Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advice on Advice

My life is Hiram, school, and pregnancy.

I could write about how much I love Hiram. I could write about how he makes my lunch every morning and now goes outside in the ONE DEGREE BUT FEELS LIKE -15 WITH THE WINDCHILL weather to scrape the snow off my car. I could write about how he is working so unbelievably hard or I could write about how tenderly he snuggles with me and gives me butterfly kisses with his eyelashes. But nobody wants to hear about that...

I'm also pretty sure nobody wants to hear about my job. I teach junior high and I teach math. One or both are usually unpleasant memories/subjects to the general public. (I enjoy my job.)

And then I've had some issues with talking about my pregnancy on here because I'm scared of receiving advice. And I'm not alone in this. I actually have a few other friends who are pregnant and haven't announced anything to friends/coworkers simply because they do not want advice.

That doesn't mean that I want to enter my motherhood ignorantly. I want advice.

I just want to ask for it first. 

So here's a semi-hypocritical post, because I'm going to share some simple advice on giving advice regarding pregnancy and parenthood:


1. Remember that pregnancy and parenthood are personal. Opinions are not objective. I personally love large families and have always wanted one of my own. I cannot wait to be a mother and consider motherhood a wonderful way to exercise the creativity and intelligence I have been blessed with and have worked on developing.

Goodness, I know others don't feel this way. I remember my mother being asked if "all those children came from the same father", and I clearly remember an elementary teacher mocking my parents for having (at the point) five kids. The comment took maybe three seconds to say, but it has stuck for over ten years and still kind of hurts.

Even though I view motherhood as a high calling, I have made a personal commitment never to ask a friend or colleague when or even if they are starting their own family. Choosing if or when to get pregnant is personal. If or when that works out is also personal. And so is how a parent raises his or her children. It's personal.

So be very very careful with your questions and comments. Please.


2. Give advice when it's asked for. A beautiful blessing of today's technology is the opportunity to research any topic for practically immediate answers. However, I feel like a result is the polarizing of opinions on everything. 

Pro-Abortion or Pro-Life? Breastfeed or bottle-feed? Circumcision or no? Medicated labor or natural birth? Vaccinations: beneficial or evil? Let's not start on education...

If I've learned anything from being an older sibling, it's to let others learn for themselves. I still struggle with that. I am a teacher. I think, I learn, and then I teach.

But deeper than my desire to teach (which is very, very deep) is my belief that we have an inherent ability and right to make our own decisions and form our own opinions. We all have agency. So we can each make decisions.

Let's each try a little harder to hold back our perspective on these topics unless it's asked for. Otherwise, let's allow others to exercise their agency and make an educated decision.


3. Remember that every situation/child is unique. One of the reasons I'm so looking forward to motherhood is the opportunity to figure out each of my children. My parents were excellent examples of meeting our individual needs. Parenting strategies that worked on me did not necessarily apply to Terra, and what worked with Terra didn't help Drake. So my parents focused on individual needs and we were each raised differently.

Parents raise children differently from family to family. Different discipline, different expectations, and different doctrine.

This isn't just applying to parenthood, though.

It can apply to whether or not a couple desires to get pregnant. I have been waiting to be a mother since I was maybe two years old... but that doesn't mean that every girl feels that way. Each couple may have different reasons and different priorities.

It can apply to whether or not a couple can get pregnant. Perhaps it appears that a couple is just waiting for the right time, maybe that's even what they have told you. But that doesn't mean that they haven't seen a doctor multiple times, or experienced multiple miscarriages.

It can apply to a pregnancy and how a mother can handle her health. I have two friends that have been extremely sick throughout their entire pregnancies. Personally, I have not even thrown up yet. It is much easier for me to stay hydrated and keep food down, but I've been so exhausted that even thinking about exercising after teaching a full day at school is overwhelming.

We need to remember that we don't know really what is happening in another's life. Only our own. So let's each try to refrain from making assumptions.


4. Refrain from commenting on a pregnant woman's body. Or any woman's body.

Even though I'm only 15 weeks and apparently "not showing", I am bigger. I had a mini breakdown a week or so ago after repeatedly hearing that I don't look any different.

My thoughts were, "I am different. I can't fit in skirts or pants that I used to wear. I can't suck in my tummy. I'm already uncomfortable with my size. And if you think I look the same then I must usually look fat."

Luckily, Hiram gives me all the love and confidence that I can't find on my own, so I am fine now.
But for a couple of days I started thinking of ways to lose weight (um, ... what?) and wanted to buy a completely new wardrobe so I wouldn't feel bad every time I put on an ill-fitting article.

