Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Bishop

Today my ward went through a bishopric change. For those of you not of my faith, my church defines bishop and bishopric as,
"A bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this position is unpaid. 
"Each bishop is assisted by two counselors. Together, this bishopric oversees the spiritual and social needs of their ward members. The bishop helps each member of his congregation in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. In addition to spiritual matters, a bishop helps members who are struggling financially or in other ways to become self-reliant through welfare assistance. A bishop also oversees practical matters such as records, reports, finances and the meetinghouse where members meet. 
"Bishops typically serve for about five years. Bishops report to stake presidents, and these local leaders have a significant amount of local autonomy to make decisions regarding the members in their wards and stakes."
This most recent bishopric change means that my little family has had four bishops over the past year! You see, before we moved from Texas, our previous ward went through a bishopric change as well.

As I enjoyed watching this important ward change take place, my mind drifted through memories of my family's many bishops over the past 16-and-a-half years. My heart swelled with remembrances of dear bishops who have influenced my family members' lives for the better.

This post is dedicated to the 12 incredible bishops who faithfully served, and continually watched over my little family, no matter what city or state we lived in.

*I admit, I don't remember two of our bishops' names, for we were only in their wards for a few months. That said, I absolutely remember their constant care and concern. :) Also, not every paragraph of my letter applies to every bishop we've had - some parts were specifically applicable to just one or two bishops, but my gratitude for each of our bishops is exactly the same.

Dear Bishop __________, 
I want to thank you for your selfless service to the Lord, and to our ward. 
You gave so much of yourself to help the members of our congregation! You sacrificed your free time, and time with your loved ones.
You put your interests on hold, so you could be interested in us
You endured eye rolling, crying from children and adults, phone calls in the middle of the night, personal crises of every variety, turned-down callings, whispering and gossip, head-strong teenagers with attitude, torturous confessions, bad etiquette, and many other things I don't have a clue about. 
You smiled endlessly at us, worried about us, and prayed on our behalf more times than you can count. 
You gave great advice! 
You gave us topics to speak about in church that were interesting and helpful to our families.
You laughed at yourself when things didn't turn out as you planned. 
Your never-ending energy was amazing, but I must admit I appreciated it when you seemed tired on the stand, for it showed that you're human...just like us. ;) 
I'm still astounded at how you called Greg and I to the perfect-for-us callings. How did you know that those callings were precisely what we would need at that stage in our lives? How did you know that what we learned from those callings would benefit us for years to come?
Actually, I already know the answer to my previous questions: you lived your life so you were ready and able to understand the inspiration and revelation you received from the Holy Ghost. Thank you for acting on those holy promptings. 
You helped us have the desire to become better people.
Your positive attitude was infectious! I appreciate that you always had time for one more sincere handshake, one more joke, one more story, one more phone call. I hope you saw how the children of our ward admired and looked up to you!
The way you gave hope to the hopeless brought tears to my eyes...
I will ever be awestruck at the answers you gave to me through marvelous priesthood blessings. It's evident you were absolutely in-tune with the Spirit, for there is no way you could have known what was going to happen to my family so many years in advance...there's just no way! I will be forever grateful for your words because they positively affected my life more than you'll ever know.
It was a privilege to watch you grow in your testimony, and as a man. You taught us many gospel truths, and emulated our Savior to the very best of your ability. 
Yes, dear bishop, thank you, thank you for your selfless service. Your loving influence will be felt for generations to come! 
With great love and appreciation,
Sister Peterson

All of that said, I can't wait to see what our new bishop does for our ward! :) That's not meant to pressure him, but I know he is truly called of the Lord - just like it's happened in every other ward my family has lived in. I firmly believe our new bishop is supposed to lead our congregation at this time in our lives.

I'm truly thankful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's joyous days like today that show me just how true my church really is. It's amazing and heartwarming to see how the Lord can take what seem like ordinary men and turn them into spiritual giants.

I'm also convinced - more than ever - just how much we all need each other. Relationships with our family members, friends, ward members, and neighbors, and faithfully returning home to our Heavenly Father, is what this life is all about. We are so blessed to be in each others' lives! We need to try our very best to be there for each other, just like our Heavenly Father and our Savior would want. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY Moving Tips by Adrie!

In June, 2013, my wonderful husband and I moved our happy family from Texas to Utah. That amazing and tiring event was the culmination of 15 years, nine months, and 10 previous moves in our marriage! You read that correctly, it was our 11th move in 15+ years! I feel Greg and I performed our best with our last move, so I decided it's time to share my do-it-yourself moving tips!

By the by, I know there are many wonderful moving companies in the world. That said, we chose to do 10 of our 11 moves by ourselves, and we saved thousands of dollars in the process!

I hope you enjoy my DIY Moving Tips, for I have put a lot of energy and time into creating these posts. I sincerely hope my thoughts can help someone! :)

DIY Moving Tips: Necessary Supplies

This is the first installment of my DIY Moving Tips. Enjoy!

Purchase moving supplies as far in advance as you possibly can. I know some moves can come out of nowhere, so just do your best. Yet it's so much easier to just jump-in packing when you already have everything prepared in your house!

I consider the moving supplies listed below to be vital for a successful move!

