Monday, February 24, 2014

Young Women in Excellence 2013

Since I do the Personal Progress in my ward, I was responsible for our Young Women in Excellence activity on November 6, 2013.
YWIE (Young Women in Excellence) is an activity we have once every year to show off what the girls have done in Personal Progress throughout the year. In 2013, I didn't prepare the girls through the year for YWIE, so we mostly just talked about Personal Progress and how awesome our YW are.

Our theme was "Daughters of a King." 
One of our most basic beliefs as LDS members is that we are the Lord's children and are to inherit many wonderful blessings.
We decorated it so that it would look like a banquet for royalty. It was beautiful. 
Our Laurel (16-17 year olds) advisor decorates for events as a living, so we are sooooo very lucky to have her being willing to help and provide so much.

We turned off the hallway lights and lined the hallways with red and gold and christmas lights.

It was a perfect entrance into:

With red and white flowers

Golden candelabras with crystals

and golden chargers. It was BEAUTIFUL!!!

This was the gorgeous buffet table. We had "royal" snacks. Chocolate fondue, yummy things to dip like rice krispy treats and strawberries. It was very yummy.

This was the podium/stage.

On top of the piano. :)

The theme was so perfectly portrayed. We gave each girl a poster that had the quote from President Uchtdorf that said "You are truly Royal daughters of almighty God, Princesses destined to become Queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your Once Upon a Time is now."

For a few months before the event, we had pictures taken of each of the girls so that we could give it to them and show them that they are beautiful, wonderful amazing daughters of the Lord. 
Our awesome Bro Porter did the pictures. He can take some very beautiful pictures. Most of the pictures on this post are from him. You can see more of his work here.
By each picture on the table, they were asked to make a display that portrays who they are. They could bring something that represented an accomplishment, a passion, or anything that meant them.

One girl brought a poster of her favorite band, One Direction. :) One girl brought her program from a solo she sang. It was awesome. I brought my clarinet, running shoes (I ran a 5K for my Personal Progress goal in 2013), a crocheted blanket, and something to represent being a mommy. One of our leaders who does calligraphy did each girl's name to put next to their picture and display. It turned out very well! I was impressed!

When the activity started, we lined up the girls in age order, gave them tiaras, and had them escorted into the room by members of the Bishopric (Our local congregation's leadership). I had a brother from our Ward (who has a great, authoritative type voice) announce each girl by saying "Princess Grace of the Curtis family" but changed for each girl. It was really cool. 
These are our beautiful Young Women (some of them) being escorted in. Such beautiful, wonderful girls!!!

 Apparently Kiki thought it was hilarious. :)

Then, we had the girls sit down and listen to "Daughter of a King." It's a beautiful story about how we are all princesses and princes destined to be great and become like our Heavenly Father. But as we go through life, it gets hard, so it's important to act like the Princesses we are.

Then I explained the theme a little and talked about our beautiful wonderful young women.

Then we had the presidents of each class explain the classes.

Mia Maid


We had one of our Laurels sing "Daughter of a King" by Jenny Phillips. At the end, the leaders joined in and sang harmony with her. It was gorgeous. She did a FABULOUS job.
Here's a video of her singing it.

After we sang, we had the accompaniment continue and the Bishopric handed out the pictures to each girl and said "You are a Daughter of a King." It was a very tender moment where each girl was told that they are a royal princess and are special to Him.

 I was so proud of how it turned out. I had great leaders to work with and it was beautiful and spiritual. We really loved it.

Friday, February 7, 2014


If you know me, you know I HATE money. I love what I can DO with money, but I hate that it's so hard to get, that it isn't fun to get, usually, and that it's so easy to lose.

Something that I think I was avoiding blogging about deals a lot with money.
J lost his job the first Tuesday in November.

Before we continue, I want you to know that I am going to be speaking VERY candidly.

So…you've been warned...
It was the day before my HUGE Evening in Excellence with the Young Women that I was in charge of and he called me in the middle of the day. Usually a call from J in the middle of the day is either totally unimportant like "did you do the laundry?" (I've never really gotten a call from him like that, but that was the first unimportant question I could think of…) or it's a big deal and we must decide on it right then and there.

