Sunday, April 15, 2012


During the time that Ron and I have been in Temple First Ward boundaries, I have been a teacher.  I started out teaching in Gospel Doctrine as a long term substitute, then was asked to teach in Relief Society, then went to Primary for a couple of months, only to be asked to return to Relief Society.  We have been in our ward for almost 5 years now and while I have loved teaching, I had started to feel as if it was time for a change.
About 2 Sunday's ago, there were several sisters that were called to work with the Cub Scouts.  After sacrament meeting, I went up and expressed my delight to one particularly anxious sister.  She seemed so overwhelmed and a little out of her element.  I told her it has always been one of my favorite callings.  (I have worked with the Cub Scouts several times.)  I said to her, "It is the perfect calling!  You don't have to dress up.  You don't miss Sunday School or Relief Society.  And, you get to do all sorts of campy, crafty things!" One of the sisters I visit teach (who also happens to be a den leader) overheard me telling the other sister how much I enjoyed the calling.  She asked me if I was serious because she had been told to look for an assistant. I told her I would love to help out.
The next Sunday, our Stake Relief Society presidency visited our ward for Sacrament meeting.  Prior to the meeting, I was sitting and listening to the prelude music as I read through my lesson for the day.  Sister Gleeson, our Stake RS president, sat down near me and we enjoyed a wonderful chat.  During our chat, I had the strongest feeling that I was going to be called to work with her.  I had felt that type of prompting before, and knew very well what it was.  However, I shrugged it off thinking I was being a bit prideful.  Of course, the feeling persisted through our Sunday meetings and as I taught that day, I had an even stronger feeling that it would be the last time I would be teaching in our Relief Society.  When we got home from Sacrament meeting, I told Ron what had happened, and asked him to tell me that I had nothing to worry about. Being the sweet husband that he is, he did as he was asked even though we both knew he was just saying the words I wanted him to say.
The very next Sunday, I was asked by a member of the bishopric to serve as an assistant den leader.  I gladly accepted the calling, thinking that this was the reason I had been feeling so strongly that a change was in store.  I was set apart that afternoon and attended my first scout meeting the following Wednesday.  Oddly, the feelings I had after speaking with Sister Gleeson kept returning.
Our stake conference was held this weekend.  Coincidently, my daughter Leslie and I had tickets to the Time Out for Women's conference in Arlington.  We knew we would be able to get back from Arlington in time for the adult session of conference, so off we went early Friday afternoon.
While we were riding to Arlington, I told Leslie about my conversation with Sister Gleeson and the feeling I had experienced.  I also said, "Now that it is Friday, I figure if I was actually getting a call for a stake position, surely I would have heard from someone by now!"
Not even an hour later, Leslie and I were in a little jewelry shop when my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number, and I usually do not answer unknown numbers; but, just as I started to press the reject button, my finger paused and I answered the call.  It was President Jackson, asking if Ron and I were attending the adult session of stake conference, and if it would be okay to meet with him right after the meeting.  Of course, as I replied, "Yes, President Jackson; we will be there." Leslie's eyes popped wide open and she started laughing at me.
Throughout the day, we kept trying to create an alternative to the reason for the interview.  Maybe it wasn't for me after all, and actually for a calling Ron was going to receive.  I knew deep in my soul what the interview would consist of.
During the adult session, the focus of the talks was about personal revelation.  I felt extremely humbled as I listened, reflecting on the promptings of the Spirit that had come so often during the past few weeks.  Once again I had the Spirit confirm that I would receive a calling to serve as a counselor in the Stake Relief Society presidency.
After our meetings, Ron and I met with President Jackson.  When he extended the call, I once again had the overwhelming confirmation that this was where I am meant to serve.  I told him that I already knew it was coming, and of course, Ron said the same thing.  Calmly and sweetly, President Jackson said, "I know Sister Searls, and the Lord knows as well."
So, now I begin serving in a new calling, knowing that this is where my Heavenly Father wants me to serve, feeling the confidence that comes with that knowledge. I look forward to getting to know the many wonderful sisters in our Stake and helping to further the Lord's work in this part of His Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A student teacher's time with us...

This is the 5th time I have agreed to mentor a student teacher.  It has not always been an easy task; especially if the student teacher really should have made an alternative career choice!  Luckily, this time I ended up with a wonderful protege!
During the time that Desiree has been in our room, we have been doing a novel study on the children's book, Ribsy.  I love the book!  I expect it is because I love dogs and can relate to the heartache associated with having one get lost.  Anyway, here are some pictures of some of the things we did in our class as we read Ribsy.
The focus of our reading instruction was digital media.  One of the activities we did was to create a newspaper's front page.  The students were expected to report about major events in the book, write an advice column, and report on a local sporting event.

student created newspaper...

another newspaper...
 The students made reflective journals to use throughout the novel.  We made them before we had read any of the book, so the students really didn't have a mental image of what Ribsy looked like.  However, they all turned out super cute.