  • Uniformly-sized boxes from U-Haul, Lowes or any other moving supply store. Having boxes that "match" will make packing your moving truck much more manageable. *The cost might scare some people, but please remember that you can deduct moving expenses from your taxes, so buy what you need and can afford! Trust me, I've done moves with free boxes from grocery stores/friends; moving-company boxes that were packed for us; and purchased boxes from U-Haul. It's absolutely worth the extra expense to pack your possessions in similar boxes! *I used U-Haul boxes the most. I like the fact that U-Haul will buy back your extra boxes if you haven't used them. It gave me great peace of mind knowing that I couldn't over-buy!

  • U-haul Wrapping (packing) Paper. This is the most magnificent moving supply for me...ever! It is very inexpensive for the important safety job it does. I usually use between four and six boxes per move. Whenever I have left-over packing paper, I use it to wrap gifts. I then tie said inexpensively-wrapped packages with bright, lovely bows! When we moved from Utah to Texas, I believe I never ran out of packing paper, and used the extra box for our last move back home! It is worth every penny! *I prefer packing paper to bubble wrap any day!

  • Mattress and couch plastic covers - as many as you need. I buy two mattress covers for each mattress and tape them closed. That way, you can be relatively sure that you won't get bedbugs from the truck in your mattresses. I'm not saying there will be bedbugs in every moving truck, but you can never be too careful! :)
Picture Credit

  • File-size rubber bands - one package. I use these to wrap around blanket-covered delicate/breakable items. The large/strong/thick rubber bands really do hold blankets or towels very securely to whatever you want protected. Plus, they are great fun to use in rubber band wars! Ha ha. I used three of them wrapped around our Japanese doll's glass case because the glass case was shifty and wanted to slide apart. I was amazed at how well the elastics held the glass case together. I was also greatly relieved that neither the glass case nor the doll broke during the move!

  • Other various sizes of rubber bands. Keep them divided up by size in plastic sandwich bags. You'll be surprised at how often rubber bands are needed. From things like gathering random pieces of mail, to winding up electrical cords, rubber bands are awesome for moving!

  • Packing tape. I absolutely buy these in bulk because one can never have too much packing tape! Buy double or triple what you think you will need, and then buy them again! I'm completely serious. The U-Haul Box/Packing tape is wonderful because you can easily tear it with your fingers.

  • Sharpies. They are a must for keeping track of what is inside your boxes - label everything you can think of! (*When I say label, I mean to write on the outside of your boxes, of course. We don't want any Amelia Bedelia confusion going on! Ha ha.) That way, when you're unpacking, you'll know exactly where to find everything - even if you don't unpack it all right away. Sharpies keep me sane. Sane's kinda catchy, don't ya think?! ;) Definitely buy more of these than you think you need and keep them everywhere in your house. Then, simply gather them up when you move.

  • Large plastic tub. Keep all of your smaller moving supplies like Sharpies, packing tape, rubber bands, plastic bags, etc. in it. That way it's easy to move everything from room to room. When you're finished packing up one room, just throw everything in it and move along to the next room!

  • Blank note cards - various sizes, and clear packing tape. The note cards come in handy for making notes, or for categorizing what's inside your boxes (once you open them again), or for labeling other plastic storage bins. If you are labeling other plastic bins, be sure to attach the note cards with the clear packing tape across the entire card. That way, the writing on the card stays protected, and the chance that the card will fall off is greatly reduced. The packing tape also comes in handy for so many things that you won't even think of, until the problems present themselves!

  • Ziploc plastic bags: gallon size and sandwich size. I know there are many brands out there that you can use. I usually buy these in bulk at Sam's Club and just use whatever I have in the house already. Keep two packages of each size in your plastic supply bin. They come in so handy for separating or gathering miscellaneous items like Legos or hair accessories, or fridge magnets, etc.. You can easily write on the plastic bags with your Sane Sharpie!

  • Various pens and pencils. You just never know when you'll need something to write with that's smaller than a Sharpie.

  • Personal media device. You'll need happy music, or inspiring/uplifting podcasts, or interesting/controversial talk-radio to help the packing/unpacking time pass more quickly. Plus, the right music or words can greatly affect your mood for the better - which means you'll be more effective in your moving duties! :) *I don't recommend watching T.V. or movies when you're packing - unless you have a movie memorized and can enjoy it without actually watching the screen. The visual stimulation will distract you too much, and you'll use your time less effectively.

  • Scissors. You'll want at least two utility pairs because someone always needs scissors for something!

  • Baby wipes. I use these to wipe down (dust) everything before I pack it/them up. Okay, maybe not everything - just what is dusty or grimy. It's always better to have everything clean before you pack it up. Believe me, the last thing you want to do is have to clean your possessions after they've been all jumbled around in a box with other stuff. It's much better to have everything clean before making the move! My favorite baby wipes (by far!) are the Sam's Club Simply Right Baby Care Premium Wipes. I used them on all of my babies, and still use them as hand wipes, computer wipes, car dashboard dusters, etc.! *I prefer baby wipes to sanitizing wipes because then I don't need to worry about all of the harsh/damaging chemicals like I do with sanitizing wipes. Also, I've noticed that when I use the sanitizing wipes - or even paper towels with a spray cleaner - my hands take a beating and become really dry, cracked and irritated. Baby wipes keep my hands feeling great. Hey, if they're good enough for a baby's bottom, they're good enough for my moving/packing hands!

