Mid February we realized Lance’s annual pass only had a few Saturdays left before they were blacked out until August. So we went every weekend until then. So much fun! It’s harder now for me to go alone with an opinionated toddler and little baby. I’m so glad we made the plunge and bought the expensive passes that include most Saturdays so we can all go together. Disneyland is definitely our happy place — we make so many fun memories as a family every time we go.
I haven’t been loving teaching primary lately. Teaching CTR 6 is much different than teaching Valiant 11. I had a small class of 11/12 year olds who were interested in what I was teaching them — who participated, read the scriptures with asked thoughtful questions and brought meaning to a lot of the lessons. Teaching six 6 year olds is, like I said, different. I can barely manage to get them all to sit in their chair, let alone listen and actively participate!
The crazy thing is that I know they are listening, even when they are wiggling and climbing all over the place. It’s amazing that I can ask them what I taught last week and they can usually remember not just the topic, but details. And, I constantly remind myself, one of the most important goals I should work for as their teacher is to help them feel the Spirit and enjoy coming to Church, so that they’ll continue to want to as they grow older and the gospel can take a more active and meaningful role in their lives.
With all of that said, I don’t attend Relief Society and I miss it. Luckily I get these lesson recaps emailed to me each week. And luckily, this one spoke directly to my heart. In many areas of my life, I feel not necessarily less than, but that I want more. I want to be better. I want to reach and attain more. It’s a constant fight to find a balance between pursuing more and enjoying what I have right now. I’ve marked what stuck out to me.
Elder Cornish: Am I good enough?
If you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for grace—you positively are going to be “good enough.”
Please, my beloved brothers and sisters, we must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today—and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us. Please sincerely ask Him what He thinks of you. He will love and correct but never discourage us; that is Satan’s trick.
Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions “Am I good enough?” and “Will I make it?” are “Yes! You are going to be good enough” and “Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.” The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory.
I love the way President Gordon B. Hinckley used to teach this principle. I heard him say on several occasions, “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!”
“Really trying” means doing the best we can, recognizing where we need to improve, and then trying again. By repeatedly doing this, we come closer and closer to the Lord, we feel His Spirit more and more, and we receive more of His grace, or help.
The great news is that if we have sincerely repented, our former sins will not keep us from being exalted. Moroni tells us of the transgressors in his day: “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.”
If we will sincerely repent, God really will forgive us, even when we have committed the same sin over and over again. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made …, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
This does not mean in any way that sin is OK. Sin always has consequences. Sin always harms and hurts both the sinner and those affected by his or her sins. And true repentance is never easy. Moreover, please understand that even though God takes away the guilt and stain of our sins when we sincerely repent, He may not immediately take away all of the consequences of our sins. Sometimes they remain with us for the rest of our lives. And the worst kind of sin is premeditated sin, where one says, “I can sin now and repent later.” I believe that this is a solemn mockery of the sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ.
I witness to you that if you will really try and will not rationalize or rebel—repenting often and pleading for the grace, or help, of Christ—you positively are going to be “good enough,” that is, acceptable before the Lord; you are going to make it to the celestial kingdom, being perfect in Christ; and you are going to receive the blessings and glory and joy that God desires for each of His precious children—including specifically you and me. I testify that God lives and wants us to come home.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts”. So grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch.
Please believe! Please take hope! Do your best! Keep trying! Receive His grace!
Despite the finale of a rain saturated and schedule stretched season concluding with no wins, the Gallup Gloves brandished the warrior-spirit that has become common-place of this stellar squad. Thursday night’s double header highlighted haplessness and heartbreak.
First, the Gloves faced the mighty Misftiz. A team that is aptly named for it is truly not like the others in its league. The Mitsfitz have creamed all opposition in their path on their way to a spotless W-L record while scoring almost one hundred more runs than their opponents in just eight games this season. The Gloves fought valiantly and despite the overwhelming odds, finished the game at a relatively close 8-15.
The second game illustrated some classic elements of Gloves play. The first element: a horrendous start. The Gloves got scorched for 12 runs in the first three innings all while only mustering three in retort. The second element: fiery resurgence! Though down 3-12 the Gloves never despaired. Through the next five innings the Gloves shut down the opposition’s offense. But runs were still slow in coming. Slow until crunch time came crashing down anyway. The scoreboard showed 5-12 coming into the last inning and the Gloves poured it on. One run. Then another. Then a pair of runs. Then another two. It looked like an improbable comeback was inevitable. This brings us the final element: the wheels coming off at the end. With six runs across, runners on the bases and only one out, the resurgence stopped dead in its tracks. Final score: 11-12. So close, so heartbreaking.
Regardless of the outcome though, play was stellar and engagement peaking! Here are some positive highlights (shout-outs if you will):
Deanna, not only celebrated her birthday yet again, but gloved a pop fly that seemed to soar into an astral orbit before rocketing down to earth. Way to make us proud by being a living embodiment of our namesake!
Catching balls, digging hoppers out of the dirt, and even blocking throws with various parts of her body, Keri crushed her newly christened calling at first base. A consistent first baseman is key to softball but a killer first basewoman is even better. (See what I did there?)