I can only imagine it will get worse. Right now I want people to recognize my size. In about five months, I'll be tired of the comments and ready for things to go back to normal.

Tell us that we're beautiful. Ask us how we are. Compliment us on our cheerful attitude or hard-work despite the fact that our bodies are making other beings. All of those are more than welcome! :)


5. Thumper's Rule: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." Even if you don't think that a couple should be having a third child, tell them congratulations! Be happy for them! Support others in their choices.

Love them.


Thank you for reading. Please let me know what you think. (This is me asking for advice.)

Update: Apparently comments aren't showing up. I'd still love your feedback. Feel free to email me by clicking on the email button above our picture.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Update on the Hiram and Cebre Jacob Family...

I feel like saying that school just started and I've been busy and haven't posted... but it's now been in session for over two months.

So here are some updates:

Since the first week of school, we've been living in Hiram's parents' basement. Life kind of got crazy then. It was a quick decision and a fast move AND in the middle of everything starting (like school). 

His parents have been such wonderful hosts, and they've been so kind allowing us to save up for graduate school. It's been an adjustment changing from south-campus and socializing with peers every week to living in Orem, but we are so grateful for the changes. (On a side note: Friends from BYU, we miss you! Please invite us to your social events...)

Hiram is in his senior year of undergraduate school. He works as a registrar at a hospital nearby, and his shifts are twelve hours long. He's working super hard all the time, and spends his free time making life easier for me. Really. His selflessness and love is incredible and I'm not sure I can ever match them. 

I am teaching eighth grade math for the second year in a row. I've really loved being able to improve and alter what I did last year, and I've found that last year's (sometimes really rough) experiences have given me large amounts of perspective and patience. I've also been able to accept the eighth-grade mentality a little more, but I am getting nervous that my main social scene is with thirteen-year-olds.

Both of us have been counting down the weeks until school is over.

Not because Hiram is graduating.

Not because I love summer and the fact that during it I can read an entire book without feeling guilty for not grading once.

We are counting down the weeks because we're having a baby!

That's right. 
We're pregnant.

I say "we" even though I'm the actual one who is carrying a plum-sized baby around, because I've let the words "my baby" slip maybe twice and Hiram has never let me forget it. 

Our baby will be super cute, with blue eyes and probably brown hair. That's all we know at this point.

Just like we hoped, our baby is due around the end of the school year. I was seriously stressing out about substitutes (I don't trust them) and end-of-year testing and even more-so stressing out about coming back after a six-week maternity leave. This way, I'll be able to be home with our child for a few months before starting off a brand new year.

So far, we've been blessed with an easy first trimester, although Hiram is looking forward to me having a "surge of energy" (something he read about...) at some point in the second. So far, I've been a zombie and want about ten hours of sleep every night. Hiram, not being pregnant, does not need ten hours of sleep.

Favorite moments so far:
  • When my sister-in-law (who is fourteen) said, "Cebre! You can't be bending over!" when I picked up something I dropped off the floor. This is her first time living with a pregnant lady. FYI, I will pick things off the floor as long as I am able.
  • When I was explaining my pregnancy symptoms to my parents and my dad said, "Oh. I know what that feels like. I feel like that all the time."
  • When we told my family and James immediately started compiling a list of possible names from everyone. Just so you all know, we are NOT allowed to name our son (if it's a boy) "Luke Skywalker", because James reserved that.
  • When we told Hiram's family and nobody believed us for a moment because Hiram has "cried wolf" too many times in the past year and a half.
  • How after a week of telling our family our nephew asked, "CEBRE! HAVE YOU HAD YOUR BABY YET?" (He's four.)
  • When we heard the miraculous "whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh" of our baby's heartbeat.
We're very excited and feeling extremely grateful. Thank you for being excited with us! Look forward to more posts about pregnancy, since the secret is out!

Also, if you're curious at how cute our baby will be, here are some of our old baby pictures to guess from:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Worth of a Woman

 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. - Proverbs 31:10

Something I consider as an extreme blessing in my life is to be a woman as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Personally, I have always felt that I have been taught that I have value and worth that is individual and unique. I have been taught about women of integrity, faith, and virtue such as Ruth, Miriam, Esther, Mary, the woman with the issue of blood, Sariah, Abish, and Emma Smith. Each story has taught me that woman can make a difference. Each story has strengthened me through different trials. Each story has confirmed to me that my role as a woman is equal to any role that a man holds. 

I find it beautiful that where men are hard, I am soft. I'm grateful that I'm tender. I'm glad that I'm sensitive. I love that by simply holding a child I can experience a cleansing and purifying feeling of peace. I relish the thought that I can comfort and counsel with my husband as an equal. I look forward to the day that I can use my intellect and my talents to raise up cute little children with blue eyes (and maybe freckles). 