  • Ensures and water. It's SO important to keep yourself hydrated and properly nourished. Whenever I do a big move (which has been 9 out of our 11 moves), I seem to constantly be hungry and thirsty because I'm expending constant energy throughout the day. When I get hungry/thirsty, I am less effective at packing/moving. Thus, when I don't have time for a proper meal, I've found the best way to keep myself from turning into a moving zombie is by drinking Ensures and water. *I know this is not optimal nutrition, but sometimes you just have to do what you can do!

  • Clear plastic recycling bags: large trash can and kitchen size. Use these for anything you don't want to get wet. Greg laughed at me when I put all of our linens and clothes inside these bags before I boxed them up. But thanks to my careful preparation, I didn't have to fret (not one little bit!) when one of our boxes with cleaning supplies - that was already packed on the moving truck - suddenly started leaking all over the boxes below it. I knew that anything I didn't want to get wet would safely be tied up inside those lovely clear bags. They are also great for organizing linen and clothing shelves/drawers. Just put one drawer or shelf of clothing or linens per bag, label which shelf or drawer it contains, and pack it up! They're also great for garbage collection as you move through each room.

  • If possible, purchase or rent a hand truck (a.k.a. moving dolly). Because we've moved so many times, we ended up buying one. After a few moves, that hand truck broke, so we bought another one! A hand truck is worth every penny!
Picture Credit

You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: What to Keep"!

DIY Moving Tips: What to Keep

This is the second installment of my DIY Moving Tips!

So you've decided to move, huh? The initial discovery that you'll be moving can be anything from depressing to very exciting, depending on what a particular move means to you. Broadcasting your happy or sad news is what makes the move actually least that's what Greg and I have discovered.

Once you make your "I'm moving!" plans known, the moving ball starts speeding down the hill at an alarming rate! You'll need to start running or you'll get plowed-over and smashed flat—like a Looney Tunes character!

After you've gathered your necessary moving supplies, it's time to go through your house and simply look at all of your possessions—as if you were seeing them for the first time! With a notepad and pen, silently go through each room in your residence and decide several things (listed below). Make notes of all of your final decisions. If you can't decide on something, write it down to revisit later.
  • Of all my possessions, what do I really want to keep?
  • Do I actually need this item?
  • Have I used this item during the past year?
  • Will I absolutely use this item in the future?
  • Is there a duplicate of this item? If yes, do I need more than one?
  • Does this item make my life better, or does it make me happy whenever I see it?
  • Do I want to spend my precious time packing up this item? (Time really is precious!)
  • Will I want to unpack this item at my new residence?
  • Will I want to replace this old item with a newer one?
  • If I want to get rid of this item, is it trash or can I sell it at a garage sale?
  • Do I want to donate this item to a charitable organization?
Once you've gone through each room in your residence and decided what to keep and what to throw, be sure to remove the items you've decided you no longer need. You don't want to accidentally pack up something that you really don't need or want. Moving truck real estate is precious and pricey! ;) Pick a place in your residence to temporarily store all of the trash/charity/garage sale items and make sure everyone understands that these items will not be moving with you!

*If my list is too long for you, check out my handy dandy typographic design!

Before we completed our move from Texas to Utah, Greg and I got rid of a lot of stuff. We realized that many of our possessions had been through too many moves already, and they probably wouldn't make it through another move. Then we would have paid to move something that we had to replace anyway! Thus, we made the sometimes-hard decisions to sell or give away many of our possessions.

We held two successful garage sales in Texas and made some pretty decent money. When we realized the Saturday before we moved that we weren't going to be able to sell anything else, we donated the rest of our stuff to The Special Olympics.

Lastly, here's a helpful hint for anyone struggling to let go of something that's not truly needed: take a picture of it. I took so many pictures of things for my children and I. You'll notice that my minimalist husband didn't need to take pictures of anything! It really was therapeutic to take those pictures and know that we will always have a visual reminder of our happy memories! :)

These pictures below are only a small representation of what we got rid of. I'm guessing we got rid of at least one-third to one-half of all we owned! Not carting all of our stuff halfway across the United States was such a happy feeling! Plus, it's wonderful to know that there are many people in Texas who benefited from our generosity! :) I made great progress in letting go!

Here is a sampling of our moving from Texas to Utah memories...

I had no need for this Winnie the Pooh puzzle, but for some reason, I had a hard time letting it go! This picture soothed my silly soul. :)

I always loved this measuring cup, but the measuring lines were crooked on one side. I had to get rid of it because it made me crazy every time I used it. I bought a new Pyrex measuring cup and never knew I could be so happy! Ha ha.

