Wednesday, December 30, 2015

you do you

Some stuff happened this week that really hurt my self-worth. I know people have bigger battles. I personally know individuals who face anxiety issues and depression. I know people who are unhappy with how they look, their work life, their family circumstances and a number of other unfortunate life challenges. For me, it was a good 24 hours of pain, crying and literally feeling like I had nothing, except for one amazing husband who stayed by my side  the whole time. Of course, I will not be going into too much detail but here are my realizations from the experience I was having. 

My life is pretty beaver dam good. Like seriously I know it's pathetic for me to be so held up on my current employment situation. Some people can't even find one job, can't obtain benefits, are not guaranteed any numbers of hours a week. Here I am now with two jobs, both of which have challenges but I enjoy them both and I am learning so many things as I interact with my 14 kids, and also sweet elderly adults that have loads of life experience and super nice things to say to me, like all of the time. Someday I do hope to have a 'career', or maybe I will just continue to have jobs that I can do well and other opportunities that will give me good life experience. 

I have been soo over Social Media over the holidays. Except I say that and I know I contributed to the whole "how awesome can I make my Christmas look" Instagram post or sincere Facebook status (okay I didn't do that because Facebook is so 2009). What I realized is that I am following SO many people on Instagram that I don't even KNOW! Many of these individuals are amazing people and very successful in their lives and careers, but is that really helping me to see my life in a different light? Don't get my wrong, I believe in seeing positive things especially on social media but I would rather be seeing these great things from the people I see on a regular basis, or with people that I have made a personal connection with through Instagram or Facebook. So do it. Unfollow all those people who have never even met before, it will help a lot to not have to wonder what really happens behind the scenes of that perfect picture they posted. 

You don't have to be the same as everyone else. That was probably the biggest thing for me to realize. Life is so different for everyone. It moves differently. Some things take longer for some than for others. We are all on a different path, designed specifically for us. We can all make goals and plans to achieve those goals. When we have faith, we can continue along our own path and await the blessings the Lord has in store for us. His timing is all that matters. He will lead and guide us as we communicate with him and he will bless us as we strive to be like Him. 

Last but not least, be sincere with the people that you love. Nothing hurts more than not talking to loved ones or seeing family around the holidays. Nothing hurts more than getting exciting news through a text message because you're "too busy" to call. Again, I feel at fault for this too, I know I can do better at this one. We all can. I don't know what else to say about it. Just love the people you care about. Try to show them how much you care about them. Simple things work really well. Bake someone a batch of cookies. Write someone a note. Meet up with them for hot chocolate. Invite your friend over to sit on your couch, make her cinnamon rolls and cry with her, because that's what she needs from you.
I guess I'm a weird way these might be "New Years" resolutions, but one lady the other day asked me if I made resolutions and I told her that I don't. Instead I just try to change little things everyday to make my life better, to continue to be happy. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Boxing Day Bowling?

We went Bowling on Boxing Day 2015. It was a lot of fun, Until I scored a 49 on our second game and became a little bit of as sour puss. Oh and we also couldn't finish our third game because our time ran out, but they really should have gave us more time because our bowling pins kept getting all messed up, talk about ghetto. 

So, this might not become our Boxing Day tradition, but still lots of fun. Thanks for joining us Kayla. You are the ultimate bowling goals.

Monday, December 28, 2015

because I need to do these things too

i need to knit. i need to talk to people i care about. i need to pay student loans. i need to read more. i need to be responsible. I need to grow up.

I love you Kayla Denise Fraser.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015

Our first Christmas together as a married couple was more than wonderful. It was a great time for us to start some new traditions, but also spend some time with our family and friends. Haig did amazing on all of his exams and we were both very happy when his final marks came around. I had to work on the 22nd and a full day on the 23rd, but lucky for us we are both off of work until the new year and Haig goes back to school on January 4th. 