I recognize that other women may feel differently.

But for me, I am glad that I am a woman.

I am glad that I am a woman of Christ.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Confessions of a Crumpled Up Dollar Bill

My sweet husband has been working so hard to give himself (and our family) great opportunities in the future at internships and work that I've often been alone this summer. 

And by alone I mean lonely. Very lonely.

Spirits, like bodies, need nourishment and consistent care. Instead of filling my loneliness with something of substance, I search on social media for some type of interaction. I have spent my time on facebook, instagram, pinterest, blogs, reading comments on news and opinion articles... anything. All summer I've been telling myself that I've been fine. I haven't changed...
When we choose to consume the attitudes and opinions of the mass media, we find our own values and viewpoints following suit. We tell ourselves we’re not being affected by these messages, but that is not possible. 
- Elder Patrick Kearon, Opening Our Hearts to Revelation
Over the course of these past two or so months I've felt myself grow more cynical, judgmental, and pessimistic. I've had an extremely low perception of myself. Extremely low.

This is what I believe has happened:

I was not actively seeking to fill my heart with darkness. Instead, I was too casual about filling my soul with light. I told myself that I'm still doing as I should, but it's like my "spiritual feasting" has the nourishment of a stick of celery and my media intake has the indulgence and calories of a gallon of ice cream. In one sitting.

I think since I have been so absorbed in media, I have begun to focus solely on what others may think of me. Everything has become a comparison: her hair is more beautiful, his words are more witty, her arms are skinnier, she serves so selflessly, I'm worthless. I've gained 20 pounds since my college days. Everybody probably looks at me and thinks, "Wow. She has definitely gained weight since she got married." My waist isn't thin enough. I don't cook as well as she does, I don't work as hard as he does...

It consumes me. Every thought is some form of judgment. Every minor weakness is just a confirmation of my worthlessness.

As summer continued, I told myself it was not a problem and instead of fighting it fed it because that's easier. I have tried to volunteer to help others, tried to be productive in some way, but then I listened as the adversary whispered, "You can't do it well anyway. You're not even that good. Besides, nobody wants to spend time with you." I allowed myself to believe that I'm even more of a failure and even more alone. Worth nothing because I can do nothing.

Within only two months of time, I have forgotten completely how to hear the sweet, comforting words of my Savior. I have felt the Spirit, but have consistently declined to believe it. Instead, I have welcomed in the slimy, degrading thoughts from the adversary.

Lately, I've been trying to change and it has been HARD. You see, I am a daughter of God. I have worth, and influence. Maybe not a lot now, but I will someday have a world of influence as a mother. And the devil knows it. He doesn't want me to know it, or to use it. He has been fighting to convince me that I am not enough. That I don't measure up.

But I do.

A few weeks ago I set the song below as my Sunday morning alarm. I picked it because it starts off sweetly and calmly. This Sunday was the first that I actually listened to the message rather than hit snooze.

In this world it seems 
You may never be enough
Don't let anyone 
Convince you that it's true
So much beauty 
Lives inside of you
You are enough
Just look up

Remember you are greatest
When you walk with God
When his light is in your eyes
You are truly strong
You don't have to prove your beauty
In the eyes of men
You are divine within
You were sent here to become like Him

"To Become Like Him" - Jenny Phillips

Like the woman mentioned in President Uchdorf's talk, I have come to realize that I am worth something (read it if you haven't). Accepting that a crumpled up dollar bill has as much worth as a crisp new one seems simple. It's not.

I made this to remind myself, though.

I am trying. I'm asking my Savior to be my friend once more, and seeking to find His peace. And I will overcome. Because I'm not a failure. Because I am not alone.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillipians 4:13

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bad at Baking

I really enjoy making things.

Sometimes, I stop thinking. Like last night, when I put the vegetables on the stove to be steamed, but never turned on the burner. Or the other time when I didn't turn on the burner to cook rice. Or how I have forgotten to turn on the oven to cook chicken...

A friend gave me a zucchini (so kind of her), and I've been wanting to make zucchini bread for a while now. I pulled up a recipe, and realized that I had exactly half of the amount of vegetable oil that was required in the recipe.

Okay. Cut the recipe in half. Easy. I'm a math teacher. I can divide by two.

Halfway through mixing I forgot I was halving the recipe, and started putting in full amounts of ingredients. Oops. I ran to the store to get the rest of what I was missing, and quickly doubled everything that was previously halved and finished making the batter/dough.

Blunder solved! Because I'm a math teacher and can multiply by two.

I tried to put away the flour. Instead, it ended up staying on the kitchen floor.