This was a book my 9th grade Seminary teacher gave me for Christmas. He wrote a really nice message on the inside front cover, which is why I kept it for all these years. With this move, I realized I didn't need it since all of the Church's publications are now available online. And now I have the photo of my teacher's lovely words for as long as I want. :)

This was my daughter's Barbie Fairytopia set. I think I always liked it more than she did! She hardly ever played with it after age seven. I sold it to my friend, as I knew her little girls would love it so much more than my daughter ever did. I'm sure it has brought hours of smiles to those lovely little ladies! :)

This was one of my oldest son's pictures that he colored during church. We had so many church coloring books that I thought I might go batty! Yet, I loved looking at all of them because I could remember every Sunday when I colored with my babies. Yes, I'm very sentimental. Just looking at this photo brings back so many wonderful memories! I'm so glad I took the pictures! :)

I got rid of the majority of our VHS tapes, but kept a few of our favorites as we don't have the funds to replace them with DVDs right now. I totally laughed to see that our youngest son wrote his name, and his brother and sister's names, on the video, just to make sure that everyone knew it belonged to all of us!

This darling little bag (it really was small) was given to my oldest son by one of our previous ward's primary presidency when we lived with Greg's parents for a few months in 2004. I thought it was so sweet and thoughtful—which is why I held onto it for so many years.

Greg made our daughter these Happy Birthday Stars for each birthday she had in Texas. We loved them and our darling girl kept them hanging in her room the entire time we lived there.

My daughter and I made this Valentine's Day box in 2013. She created it herself and I covered it completely in clear packing tape—it was indestructible! :)

These are the curtains I bought and planned to hang in my daughter's bedroom in Colorado, but then we moved. I planned to hang them in our second Utah house, but then we moved again. I planned to hang them in our Texas house, but we didn't end up buying it! When I asked my daughter if she wanted me to hang them in our Utah house (the one we moved back to), she said, "No. I like blue now. I want blue curtains." HA! Oh, I laughed and laughed that we carted those curtains through three states (!) and never even opened them! I gave them to my friend for her little girls' room.

My daughter's painting from school.

My daughter's salt dough map of Texas. She was really proud of it. :)

My oldest son's creation that he made in his school's art class. It was hard for me to let this one go!

I planned to hang the wooden pegs (coat/hat hangers), and the Ikea magnet strip, in the past five houses we've lived in! None of them were ever hung in any of our houses. Thus, I finally had a nice reality check and gave them away!

Yippee for freedom from stuff! :)

You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: Timeline Preparation"!

DIY Moving Tips: Timeline Preparation

This is the third installment of my DIY moving tips!

Before we get started, I've written a little history of Greg's and my different moves over the past almost-17-years of marriage. I shared them to illustrate our different timelines. If you want to skip this part, just page down. :) Also, just to clarify, when I'm talking about the timeline, I'm referring to the first day you make concrete plans to move, until you actually move.

Our first move into a one-bedroom apartment was spread out over one month...the month before we were married and sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake Temple! But neither one of us lived in the apartment until Greg carried me across the threshold. I love thinking back on that time. We were filled with so much bliss and optimism at our life-to-be!

Our second move into a two-bedroom apartment was unplanned - we truly didn't see it coming. It was a very quick move, maybe two weeks at the most? We made that quick move because our landlords raised our rent. We figured that for $50 more per month, we'd just expand our living space instead of staying. Plus, we needed a second bedroom for our first-born son, who was four-months-old at the time. The move was uneventful and went really well. We were very happy with our decision!

Our third move into our first purchased home was absolutely planned and was set to take about three weeks. Then it became crazy because I gave birth to our precious daughter six days before my due date. She came precisely one day before our scheduled move! Yeah, it was not the best timing. In my defense, I didn't know she would come that early. Our first son was born one day before his due date, so I though I still had five days to move before our daughter was born! Thankfully, we had the assistance of our amazing church members. They happily helped Greg finish packing, and they even stuck around to clean our apartment for us! They also brought us dinner for our first night in our new home! WOW, right?! We couldn't have done it without them. Okay, we could have done it without them, but it would have taken much longer, and Greg would have been stressed beyond belief. I still feel we owe those generous people a huge favor. :)

Our fourth move into Greg's parents' basement (and a storage unit) took about two weeks, and happened when I was four months pregnant with our second son. We decided to move to Greg's parents' house very temporarily until we found another home to purchase. We sold our first house due to Greg being laid-off, and his new job was way too far of a drive. We definitely needed to be closer to his work. Anyway, I was so relieved I had made it past the icky morning sickness part of pregnancy. I felt so good! I just had to make sure my heart rate didn't get too high. :) Our son and daughter struggled with the move, i.e., leaving their friends and house behind, but it helped that they had daily access to Grandma and Grandpa!

Our fifth move into a different basement apartment took maybe one week and was semi-unplanned. I was seven months pregnant and my nesting instinct had kicked into high gear. I had decided that I could not stay at my in-laws' house any longer. I needed a place of my very own for my little family. Please don't get me wrong, my in-laws are amazing and fabulous! They are truly wonderful people and I love them dearly! I just needed our own space again to raise our babies. So, one day after feeling annoyed at being so unsettled, I called Greg and firmly said, "I'm going to look at an apartment tonight at 8:30. You can come with me, or not. Either way, I'm going to find us an apartment to move into." Being the smart husband that he is, he came with me. :)

Our sixth move into another rental house (a very lovely house at that!) took about two weeks, and was a surprise - but not unplanned, so-to-speak. After searching for a new home to purchase without much luck, Greg received a promotion at work that took us to Colorado. Yay! Boy, were we so glad we didn't buy a house where we were! For then Greg would not have been able to accept his amazing new job! Thankfully, Greg's company paid for our entire move. It was a blissful and wonderful blessing for our little family. I can't imagine making that move without that help, because we had a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a four-month-old baby!!! Oh, it was such a memorable time. I have no doubt that we had angels accompanying us the entire trip. Seriously.

