Friday, September 7, 2012

To teach, or to mother... That is the question...

My mother was a stay at home sort.  She was always there to do laundry and housekeeping, and get on our case.  We were very blessed that my dad could provide well-enough for our family that she could be home with us.  I always wanted to be just like her.  I wanted to stay home and raise my kids and keep my house... but it was not meant to be.

Every morning I get up and wonder if I should work today in the schools, or if I should stay home and complete the tasks there.  I always feel guilty going to work, because I know that "no success can compensate for failure in the home."  And yet, I truly love what I do for work.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany.  My Heavenly Father did not bless me with the talents He did for the benefit of only my children.  Furthermore, I know that He has purposes in mind for me - I have no idea what's in store.  That being said, I decided to fall into His will.  I told Him that if he wanted me to work outside my home that day, there would be a job for me in the morning, ready to go.  But if it was more important for me to stay home and take care of my family, no job would come up.  I then told him that I would be happy with whatever the plan was and make the best use of my day either way.

It worked yesterday!

I accomplished everything on the "today's list."  I did not complete all the big "Sometime in the future" list, but I did finish what needed to be done yesterday.  Even better...  it was done before I picked the girls up from school.

I know that when we trust in the Lord, and align our will to His, He will help us do what is needful.  I know that we will accomplish what he has set out for us to accomplish, and I am so grateful for Him in my life!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Life's Blueprint and Blogs

For those who didn't know, I recently started up a new blog based upon my experiences as a substitute teacher.  Basically the idea is to keep notes of what classroom teachers are doing that are AWESOME, so I can look back and say... Oh yeah... I should do that, should I ever decide to be a full-time teacher.

For the record, though, I love subbing.  I love seeing different students, and enjoying creative curriculum.  I have often heard it said that subbing is like being a grandma or aunt.  You get all the fun, but the parents eventually come back.

Always said I wanted to be the favorite aunt!!!

I was really impressed with this lesson plan and my comments about it are pretty amazing (if I do say so myself!).  Please take a look.

A brief synopsis:

 Develop an affirmation statement.  A process was given.
  1. Write down your name.
  2. Write down something at which you are good.
  3. Write down a personal goal that you have.
  4. Write down a goal you have for your family.
  5. Write down a goal you have for your education.
  6. Combine all of these ideas into one master affirmation statement.
My affirmation statement:

My name is Shannon and I am a good mom and a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father.  I will be participating in a triathlon when I turn 40 and would like to get my Master's Degree in the next 5 years.  I would like for my family to be more healthy, so we have many more years together!

The whole triathlon thing has me a bit freaked out since I will be turning 35 in 22 days.  That only gives me 5 years to get 'er done.  For this reason, I have really buckled down on my workouts and keeping track of attitude etc.  If you haven't taken a look at my other blog about my fitness, please feel free to do so.  Any motivation or encouragement is always appreciated.  (Not that I am into self-glorification or anything, but it helps when people are supporting my efforts.)  I use to track my walks/runs and (the dreaded) ellipticals.  If you wanna be Street Team Members, just let me know.

My family is the most important thing to me, so I am working really hard to find time to spend with them.  Hailey, Katie and I started a blog about Cult Classic movies, but were surprised when people kept suggesting movies (53 comments on Facebook.  CRAZY AWESOME).  I posted the list here.  If you have others to add, just add a comment!  If you have seen a movie that we watch and post about, leave a comment on the page for the movie!

Please enjoy my blogs, but remember that they are journals for me, so please keep comments positive and helpful!  These are my memories you are tampering with!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Doors and Windows

Open 'em up...  That's what I usually say.

In this heat and humidity, keep them closed so that the air conditioning can work.

Metaphorically speaking, however, I have been closing a lot of doors for better windows lately, and I can't say that I mind so much.  It was a pretty common occurrence for me to say "Things will slow down when summer comes."  It was also pretty common for me to say "Yes" to everything.  All of that is changing.  For the first month, life was pretty crazy, but now, there is a definite period of scheduling and  peace.

The girls are headed off to camp today.  Then 3 weeks at their dad's.  I have a standard routine at "work" and another at home.  It's hard to believe that school is only 8 weeks away.  The summer has just flown by.  I am grateful for the peace the Lord has given, and for the blessings He sends each day.

Have a beautiful week!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Youth Conference 2012 - Arise and Shine Forth

Wednesday night, after having Hailey pack her bags for her first ever Youth Conference, I drove the girls to see Hunger Games (again).

The phone rang.

"Sister Binkley, could you help as a group leader for Youth Conference...  you know...  in 12 hours?"

Yep.  I can.

I made arrangements for Kate to spend a night with grandma, called DJ to make sure it was okay with him, and then started packing.

Changing plans like this is not usually smooth sailing for me, but...  this time, it was cake.

