Saturday, August 14, 2010
Summer is slipping away and that tiny pull that reminds me to not miss a minute has turned into a giant rope playing a killer game of tug of war between the stuff that needs to be done and the last days of summer joy:
-the morning pile of boys in my bed just laying around and chatting,
-the lazy morning pancake feasts that have no time limit,
-riding bikes to 7-11 for an afternoon Slurpee,
-Sculpy clay creations just because,
-games in the yard while I fuss over the garden,
-dinner at whatever time we get around to it followed by staying up too late having a 30 Rock-a-thon.
Nixon and Easton are home safe and sound from their big adventure. There were THREE Jamboree troops on their flight home (so sorry for the 3 or 4 other people on the plane!). That was a quite a crowd at the airport and the hugs were tight and long and as sweet as I had imagined.
Nixon left two days later for our ward's High Adventure - a backpack to the highest point in Utah - King's Peak. They hiked over 40 miles to 13,528 feet in 4 days. He was sooo tired when he came back. The word fun hasn't come out of his mouth yet, but he was proud of himself and glad he went. I'm proud and glad too!
My first backpack trip came when I was about the same age. I went for one week in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, ending at Big Bear. It was a co-ed trip and there were only 2 or 3 girls. My pack weighed about 1/2 what I did. I do remember it was hard and I was super glad to see those ski lift chairs in Big Bear and know we were almost home!
Friday, July 30, 2010
1993 - Sara and I took a road trip with my mother, grandmother, sister Becky and brother Jeremy to Washington DC where we traipsed in and out of museums like super tourists and visited my brother Tim and dad at the National Scout Jamboree. I remember it was hot, it was muggy, we saw cool stuff, it was hot, the fire alarm at our hotel sent us fleeing to the parking lot in our PJ's at 3 in the morning, we spent too much time in a van together getting there, and it was hot. I distinctly remember the fire alarm incident because when we got to the stairwell, it was full of smoke and rather scary. We reached the bottom floor and the emergency exit where 6 or 7 people were trying to get the door open with no success. Suddenly, Becky - with all of her 10 year old strength - came flying past me, uttering a war cry that would scare the most savage warrior. She threw her body into the door and it flew open as if it was made of balsa wood. I bet those other people felt pretty dumb, but I've never feared for Becky's safety since then - I know she can summon her inner superwoman when she needs to.
It turns out that every night I had Sara color a picture and we wrote what we had done that day. I put all those journal pages along with every ticket stub and brochure and picture we took into a 3 ring binder. This furthers my theory that the drive to preserve our lives is in fact embedded in each of us!
Sounds a little like a trip - minus the fire alarm incident - that Nixon and Easton are having now.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Really missing my boys today. They sound exhausted when I get to talk to them, but they are having fun! Good thing I have so many pictures of them to keep me laughing!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Yesterday was Geoffrey's day off of work. We slept all the way to 8:30 or so, he went to PCHS football practice (Geoffrey does the play by play of all their games for PCTV), I watered my garden, "cleaned" the house (which it turns out is super easy to do when no one is around to mess anything up), studied my scriptures at a leisurely pace, we went with good friends to lunch, to the temple, to Red Mango (Yum!), and to the Miller Motorsports Track to ride Go-Karts, Geoffrey went to Bishopric visits while I worked on some Girl's Camp things, and then we had dinner with Sara. What a fun day! I'm so grateful for a husband and friends that I could enjoy all of those things with! I can't wait to take the kids to the go-karts - that was a blast!
Life is good. Life will keep being good even when the kids are grown.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tales from the Wasatch back is a local radio series that tells about life here in the Park City area. This year, Easton's writing teacher had the students write their own TFWB story and then she chose a few to submit to the station. They called Easton and asked him to come in and record his tale - a literary classic about mosquito's. I had never read it until the day he recorded. Let's just say that Easton makes me laugh!