You see, we ran out of flour a week or so ago, so Hiram bought a HUGE bag of it. I've been carrying it around by holding it inside of a plastic grocery bag (the flour leaks otherwise). When I picked it up to move it back to our shelves, the grocery bag split and I spilled the flour. I was holding the flour bag AND the plastic bag, but apparently it was too heavy to hold steady. My black shorts changed to a nice white and grey, and the floor was looking pretty nice, too.

I grabbed the broom and the swiffer and fixed my mess.

FINALLY, I started pouring the batter into bread and muffin pans. After I had dished almost all of it into the pans, I realized that there was about a teaspoon of nutmeg at the bottom of the mixing bowl. So, I scooped out all of the batter, put it back into the bowl, and mixed more thoroughly.

For a second time, I scooped out all of the batter into the baking pans. I set the pans into our oven. You would think I would be able to relax and wait and read Harry Potter (since it's his birthday). But no... I don't trust our oven.

Let me explain: our oven is temperamental. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes to preheat. Other times it can be turned on for over an hour and nothing will happen. I can bake the same recipe over and over and produce something different every time.

I don't trust our oven.

After forty minutes (when they should have been done), the muffins and bread had risen about a half inch, but were extremely watery. I closed the oven door and reset the timer for ten more minutes. After about five minutes, I smelled smoke. I opened the oven door, and saw that the batter had overflowed the bread pans and was burning on the oven floor.

I actually saw flames. Small ones, though.

As this was my first oven fire, I think I did a good job. I made sure the fire was out, took out everything that was still baking as well as the rack that had batter. I scooped out some of the zucchini bread batter and put the bread pans back in the oven on a new, clean rack and on top of a cookie sheet. Then I let the zucchini bread continue baking. I opened up tons of windows and turned on all of our fans. I'm still curious as to whether Hiram will smell the smoke when he comes home...

The muffins came out a little interesting, but the bread is perfect. Which is wonderful because I'm keeping the muffins and giving the bread away.

Weird muffin. Awesome bread. Raw zucchini for me to bake tomorrow.
What I learned from this experience:
  • Always check how many ingredients I have before baking
  • Don't trust plastic bags
  • Put less batter in my pans (really, I filled them about 3/4 of the way, and thought this would be fine since that works for banana bread)
  • Bake in someone else's oven 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Family: What it means to me

I've been thinking about how to write this post for a few weeks now. Many things in my life lately have been focusing around family (such as my anniversary and TWO family reunions this week).

Family as an idea has always had a great impact on me. Since before I can remember, I've cried in movies when the scene focuses on the family unit. I cry when a family is separated (Bambi, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Dumbo, Brave, or any Disney movie you can name), and I cry when families are formed (have you ever watched Meet the Robinsons? Tangled? Tear-jerkers!). I have no shame. Those scenes are focused such a precious and important blessing.

Anyone who has spent a half hour with me knows I talk about my family. A lot.
Because they matter to me. A lot.

The family is so important that the Lord asked his prophets and apostles in this dispensation to clarify:
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
(The Family: A Proclamation to the World, emphasis added)
I've reflected on how the family can be central to the Creator's plan. For the past ten years, I have often found during scripture study that the verses frequently speak of family organization and leadership. I have been taught that the family is important, that without a family one cannot complete the ordinances to live eternally with the Father. I know that as stated in Genesis Chapter 2 and in other modern revelation, the first commandment Adam and Eve received "pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

I have felt in my heart the joy that can come from spending time with family, and spending time on family. I have felt the peace that comes from researching family lines, learning about them, and completing their work. I know by experience that family is essential to happiness now, which leads me to believe that family is essential to happiness in the eternities as well.

I know that being in a family can teach you qualities essential to eternal happiness. In my familial relationships, I have learned (and am still learning) how to be patient and humble, how to find the positive lesson in a situation, how to love, how to serve, and how to press on.

Just recently, as Hiram taught a fantastic Sunday School lesson, I was reflecting on how our families can protect us from deception. Just in our sweet little family of two, I've recognized a difference in my life. It comes from me focusing on him and his needs rather than my own. My decisions no longer affect only me. They affect Hiram, and our future children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I don't read the scriptures for personal enlightenment. I don't pray for individual guidance. I study so I can be wise and worthy enough to stand equally alongside my husband as we work and progress towards eternal life. I pray to build a stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven, so that when trials come I can be firm in the faith of my Savior Jesus Christ, and teach my children to do so as well. My efforts have changed from personal and even selfish to selfless. My life is not just my own, it's my family's.