I really like Christmas eve, so I know I wanted to do a couple things that we would eventually call "traditions". We started the day off slow doing some relaxing and taking our time to get ready for the day. We made pizza dough for our dinner. It was our first time making it and I was super worried about it because the yeast smelled so bad when it was dissolving. Haig reassured me that it was suppose to smell like that, so I did my best to trust him. Early in the afternoon, we decided it was time to go out and do something, so we went to Tim Hortons for some lunch because one of my parents at work gave me a gift card. We shared a sandwich and some hot chocolate and we each got a doughnut. We also got another hot chocolate and doughnut and took it to Kayla at work. From there we went into a toy store to look around at some board games. After that I still wasn't really feeling like going home, so Haig took me for a drive downtown and we went into a couple of bookstores,comic stores and we went into a store to grab some milk and pop.

When we got home, we started to get our pizza ready. While it started to bake, we watched The Grinch. Our internet connection is not great sometimes, so we started watching it a couple of nights ago and then the connection got really bad and slow so we went to bed. I am glad we got to finish it on Christmas Eve, because it is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Our pizza was delicious, although I was a little upset that I had not given more thought to the toppings, but pepperoni and delicious ADL cheese still made it one good pizza. We watched Arthur Christmas after, which was okay, but I fell asleep about half way through. Once I woke up I decided I needed to stay up for awhile. We played skip-bo and then we read our scriptures together.

I was in awe as my husband read to me about the coming of Christ. I felt blessed by our Savior's love for us. I feel so loved for all of the blessings that He has given to us, especially just this past year. I was thankful for our little apartment, our little Christmas tree and our little first Christmas together.    

On Christmas morning, we slept in and it was amazing. Once I woke up, I got ready for the day and let Haig sleep in just a little more. Neither of us have been sleeping very well, so I always like to give him a little extra time, I know he needs it. He has also been coming down with a cold and that's never any fun. He slept for a little while longer, but not too long. Once he woke up and I was ready, we did sit down on the couch and we started to open our gifts. Mom & Dad Pinsent had sent some gifts over just the day before with a friend, so we were super grateful to have some extra presents under the tree. One gift that both of us liked was exchanging CDs. I gave Haig coldplay's new CD and he gave me an iTunes gift card to buy Andy Brown's "seasons".  

Haig got ready for the day and then we made some waffles for breakfast. Obviously the meals for our first Christmas together were pretty important. After our breakfast, we were both so full. Like I literally felt like I couldn't move. We didn't have much else to do at home, so we made our way over to my parents house for the afternoon. While we were there, we opened presents, ate treats, we watched some movies that were on TV and we also watched "A Christmas Story". We had a delicious turkey dinner and had a nice time catching up with my family and reflecting on the events of the last year and exciting things in the year to come. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

For unto Us a Child is Born

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: 
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father
the Prince of Peace

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We wish you a Merry Christmas

There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.
Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.
Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.
Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.
Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.
May His precious Spirit be with us, and may He ever be the center of our celebrations and indeed of our very lives. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

An after-school Christmas Party

I don't share much about my after-school program, mostly because I can't share a lot of pictures of my beautiful and unique kids that attend, but I am pretty sure I can post a little bit about something else I really love and enjoy about my job, and that is planning, and more specifically, party planning! My co-worker Stacey and I have been planning our Christmas parties since the end of November and I am really happy with how smoothly mine went yesterday.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some Christmas books at Value Village. One of the books that I picked up was "If you take a Mouse to the Movies". I decided that I would sort of theme our Christmas party around the book. So we had popcorn, made Christmas tree ornaments, decorated cookies, listened to Christmas music and also "made snowmen".

The kids had a lot of fun, but I think their favorite part was the popcorn seasonings! Some of them even tried all three in their popcorn bags. They can be so silly, but oh so much fun.

Merry Christmas, Love Donagh Smart Play

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Joseph & Mary

The more we know about Mary and Joseph, the more we come to appreciate the two special people who were chosen to be the earthly guardians of our Savior,Jesus Christ. Mary was the noble woman from whom Jesus would obtain a body of flesh and blood. Joseph, a kind and spiritual man, received the assignment to watch over and care for the boy Jesus. 