When I answered, I was apprehensive already. Then I could tell something was wrong when he said, "I have something to tell you," in a very sad, and kind of frightened voice. "I lost my job."
Thinking that was the worst, most meanest, terriblest (I know, not a word, but it fits) joke you could ever play on anyone, I said, "What?!"
In the same depressed tone, he said that his boss had pulled him in for a last-minute meeting and told him that Scentsy wasn't impressed with his output and he was being asked to leave immediately. He could schedule a time with security to get his things another day.

I felt my heart sink wayyy too far to be healthy.
I feel like before I could really respond, he said something like "…so I'm coming home now…I will see you in about 20 minutes."
So I hope I told him I loved him and hung up…might have just been an "okay…bye…" type of response.

I was floored.
J had worked for Scentsy on and off since 2008. That was when he was about 1 of 20 people in the office. He was loved and wanted.
He worked summers between school and then did an internship in the analyst department. He switched around a bit within Scentsy to find the perfect niche. He never really found it. When this happened in November, we had been thinking of looking for something else. He had applied somewhere else and had gotten no response, but that was it.
His job in November was the Forum Moderator. He answered questions, put out fires, and overall watched over the online forum where the consultants could ask questions and discuss ideas. He liked it and liked Scentsy well enough, but didn't love work. He was anxious to return home and not just to see C and me.
He just didn't enjoy it.
So no, his performance wasn't spectacular, 100% awesome.
We stayed with Scentsy because it paid the bills and he honestly didn't know where to go. He had majored in Economics in college, but didn't know what to do with it.

I also was am (though I should say was…) soooo angry with Scentsy.
Really? You kicked him out the door like he was a criminal??? After 5 years of promoting, defending, loving, and caring for your company, you decided to push him out the door?
They told him that he would have insurance to the end of the month, but they gave him a check for his final hours and said adios.
SOOOO very unprofessional.
Sooooo disappointing.
All it makes me want to do is smash all of my Scentsy stuff… but I won't…but it might have made me feel a little better to smash something… I probably should have. :)

They didn't give him any ultimatum either. They did say that they weren't thrilled with his work, but they never said something like "fix it or else."

Before I continue, I feel I need to say that I don't hate people at Scentsy. I have worked there and am thankful for the employment I received. I had great memories. There are wonderful people who work at Scentsy.
However, Scentsy is not the same it used to be. Their product is still the best out there, don't go buying Walmart brand, people! But the company itself is…too big for its britches… honestly. They are going to great heights and wonderful feats are being reached…but they don't care as much as they used to. They used to be the small-town feeling company, but they got big and cared less for the small guy. I'm not sure how to put it, so I'll just decide that's enough… :)

So we were left on our own to figure things out.
We were distraught.
I sobbed for a while,  C lovingly looked at me rather sweetly wondering what was wrong with Mommy, and calmed down for when J came home.
I hugged him tightly and let him go where he needed to go.
Something I've learned about living with my wonderful man is that you need to let them go but make sure to ask if you're wanted to comfort or just be there for them.
So I asked him if he wanted me to sit with him. He did, so I held him and we just sat there for a little while.

He had a church meeting that night, so I called my parents and cried and cried to them. My mom told me that the most important thing  he needed was love and patience. Losing his job had made him feel hopeless and worthless, so I needed to be a strength to him.
I remembered something J's dad had said once, though. There was a time where J's mom was going through a rough time so J's dad was the strength. He later found out that she needed him to show weakness because she felt more alone when he was so strong and she was so weak. (not sure if my cryptic story made any sense) So looking at that, I decided I could show him I was sad and that it was changing our lives-because it did make me sad and it would change our lives forever-but I could be strong, too.

I went to set up and do my activity Wednesday as best as I could without crying and complaining to all of the other women. It went BEAUTIFULLY and was a lovely diversion from my sad little story.
And then I was scheduled to fly to Arkansas with C on Saturday.
So I got ready and left my sweet hubby to look for jobs alone.
I felt terrible leaving him when his self esteem was soooo low, but having that vacation was good for us. It helped me escape from reality a little, gave him nothing to do but work on finding a job, and brought our cost of living down quite a bit. So not only was it a great visit home, but it was a much needed reprieve.

While I was gone, J went through our bills and needs with his dad and made a new plan. They figured out exactly how much we needed to survive on what we were spending already and figured out where we could cut back.