Our seventh move into our second purchased home took about one month and was one of our most joyous moves up to that point. I couldn't believe our good fortune at finding such a steal-of-a-deal, beautiful home, in one of the best neighborhoods ever! It was literally my dream house. I had such amazingly happy visions of raising our children there until they graduated high school! Unfortunately, Greg's company had different plans. After three months of living there, Greg's company was bought out by a larger, less-employee-friendly company. With that difficult change, Greg's promised raise flew out the window, our benefits literally doubled in price, and my daydreams of happy children growing up in our beautiful home immediately vanished. Thus began our nightmare of trying to figure out what to do next...

Our eighth move into my mom's basement (and storage unit) took about three weeks and was very sad. Don't get me wrong, I was so happy to be back in Utah again with our wonderful families! I simply grieved our lovely Colorado-blue house. For a long time, I left a piece of my soul in that house. :( That said, we searched quickly and efficiently for our new forever-home. We found our next home quickly, but due to needed updates on the house, we ended up living with my mom for two-and-a-half months.

Our ninth move into our third purchased home took about two weeks. We had a lot of work to do on the house before we could move into it - it was totally living in the 70s, and hadn't been updated since the day it was built! The updates took about six weeks. The move went smoothly and we were all very happy with our new/old home and neighborhood. Well, I will state that I was still grieving our Colorado house, but I was trying to make the best of it. :) I felt very strongly that our new/old house was our home, and we were definitely supposed to be there...which is why I was so sick when only six months later, Greg had the distinct impression (given to him by the Holy Ghost) that he was going to be laid-off again. He actually wasn't laid-off until one year and nine months later, but the constant uncertainty made it a very difficult time for me.

Our tenth move into another rental house, in Texas, was totally celebrated, and took about four weeks. We planned to sell our house in Utah and live in Texas forever, but that didn't happen. Thankfully, after a very rough two-and-a-half years of even more uncertainty, we were blessed with miracle after miracle and were able to keep our third purchased home in Utah.

Our eleventh move was back to our lovely little 70s house in Utah! This move was the miracle to top all miracles, and I still cry a little when I think of how everything perfectly fell into place. We knew almost three months beforehand that we would be moving back, but I think it took me about four weeks to get everything completed for our big and exciting move!

Even though all the moves our family made were totally different, the actual act of moving is basically the same. Thus, here are my DIY tips for the timeline of your move!

Before the Move
  • Set a moving date. This needs to be done first, as everything else revolves around your moving date.
  • Announce that you're moving as soon as possible, that way people in your life won't feel sad, gypped, or annoyed. It's always better to give people (landlords, family, friends, schools, employers) adequate time to process your big change. It also gives people the opportunity to help, if they so desire. :)
  • Schedule movers to help you load the large items (piano, beds, couches, etc.) onto your truck. The movers can be through a company, or your family, friends, or church members. Just make very sure that everyone knows the date, so you're not stranded on moving day. *If you're having volunteer movers help you out, make sure you have food for them to eat, i.e., pizza, bagels, doughnuts, fruit, etc., and make sure your potential movers know there will be food for them to eat! That food knowledge will most likely make them happier to volunteer! :)
  • Make sure that your personal identification information is current, i.e., your driver's license. You don't want to have to deal with your state's Department of Public Safety during the middle of a move!
  • Set up a "Change of Address" date with the United States Postal Service, and put it as your actual move-out date. Make sure you print out and keep your confirmation information. They will mail you confirmation that it was done, but I always printed one out for safe keeping.
  • Sign up for your utilities and other services at your new residence as soon as possible. That way you can be sure your new place will have everything you need the day you arrive. There's nothing worse than showing up on moving day to your new home without gas, electricity, water, or access to the internet!
  • Set a cancel date for your current utilities and other services (like cable), and get definite confirmation that they have canceled your services. *I had a major problem with our previous cable company in Texas. They thought I kept one of our internet services and it took me two months to get it resolved! I'm still 99% sure I overpaid the cable company by $80, but I was never able to convince them otherwise. One day when we all get to Heaven, I plan to make sure they know I overpaid, that they owed me, and I want an apology for assuming I was a "deadbeat"! Ha ha.
  • Purchase the necessary supplies for your move. Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Necessary Supplies".
  • Before you pack anything, go through all of your belongings and decide what you'll be taking with you. For a more detailed explanation refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: What to Keep".
  • Pack your suitcases as if you were going on a two-week vacation. *Make sure you do this step before you pack any boxes. You'll need to be very detailed on this one, because once you pack the truck, you won't have access to your belongings until you unpack your house. That way, you'll have exactly what you need for about one month. Yes, truly, it will be about one month before you get everything totally unpacked and back to normal in the clothing department. Plus, you can live out of your suitcase two weeks before you move as well. Then you won't be packing up at the last minute, which will reduce your frazzledness. (I know that's not a word.) Plus, when the truck is unloaded, you won't have to fret and wonder, "Where is the box with my favorite dress in it?!", because you'll already have your favorite dress in your two-week-supplied suitcase! :) Trust me, you don't want to skip this step. It has saved me more times than I can count. *Don't forget to pack one bath towel for each member of your family. And yes, you need to pack this in your suitcase to make sure it fits for the trip.
  • Prepare a portable file box, i.e, file tote, to keep all of your important documents in. You'll be taking this with you in your car, or on the plane. Put things in it that you absolutely need if the moving truck were somehow destroyed or stolen. I kept things in it like our marriage documents, real estate records, kids' immunization records, passports, birth certificates, extra checkbooks, etc. Make sure it's plastic, or sealed metal, because you don't want any of your important documents to get wet! Here's what I used. I loved them so much, I bought many of them for my home filing storage system later!
Picture Credit