one of the reflective journals..
 Another activity we did was to analyze characters and identify character traits.  The students used a paper plate to make a mobile.  They had to draw a picture of their character and hang it in the middle of the plate.  After that, they used 3x5 cards to write the character traits that were exhibited.

character mobile
 Another form of digital media that they student had to generate was a flier.  One of the main events in the novel is when Ribsy is involved with a local high school football game. The students had to create a flier advertising the football game.

football game flier...
In addition to the novel study, we have been learning about physical features of plants and how they meet basic needs.  As a culminating activity, we made models of flowers, identified the parts, and listed how they meet basic needs. After looking at this one, I realize maybe I should have picked another one for my post!
model of a plant parts & functions...
 We set up an observation area in our classroom where we will add different types of plants.  So far, we are comparing how seeds will grow in test tubes with damp paper towel vs seeds planted in soil.  In addition, we are going to observe how various vegetables can grow new plants.  We have started with a sweet potato and will add a carrot top, a celery stalk, and a pineapple top.

observation station...
 In social studies, we have started our economics unit. We have discussed wants, needs, goods, services, consumers, producers, and income.  One of the things that the students had to do was complete a graphic organizer listing things we need money for.  This one cracked me up.

what we need $ for graphic organizer...

this makes me laugh...
I had to pull this little friend over and have a discussion in order to understand his entry.  I asked him to read it aloud to me, hoping he would see how confusing it was.  Instead, he just looked at me like I was supposed to understand what he meant.  I asked him to rephrase it.  He said, "You know, you need to buy the things you need if you are going to build something you need."  So, once again I asked him to rephrase but he looked at me like I had lost MY mind.  After giggling for a bit, I said, "Do you mean that we need money to buy raw materials to build a product that we could sell as a good to meet the needs of others?"And of course he said, "Yes; that's what I said." UGH!

And last but not least, my post wouldn't be complete without a picture of my student teacher; Mrs. Desiree H. If all student teachers were like this one, I would have one every semester!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It is amazing how quickly sweet moments with my grandchildren seem to fly by.  Now that Seth is older, we don't see him nearly as often as we used to.  I knew that time would come and am so thankful that I took advantage of having him come visit whenever the opportunity was available.  I can't wait for summer to get here.  I have a few projects in mind that I think Seth will really enjoy. In the meantime, I am taking advantage of every moment I can to spend time with Sophie and Maggie. Because, the time will also come much too quickly when they will grow and be too busy to spend time at Mimi and Poppy's house.  
Here is just a sampling of some of the moments we have spent together recently.

During Spring Break, Ron and I worked on repairing some of the damage the drought caused in the yard.  Toward the end of the week, Leslie and Gerson decided to take a trip to Marble Falls and Inks Lake.  They invited us to tag along.

Here are some pictures taken in Marble Falls...

Sophie was a little grumpy about having an empty berry box.
She didn't have the patience to fill it herself so let Poppy and I
take it off her hands.

Maggie enjoyed the berry picking much more than Sophie.
She was so eager to pick, it didn't matter what size or
color her berries were!

Poppy and I grabbed our sweet grand babies for
a photo moment in front of the barn.

Sophie was fascinated with the horns on the goats at the
petting park.  She was also a little worried about the goat's
neck getting stuck in the fence.

Maggie loved the drooping ears on the little goats.  She remembered
visiting our friend Mary Garcia, and her wonderful farm.
Maggie wants to go back and see the spring animals.

Poppy helped the girls get into the cars on the tractor train.
Sophie wasn't too wild about going alone.  Gerson had gone
back to the car and we were a little worried about Poppy
trying to get into the cart with her!

Luckily, Gerson got back in time to climb aboard with the
girls and go along for the ride.

A new attraction that was a big hit for the girls was a jump park.
I don't know exactly how this thing worked, but they loved it!

All I could think of while they were jumping was, isn't this where the
blackberries are supposed to be?!??!?

Recently, soccer season has started up again.  Maggie was actually too old for the indoor age group; but because Gerson agreed to coach again, they let him have Maggie on his team.  I never thought I would say, "Maggie is the biggest kid on her team!"

Here is a picture taken at her first game.

Her optic yellow shirt actually looks great with her dark skin.

I love baking cinnamon rolls!  Conference weekend is the perfect time to make them.  We don't have to be at church early because general conference is on the BYU channel.  We invited Leslie and her little family up for brunch.  We had scrambled eggs, fruit salad, biscuits, gravy, and these delicious rolls.  Everything tasted yummy!

Maggie said they are even better than Ikea's...

After eating, we watched the first Sunday session together.

Gerson was a little too excited...

Sophie made herself comfortable in my recliner... sipping orange juice
(a benefit of being potty trained is NOT getting a horrible rash from
orange juice anymore), and playing with stickers.

Leslie had Maggie all prepared with her conference packet (Bingo, color the apostle's tie,
match the picture with the speaker, etc.).
Soon, summer will be here (less than 45 school days left) and I hope to have even more precious moments with the most important people in my life.