You can listen to his story here
Easton is the youngest scout going in his Jamboree troop. Plus he is very short. He looked tiny this morning with all the other boys. I was standing in the cold dark grocery store parking lot with a charter bus and a crowd of boys dressed alike and a crowd of moms who never want to buy anything at the scout office or sew another badge again. I was thinking "Is Easton old enough for this? Have we talked enough about Nixon and Easton looking out for each other? Have we talked enough about keeping track of his stuff and his wallet?" We've talked about nothing else for weeks! The Senior Patrol Leader was checking the boys in and he gets to Easton and the next thing I hear is Easton yelling to me "Mom, do I have any money? Where is it?" Wait ....Whaaaaat? We spent like an hour last night arranging everything into his wallet, practicing putting it in and out of his pocket and securing the pocket after he used the wallet. The pocket his wallet was in AS HE WAS ASKING ME THIS QUESTION. Let's just say that Easton makes me laugh.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Sara's first times away from home were for EFY, Girl's Camp, BYU Ballet Camp. I knew she would be able to keep track of her clothes and remember to shower everyday. I wasn't worried about her losing her money or getting lost. She is a girl and an oldest child! I hugged her tight and missed her and counted down the days until I could pick her up. She always came home chattering a million words a minute about what a great time she had. She was learning things and growing in ways she couldn't have at home.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I couldn't actually back the trailer up, so all along the way I only stopped places I could pull forward. This plan was successful until we stayed at a campground in Nebraska that only had spaces you backed into. This was the best I could do:
I don't remember every detail of the trip, but I do remember it was pretty fun until we hit a thunderstorm in Wyoming. I remember the wind and rain and hail scaring me to death - that trailer was blowing all over and huge semis were all around. Night came quickly - I was clutching that steering wheel with a death grip and praying like I had never prayed before. We finally made it to Evanston and spent our first night in a hotel. Like the storms of our life, it didn't seem so bad the next morning!
If you're ever going to move to Utah, I suggest coming in June and driving through Provo Canyon - you will think you have just come to the most beautiful place in the world. Eventually you will learn that's only true for a few months of the year! Sara and I had quite the adventures during that time of our lives. It was so easy for me to be confident I was doing the right thing and so easy for me to see the hand of the Lord in our lives when I look back, but also so easy to say "What was I thinking? That was Crazy!". Thank Goodness I can also say - I love my life today and I wouldn't change a thing. I feel so blessed for a Savior that loves me, a husband that loves me and puts up with me everyday, and three awesome kids!
Lesson #1 - I NEED FAITH IN EVERY FOOTSTEP
For a mother crossing the plains, burying babies, hungry, seeing her children hungry this was literal. Every footstep forward required faith. I do feel like the same faith is required of us today, it's just easier for us to be distracted and not realize we should be leaning on the Lord like the pioneers did. I remember reading a story of a woman who was praying for a situation to work out and she realized, What if the Lord has something better for her? So she changed her prayer to "let this work out or something better if you have that in mind".
I think this is the greatest lesson of those who have gone before us - whether they came across the plains or not - we can learn by the examples of faith that are so moving, so inspiring that it makes us say "If they did that, I can handle my life right now!" There is a very temporal thing promised to me in my patriarchal blessing that has yet been unfulfilled in my life. Sometimes I think "When Lord, when?", but there have been many moments that the faith I have in that promise has been what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Grateful seems too small a word for what I feel for the countless tender mercies I have had and continue to have in my life.
President Hinckley said: "It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world but out of whose dreams ...has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries. Their tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us. For each of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family and many of us pioneer daily in seeking to do God's will and lift and serve those around us."
Action Plan #1 - Seek to do God's Will Daily
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
On trek, we each had to "trek for someone". We had to find a pioneer who had crossed the plains and know their story. We had a badge around our neck with 7 oz. of flour on it - what the daily ration of food was during some of the snowstorm in Martin's Cove - and our person's name/story/picture if available. I trekked for the first pioneer I read about when I started looking - Elsie Rasmussen Nielson. Elsie traveled from Denmark with her husband and 5 year old son and a 9 year old girl they were taking to her family. They had sold their farm in Denmark and could have afforded to join one of the wagon trains, but instead bought a handcart and gave the rest of the money to other families to help them cross the plains.
When their handcart company was caught by snow and out of food, both children died. Elsie's husband had frozen feet and at one point sat by the side of the road and told her to keep going, he was just going to die. She looked at him and told him to get in the cart - she would pull him. Sometimes we need to be pulled, sometimes we need to do the pulling.
