

The day was wrapped up with Kris Belcher. What a wonderfully comedic woman. She had me in tears with her stories. She has a wonderful sense of humor. From her I learned that there ARE answers and there IS comfort. I need to tell Heavenly Father, through prayer, exactly how I am feeling from day to day. The last 2 verses in D&C 121 talk about how The Son of Man hath decended below them all and to "hold on thy way". I cannot let go of christ, I cannot give up. My trials refine me. There is real power in Christ and the struggle is worth it (I just need to keep repeating this over and over...!).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

6th from 6th Tag

My friend Eden tagged me with the "6th from 6th tag". You take the 6th picture from your 6th folder and post it. Since I'm at work, I went to my "pics" folder that I keep here. The 6th folder in was of some photos I scanned of my sweet Grams (maternal grandmother) after she passed away to arrange a photo collage at her funeral. Appropriately, the 6th photo in was her wedding photo to my Grampa. January 26, 1946. What a dashing couple! I love and miss them both so much!

Now I am to tag 6 friends (ok I tagged more than 6!). Mom, Andrea, Betony, Cynthia, Aunt Ellen, Janet T., Jessica, Krissy, Nikki, and Sarah

Monday, February 2, 2009

Guess Who Came to Church?!

So I'm sitting at church Sunday morning and the Bishop is making some announcements. He says that there is going to be a special Youth Fireside at the Stake Center that evening and there would be a very special guest... American Idol's David Archuleta! Wow! That was pretty cool... then he mentioned that it was really geared for the Youth so let's not everyone go... didn't want there to be a mob at the Stake Center.

Hmmmmm..... of course my sister was JUST called into YW that day.... hmmmm..... well, I had worked with the YW for quite a while in my last two wards so I figured I could go too! Actually, we found out later that some Bishop's had invited the whole ward to go so I didn't feel bad. :)

What an amazing young man. When the time was turned over to him, he proceeded to tell us that he wasn't a good speaker and hadn't really prepared anything since it had been last minute. He warned us that he would likely ramble (and he did!) and that he didn't make much sense when he talked to people but I found him to be quite charming!

He started the evening by singing hymn #124 Be Still My Soul. I cried. I cried. I cried. His voice is a gift sent straight from Heavenly Father and the arrangement of that song and his singing was amazing. What was even more amazing is that you could feel that he truly felt every word he sang. I think that particular hymn just really touched my heart because my soul is restless and has been for some time. This hymn speaks to trusting in the Lord to be forever on our side and healing our hurts. It is one of my favorites and I know that I needed to hear him sing that song last night.

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Earlier in the evening cards were passed out for us to write down questions we would like for David to answer. Someone asked him what his favorite color was. His answer was just too cute... he said, "uhhh.... ummmm... I don't know... I guess orange, yellow and green because they're the colors of citrus and I love oranges, lemons and limes" - how adorable is that?!

I was originally going to ask him what his favorite scripture was but my sister beat me to it! He shared with us that one of his favorites that he likes to re-read when he's feeling down or sad is D&C 68:6 (this also happens to be one of my top five scriptures). He said it reminds him that the Lord "has his back".

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come."

My question was "what was the most spiritual moment you've had since being on the show or while on the show?" He answered that the finale was a spiritual moment for him because it was a positive accumulation of all the work he had put into his singing and an affirmation that this is what he was here to do; to share his talent with those who will listen in the hopes of touching their lives for the better.

I was very impressed by this young man who not only has an amazing voice but a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. There was no doubt as to the conviction of his testimony that he shared with us. What a great example for the youth. He is every bit as adorable as he appears to be on tv. There is always a smile on his face and you can't help but want to squeeze him in a big hug or pinch his cheeks!

He closed by singing hymn #136 I Know That My Redeemer Lives. This is such a powerful song and always brings me back to my mission. It was an oft requested song by others for us as missionaries to sing. I remember one time visiting with an elderly woman who had not much time left on earth and she asked my companion and I to sing this song to her. I get choked up at just the thought. The Lord was surely with us because I don't know HOW I got through that song without crying. The spirit was so strong and the entire family was in tears.

To hear David sing that song touched my heart and memories of a special time in my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have served a full time mission.

After the Fireside, there was a meet and greet and I was able to shake his hand, give him a hug and tell him that I thought his heart and spirit was just as beautiful as his voice. I got a picture too! It was a great evening! It was so cute to see the YW with pictures of him to sign! This kid has beautiful gold (yes golden) eyes... a really cute kid who's gonna make a super duper handsome man! Watch out ladies! No older brothers tho... bummer... :)

I know that God lives. I know that Christ lives. I know that I am a child of God. My testimony of the living Christ has nevered wavered. He lived for me, he died for me... so that I may truly live.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

December Update #4 Two B-Day Parties

Mr Thatcher Chance Jones turned 2 years old on December 26 and Mr Alexander Angelo Conte turned 5 years old on December 31! Since Alex was still in town, we decided to have a combined b-day party for the boys at a local park.

What a great day to run around and chase the kids, thus reverting to children ourselves! Too much sand though! That stuff was everywhere! All kids needed to go straight to the tub that evening but they sure had fun!

Alex pushing Thatcher in the swings! Too cute!

Ryan wondering, "hey why isn't anyone pushing me?"

On to the slides! Here we come (Alex and Thatcher).

Playground Tubes!

Ruh Roh... the climbing wall!

Um, children???????

Monkey Bar fun... Madeline was scared out of her mind when she couldn't swing back to the starting point... even when mommy had her, she would NOT let go!!! Thatcher, such a boy this one - he couldn't get enough! Just launches himself everywhere whenever he pleases and somebody better be there!

Don't forget Baby Roo - ok maybe she's just a mite too small yet!

Catch me Auntie Jill!

Time for cake!

Are there any presents??!!

Happy Birthday to us - we had a great day! Thanks to our family for making our birthday a special day!

December Update #3 Jones' Moving Weekend

Well Jessica and Rocky bought a house and decided that the weekend after Christmas would be the best time to move...! Whew!

Friday night Madeline spent the night at my house and then the next morning I dropped her off at Grandma's house so I could help with the move. I watched all Jess' kids during the day (that's 3, including new baby)... got some cute shots of the kids.

Thatcher playing under my kitchen table

Ruthie in her new outfit Auntie Jill gave her for Chrsitmas

Sweet Siblings - Madeline, Thatcher, Ruthie

Maddy's sleep-over with Auntie Jill (sleeping in her special Princess sleeping bag that Auntie Jill keeps for special Maddy-Auntie Jill time). There is a pillow and lamp that she insists must stay on all night so that the "monsters" don't get her!

The next morning she was sooo excited to snuggle up in auntie Jill's bed! When it was time to get dressed to go to Grandma's house she pleaded with me to stay at my house. I had to explain that I had to help her mommy and daddy move into the new house. Then she insisted that she be allowed to keep her pajama top (with santa claus) on for the day. I insisted that she change and then she says, "but auntie Jill, this is MY body and I should be allowed to wear what I want on MY body..." Oh really?! Excuse me little I'm too big for my britches sassy girl... what do you think happened? Yeah she changed into a regular shirt! It was so cute though, I had to hide my smile!

Saturday was moving day and luckily there were lots of people who showed up. The move went pretty quickly. They discovered some termite damage but you can read Jess' blog for that update!

Saturday night I got to take baby Ruthie home for a sleep-over! She's just 2 months old and I loved every minute of it! We had a wonderful evening and then woke up for church! Look how pretty she is!

Thanks Jess for trusting me with your kids!