I just needed to add a few more pictures of Zane's fun day....
Too many candles, Kid.
A new journal from Grandma and Grandpa Olson.
A severely overpriced All Blacks tie that he wanted. You can't complain when the big gift your kid wants is a tie, though, even if it did cost more than any tie Dad owns.
He also got some games and books.....
....and was smothered with hugs from a family that loves him dearly.
On Sunday, I was called to serve as the first counselor in our new Primary Presidency.
I have only had ward or Relief Society callings pretty much all of my adult life- unless you count being a Wolf Den Leader twice, but I never lasted longer than 6 months both times I did that. I learned to introduce myself to Bishops with "Hi, I'm Chris Olson- do not call me into Cub Scouts, I will say no."
Yeah, I still have a lot to learn with the whole "go and do" thing.
For a long time I felt that way about Primary, although I didn't say it. I referred to it as 'the pit of Primary" because I remembered feeling so isolated when I was there and hearing my own mother talk of it as if it were a punishment. I had absolutely nothing to base that opinion on, but I also had no reason to challenge my thinking either, since it never was something that came up outside of subbing for teachers here and there.
My thinking changed about a year ago, while I was still in Taylorsville. One day I said to Matt "I wouldn't get upset about a Primary calling now."
Yeah- that's commitment and change of heart for ya....I wouldn't get upset if they asked me to serve. I'm nothing if not inspiring...
Someday, they'll write a book about me and it will be titled "Where do I Put the Stupid Cupcakes I got Guilted Into Bringing?"
Shortly after my mighty change of heart I was called into the Relief Society presidency.
I know the promptings I was having were less about specific callings and more about being willing to serve in ways that were outside of my comfort zone.
I needed to be more open and humble and trusting that the Lord would make any calling okay-(unless it was Cub Scouts, that is.)
So here I am...in Primary......and I'm super excited.
I am super nervous about how things will go, but I'm going to be working with some seriously fantastico women- three of them are just as new to Primary as I am.
When I got the calling, I was surprised, but my heart instantly told me that this was a blessing from the Lord. For a long time, I have been working very hard to put up a wall of bricks inside of myself. I know it's wrong, I know it hurts me, but I just got so tired of dodging arrows and taking hits. When I married Matt, my life changed in so many ways. My kids all started becoming teenagers, one after another. Teenagers aren't always the best for a mothers tender self esteem, and while that's normal, it still isn't easy to deal with. I had to end my own relationship with my mother, who for a long time was really the only person who told me every day how much I sucked. In ending that, boy, she needed to make sure that anyone who'd ever thought I stunk let me know as a show of loyalty to her or something. I don't know, I just dealt with it by adding another brick. I went from being a mom with some degree of confidence in her parenting skills, to dealing with the constant criticisms and attacks of my husband's merciless ex wife. At first I pushed back, thought that was the right thing to do, but after awhile, I just let that be another thing I dealt with by building that wall.
And some days, I look at myself and the person staring back seems further away than I remember. I think part of that is just life and change and growth processes, but I know myself well enough to know that part of that is because I'm trying to pump mortar through my veins too often.
I've been trying to change that, trying to re-awaken that part of me.
This is not a place or a season where I'm having the emotional Hunger Games going on. I'm far away from that both physically and I am stronger now, hopefully a little wiser and hopefully I am better able to handle things.
When I got the call, my heart knew this was part of the answer I have been searching for. I have been searching for and praying for a clear path to bring me back to the softer and warmer self I was before. I knew that if I put my whole heart into this, if I served with all of my heart and soul and let the Lord teach me some of the kinder, more gentle lessons I haven't been hearing lately- I knew that I would not only get so much out of the next season of life, but that I could help bring light into others as well.
I don't know if it all sounds nuts, but I know this is not something I expected or imagined and it is absolutely the right thing. I know it is totally a blessing to me and I'm feeling pretty lucky and like my Father in Heaven sees me, hears my prayers and answers them. I think I don't always listen and I am thankful for those who do and help me hear Him, too.
Now, along with the darling children of our ward I will learn again that I am a Child of God. That Kindness Begins with Me and that When we're helping, we're happy- and to sing as we go....