After the Move
  • Notify family and friends that you arrived safely, and give them your new contact information. They will worry about you, and will love to hear from you!
  • Change your contact information with all of the companies you deal with as soon as possible, i.e., that might come after you have unpacked the truck and your house. However, if you're like me, you'll have some downtime before the moving truck arrives, thus you can take the time to make the necessary contact information changes. For example: credit cards, cell phones, schools, doctors offices, banks, sporting organizations, etc. Many of these contact information changes can be done online, but some of them you have to do over the phone. *Thus, I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of which companies I had changed our contact information with, the date it was changed, and if I used a customer service agent, what that person said to me. That might seem a little OCD, but I had to refer to my spreadsheet - to see what the customer service agent said - more times than you might guess!
  • Unload the truck. Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Loading and Unloading the Truck".
  • Unpack your home! Refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Unpacking Your New Home".
  • Go to your local Department of Public Safety, and then DMV. Either get your driver's license, and register and title your vehicle in your new state, or change your address for both, if you live in the same state. This is essential to do within 30 days of your move. Some states have longer terms for you to register, but I think it's better to say to yourself, "I need to get my driver's license and car registration completed before next month!". Then you won't have to worry about driving illegally...which is a bad thing!
You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: Packing Your Home"!

DIY Moving Tips: Packing Your Home

This is the fourth installment of my DIY Moving Tips!

By the time you get to this post, hopefully you've done all of the other prep work to get you to this point. If you haven't read my other posts, I highly suggest you read them before you start packing your house, otherwise you might have a rude awakening! Just kidding. It's all up to you what you want to do with your life. I'm just making suggestions that I feel will help the do-it-yourself mover, and here they are! :)
  • Bring several different sized boxes into the room you're packing so you have what you need. You'll save yourself a lot of time not having to run back and forth to your supply of boxes. Any leftover boxes can be moved into the next room.
  • Bring your plastic tub with all of your moving supplies into the room you're packing. To find out what the necessary moving supplies are, refer to my post, "DIY Moving Tips: Necessary Supplies".
  • Pack your house room by room. This step is essential! Don't move items from one room and pack them in different rooms' boxes. This will make unpacking your new home a real chore.
  • Follow each box's packing suggestions, i.e., pack puffy/lightweight/bulky things in larger boxes; pack small/dense/heavy things in smaller boxes.
  • Put one long strip of tape on the bottom/top of lightweight boxes. This will save you tape in the long run.
  • Put two long strips of packing tape on the bottom/top of heavy boxes, just to make sure the bottoms don't fall open while transporting the boxes. Applying two strips of tape helps make the boxes sturdier when they're stacked on top of each other.
  • Make sure each box has no dead-space, i.e., it's completely filled, and every item is properly protected through either padding, or paper, or bubble wrap. If you have any dead-space, your boxes or storage bins will be smooshed on the moving truck. *This happens a little bit regardless of how well you pack. Just be sure that everything is protected to the very best of your ability and you should be fine.
  • Label each box by room name. For example: Bedroom, Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room, Bathroom, Basement, Hall Closet, etc.
  • Label each box with as many individual contents as you can remember. You don't need to label every item that's in the box, but this step will help you so much when you unpack your new home.
  • Start by packing the rooms you use the least. I always start with my living room, as I have a lot of books and photo albums/boxes. They are nice to have, but they're not necessary for our family to use on a daily basis.
  • Pack every item in the room that's not necessary to use before your move. Try your best to not leave anything out that's not needed on a daily basis. The more you pack ahead of time, the less you will be stressed in the few days leading up to your move date.
  • Pack most of your kitchen in advance. I give this tip because we've had two moves where I was left packing our kitchen into the wee hours of the morning. It was not smart and I lost a lot of sleep because I didn't follow my own advice! Leave out only the barest of essentials that you might need. I would usually leave out one pot, one pan, one large serving bowl, one large spoon, one large spatula, one multipurpose kitchen knife, one large baking sheet, one casserole dish, one electric mixer and beaters. Obviously, you can tailor your list to accommodate your individual needs. *When you pack up those last kitchen items, make sure you label the box: "Kitchen—Open First!" That way, you'll still have your essential cooking supplies when you first arrive in your new home.
  • Use paper/plastic products in your kitchen (i.e., plates, bowls, cups, dinnerware, napkins) the week before you move. You might think this is a waste of money, but it will keep you sane and save you a bunch of time. *I firmly believe your time and sanity is worth the money spent on paper/plastic products! Keep and box up whatever you don't use for when you unpack your kitchen in your new home. You'll want to put the extras in your "Kitchen—Open First!" box.
  • Remember to keep boxes and moving supplies available to pack your bedding the morning of your scheduled move. *Better yet, pack all of your bedding ahead of time and use sleeping bags if you have them. My kids loved "camping out" in our houses! :)
  • Move the packed boxes into a central staging area of the house, i.e., the garage, or a room that's not being used. That way, you can make sure you didn't miss anything, and the room you packed them in will be ready for cleaning.
  • Don't be afraid to pack up your house as much as possible before moving day. Don't leave packing for the last minute! Keep working hard every single day because time flies faster than you'd ever imagine! Plus, there is always something that unexpectedly comes up to take your time away from packing. If you can't find something, or need an item, I'm guessing your neighbors would be more than willing to help you out! :)
You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: Loading and Unloading the Truck"!

