Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Check on My Faith

Like I have stated before, this blog is for the purpose of perserving a piece of the Baak Family history. It is a journal of things going on in our family. A tangible history that my kids especially, can reflect upon. May it stir the feelings and emotions the experiences we have shared evoked within us.

I treasure many of the memories created in my family while growing up. I have had some profound spiritual experiences when I was very young that kept me spiritually grounded as I grew older and went through what I call "the finding process" of my life. It is that period of life when you really internalize everything you have been told and learned from your parents, and those around you, and decide for yourself if they are really true.

I have had several people tell me over the years that if they had been raised to believe something, most specifically, the gospel, they would believe it is true too. That is not true. After a certain point, typically in the teenage years, you begin to question everything around you. You decide for yourself if you are really going to accept the beliefs presented to you or choose a different route. We all come to that fork in the road.

Fortunately, I was able to have several experiences within my family when I was young that testified to me that the teachings of the gospel that my parents presented to me were true. Most importantly, they taught me the process that I could discover for myself, if those principles were really true. I went through that process and have learned for myself it is.

I am truly grateful to my parents for working hard to teach me the princples of the gospel and creating an environment where I could discover the truthfulness of its teachings.

I am striving to create that with my children now. I want them to remember these experiences. I had a chance to share one with them recently and I want them to remeber it....

Right before Thanksgiving, Danny finished up a job and got paid for it. He gave me the check to deposit in the bank. I happened to be on my way out taking Tyson and Tiki for a walk. I didn't want to go back in the house so I folded it up and put it in my back pocket, like I do most things. We walked all the way across our neighborhood and into a different block and back. We came home and I did several household chores all around the house and in the garage.

A few hours later I decided I had better go to the bank and deposit the check; it was gone. It was not in my back pocket or in the place where I usually kept checks for deposit. Nor was it in my purse. I searched all around the house where I had been and in the garage. I checked the trash, under beds, every nook and crany. I was fairly certain that I had put it in my back pocket but desperately hoped I might have put it somewhere else and forgotten I had.

After I had searched all over, high and low, in and out, I had a last desperate thought that I had put it on the counter and Danny and taken it to deposit it instead. I admit, I really didn't want to ask because if he didn't have it, it would mean I had been irresponsible and the dreaded reality of what I was pretty sure had happened, would be real.

I asked Danny... no, he didn't have it. My heart sunk and I knew that it must have fallen out of my pocket along the way of my walk. I was especially distressed since it was a mildly windy day and the only place I had stopped was in front of the bridge to nowhere. There is a beautiful bridge that leads into nowhere, the wilderness, as we call it, behind our house. They were supposed to build several more houses back there but they ran out of funds. I had stopped with Tiki and Tyson in front of that spot. I was afraid it had blown out into the wilderness since the wind was blowing that way.

I go back the way I had went straining my eyes at every single little spec that could be a folded up check. What were the odds of finding it? Very slight but worth a search. When I couldn't find it, Danny went out to try to look for it, to no avail.

Danny could ask for another check but how would that look about how responsible he (rather me) is. Plus, it would take a few days and we could really use the money now.

I ask the one person to find it that I KNOW can find it. I got down on my knees in my bedroom and pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me find the check rather than make an object lesson out of it for me. I told him I knew he knew where it was and that he could have it returned to me.

By this time, it is time to pick up the kids from school. I am running a little late. I strain my eyes on all sides of the road for a piece of paper. I especially look at the intersection of the bridge to nowhere. I can't see it anywhere. I go pick up Kierstin. I am running her back home before I pick up Bryce and Brian all the while searching. When I get to the corner of the turn into our neighborhood and the bridge to nowhere what do I see? On the ground on the corner, right in the middle of the grassy area is a folded piece of paper resisting the breeze pushing against it. I startle Kierstin by telling her to jump out and grab that piece of paper....