When we consider the strong influence that a mother has on the personality and attitude of a young child in the home, we sense the responsibility that our Heavenly Father gave Mary by entrusting her with the rearing of his chosen and Beloved Son. This would require the adequate training of Mary, both as a pre-mortal spirit and as a young woman in mortality. Notwithstanding her pre-earth assignment, Mary would not have been worthy to bear the Son of God and give him a body of flesh and blood unless she was clean and pure in mortal life.
And what of Joseph? What kind of a person would the Father select as the husband of Mary and the guardian and earthly model for Jesus? Because the father is to teach correct principles by precept and example and be a counselor, we must conclude that our Heavenly Father made careful selection in his choice of Joseph. That Joseph was spiritually sensitive and of a kindly disposition is reflected in the scriptural record. He was susceptible to divine guidance through the ministrations of angels and by dreams; he wished not to bring embarrassment upon Mary nor to “make her a publick example” . In addition, we would expect to find in Joseph certain moral, intellectual, and social qualities befitting his important assignment.   
The example of Joseph and Mary in providing a suitable home for their family was such that Luke recorded that Jesus “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him”.Heavenly Father intended that each child should have the combined loving protection and guidance of caring parents. Every child is entitled to live in a home, as Jesus did, where there is an environment permitting growth in gospel understanding, where each can wax strong in spirit and his life be filled with wisdom, so that the grace of God will be upon him. These precious little ones are as angels among us. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

little bit of Pinsent Life

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen all of these pictures already. I don't take very many pictures anymore, and I would really like to break that bad habit. Haig and I have considered getting a nice camera for awhile now, but who knows if we would even use that, we hardly use our cell phones for pictures let alone take a camera with us places. It would be nice to have something to learn together though. We both enjoy having pictures, one of us enjoys being in pictures more than the other (take a guess...). So we might look for a nice camera after Christmas. For now, I love snapping candid moments on my phone, and I do still love a classic selfie with my husband, which I usually hashtag #pinsentlife because it is fun stuff that we are doing together 
and as a couple. 

Haig is such a great husband and student, writing 4 exams in one week! Last Friday we rushed home to my parents house for dinner and he ate quickly so he could go back into town for his second exam, accounting. I stayed home to spend some time with my family and with Winnie bear. She is growing lots and is pretty fun, but on this particular night she got very hyper and basically she tried to eat me a couple of times. On Saturday morning, I helped my mom to take Winnie and Meeko to the vet, at the same time and I'll tell you it was quite the experience. I do love spending time with her, but she is still very much a hyper, happy puppy.

A couple of weeks ago, Haig really wanted Taco Boyz for dinner, and more specifically a chimichanga (a deep-fried burrito). I wasn't however really feeling up to that type of food and we opted for something else that night, but I did feel pretty bad about it. Haig set up for the Nativity Pageant on Saturday morning while I was out with my mom. I told him I would take him to lunch after his set up. We didn't really have any place in mind and then I remembered that we were very close to the new Taco Boyz location and I asked "do you want to go get your chimichanga?". He was one happy man eating his lunch that day. My chicken quesadilla was very delicious too.

I was so thrilled that we were asked to be Mary and Joseph in the Nativity Pageant this year. I have wanted to be in it for as long as I can remember. I have loved watching couples that I know and admire play the role, and now it was our turn.

Sunday afternoon, I don't know what got into me but I was very much in domestic mode. I made some banana bread first, a double batch. I made some biscuits for dinner and then I started to make some chicken soup before we had to leave for our last night at the pageant. It was a lot more work than I expected. I didn't have chicken broth like I thought I did, only vegetable and I didn't really like the taste of it. I only had two packages of spicy mr. noodles. I wanted noodles in the soup, but not really like that but I needed something for flavor. Anyways, it was not my favorite chicken noodle soup, but it was okay, I will try again another time.

I have a long standing tradition with this sheep ornament at the Christmas tree at church. Every year I take a picture with it for my friend Katherine Burchett. I am not even really sure why, or how this started but I love doing it to show her that I miss her and I am thinking about her at this time of year.    