I don't think this is unique. Hiram and I have both seen our parents make decisions that were better for the family than for themselves. My own father has traded family for perhaps a more satisfying career. My mother has devoted her intelligence, creativity, and enthusiasm to raising six very different (and often difficult) children. I see my friends working hard in school not so they can climb the ladder of success, but so that they can raise their families on a higher plane. My sisters-in-law sacrifice time, talents, and sleep to the raising of their little sons as their husbands work so hard.

Ten years ago, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, "In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities." (The Importance of the Family, L. Tom Perry)

I am beginning to understand that the family is not only a central organizational establishment of our Heavenly Father's plan. The family has been given to us as a safeguard. It is not the home that can be a haven from the storms that rage in the world today, it is the family.

This is because when you are truly invested in your family, you are working for not only your well-being, but others. In doing so, you are forced to push aside pride. When you are truly invested in your family, you are given an added sense of accountability. Being focused on your family influences your thoughts, words, and actions. It prevents you from allowing the devil to deceive you, for you'll be more focused on loving, serving, studying, learning, praying, and pondering. When you are truly invested in your family, you will recognize that a strong relationship with Heavenly Father is necessary and essential.

In short, being part of a family saves a part of you.

How wonderful that our Heavenly Father has commanded us, encouraged us, and blessed us with this opportunity! How perfect that in one simple unit, we not only gain the experience we need to prepare us for eternal life but are given a reason to live righteously for others, not just for ourselves. I know that the family must be strengthened, as our prophets have stated so many times. I will be doing my best within my own.

I am so grateful for the blessing of families, both on this earth and in the eternities. I am especially grateful for the families I have been blessed with. They are beautiful inside and out, and have made my life beautiful as a result.

The Allen Family - July 7, 2012

The Jacob Family - July 7, 2012
To read more on the LDS perspective on families, you can visit the following:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Our first anniversary!

Hiram and I have been an eternal family for one year today!

Here are some things we did to celebrate our first year:

Earlier this week we decorated t-shirts with some friends. Then we wore them to the Freedom Festival Parade in Provo.

When we stood together, it completed the American Flag.       
We visited the Hogle Zoo. The weather was absolutely perfect for visiting the zoo. We learned a lot about elephants and birds, and watched some monkeys reach out of their habitat to steal some berries from a tree. We also learned that I'm way better at crinkling my nose.


We visited Temple Square and the Church History Museum, but the photos we took of ourselves were too grainy to share.

This one worked out, though! You get to see the Salt Lake Temple!
We ate really yummy food at Blue Lemon.


Hiram has been an absolutely wonderful husband. When we woke up this morning, we chuckled at how similar our "Happy Anniversary!" cards were to one another. We both wrote about how much we love each other and everything, and then both thanked each other for service and patience and for a perfect first year. We still have the rest of today to celebrate!

And the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader, I'm embracing Bloglovin'!

Friends and followers!

I don't even know if you follow this blog faithfully, but Google Reader is shutting down/maybe already over.

Something quick and easy to do is to add blogs that you love on ...

I have been using it for about a week now (I didn't know about it before...) and LOVE it.
Here are a few reasons why:

1. Bloglovin' makes it incredibly easy to stalk every single blog that I love. In fact, it can jump from one blog to another, in the order of most recently posted or unread posts. Kind of like your email!

2. My account was very easy to set up.  Just type in your google account information and it automatically syncs the blogs you were already following. In addition, you can click on "manage blogs you follow" and type in the web address of any blogs you want to follow. It automatically finds them!

See how easy and simple this is? I just clicked on the heart.
3. You can organize your favorite blogs. I have created categories based off my interest in the blogs. Some are interesting to me because they're written by family and friends. Some are food blogs, some fitness. I can organize them any way I want!

4. It is user-friendly. If you have a smartphone, you can purchase an app that will pull all your favorite blogs to your fingertips! I have bookmarked it to my toolbar, so it's easy to access. It quickly updates all of my favorite blogs!

Try it out! It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with the people and blogs you love.

You can click here to follow my blog on bloglovin'! (Please do.)

Also, please let me know if you blog and I'm not already following you. I would love to!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ten Days Shy of Twelve Months

Hiram and I went on our first date to the Mormon Miracle Pageant at the Manti Temple. We didn't take a picture then, but here we are two years and one day later!

We're in love.

Hiram and I have the same "argument" nearly every day.

H: Cebre, I love you so much.
C: I love you so much ... more.
H: I love you more.
C: That's what I just said.
H: Well, I've loved you longer.

And he has a point... kind of. He claims he's loved me since our first date, or even before.