Do I even need to tell you that it was the check? Do I need to even say that it WAS an ABSOLUTE answer to my prayer? That Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of us and all of our trivial little problems? Do I need to tell you that I walked by, biked by and drove twice by that very spot all the while searching? Is this not PROOF that Heavenly Father ABSOLUTELY, CERTAINLY AND FOR REAL answered my prayer? I attest to you that he did!! There are no coincidences in life. I have lived through too many of these kinds of experiences to tell you that God is REAL. He bestows tender mercies upon me so many times. Would it have been devestating to not find the check? No. Danny could have asked for another one. Would it have been a good lesson for me to be more responsible, Absolutely!! But Heavenly Father bestowed a tender mercy upon me even though I was careless as he has done so many times before.

This was truly a tangible example of the Lord answering my prayers and in a way that I could share it with my kids. They could see how crazy it was for me to have been able to find that check, hours later on a breezy day. It was like it was put right there, at that moment for me to find . I would like to thank the helper angel that did it. Mostly, I want to express gratitude to a tender Father in Heaven who expressed his love to me that day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

Bryce was writing a paper for school on his family Thanksgiving traditions. He chose to talk about how we go to the desert dirt bike riding. Funny, I didn't really consider it a "tradition" before, but he's right. For the last 5 years we have been going with Danny's brother Dave and his family out to the desert to go dirt biking.

I have to admit I really do look forward to going every year. This year, we weren't sure we would be able to go. But we managed to go at the last minute. We we were all happy to be able to go.

Not only do we enjoy riding the dirt bikes, but we love visitng with Dave, Linda and whichever their kids are able to make it. We have the full on Thanksgiving meal in the desert. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, salad, the full spread. This year it was especially tasty!!

We have gone to Johnson's dry Lake Bed in Lucerne Valley for several years. However, that has got CRAZY crowded. Last time we were they they had to med-lift someone out. We decided to try over in Yucca Valley by Joshua tree again. We had went there 2 years ago and enjoyed it. It was a good pic. Not crowded, Joshua Tree was close by and the weather was GORGEOUS!!

Danny's dad and brother Derek with his 2 kids, Ben & Ava met us on Friday and stayed till Saturday with us. Good times had by all...

Dave & Linda with Danny, Bryce & Brain

Bradley with a friend he met that was a friend of Dave's son.

Bryce & Brain, Again..

Kierstin & Ann Marie
(I missed Sam!! She must have went back for 2nds! boo)

Danny & Derek & Fred working on "quadzilla"

Brian got to ride the quad solo this year! He was excited

we could hardly pry him off it.

When we did, this is where he would be,
next to Bryce in front of gaming of course.

The face of fun!

When it was Ava's turn to ride the quad. Ben & Brian got in some
air soft time!

Tyson would hitch a ride with whomever he could.
Especially with Opa on quadzilla!!

Another satisfied rider!

Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got of Bryce waiting to take a turn on the 90.
He became really proficient on it this time. WHOOT Bryce!!

Boy + dirt = FUN!!

Boy + Dirt + Dog + Friend your age = GOOD TIMES!!

I realize I didn't do such a great job taking pics this time around. You'll have to take my word for it that fun was had by all!

Thanksgiving Traditions

One of the wonderful things to look forward to during the holidays are the family traditions. I know many families do this tradition. We simply call it "Thankful Tom."

We started when Kierstin was like 3. I just told a story about a turkey at Thanksgiving named Tom. He managed to escape the farmer's table and so he gave a blessing he was thankful for for each of his feathers.

We usually do this the first week in November and display them on the front door to help us remember just how much we have to be thankful for.

Tyson: mom and dad, Ga (what he's calling Brian these days. We don't know why since he can say Brian), Bryce, Bradley & Kierstin, toys and nursery class.
Brain: Church, house, food, family, school, bike, bed
Bryce: Clothes, family, home, church, body, school, & food
Brad: family, friends, home, temple, scriptures, prayer
Mom: health & strength, food & clothes, temple, to live in fulness of times, book of mormon,
promise land, a loving husband who holds the Priesthood & awesome children who CTR!!
Dad: friends (especially church friends, freedoms & choices, body, gospel & testimony, bed
when I'm tired, family: sons, daughter & wife.

Kierstin was busy with homework this FHE. This is as far as her turkey got!

It is especially good this year with all we have going on to be reminded that we truly are blessed with so much!!