J applied for a pricing specialist position at Texas Instruments (calculators), Game Stop (he'd worked there before), a school bus company, and as a teacher.
When he lost his job, we tried our hardest to think (and KINDA felt) that it was a blessing in disguise. A terrible, mean wolf disguise, but a great blessing because now he was forced to find something better for himself rather than just getting experience in something he didn't love.
And what felt like minutes after he lost his job, everyone and everything kept pointing at teaching. So he became a substitute at a school district in town and looked at how he could get into teaching. Charter schools don't require and sometimes don't want a teaching degree/certificate, so he applied at some charter schools.

Christmas came, we spent almost 2 weeks at his parents' place, and Christmas left.
In January, he got a response from a Charter school, called Fresco, in Eagle (still Boise valley) asking about an interview. The job was to teach science and math in 5th and 6th grade.
So I asked all of my resources in the Facebook world to pray for him when he had his interview. It went really well. He said what he needed to and wanted to, was candid, honest, and portrayed a good image.
They said that they would contact him Monday or Tuesday to ask him to teach a period if they were interested. Then, if they wanted him, he would start working the next Tuesday.
Monday (13th), they asked him back to teach a physical science class on Thursday morning. Also on Monday, he got a Facebook message from a friend from Scentsy who knew someone looking for someone with J's qualifications. So he sent in his resume to Gryphon Wealth Management. We figured eh, why not?
A few hours later, Kirk-owner of Gryphon-asked to meet J Tuesday afternoon. What?! ok!
So Tuesday he went in and talked with Kirk for an hour and a half. They asked him questions about himself and then explained what they do. They help wealthy people with anything that deals with their money. They do taxes, investments, etc. If J worked for them, which they said the job was PERFECT for him, he would start out with grunt work helping them get out from piles of small things and then work up to being a financial advisor (doing a lot of the things Kirk and his partner do).
When J got home from that, he glowed. It was exactly what he wanted, but did he? He was very torn. He thought he had wanted to teach, but then this showed up and was economics and what he enjoyed most from his classes.
That night, he got an email inviting him to work for them. We decided to think about it and put them on hold for a little while so J could do the teaching and figure out if that was what he wanted to do.
Kirk invited J to a lunch meeting Wednesday where a lead economist from JP Morgan would talk about 2013's economy and the projection for 2014. So he went to that and LOVED it. When they got back, J gave a recap to the other guys at Gryphon and he said Kirk was practically salivating.
That afternoon/evening, Kirk gave us a spreadsheet of what J would get paid and said over again how much they wanted him.
It was really cool to be wanted! So we prayed a lot. A lot a lot a lot.

I talked with my dear friend, Tami about it quite a bit while we ran. Thankfully, she had her head on straight and reminded me of several things Apostles had said. She said that she grew up hearing over and over that President Faust was asked what job a guy should get and President Faust said, "The Lord doesn't care which one as long as it provides for your family." Then she also pointed out (I'm not sure she thinks that she pointed it out, but I will give her credit since it was through her closeness with the Spirit that I was learning) that J had talked just that last Sunday on listening to the Spirit. President Uchtdorf had said "Doubt your doubts."
So I prayed again with those in mind and felt like the job with Gryphon was the right thing to do.

It made J happy. It was so great to have him be wanted. After his self esteem was so bruised from Scentsy, it was so wonderful to have him be desirable and needed at a job rather than "ohhh we can find something, I guess…"

So he sent an email accepting the job with Gryphon Thursday. That night, Kirk emailed a few different things to work on and told him how excited he was to have J.

How great is that?!

So Monday Jan 20th, was his first day. He scanned papers for most of the day… :)
He is also helping Kirk get organized and has taken on the responsibilities of sending mail, checking emails, answering phones, and researching information.  He works with a great group of guys who are becoming his friends. He's not a true financial analyst (his official title) yet, but for now, we're happy with what we have. It's a small income, but it's income nonetheless.

A while ago, we watched some Dave Ramsey shows about budgeting and a savings account. Since then, we've worked on having enough of a savings account so that we could survive for a while if we were in trouble…
So thankfully, we did have a savings account.
We were also given money and help quite frequently. Grandpa G helped us with our mortgage with a gift, we didn't have to buy groceries for C and me for most of November, we were given a generous anniversary gift, and many others were kind in giving us free things-like my haircut! We are very blessed people. We have wonderful family and awesome friends. I'm so thankful for those people who helped us out during those unhappy times.
Not having a job was unhappy, but it was a good holiday season. Thanksgiving was lovely, Christmas was fun, and New Years was a great beginning.
I'm happy to say that one of our biggest New Year's Resolutions has been fulfilled. We said we were going to get a job. Hooray!