DIY Moving Tips: Loading and Unloading the Truck

This is the fifth installment of my DIY Moving Tips! I asked my amazing husband, Greg, for his advice on this post because he's the one who loaded all of our moving trucks—except for our move to Colorado. Besides paid movers, I have no doubt that Greg is the best moving truck loader/packer on the planet! :)

So you've packed your house or apartment, and you're ready to load the truck! Besides finding out you're moving, loading the moving truck is the most exciting part because it makes your move absolutely real. There's no going back now! Ha ha.

Loading the Truck
  • If you're loading the moving truck by yourself, make sure you leave two-and-a-half days to get the job done.
  • If possible, use a hand truck (a.k.a., moving dolly).
  • Call or text your scheduled movers to make sure they will show up on time.
  • Get yummy food ready for your movers—if they are volunteer movers. If you have paid movers, there's no need to feed them.
  • Load all of the heavy items into the front of the truck first. For example: fridge/freezer, piano, couches, desks, dressers, etc.
  • Wrap your furniture that you don't want scratched or dented/dinged, in blankets or moving pads.
  • Your goal is to create flat spaces, from bottom to top, so you can continue to stack things all the way to the top of the moving truck. *Think of this as the largest game of Tetris that you've ever played! :)
  • Load like boxes/items together as tightly as possible.
  • Pack each area of the truck with the heavy boxes on the bottom first, then add the lighter boxes on top.
  • Don't leave any dead-space in the truck. Realistically, you'll have a little dead-space at the top of the truck, but that should be the only place.
  • Pack odd-shaped items at the top of the truck—things like bicycles and plastic storage bins.
  • Pack mattresses on the top or side of the truck. Try not to squish them too much. Make sure your mattresses are covered in mattress bags!
  • Practice makes perfect! My husband says that you sometimes have to re-pack areas of the truck to make everything fit. Don't feel badly if that happens to you. :)
Unloading the Truck
  • Use a hand truck to take multiple boxes off the truck at the same time. The hand truck also helps with heavy/large items. It will definitely increase your unloading speed! :)
  • Move boxes to a central place in your new home. That way, you'll be able to unload the truck quickly and return it to the moving-truck company.
  • Move furniture directly into each room they belong in. Don't let furniture pile up, or it will congest your house and make it hard to unload everything else.
  • Move each box to the room it belongs to—refer to the box's label.
  • Resist the temptation to start opening and unpacking boxes before all of the boxes are moved into their correct rooms. If you start unpacking too soon, you'll only become more frustrated!
You're now ready for my next post, "DIY Moving Tips: Unpacking Your New Home"!

DIY Moving Tips: Unpacking Your New Home

This is my sixth and final installment of my DIY Moving Tips!

Wow! You've made it through your big move, and now you're ready to unpack your new home! I truly believe that establishing a new life in a new home is one of the most exciting events we get to experience!

After completing 11 moves, I believe you should unpack your house in the following order, below. *Remember, you should still have your suitcase packed with supplies to sustain you for two weeks. And I understand that every home has a different number of rooms, so my advice might not apply to everyone—but the general ideas are the same.
  • Put your mattresses in your bedrooms. It doesn't matter if the mattresses are on their frames yet, just make sure you have a comfortable place to sleep that first night.
  • Organize a media area, i.e., television and couch or chairs, so everyone can take a break once in a while. *Don't spend a lot of time on this—you should be spending the majority of your time unpacking the rest of your home now.
  • Unpack your entire kitchen. This will help you feel normal (What's normal anyway?! Ha ha.) because then mealtimes will be easier, not frustrating. When people are nourished, life goes much more smoothly!
  • Laundry room. This is essential to keep everyone going. It's no fun feeling like you have no clean clothes to wear!
  • Bathrooms. Everyone loves to relax with showers or baths, and a clean, organized bathroom is essential to this feeling of relaxation. Plus, bathrooms are easy and fast to unpack. It will make you feel like you've accomplished something great! :)
  • Bedrooms will help you feel that you are home!
  • Family room. This can take the place of your media area. Then your family will have a central gathering place to spend time together.
  • Closets
  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Basement/storage room
  • Hang pictures on the walls. I usually do this last because, at this point, you should have all of your belongings where you want them.
  • List your unpacked boxes online for free, or give them to someone who could use them. Try not to recycle them unless there is truly no other option!
  • Above all else, make sure you finish unpacking all of your boxes. You'll definitely be exhausted, but don't give up! There is nothing worse than having a move drag on for months. Get enough sleep, and don't quit unpacking until your last box is empty! :)
  • Create a lovely atmosphere in your home. This means something different to everyone, but do what's necessary to help your home feel happy and peaceful to you and yours. I promise, the effort is totally worth it!
*To conclude my series, I have two final thoughts. The first thought is from me, the second thought is from my husband.
  1. Give yourself about one year to completely adjust to life in your new home. We've usually started to feel better at six months post move, but we don't feel fully at home until about one year has passed. It's a lovely feeling to finally feel settled! :)
  2. Greg said his most important moving tip is this: Don't move. Ha ha!
Good luck with your move! I wish you the best!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Catching Words