The Lord had this in mind all along.

I still cannot think of the weekend with out the spiritual upliftment draining from my eyes.  The youth with whom I worked are valiant spirits.  They are loving, kind and know the gospel.  They know their Heavenly Father loves them, and they know how to pass that love onto others around them.  (The stripling penguins are superheros!)

I know that to be true because they did more for me than I ever could have done for them.

At testimony meeting today, I shared:

The fourth verse of "I Feel My Savior's Love" - 
I'll share my Savior's love by serving other's freely.  
In serving I am blessed.  
In giving I receive.  

He knows I will follow Him.  
Give all my life to Him. 
I feel my Savior's love, 
the love he freely gives me.

I know that the youth with whom I worked, I, myself, and all those served in Lincoln NE this weekend are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  He is there for us.  He sent us Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to show us how to live, by serving others - every minute of every day.  He sacrificed His life so that we may return to live with our Heavenly Father again.  I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to the earth, and brought forth the Book of Mormon, and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's mouthpiece on earth today.  The principles they teach within the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are true.

This weekend's experience truly reinforced to me how grateful I am for the knowledge of the truth and the comraderie of the gospel.  I am so grateful for my Savior!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

This weekend has definitely been one of good memories.

Garage Sale-ing with mom and dad.

Hailey's birthday party.

Wendy's birthday run and movie party.

Going to church and playing piano for Primary.

Like I said...  Good memories.

Today, I am most grateful for the men and women that preserve our freedom.

My sister-in-law's brother just returned from Afghanistan on Friday evening.  He is amazing.

As I thought about those who serve, including my brother, father, and grandfather's, I am in awe of the strength, character and discipline they demonstrate.

Thank you to our service men and women!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Today in sacrament meeting, a member of our ward (a mom) spoke about what a mother thinks.  She shared a beautiful quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's "Because She is a Mother" talk during the April 1997 General Conference.

But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.
“It is this realization,” she says, “that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes wewill be anxious,” she said, “and will plead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,” she concludes. “It gives me hope. If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded. Maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense.” 7
Mother's Day was not my favorite this year.  Healthwise, I have been struggling a lot, and today was very uncomfortable for me.  Were it not for my Primary class, I probably would have not even gone to church.  Then, during Sharing Time, one of my little friends leaned over and cuddled into me.  Intuitively, because he is like that, he must have known that I needed the little extra cuddles.  The difference it made was astounding.  He's not even my kid, but I love him so much.  I love all of my Primary friends so much.
When I got home, I did not take care of myself as I should.  I didn't eat, and needed a nap.  The business of being a mom took over, and, instead of relishing the time I had to enjoy my family.  Without thinking twice, I ruined the whole day in the motions of completing the daily grind.
Often, I think of the Savior chastising me, in his words...  "Thou art cumbered about by many things...  choose the better part."  It is so hard to determine what that really is.  If I don't clean the house, then how can the Lord be here?  If I spend time playing with the kids, then how is dinner going to get made?  The lists of things that must be done go on and on, and never does there seem to be a break. My children are growing up so fast, and I am missing out on so much.  It's becoming harder to send them away rather than easier, and where they go, I am not permitted to follow.  6 more years...  That's it.  Then they will be adults and off on their own.  How do I make that time count?
The instructions set by the Lord answer these questions time and time again.  Family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening...  It always goes back to those family activities.  It's truly all about the family.
That ending seems so anti-climactic, but it really is the pinnacle of all.  Without Hailey and Katie, there is no me.  They are my reason for living each day of my life.  I am a mother because they are the greatest gifts a loving Heavenly Father could ever give.  My thanks be to Him.
I decided, this year, to write thank you notes to my children on Mother's Day.  They always try so hard to make it special for me, and I want to express gratitude for them.  For the beauty they bring into my life.  While they are too personal to share here, they are written on my heart.
To my readers who are mothers:  Happy Mother's Day.  May you bask in the warmth and love of a partnership with your Heavenly Father, raising His children in peace and love!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Fun!!!!

As tradition, here is the latest and greatest of Lincoln and Nebraska ready for summer entertainment and fun.  We have some of the old die-hards, and some new amazings...  (For those who are new to this...  I don't like being bored, so I look for stuff to do over the summer.  Here are some of the activities I found!  If you find more, then please let me know!  I'm always up for an adventure!)  Are you ready???

(A note first - some of these may have charges incurred.  It is up to you to check...)

Nebraska Passport - 10 Tours, 60 locations all over Nebraska, and rewards when you go.  Don't forget the Prize Entry form!  I printed out my information, but I think you can pick these up at some of the listed locations.

Here is the Lincoln Passport - A little closer to home, still amazing fun!!!

As always, I encourage childhood literacy, so take advantage of the Library Reading Program (this is for the little kids) and the Teen Reading Program (obviously for the big ones).  It's free and there are prizes for completing the activities!