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

oh, Christmas tree

on the first week of December, my true love gave to me,
our very first, little Christmas Tree.

One night after running some errands, Haig took me to the Christmas tree lot that is near our apartment. We just had a look around because we knew they wouldn't have the smaller size we were looking for. It was sweet of him to take me even if it was just to look around. 

A couple of days later we had our first winter "storm" and it was so nice to have a little snow on the ground to go on our Christmas tree hunt on the weekend. We headed to my house on Saturday before I had to go to work for the evening. We took Winnie with us into the back field to look for our first tree. We found one that we sort of liked, but it seemed a little too wide for the corner we had been planning on putting it in.

 Then we spotted another one that we liked, well, we spotted the top of a tree that we liked. Haig said it looked like the bottom of the tree was in bad shape. So, we did sometime that wasn't super nice, but we cut down the top of the tree! We put it in the backseat of the car, because we forgot we had our summer tires in the trunk. Our car has smelled like Christmas tree ever since. I bought some decorations at Michaels a couple of weeks ago. Haig and I decided on dark red and gold. We also just found a table cloth that we liked at value village which has turned into a make shift
 Christmas tree skirt.

We decorated the tree with the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on in the background. Once we were finished decorating the tree, we were able to sit down and enjoy 
Elder Bednar and President Uchtdorf's talks. I think we have started our first Christmas tradition. 

"May the beautiful lights of every holiday season remind us of Him who is the source of all light." 

-David A Bednar


I was thinking about some stuff yesterday that I wanted to share. I don't feel like I normally share very honest posts about my personal life, but I have been feeling very grateful about something.

Our families have never been wealthy. I can remember a couple of times growing up that I saw my parents upset about money, or worried about being able to provide for us and pay the bills. Haig would tell you similar experiences from his childhood. Our parents have been unemployed in some circumstances, they found ways to budget and also manage debt. Our families never had it all, but it seemed like we always pulled through. I am happy that I was never fortunate enough to have every single thing that I wanted. My parents provided the necessities, and when I became old enough, I worked so that I could provide myself with a couple of extra dollars in my pocket.

While I studied at UPEI, my parents were so great to let me live at home 'rent' free. I was paying for my education, my textbooks, my gas to get to and from school and work, and starting to pay some of my own bills. Things were not so bad. I was able to save money for the future, although I didn't know exactly what the future would hold. I was able to travel with ease and sometimes I didn't really have to think twice about purchasing an item that I wanted.

As soon as Haig and I started to think about getting married, I worried about money a little bit. I did worry that because everyone says "newlyweds" are usually broke, I imagined we would be poor like all of the time. The first couple of months were not so bad. The summer months were great when we were both working our butts off. Then the fall rolled around and things changed a little bit. I started paying back my student loan. We pay our monthly bills. We put gas in the car to get from school and work. Haig only works part-time. I "quit" one of my job positions, so I am only working part-time as well. Sometimes I look at the bank account and wonder "where did all of our money go". We put food on the table. Sometimes, I buy a couple of things for the after-school program, sometimes Haig picks up a lunch on the way to work.

But, the funny thing is, we are always okay. We always seem to make it to the next month with a little left. I am not great at budgeting. I am good at paying the bills on time and saving money. We have not given ourselves any type of "allowances" or how much money we can each spend. We share our money and we consult each other on how we are going to spend it. When we pray, we thank God for everything he has blessed us with. We pay our tithing because we know that blessings come because of it.

So yeah, we do not have it all. Like our parents have taught us,we have the necessities. We are working hard. We are cautious of our spending habits. We are in debt. We are not wealthy, but we know what true wealth is, happiness and prosperity.