I've tried to explain to him about cardinality of sets. A set in this case is a collection of numbers, or days. The cardinality is the count of all the days inside.  I can create a mapping from the day he first loved me to the day I first loved him. We'll both love each other forever, see, and so the two sets will be paired up:

His first day maps to my first day
His second day maps to my second day
His third day maps to my third day
His fourth day maps to my fourth day
... forever.

The sets are equal. Nobody will have loved each other longer. Math stuff.

He won't buy it.

Now, I know this is silly. We're what, ten days shy of being married a year... I know there's a lot more love to be developed.

But Hiram is amazing. I could write for hours about how he does the dishes, laundry, makes dinner when I'm exhausted, rubs my feet and back, kisses me so tenderly when I'm sleepy, listens to my chatter, lets me sing in the car and even sometimes at the dinner table...

... but here's just one example of why he's the best.

Monday evening I was helping a friend remember some math concepts for an upcoming exam.  I came home to this:
I love that you are always thinking of others.
And this:
I love how you love the Gospel (and babies).

And this:
I love how you sing so beautifully all the time.
And this:

I love the insights you have while we read the scriptures.

As I looked around the room, there were more. We walked into the next room. More. Kitchen? LOTS more. Bathroom, bedroom, spare room, more. Love notes were written on almost every surface in the entire house.

He wrote me thirty-four notes total. And held my hand so sweetly as I ran around the house looking for them (it was like an Easter egg hunt, but much nicer). Some were silly, some were sweet, some were written on our bathroom scale and inside our refrigerator...

He may have loved me longer, but he's made me love him more.

If you want to see all the notes, click here. It's very cute seeing how creative he was.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, June 14, 2013

Joy in Family History

The title for this post comes from this month's Visiting Teaching Message.
It also fits my week, though. I felt joy in family history!

I started off Sunday indexing around 200 names. I'm not saying this to brag or guilt-trip, I was given really easy batches. After Hiram had finished getting ready, he came into the kitchen and lovingly said, "Okay, let's put away the Spirit of Elijah for a bit and eat." ...Spiritual feasting and physical feasting are the same, right?

On Wednesday, I was able to go to the temple to do work for family names. A few weeks ago, I found some names on my dad's side that needed sealings, and then also a few weeks ago, my sweet sister Lexie found names on my mom's side that needed all ordinances. She and Racer were able to perform baptisms for them in the Oakland Temple, and on Wednesday, I was finally able to print off the first list of names for Endowments! It was such a wonderful experience.

I cannot even explain the lightness of spirit and joy that I felt for the rest of the day. I know I was doing work for another, but I felt as if I had been endowed with power once again. That evening, I was visited by my visiting teachers, who repeated the Visiting Teaching Message's words:
As members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search for our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. They without us cannot “be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40), and “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15).
I whole-heartedly agree. I felt just a glimpse of what "[being] made perfect" feels like, and it felt wonderful.
The Provo Temple. Beautiful.
On Thursday night, Hiram and I invited over some friends from our ward to play the cardgames Nerts and SET.  What I learned was that the men are wayyyy quicker at clearing their nerts piles than the women but the women totally rock at seeing SET patterns.

Safe to say, the boys got first and second place in our Nerts game (by far), and the women placed first and second in SET counts (by far).

For dessert, I wanted to provide something yummy and chilled, since it's summer. I came up with the following:

Simple Strawberry Trifle
Makes four servings of about 160 calories each -- I double counted. If you eliminate the whipped cream it's about half the calorie count. But who doesn't want whipped cream?...
Crushed Graham Crackers
1/2 cup Chocolate Pudding*
1/2 cup Vanilla Pudding*
Strawberries (2 cups sliced and four whole)
Whipped cream!
*The puddings I used were both from packets... I'm not that good.

Instructions for One Serving:
Remember, there are enough ingredients for four servings, so you can do this four times.
1. In your cup, place a layer of crushed graham cracker.
2. Over the graham crackers, spread two tablespoons of chocolate pudding.
3. Layer 1/4 cup of strawberries on top of the chocolate pudding.
4. Next, layer two tablespoons of vanilla pudding over the strawberries.
5. Add another layer consisting of the rest of your strawberries!
6. Spread the whipped cream on (I sprayed what looked like about a half a cup each), and top with your whole strawberry!
7. Grab a spoon and ENJOY!

All four servings.

The reason why I include this in my "Joy in Family History" post is because each of those beautiful dessert cups were a wedding gift from my Grandma Allen, that she and my grandpa were given as a young married couple. As I layered the dessert I thought about how she would make things look beautiful, and how the "package looked prettier than the present inside."

While I can't say that this looks better than it tasted (it tasted soooo good!), I can say that with every bite I was thinking of her.
 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Friendship for Free!