The Great Park Pursuit - Sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is a great way to see all beauty that Nebraska has to offer.  Once again, you may be headed on a drive, but the view is amazing!  (And there are prizes!)

Kids Bowl Free - Seriously....  This is one of my favorite programs!!!  Sign up and your kids, ages 5-15, can bowl two games per day all summer long for FREE!  (You just have to buy them shoes, or rent shoes each time.)  If you go to Parkway Lanes (where we go...), they will sell you a little card for $10 that covers your shoe rental for the entire summer.  If mom and dad want to get in on the bowling action, $24.95 will cover the Family Pass, which gets mom and dad 2 games each day for the whole summer (but there is no special on bowling shoe rental).

The KFOR Punch Ticket - sold to promote PTO's at each elementary school, this $5 coupon sheet gives you access to a bunch of activities in and around Lincoln for free or majorly discounted.  Worth the $5, and all $5 go to your child's school.  (If your school isn't selling these, let me know and I can take your money and get these at H&K's school.)

Lincoln Parks and Rec also has some great activities going on this summer.

If you are interested in visiting particular cities, here are the links to their travel and tourism!

Grand Island
Nebraska City

Get out and have fun!  There is a lot to do!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


This evening my family ended up in the basement.

No tornado warnings or anything like that.  Just a lot of laundry, couponing and watching tv.

This evening it was the Chopped Season Finale and Cupcake Wars.

More importantly, it was four people, busy in the world, taking a break from the crazy to just be together.

5 loads of laundry, 3 piles of coupon inserts and 2 baskets of unmatched socks later, I remember what my husband and kids look like.

As I reflect on our summer and the tons of things we are doing, it is becoming increasingly important to me that I slow down and give us one day each week clear of the "everyday" and just be together.  No place to go, nothing to see here.  It was so nice.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm getting too old...

There was a long period of time in my life when late nights were not a problem for me.

Honestly, I blame my stint at BYU.  I could be gone all hours of the day or night, and have the energy to go to class the next day.  It was awesome.


It continued into my adult years.  After I moved back to Lincoln, my social hour was after the munchkins went to bed.  My friends would come over around 9pm, and we would sit and talk almost overnight.  The first time, we were all eating pie, out of the same tin, around 2am when the first husband called to make sure his wife was alive.  This continued, party after party.  It became an institution.  If your wife was out at all hours, and you hadn't heard from her, odds are good I had something to do with it.  The true highlight was the night there was no power in my house, and we still sat around and talked in the dark until 2am.

I digress....

Then I had a job where I wouldn't get off work until 11 pm at night, and then I was totally wired for hours.
Unfortunately, approaching 35 (there...  I said it....) has led me to believe that the nights of midnight showings, dancing and hanging out until all hours are pretty much ending.


I'm not gonna lie.  My kids are good.


Imagine a dark bedroom.  The mother and father are sleeping (soundly.. as in snoring).  The red numbers on the alarm clock indicate 3AM...

And the mother wakes.

There has been a disturbance in her force.  She can feel it.

The father wakes also.  He sees the light.

They watch through their open bedroom door, waiting for the tell-tale sign of life in the lair of the teenager.

The big light in the room comes on.

The teenager is warned.

One word.

Her first name.

The light goes off.

The parents wait.  That was too easy.

Only moments later, a smaller, fainter light flickers, then dies quickly.

The mother waits a moment then steals out of her room.

She stands in the dark, right in the doorway of the teenager's room.

She waits...  watching with the patience of predatory cat...  knowing the mistake will come.

(Interruption...  This was a lot less entertaining last night.  Trust me...)

And then...  the lighted vibration of the cell phone illuminates the darkness.

The teenager reaches over the side of the bed.

"BUSTED!"  cries the mother, and the teenager jumps.

The 13 year old is texting.  In the middle of the night.

Can you believe it?

Of course, the phone is now mine for the undetermined future.

The other electronics in the room, books and "crafting" supplies are also being confiscated.

Where did she get this???

Oh wait..  that was me...  23 years ago, with my desk lamp and a book under my covers.

Once again.

I'm sorry mom.

Part of me thought about keeping her up all night, 36 hours straight, just to teach her.

Then I realized that I would have to stay up with her.

I am way too old for that...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Searching for Truth

This morning, I received an email from a very trusted source, quoting a man from 1944.

The quote was inaccurate - verified by two internet sources reputed for their truth.

When I contacted the individual who sent this quote to me, she apologized, stated she hadn't checked, and asked me to "reply to all" and site my sources.  I did, and we have moved on.

As many of you know, I have become involved in the Republican Party here in Lincoln, NE.  While still in my political infancy, it has become increasingly important to me to set a few habits.  It is my hope that these can be shared across all political, cultural and social lines.