I love finding verses of scripture that surprise and excite me! 1 Samuel 3:19 is precisely one of those exciting verses of scripture that I just discovered yesterday. Even though I know I've read it before, this was the first time it inspired me to write a blog post! :) It reads,
¶And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
I was instantly thrilled when I read the words, "...and did let none of His words fall to the ground." (To show respect, I changed the "h" to "H".) I thought, "What a great challenge that sentence is for each of us! If everyone could daily make a conscious effort not to let any of the Lord's words fall to the ground, we would be much happier!"

I'm guessing that every single one of us lets too many of the Lord's wonderful words fall to the ground every day. Yet we all have the opportunity to catch, to hold tight, to cherish, to listen to, and follow the words we have been given by the Lord—just like the prophet Samuel did.

This thought reminds me of another set of my favorite scripture verses found in Amos 8:11-12:

It might seem funny that I love those verses, but I love them because they illustrate just how privileged and blessed we are to have His words! Those of us who choose to seek the words of the Lord can find them anytime we want! We literally have unlimited access to His words through the scriptures, and our modern-day prophets. Oh, how I love the scriptures! They fill my soul with a light that I can't describe (even though I know that wonderful feeling is the Holy Ghost testifying to me that the words I'm reading are true).

I've had numerous experiences where I've received direct answers to my prayers through reading the scriptures. Each and every time I've received an answer via the scriptures, I've initially been shocked beyond belief, but then I've cried tears of joy as I've realized that my prayers are heard.

By the way, my church's scriptures include:

There are some other aspects of "letting words fall to the ground" that I would like to discuss.

We should do our best to listen to, or read (letters, notes, emails, texts), the words of the people in our lives, for everyone has the right to express themselves. And I'm talking about people we actually know, have a relationship with, or have revolving face-to-face contact. I'm not trying to be rude to the people we don't know, I'm just saying that there are simply too many billions of people in the world for us to try and listen to everyone! Ha ha.

That said, how many times have we experienced word trash? (Yeah, I just invented that phrase! I'm hoping it will catch on! Seriously, share it with your people!) I'm talking about when someone has purposely or cluelessly spoken unkind words to us. It's during those hard/sad/frustrating times when we should try our very best not to be offended. As hard as it is to do, we can't let mean words negatively affect us. We should be like ducks and let those unhelpful words roll off our backs and splash into the water! :)

*I'm still working on that idea, for I have a very tender heart. Try as I might, I often struggle when other people's words aren't as kind as they should be. Yes, I need to not let word trash make me feel yucky!

I would absolutely love it if everyone would speak good words all the time. I believe we should not speak words that would be worthy of "falling to the ground." Every word we speak should be worth catching and holding on to! :)

Not to mention, we must be aware that whatever words we speak or write will be there forever. We can't take our words back! Even when we apologize profusely, we can't guarantee that everyone involved in our words will forgive us, and chances are they will never forget either. Therefore, we need to be careful with the words we speak or write. We must live authentically and own our words, for they will be attached to us no matter what. *Um, yeah, I've learned that lesson the hard way. Please learn from me, and don't make the same mistake!

Also, we need to teach our children to use quality words at all times. For whatever words they learn while they are young, will most likely stay with them throughout their lives. *I know it's nearly impossible to have children who speak well all of the time. I'm simply saying that it's worth us being vigilant in our efforts to teach our children the value of using top-notch words.

All of that said, I know there are times when it's necessary for us to speak the truth—even though sometimes the truth hurts. If we try our best to share the truth with love and kindness, hopefully our words will be well received. If our words are not received well, and we know we've done our best to be kind, then the problem most likely lies with the recipient of our words. This idea reminds me of another one of my favorite scriptures found in 1 Nephi 16:2!

I hope we will all seek out and use the best words...words that inspire us to do good continually! (Mosiah 5:2) :) Let's catch all the words that benefit us, and put them in a beautiful "chest" for safe keeping. Then, when we are feeling down in the word-trash dumps, we can go to our lovely word chest, open it up, and relish in the delightful and satisfying words we've gathered to make our souls feel light and happy. :)

Above all else, let's actively study the words of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and keep them at the forefront of our lives. Let's continually guard Their words and never let them fall to the ground!