{as I was typing this post, my husband sent me our electric bill statement for this month. it looks like I am so good at paying the bills that last month I paid the electric bill twice, which makes our current total amount owing, $2.24. 
praise the lord!!!} 

Monday, December 7, 2015

thinking about Minnesota

Haig and I have been thinking about his mission lately. This morning as I finished up some lists that I have been working on, some little projects to get ready for this week, baking and some cleaning of the apartment, I felt the need to sit down and open up a document on my laptop called from Minnesota, with love. This word document has most of the e-mails that Elder Pinsent sent to me while he was in Minnesota. I didn't really know where to start or what to read, so I decided I would find an e-mail closets to today's date, December 7th.   

December 3rd 2012
Dear Alyssa,

This week was really one for the record books.
Last night Brittany decided that she is going to be baptized on December 15th! There is a lot of work to be done between now and then, but it is very exciting none the less. She was really prepared by the Lord and is really ready to make this huge step in her life and into the eternities.
I absolutely loved watching the Christmas devotional last night, and I was absolutely thinking about you and how much I know you love the First Presidency. I love that you have a love for them, just as I do. 

Thank you for all of your encouraging words today. This week was hard despite the miracle that we have seen in Brittany, and I'm happy that you are always as supportive as you can be. I also got a package from you today! I didn't open it, because you mentioned one that I could and one that I couldn't and I didn't want to open the wrong one. I got one from my family the other day as well. I know that in a few months or years, I won't remember any of what was in any of these gifts. But I will always remember the closeness and joy and love that I have felt to everyone. And to you. This time of year of course we spend a lot of time teaching people about Christmas and it has been really hard on me. Seeing how many people really don't care about this season as anything more than just gifts and food almost breaks my heart. I love Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and King. There is no other holiday that allows us to express that quite like this one. I'm fine with getting shut down. Don't even care. Go ahead, slam a door in my face! doesn't faze me. But if you stand in front of me and tell me that Christmas means no more than gifts under a tree, we are going to fight till the sun goes down. People can walk all over me, but Jesus Christ did more for mankind than any other person save God himself. He deserves more from all of us, and He asks nothing. I love Him for it.

I hope that you enjoy this season for what it is. I know you will, but always remember that the reason why we have a shot at eternity, is because of him. I found a new verse in the Book of Mormon that I love, but I can't remember where it is, I will have to write it out next week maybe. It basically says that the only thing that stands between us and justice and damnation and eternity, is Christ the Lord.

Thank you so much again for your support, that letter will be on its way today. Thank your family again for me for the package and for everything. Tell them I love them.

I hope that these e-mails even convey 1% of the love and joy that I am feeling in this work. There is no other time that I can remember that I have felt the spirit more consistently than while I have been here. I hope you can feel that while you read.

I love you Alyssa Fraser. I really do. With every fiber of me being.
Elder Pinsent

Elder Alpert, Elder Pinsent & Brittany (Nagel) Boren, December 2012

* I have never had the privilege of meeting  Charlie (only on Skype) or Brittany, 
but I love them more than I could have ever imagined! 
They are so amazing. Seriously, they are some of my favorites. 
Maybe we can plan for a triple date with Charlie, Sarah, Brittany and Grant some day....   

Friday, December 4, 2015

leave of absence

So, I have something to confess. I guess I just kind of have something I want to talk about.

I quit my job.

Well, before I say anything else, I did *quit* my job, but I am not unemployed. I am still working as a youth educator with the after-school program. I am also starting a new position as a personal care attendant at a seniors home.

The thing is, I wasn't happy. I don't feel like I was really "good enough" for the situation I was working in. I was constantly feeling defeated that I was not doing enough. I felt like I couldn't live my life and continue working in other capacities. I felt held back. I will not hold myself back.

So I put in my two weeks notice for that position.

Things have been better since. The first week was hard. I felt really useless. I felt like my husband was mad at me for not working. I felt like soon we would be struggling for money and that I would not be able to adequately provide for our family. I felt like I would never know what to do with my life, what career I am suppose to have.

I have to rely on my faith during this time, to know that everything is going to be okay, things will work out and things will get better. There is a plan for me, if I look for it, if I have a desire to find it, if I can prioritize my goals, dreams and aspirations. I don't know everything right now, but eventually I will figure out more about who I am suppose to be and what I am suppose to do.