  1. Check your facts.  If you think someone said it, then make sure before sharing.  You don't want people lying about you, don't lie about them.
  2. Find a common ground.  There is always something to bring people together.  Start there, and move forward.
  3. Agree to disagree.  At some point, your views are going to diverge.  Let them.  Agree that this is something you can't agree on, and look for another commonality.
  4. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  Thumper's dad had it right (from Disney's Bambi).  Sometimes the best thing to do is keep your mouth shut until you have something positive to say.
I'm not limiting this to lines between politics.  I personally had an incident with a member of the same group as myself.  It was horrible.  I am truly grateful for these guidelines, because they helped me respond to her in such a way that dignity remained intact.

As a woman, it is imperative that grace and dignity, integrity and righteousness stay my lofty goals.

Said President George Albert Smith: “I desire to impress on you daughters of God … that if this world is to endure, you must keep the faith. If this world is to be happy, you will have to set the pace for that happiness. … If we are to maintain our physical strength and mental power and spiritual joy, it will have to be on the Lord’s terms.” (Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1945, p. 719.)

From Russell M. Nelson:  A worthy woman personifies the truly noble and worthwhile attributes of life. A faithful woman can become a devoted daughter of God—more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish, more anxious to exercise compassion than to exercise dominion, more committed to integrity than to notoriety. And she knows of her own infinite worth. (Ensign, Nov. 1989)

I am far from perfect, as anyone who truly knows me knows, but I do try to become better each day.  That truth, virtue and kindness will be markers of my life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

O' Henry!

Sunday evening I found myself the caretaker of a 90 pound golden retriever.  He isn't staying at  my house, I'm just petsitting until tomorrow night, but he has been the exact motivation I needed for my workouts.

To be honest, I just haven't felt up to walking/running much lately.  There are lots of reasons, just no excuses.

  • The friends that were my motivators are definitely past my level, and I fell like I hold them up.  
  • It's beautiful outside, so I don't want to work out in my trainer's basement.  
  • I've been so busy that sneaking a walk in is just not working.  
  • 5:30AM is just too early anymore. 
See???  Excuses!!

I am letting it get to me pretty heavily, literally.  My trainer has tried to motivate me, but I am resisting really badly.  I've started to feel sluggish, frumpy and waddley again.  (My one friend said, while I was walking regularly that I "didn't walk like a fat person anymore.")  Now that I have been back on the fat person bandwagon, I can totally feel the difference in the way that I move.  It's just harder to get around.

That being said, Henry being in my life has definitely improved my outlook.  I know how to take care of dogs.  My high school years were the years of Jake and Brandy, the two greatest dogs ever - beautiful white german shepherds.  Dogs have to be fed, watered, played with, walked and brushed.  They are a responsibility and need work.  That has been a motivating factor for me.

Each night, we (some combination of Hailey, Katie and I) have loaded up in the car to drive over and walk Henry.  The first two days came in at some really slow paces.  This morning, I walked him alone, and brought the time up 5 minutes.  I may push a little harder tonight when we go for our walk.  If it isn't raining, I may even walk for a whole hour.

Next week, I have a "girly"/diabetic checkup appointment with my doctor.  I'm hoping there are some changes on the scale, but we shall see!

In the meantime - Thanks, Henry for helping me get back off the fat person bandwagon!

Good Boy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fortress of Solitude

Today I thought about Superman and his secret lair.

Up at the North Pole he built, from crystals and ice, a "Fortress of Solitude" to which he could go to hide from anything and everything.

I wonder if cell service works amongst the polar bears and narwhals???

There are times when I am truly grateful for the concept of solitude.  This evening, for example.

I came downstairs to do laundry.  More than anything, though, I just wanted to be by myself.  To listen to the quiet and to feel the peace that comes from a good job well done, throughout the day.  To reflect on the coming day and to move forward without the pain and discomfort that arises in the midst of chaos.

I felt that peace tonite.  I felt the enveloping arms of solitude rise from the impenetrable frigidity of nothing and create a respite from the world.  Here, in the midst of solitude, I found peace.  With that peace I can carry on through the changing chaos around me.

Note of importance:  I was not alone.  My Heavenly Father was with me.  I could feel His Spirit in my mind and in my heart.  The comfort and strength renew my faculties and motivate me to press on.  Even in the darkest times, he is always there, and always with me.  It is in these times of solitude that I truly feel his presence and feast upon the love he bestows.  I am so grateful for all the blessings He gives.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So... this girl is totally gorgeous...

When, exactly did she go from adorable baby and toddler to gorgeous?  Not sure..

None the less...  She needed a bit more bling for her mouth!

Can't wait to see how amazing she looks and feels when the bling comes off!

(I don't know how it could be any better than the smile above!)

Love you, bug!