Sunday, March 30, 2014

me being real

I haven't felt much like blogging lately.  There are some hard things going on right now in my life.  Someday soon I think I'll be brave and write about some of those hard things. But, most days, I don't feel like writing.  Instead, I feel like sitting outside and looking up into the sky and thinking.  I think a lot lately.  I  think about things that I've always known to be true, but am now having to gain a greater understanding of.  Mostly about  Christ's role in my life.
      I'm pretty sure that before I came to this Earth, I had some idea about what some of those hard things I'm facing might be.   In fact, it's been confirmed to me in my heart over and over again that I did.   I've always believed that, according to God's plan, I would  have to experience the hard to know the good.  If you were to ask me a year ago if I have faith in that plan, I would have told you, "yes", without a doubt. A year later, I will still answer "yes" to that question, but that "yes" comes with a caveat.  The "ins and outs" of what "hard" means to me have taken on a new meaning.  Trying to navigate this plan God has for me has become, on many days, overwhelming.  I have relied on God many, many times in the past.  I've trusted His judgement.  I've listened to His still, small promptings.  I've asked for direction with faith that I would receive it.  I've tried to say, "thy will" first.  But lately, He's given me some "opportunities" for growth that I'd rather decline. I know I have the power (as a daughter of God) to decide what to do with what I've been given.  But somewhere along the way, I've felt like that strong person I've always considered myself to be has gotten completely lost. Not lost forever. Just humbled.  And I know, in the bigger scheme of things, it's okay.  And necessary.  And important for my progression in this life.
       Last Friday I loaded more than three months of dry cleaning into the back of my suburban (too much sky time).  It was honestly at least five armfuls of clothes.  I have been going to the same dry cleaner for at least ten years.  When I got there, I popped the back open, scooped up the first  load and headed inside.  From the corner of my eye I saw the owner, a kind and soft spoken asian man approaching.  He smiled and said, "I help you!"  And he did, as he managed to pull all the remaining clothes into his arms and carry them inside. And this small act was enough to make me smile.  The kind of smile I don't feel a lot lately, but still resides in my heart.  And tomorrow is a new day.  And tomorrow I will get up and keep working, and praying, and telling myself these words, "move forward, move forward, move forward."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

a milestone and a rodeo

Six months ago today we dropped Sadie off at the mtc in Provo, Utah.  Six months later we are celebrating her milestone of being a third of the way done with her mission.  And really more than celebrating that it's done, we are celebrating all she's learned and accomplished during this time. She continues to love serving, and love teaching people about God's love.  She also continues to have long and sometimes very hard days, but,  true to Sadie's spirit that she was born with, she keeps moving forward each day with a smile. Here's an excerpt from one of her recent letter…

"Holy moly can you believe I've almost been out for 6 months?? Time sure flies by when you're having fun and working hard! As I've been reflecting on the past 6 months I've been out here, it's amazing to see the changes in myself and the people around me. I'm trying not to lose the fire that Heavenly Father granted to me when I first came out here. If I could give anyone advice about a mission, it would be to keep the fire and the drive in your everyday work. It's so easy to take our work lightly, to treat it like an everyday, monotonous process. (I'm guilty of this.) But if we can find one thing, just one, that motivates us to get up and to smile and to do His will, then it's all worth it. That one thing that motivates me right now? These people, and their potential. I see them how God sees them, and I see as they progress and come to recognize Him, that their desire to change quickens and deepens so much, that once they find their own "fire", nothing can stop them from getting closer to Him."

Last week was a highlight for Sadie when she and her companion and the elders from her ward got to go to the rodeo. Dang how I miss this kid!

Here are a few more pics from her last email.

A family Sadie and her comp Sis. Nielson are teaching right now.

Sadie swears Elder Williams is Drew's brunette twin.  I do see a resemblance.

Sadie has spent her entire six months in the same area of Houston.  She will be transferred next week.  The boundaries of the Houston mission are vast.  But, I know wherever she goes, she will learn to call it home. 
My seasoned "missionary mom" friends tell me that after the coming home "count down" gets to under a year, the time goes by really fast.  We'll see.  The very best thing?  In only forty five days, Sadie will be calling home for mother's day.  Can I get a Texas "yee haw!!!" please?   