Life has seriously slowed down since school ended. At least on my end.
Hiram implored me to try to remember what it is like to be a student again: stressed about assignments, deadlines, and finals. He's been very busy with work, internships, and classes. I have no responsibilities.

I'm going to be honest. It's been hard. There is cleaning and organizing to do, but it's not the most fun to do when your house is about 90 degrees, so I can only do it with glee in the wee hours of the morning. When it's not those wee hours, I've sat around wishing I had a friend available to talk to.

I had a mini revelation on Sunday during Relief Society. The lesson was titled, "I Seek Not My Own Will, but the Will of the Father", which I strongly encourage reading. During the lesson, another woman referred to Elder Stanley G. Ellis's talk from this most recent general conference, "The Lord's Way" (also a good read). She specifically talked about the question, "Where are we needed?" and how often we do not ask, "Where can we help?" but instead ask the Lord to fit our will.

Humbled, I realized that I had been asking, "Can you send me a friend?" instead of "Who needs a friend?"

This perspective change has altered how I feel when I am alone. I feel blessed to have been given all of this free time, so that I can be available as a friend to others. I recently learned of two different sisters whose unique circumstances produce more loneliness than I can imagine feeling right now. I look forward to being an instrument in His hands, in whatever way he needs me. I'm free to do so!

Last night, I joined one of these sisters for a craft night. I had realized that we have NO patriotic decorations for Independence Day. I found the following instructions for a "no sew fabric wreath". Inspired, I adapted a bit of her instructions and created the following!

What you'll need: Hot glue gun, scraps of fabric, scissors, ribbon, and a frame.

1. Cut out pieces of fabric in the colors you desire (I did all of my scraps that have red, white, and blue) that are about 3/4 - 1" thick, and 2-3" long. The number of scraps you need depends on how big your wreath is going to be.

2. Fold the fabric over on itself, making a little triangle corner.

3. Hot-glue your triangle on your frame. I cut mine out of a Honey-Nut Cheerios cereal box, but you can use something more sturdy. It was all I had.

Alternate the way the point is facing for each glued piece (shown below). This way you can see each piece of fabric. You want to start with one triangle, and then glue the next piece on top of that (making sure it's facing the other direction). I started in the top center of the heart, and worked outward from there. 

Note, sometimes extra fabric hangs over. I simply glued these to the back of the heart-shaped frame, which made it more secure anyway.

4. After you do one side, start again in the top center, and alternate the triangles again! When you're done, you can attach ribbon to hang it by. I simply hot-glued it to the back of the wreath, although I do want to change where I placed the ribbon as it'd kind of bending the wreath (see the top photo).
Later Edit: I did change the ribbon to the center, and now it hangs beautifully and straight!

Voila! Decorations for Independence Day!

This took hardly any time at all-- the hardest part was making sure that I didn't hot glue my fingers.

What do you do to decorate for the Fourth?

More importantly, what do you do to serve those in need around you? I'd love ideas!

Friday, May 31, 2013

I didn't teach math, I taught kids.

Yesterday marked the last day of school of my first year teaching. I can't adequately describe how I never thought yesterday would come. 

And yet, it did.

Even though I felt like I was a failure in so many ways, and was overwhelmed and pessimistic so many days, I loved it. After our mini faculty meeting at the end of school yesterday, I started to cry. When I noticed other teachers looking over at me with a "She's really doing that?" expression, I swallowed up my emotions, and quickly left the campus.

But now I can do whatever I want. And part of that is reading through my students' end-of-year evaluations. I'll include some below.

"This year math was amazing."

"You did fun creative lessons instead of just teaching us math."

"She was also really fun while she was teaching, and if we were having a hard time staying focused, she would help us wake up by singing fun songs and having us dance goofy dances."

"Thanks for being the best math teacher I've ever had =)." 

"I really liked Mrs. Jacob because I felt like she was easy-going and also made sure we got our work done and learned or had the opportunity to learn what was needed."

"Mrs. Jacob did better at singling out struggling students than other math teachers I've had have done."

"My math teacher was awesome this year. She made class fun and interesting so that I actually wanted to go back. It was a place I enjoyed. Thank you for this amazing math year."

"My math teacher was good because she didn't take the easy way out. She always made sure that every student had the best opportunity to learn."

"Mrs. Jacob treated the class as equals to her instead of being beneath her."

"She became my favorite math teacher I've had at the Jr. high and I really enjoyed her class, she was patient and easy to talk to and understanding."

"My teacher did everything in her power to help us learn."

"She always taught me so I was ready for the test, and she never let me fail."

"Mrs. Jacob did very well. She told stories which are the best and hers were actually really funny and I enjoyed that."

