Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wow, it's been almost a month with no posts.  Well, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting today, and if you want to read it, here it is:

Introduction: Hi, I wanted to give a little introduction for those that don't know me, my name is Christina Stevulak, we've been in the ward for four years, my husbands name is Matt, and is rarely here because he's a pilot for American Eagle, we have three children, Quinn is 7, Ava is 6, and Ethan is 3.  We spend most of the summer in Denver and Seattle where it's much cooler, but apparently Brother Giberson wanted me to experience some of the Texas heat, so we are making a pit stop in Dallas today so I can give this talk, and I really hope you get something out of it. 

I was asked to speak on how the temple blesses my life and my family.  A lot of my talk came from "Eternity Lies Before Us" by James E. Faust.  In it he says:

A temple was announced on July 26, 1847, the second day after the arrival of President Brigham Young in the Great Salt Lake Valley. President Young made this great proclamation before the Saints even had a roof over their heads and while they were still living in wagons or sleeping on the ground. He drove his cane into the ground and said, “Here we will build the Temple of our God."

What a declaration of the importance of temples.  February 2, 2002, three weeks before I was to marry Matt, I was able to take out my endowments.  I was the first person in my family to go through the temple.  On my wedding day, my family lovingly waited outside the temple for me.  I know this was especially hard for my dad, he not being a member of the church, but he still did it without any complaint.  For years afterward anytime this was talked about in my mother in laws presence she would begin to cry, as she remembered my dad's willingness to support me and my choice to be married in the temple, where he could not attend.

President Faust says: 

Part of the process of reaching into the eternities comes when we must deal with the experience called death. This life is hollow without a belief in and an understanding of immortality. Said Paul, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”11 The Atonement and the Resurrection of the Savior are the grand keys that open the locks of immortality. The greatest fulfillment of these blessings, if we are worthy, comes to us in the holy temples of God. Within their sacred walls, those who hold the power and authority bind in heaven that which is bound in earth. This authority has been delegated by the President of the Church, who holds and exercises all of the keys of the kingdom of God on earth.

Six years later my dad was killed in a car accident.  This was devastating to all of us, and my heart broke especially for my step mom who grew up with no religious background.  The day my dad died I knew what I would be doing one year from that day, and on September 16, 2009, exactly one year later, Matt and I, along with my mother and father in law walked into the Seattle temple to do my dad's work. The same temple my dad had waited outside of  7 years earlier while Matt and I were married.  We did the baptism all the way through the endowment that day.  It was one of the best days of my life.  I felt my dad near, and I knew he was happy with what we were doing for him.  Finally, I was in the temple with my dad. 

Two years later my mom and I met in Seattle to visit my younger sister and her kids.  My mom had been a member of the church since she was fifteen, but she had never been through the temple.  While there she suggested that we go do baptisms for the dead at the Seattle temple.  The night before we were to go to the temple she announced that we would not be going to do baptisms, but that she would be taking out her endowments.  I couldn't believe it!  Both my parents endowed members.  It was a dream come true.

President Faust said:

As the pioneers had the larger vision in their daily challenge for survival, so also we need to have a greater vision and understanding of our eternal destiny. Our challenges are more subtle but equally hard. Maintaining our spiritual strength is also a daily challenge. The greatest source of that spiritual strength comes, as it did in their time, from our temples.

We are very blessed to have a temple so close.  I will be the first to admit that it's not always easy to get to the temple.  Life gets hectic with work and kids, and life in general, but I also know that as we make temple attendance a habit our life will have greater spiritual strength to deal with the daily challenges of life.  When ever I start to lag in my temple attendance I think of my sister in law who lives in Rosamond, CA, two hours from the L.A. temple.  She has four little ones, yet she makes it to the temple every week.  She isn't any different then any of us, she has just made a commitment to herself and her family, and she is sticking to it.  Our stake has asked us to set a personal goal of temple attendance, and I know that if we stick to it, our spiritual strength will increase abundantly.

President Faust said:

I urge all who have not yet received these greatest of all blessings within the walls of the temple to do whatever may be necessary to qualify to receive them. To those who have received these blessings, I invite you to prepare yourselves to savor again the experience of being within the sacred premises of the holy temples of God and have the visions of life eternal open again to your hearts, minds, and souls.

Call me, I will watch your kids, whenever you need me too.

President Faust goes on to say:

A basic eternal truth of this Church is that families may, if they are worthy, have an eternal relationship; for us it would not be heaven without our parents, our grandparents, our eternal companions, our children, and our posterity. This union of families comes through the sealing power exercised within the hallowed walls of the temples under authorized priesthood authority.