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break 2014

It's a tradition.  Every year we travel to Brianhead Utah for a week of skiing and snowboarding.  This year, our thirty-one people, five family group was the very best combination of fun.  We stayed in a lodge that was built to accommodate large groups.  There were several things we loved about this cabin, like being able to eat together every night around the 30 foot table configuration.  But our favorite perk about this cabin (at least for most of the parents)…. No wi-fi.  So, instead of having groups of teenagers sitting around peering into their phones, we had groups of teenagers sitting around playing monopoly.  It was quite the throw-back to those pre-cell phone days, and I loved it.  I never even managed to get my Canon out of its case, but here are few pics from the iphone.

I was laughing realizing I didn't get a single pic of Gentry without her helmet.  The girl is always very safety conscious. 

Gregg, Drew, and Sierra with her new smile (minus the braces).

Drew in action.

Another favorite part of our trip…. the bus with the pink tractor wheels….You know, very handy when you want to go cross county in the snow with twenty-six of your closest friends. 

And let's not forget a little R & R. 

This last pic was taken on an abandoned bus supposedly used as a hide out and eventual shoot out after a bank robbery several years earlier (can you see the bullet holes?).

It also provided a perfect spot for instagram's weekend hashtag project #whpdancers.  You can see these kids in action on my instagram.  Ahh….Youth.

I hope your weekend is off to a good start. Happy friday my friends. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

power to choose

Sunday, March 2nd marked a historic occasion for our town of Gilbert.  For the past almost five years, the mormon church has been constructing a temple.   Yesterday, that temple was dedicated by our prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  

In preparation for this event, the youth in our area participated in a cultural celebration on Friday night with the theme, "Live True". 


In all, over 12,000 kids participated.  Now… on to what happened for the actual event.  This cultural celebration was the largest of it's kind in our church's history.  The logistics necessary to make it happen were so complex.  Because of the large number of kids participating, the venue chosen was the largest park in Gilbert (Discovery).  Discovery park also doubles a critical retention basin when in rains in Arizona.  Which is almost never.  Accept Friday.
As the weather forecast was constantly monitored, the emails to parents started to come.  "Be prepared for rain…ponchos, extra socks, warm layers" etc… And then, we all started praying.  Praying the celebration could go forward, praying that the kids would have a good experience, praying that in the end, things would be okay, no matter what.   
When Friday morning arrived, so did the clouds, heavy with rain.  Raining everywhere.  Accept Discovery park.  As I stood in our garage, watching the rain pour down, I text my friend (one of the youth leaders at the park).  Me, "It's pouring here:( …What about there?"  My friend, "Not a drop!"  I decided I had to see for myself.  When I arrived at the park five minutes later, this is what I saw.  

(you can see the kids surrounding the square they would perform in the upper center of pic)

As few insta's courtesy of @brookesampson.  Check out her page for some amazing video from the day. 

Now onto what happened next.  The performance was scheduled for 7:00, and at 7:00, the rain caught up with Discovery Park.  It rained almost continually for the entire performance.  As Gentry and I watched (through a live video broadcast because of limited seating) we keep saying, "Ahh! I can't believe it's raining!  They worked so hard!"  And then, I started noticing something.  Yes, it was pouring rain.  Yes, they were getting completely soaked.  And, Yes they were smiling and laughing and living. Despite the rain.  And then I was poignantly reminded of that old, well worn saying.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass…It's about learning to dance in the rain.
~Vivian Greene

Because Discovery Park is a retention basin, rain through out the day would have almost certainly stopped the performance.  Through out the day, Discovery park remained dry. I believe everything happens for a reason.  I believe our Heavenly Father knows our hearts even better than we do.  And I believe, that sometimes he holds back the rain, and sometime he lets it fall.  And in the end, if we trust Him, we will be able to dance, even in the rain, especially in the rain.
I choose to dance.