"I think that my math teacher did well in not just teaching us math, but being our friend."

"She didn't teach just one method, she taught multiple ones, so that students could find the one that makes sense to them the most."

"She was always helping us become better learners."

"She would sympathize with you if you didn't get a question."

"She did great!!!!! This year I understood math a lot more than I have before and now I like math a lot more too."

"I felt like I could bond with her."

"You actually never gave up."

"Two of the things that really stood out to me were that she became friends with her students and she took the time to make sure each student understood."

"She was always there when you needed her, and she was just awesome in every way there was."

"Of all the things that you did well, the best one that you could possibly do was making math fun."

"It was the best math class I ever had in my life and she didn't bore us to death like most math teachers."

"Mrs. Jacob, thank you so much for all your efforts this year. You have made me a better person."


And then some humorous ones:

"One student brought up the fact that there is a pineapple in every Psych episode. You simply gave them the stink eye and they were quiet and we were back on track."

"Mrs. Jacob did a really good job of making math class fun. I have a U.S. history class that is really boring, but I have math afterwards which has always been more interesting than talking about dead people."

"She is really sweet and I like her clothes. She also does a great job on teaching math."

"She also is very patient with her students even when they don't really deserve it."

"She's really nice and pretty." 

"I would also like to warn you that Mrs. Jacob has an eye of a hawk when it comes to phones; she will see it, she will take it."

"I think that my math teacher doesn't have to change anything, because she is like the perfect teacher any student could ever have. She's always nice and is understanding, so it makes it easier to learn around her."

"She is a very fun and happy teacher all the time unless people are being stupid."

"No other math teacher would beat her because she is the best one ever!"


More than the Pythagorean Theorem, the Distance Formula, the Slope Formula, or the relationships between similar polygons, students remembered how they felt. How I made them feel. I'm so grateful that somehow I was able to keep the perspective that they mattered more than the content. Because they do. They matter more than higher grades, or better test scores. I will admit that without this summer break I would've probably gone insane. Or died.

 But I miss them. All of them.

Being home with Hiram has been wonderful, though! SO wonderful. Here's just a few reasons why:

  • Hiram sings to me. He makes up his own love songs or re-writes old classics... like "Rubber Ducky."
  • I get to hug and kiss Hiram all the time. Whenever I want.
  • We're watching the Star Wars series together, and get to giggle over cute R2-D2 and silly C-3PO.
  • Usually Hiram's the one who welcomes me home. Instead, I get to watch from our front window as he walks up and mouths from outside, "You are beautiful."

Monday, May 27, 2013

All the Allreds...

This last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to Spring City, Utah's "Heritage Day Celebration". I traveled with Stephen and Tracy Taylor, and Emery Smith. Tracy is my Grandma Allen's first cousin, and Emery is her daughter.

As we traveled down, Tracy read to us from "the red binder" which is a compilation of stories and biographies of our ancestors that my grandma put together years ago. Emery and I listened to stories we'd heard before, and learned new things about our Allred ancestors.

Overall, it was a beautiful day and I am very very grateful for the opportunity I have to spend time with family members and develop deeper relationships with them.  It was beautiful learning about the faith of my ancestors, hearing tales about their hardships and being strengthened and comforted I could make it through my own (which sound so trivial in comparison).

This is the Spring City Spring. Cold, refreshing water!

James Allred is my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. He was also a great man. You can read about that here.
This is the Endowment/Allred School House

Tracy and I in front of the schoolhouse.

I love unkept gardens and yards. It must be from reading stories like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables.

This is a very very VERY old flag. It's the "Betsy Ross" Thirteen-star version.

I don't know what house this is, but they restored it beautifully.

This is the "Judge Jacob Johnson House". It is beautiful. They have done a great job restoring it.

These poppies were HUGE! Each about as large as my hand.

More poppies.

There were also very large irises.

Such small, but meaningful flowers.

Emery and I at the garden behind the Judge Jacob Johnson House. So beautiful.

Bleeding Hearts. 

The weather was PERFECT. The clouds were there just when we needed them.

I thought this tree deserved to be seen.

As we drove back into Provo, we stopped at the Provo Cemetery to see family graves and place flowers. 
I was moved that so many people had brought beautiful flowers for their loved ones.
Maud was my great-great-Grandmother.
Spring City is a darling town. I harbor a hope that someday Hiram and I could live there (I sent him photos of houses currently for sale), but it probably won't be realized. Hiram said we don't need to buy a house right now...

 I loved learning a little more about my heritage, and growing closer to family members that are both here now and who have passed on.

If you're curious about your heritage, try FamilySearch!