It truly would not be heaven without our families.  I'm so grateful for the sealing power that is exercised inside the temple.  Because of it I know I will see my dad again, and that he will always be my dad, and I will always be his daughter.  What peace I have knowing that I am sealed to Matt and our children.  These are truly our greatest blessings, and that these blessing come because of our Savior Jesus Christ. In whose name I testify. Amen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, I went back on my anti-depressant.  It wasn't worth being off after meltdown after meltdown, it slowly accured to me that the right answer was to go back on.  I had to get pretty low though before I realized it.  I'm doing much better now, and can handle life a lot better.  I guess that's the right answer for me right now.  As much as I wanted to be off it, it's definitley not the right time.  I do hope to have another baby and I don't want to be on the anti-depressant while I'm pregnant, but I guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it.  In other news Ethan decided he wanted to try to fly and leaped off the couch intending to land on the recliner, missed landed on the ground and broke his clavical.  He has to wear a brace for a few weeks, but after that should be fine.  The doctor said the clavical heals up pretty easily, so that's good.  Ethan's barely three years old and this is the second bone he's broken. (He broke his leg after climbing out of his high chair when he was nine months old, check it out here.)  Thankfully he's such a sweet and easy going kid, he runs around like he's perfectly fine, trying to wrestle with his brother.  Nothing slows that kid down!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I had a great childhood

                                           I grew up in Snoqualmie Valley
                                                       Tubing down this river
                                                         and doing stuff like this
                                         I drove past this everyday to and from school
                                            This is what our beaches looked like
                                                           and it was heaven.
Most people haven't heard of where I'm from, unless they had heard of Carnation Farms. (None of these pictures adequately show Snoqualmie Valleys true beauty.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well it's been another week, and it gets better every day.  My headaches and dizzy spells are slowly subsiding.  I think Matt's tired of hearing about it, but like usual, he's supportive, and still loves me, which I will be eternally grateful for.  The other big stress in our life is American Airlines filing for bankruptcy.  He still has a job, but they have blocked all overtime, which is basically how we survive.  To say my husbands been a little stressed out, is putting it lightly, but he's a trooper, and tries to have high spirits.  I am applying for a nanny job that's only two days a week and I can bring my kids with me, though two of them will be in school during that time.  When I spoke to the lady that I will be nannying for she told me her husband works for American too.  It really is a small world, though American probably employs have of the DFW metroplex! (That's Dallas/Fort Worth for you non-Texans).  Speaking of Texans, I was made fun of yesterday for pronouncing Greenville like it's spelled, instead of Green-voll.  Me and my proper english, oh well, I got them back when I told them I was from Seattle they said, oh you mean Warshington, I said no, there is no r in Washington.  This reminded me of my Aunt Evy, who was born in Washington, but still pronounces it with an r. Crazy people!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

To Vent....

Well it's been a while since I've updated my blog.  I think I just needed a break, but now I'm feeling like I need an outlet again.  So sorry if this post is mostly venting.  It's kinda been a rough few weeks for us.  A little over two weeks ago we found out we were pregnant. It was a big surprise to us, though always welcome.  Then about five days later I started cramping and spotting.  I went into the doctor and they confirmed I was having a miscarriage.  They actually said it's what's called a chemical pregnancy, where an egg was fertilized, but didn't do anything after that.  It was hard and emotional, but was a little easier, I think, because we hadn't known very long, and also I had a strong feeling something wasn't right from the moment I started suspecting I was pregnant.  It was also easier this time around because I had my three little ones I could hug and kiss, and be thankful for, they really comforted me.  The other part of it that has been even more challenging is going off my anti-depressant.  The second I found out I was pregnant I stopped taking it. I had already weaned myself down to very little, but that last little bit has proven to be very challenging.  I started taking it three years ago after I had Ethan and suffered post partum depression.  I think it's been so challenging because I 've been on it for so long.  Emotionally I feel good, but physically it's been really rough.  At first I had such severe dizzy spells, where my heart was racing, and I felt nauseated, I had to lay down for two days straight.  Thankfully Matt was home to help or I don't know what I would have done.  Actually, I know exactly what I would have done, I would have had to call someone else for help, because I couldn't stand up, I couldn't drive to pick up my kids, or anything else.  Then after two days I started having longer and longer stretches of time where I could stand up.  It's been about three weeks now and my dizzy spells are finally starting to go away.  I still have moments where my eyes feel dizzy, if that makes any sense, but that's way better then my whole head feeling dizzy.  It's scary to realize how addicted my body was to those pills.  I'm so glad I'm finally off them, and am feeling so well emotionally.  Though, I do know that taking those pills three years ago was the right answer for me.  That was a very scary time.  But now the guilt is setting in.  I feel like I've been neglecting my kids needs over the last few weeks, and only doing the bare minimum.  I feel extra tired and grumpy, and I don't have the patience that I usally do with them.  I know my body is still trying to get back to normal, but I hate feeling this way. I just want to have all the patience in the world for my kids (and hubby).  I love them so much, they are my world.  Maybe that means I should go to bed now in hopes that I won't be so tired tomorrow, and can be a better Mama.  Thanks for listening, whoevers reading this, I love you.... Christina

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I promise to be back soon!

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I will be back to updating my blog very soon!  Love to all!