Jerry Hansen showed supreme commitment to the team. He was diving on the base paths and digging ground balls out of the dirt with the shoddy loaner glove I gave him. If it wasn’t for Jerry we would have forfeited the first game and sorely missed his inspirational intensity.
Always amped and gearing to go, Jaclynn like Jerry, provided a mental spark for the team. She informed all of us in the dugout that her perpetual high is completely natural and drug free! What a blessing! She also got a couple base knocks for our offense that were sorely needed!
Cutoff Kassie completely took over defensively one inning – notching two of the three outs with back to back stellar plays. First by snagging a high fly, then by scooping up a heated hopper and throwing a bullseye to first base. Heyo!
Brianna held her own by hitting consistent singles due to her scorching sprints to first base, and providing solid defense in the outfield. We’ve come to expect nothing less than excellent play from her.
Scottie too Hottie showed deep devotion to the team by playing ferociously despite some concerning health issues. Scott roped several clean base hits and flashed some leather at third, making critical defensive plays.
Dealing wicked rainbow arcs and peppering the plate with prolific strikes, Adam Rose once again answered the call to pitch for the Gloves in dominant fashion. Muchas gracious Nacho!
Frank the Tank had an okay night I guess. I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed when he didn’t hit a triple every time he got up to the plate. Seriously though, Frank may have had more triples in two games than the entire rest of the team had hits! It was insane!
Thank you one and all for playing and having fun over the last two seasons. We will definitely do another season, but first a hiatus is in order. When will we play again you ask? I think the message I recently found in my fortune cookie may have the answer you seek:
Stay hungry friends,
Since Lance rarely writes for the blog, I like to include his infamous emails for future reading pleasure. This is one he sent to two friends from church, Adam Rose and Scott Holmes.
It has come to my attention that both of you have recently taken up surfing. I have also thought about taking up liquid barrel riding. Consequently, seeing as I have always wanted to be part of a posse, I figured all these things could coincide nicely. Hence, I propose we form the Wave Storm Posse. You are cordially invited to become founding members. To christen our newly formed gang I propose we ride the surf a week from Saturday in the am bringing our loved ones to lavish upon the sandy beaches while we conquer the crashing surf. What say ye?
P.S. I don’t believe in being exclusive – if anyone wants to join the posse I am so down with that.
Hang lose bra,
Another of Lance’s legendary, wonderfully-written softball emails:
The lights were bright; the ball park illustrious, but nothing was sweeter than the juicy “W” the gloves earned on Thursday night. Shaking off the demons of the past the Gloves played like the champions they were always destined to be. Matt B., Joey C., Sean K, and Lance S. all sped around the bases for in the park homeruns. Deanna who was celebrating her birthday that very night fired the team up with both her play and natural leadership. Geoff hit for extra bases each time he was up. Jessica, though few would have thought it possible, upped her trash talking game. Scott Holmes went several vertical feet to snatch a line drive out of midair at third. He also sent a ball sailing over the fence. (Which is technically an out but also an impressive display of power.) Keri got crazy on the base paths, taking gambles stretching singles to doubles that (usually) paid off. Claire, after getting a couple warm up swings out of way, solidly smacked the softball around the diamond. Cut off Kassie never missed her target when throwing to her teammates and seemed to be in the mix on almost every defensive play. Nicole played error free on defense. Kylee capitalized on a laboring pitcher to draw a critical walk with the game tied up. And finally Frank. Well, Frank played well but more importantly he looked good while doing it.
Oh and one small detail I forgot to mention. The other team didn’t show up and the Gloves won by forfeit. All the highlights outlined above occurred while we scrimmaged against each other. But hey, a win is a win! Go mighty Gloves!
Stay hungry friends – until next Thursday!
LANCE STEVENS, MBA
18300 Von Karman
Suite 1000 | 10th Floor
Irvine, CA 92612
The title is misleading. This isn’t a bucket list for 2017, but my bucket list as of 2017. I started it in 2015, so I figured it was time for an update. There are SO many other things I want to accomplish and places I want to travel, but these are the bucket list items I think are realistic for the next couple of years:
Snorkel, hike and roadtrip through Maui (Check: April-May 2015)
Explore Chicago (Check: June-July 2015)
Have a baby (eek!) (Check: September 2015)
Visit Moab, Arches and Bryce Canyon (Check: November 2015)
Visit the Redwood Forest (Check: September 2016)
Hike Angel’s Landing at Zions
Backpack through the Grand Canyon
Visit Big Sur
Site see in San Fran
Travel to Greece
Have Baby #2 (eek!!)
Start an Etsy shop
Write a book, possibly the biography of a loved one
Buy an SUV with cash
Obviously this is a to-be-continued type of list.
*Written December 2017*
Before moving to California we sold a ton of furniture including our dresser and nightstands. Shortly after moving here, we bought furniture from IKEA that I painted and stained. We also added legs to the nightstands to give them a Mid-century look. I LOVE the end product and it was such a fun project. Not pictured are the bronze pulls we added — that in total cost more than the furniture itself! I also painted our dining table and chairs white (they were black) and left the wood stain. Doing so really brightened up both rooms!