President Hinckley said : "Stories of the beleaguered Saints and of their rescue need to be repeated again and again. They speak the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful that those days of pioneering are behind us. I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing and dying... But there are people ...who cry out for help ... Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness."
Action Plan #3 - Work on those Qualities!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
M. Russell Ballard said "Life isn't always easy. At some point in our journey we may feel much as the pioneers did as they crossed Iowa - up to our knees in mud, forced to bury some of our dreams along hte way. We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision. Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow our passage. Always, there is a Devil's Gate, which will swing wide open to lure us in. Those who are wise and faithful will steer a course as far from such temptation as possible, while others - sometimes those who are nearest and dearest to us - succumb to the attraction of ease, comfort, convenience, and rest. Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and more challenging than the one we have just traversed. Tapping unseen reserviors of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebearers, inch ever forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all pioneers who have endured in faith, singing: 'All is well! All is well!'"
Yep, sometimes life is hard. I do not know anyone who has led a life free of struggles. When I have times of trial, of heartache, I find inspiration in those who have gone before and not only survivied - but are grateful for - these experiences that strengthen us, give us empathy, bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. I find comfort in the words of Ether 12:27 -
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things becaome strong unto them."
One of my favorite things about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He only asks us to do OUR best. He takes each of us where we are, and He makes up our shortfall - different as that may be for each of us. I know that I can't be just like any of my fantastic friends or role models, but I do know that in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things I have been asked to do, even hard things! Action Plan #4 - Start where I am - be better tomorrow!
Monday, July 5, 2010
I used those few weeks to camp, swim, hike, work in the garden, hang out with my boys and decide once and for all that no, Star Wars toys are not that important! Lucky for me, President Monson has given us some direction towards even better riches:
"The Master spoke of riches within the grasp of all - even joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter. I wish to provide the three pieces of your treasure map to guide you to your eternal happiness. They are: 1. Learn from the past. 2. Prepare for the future. 3. Live in the present."
So in the spirit of July - the month we celebrate Pioneers here in Utah by taking a day off of work, attending parades and rodeos, and blowing stuff up - I've decided to write about the things I have learned from studying the people who walked across a country to start a new life. If you've ever spent any time in Wyoming, you feel admiration for the strength they had and a deep understanding of why they kept walking!
I'll hold myself accountable for completing what I started by counting down:
Lesson #5 - There is only room for so much in the Handcart - what is worth taking?
Have you ever done the FHE/Sharing Time lesson where you use masking tape to mark the size of a handcart and try to fit everything you think you need to live in it? You should try it!
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - "I've often thought, and I've said to my children, that those parents who kept going past Chimney Rock and past Martin's Cove (and a few didn't get farther than that) where those little graves are dotted all across the historic landscape of this Church - they didn't do it for a social activity, they did it because the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ was in their soul, it was in the marrow of their bones. That's the only way those mothers could bury that baby in a breadbox and move on, saying, 'The promised land is out there somewhere. We're going to make it to the valley.' They could say that because of the covenants and doctrine and faith and revelation and spirit. If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other less-needed things sort of fall out of the wagon. I'm told that those handcarts could only hold so much Just as our ancestors Had to choose what they took, maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, 'What can we put on this handcart?' It's the substance of our soul; it's the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones."
There are so many areas of life I need to sort through and rid myself of the excess, the unnecessary and the downright harmful. What is in the cart of my physical surroundings, the cart of my talents, of my time, of my spirituality? Action Plan #5: Unload the Excess!
Easton and Cameron - Pioneer Day 2004
Amanda, Jessica, Sara, Megan, Courtney, Kari, Luke, David - Pioneer Day 2004
Friday, June 11, 2010
Jeremy and Tim Markin - 1981- ishThe toys left in our garage to be saved for grandchildren are a box of American Girl dolls and stuff, a Brio train set, almost every Chevron car made, the infamous Star Wars Legos, and a box of Toy Story toys. Buzz and Woody were our constant companions in one form or another for YEARS. After seeing those movies, how could anyone possible ever get rid of a Buzz or Woody?
Easton and Buzz - Christmas 1999
Easton, Nixon, Sara and Woody - October 2000
Do you have toys that you are glad your mom saved or sad they are gone?
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
I can't believe my baby will be a 7th Grader next year. In honor, photos of our family around the 7th grade.