Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crazy Month!

Wow, I can't believe how crazy this month has been so far. All kinds of adventures. Some good, some not so good. But here we are at the end of May and we're all still standing. Somewhat. ;) To illustrate my point, I'll share a few pictures that will reveal why I have not spent much time blogging lately. (I will repent soon.)

I've spent quite a bit of time this month playing with my cute little granddaughter. She and her parents recently moved, an adventure we all enjoyed--possibly me more than anyone else. My job was to keep Aari entertained. ;)

We played at the park, played with sidewalk chalk, and even enjoyed exploring the amazing qualities of dirt.

Here Aari is posing with her mommy and daddy in our backyard.

The move was a great success---the weather, not so much. This is the kind of weather we've been enduring all month in Bear Lake. I took this shot just a couple of weeks ago.

Son # 1 (Kris) finished up a round of schooling this past month. The cool drum ceremony pictured above was a fun way of ending the year.

Son # 2 (Derek) received his official diploma after he and Kristen moved. They are now adjusting to their new home, and Derek to his new job. We went down one weekend to see them after they were settled and had a great time.

Here Aari is playing with her daddy and grandpa in the new living room of their home. (The furniture arrived the following week.)

Son # 3 (Devin) found himself engaged this past month to a beautiful young woman named Emily. We are tickled to add her to the fold. (You did well, Devy John!!!) So now we're preparing for 3 weddings this summer, two of which take place next month. (My sister, and a nephew are getting married in June. Devin and Emily will tie the knot in August.)

And since my youngest sister is getting married, my mother has decided to move to Bear Lake, so we've been scrambling ever since to pull things together for her. She wants her own place, and we found her a cute apartment in nearby Montpelier. We're looking forward to having her closer to us now.

So this past month we've seen a lot of fun changes, and some that were not fun at all. In the middle of all of the joyous events, close friends have suffered serious illnesses, their loved ones have endured painful procedures, extended family members are facing heart-wrenching trials, and one friend's son passed away unexpectedly. These are truly the times that try men's and women's souls. And yet, there is always hope for a better day. As such, I look forward to June, knowing both good and bad adventures await. And isn't that why we're in mortal mode? ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The other day I heard someone exclaim that they don't like change. I'm sure my jaw hung open over that comment. Life is change. It has been my experience that nothing ever stays the same; I suspect it's part of the mortal experience.

I learned this lesson while quite young---we moved 8 times while I was growing up. This makes for entertaining moments whenever I'm asked about my hometown. Lately I've found that it's easier to express that I've lived all over Southeastern Idaho, and parts of Utah. I consider Ashton, Idaho my hometown, since that's where I graduated from high school.

I have lived in the following places: Roberts, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Annis, Menan, Ashton, & Montpelier (all of which exist in Idaho), and my family dwelled for a time in Bountiful, Utah when I was in the fourth grade. Now if you were counting, you probably came up with seven moves. Since we moved back to Menan from Bountiful at the end of my fourth grade year, I consider that 8 moves . . . and that doesn't include the move from Montpelier to Bennington after I was married. ;)

Some of the moves were easier than others. I was about three years old when my parents left Pocatello, following my father's graduation from college. (He was a pharmacist.) That is when we moved to Annis. From there it was to Idaho Falls, after my dad completed his internship. Eventually my parents built a home in nearby Menan, and we lived there for a few years. Dad worked for Skaggs Drug in Idaho Falls during this time, then was promoted into management, and transferred to Utah. When he decided he didn't care for managing a large drugstore, we moved back to Menan, to the home my parents had built in that location. Then it was on to Ashton where my father had a chance to manage a small hometown drugstore. So on and so forth.

These moves were true character building moments---especially those that took place when I was approaching teenagehood. That age is difficult enough without the added challenge of repeatedly starting over and being labeled, "the new kid." And yet, I look back and I can see that the challenges that went along with each move helped shape me into who I am today. I learned to adapt to change, since things were rarely the same in my life. So by the time I went to college, I was used to life throwing twists my way. I was homesick for one day. Then I embraced college life and enjoyed every aspect.

One of my closest friends struggled with this experience. A friend of mine since high school, she had lived in the same place her entire life. She fought homesickness throughout our freshman year, and went home every weekend, until the time I hid her car keys. Our other roommates had conspired with me, and we kidnapped my friend, taking her to Jackson, Wyoming that Saturday. We then dragged her to a couple of college adventures that night and the next day. By the end of Sunday night, she was lecturing us for not doing something similar earlier that year. She had thoroughly enjoyed herself, overcoming the homesickness as we had helped her see the fun she was missing each weekend. Too bad there were only a couple of weeks left in what would be a final semester for her.

It has been my experience that life is often like a rollercoaster ride. There are numerous up and downs, and lots of scary stuff in the middle. ;) And yet, if you open your eyes and embrace the ride, there is a thrill not found on the complacent merry-g0-round. Ponder that analogy briefly. ;)

Through the years I have dealt with chronic illness (I've been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 19 and tested positive for lupus a few years after that), deaths of loved ones (a childhood friend passed away when we were in the 5th grade---since then I have lost grandparents, a parent, aunts, uncles, etc.), financial distress, worry over children, etc.

On the plus side, I have earned a college degree, married a wonderful man, given birth to 3 awesome sons, had 9 books published so far, and I held my beautiful first grandchild (a cute little girl) in my arms just minutes after her birth. This positive list goes on and on. There is so much of life that I have loved and savored, and I plan to savor more. I'm sure I'll be one of those who will leave this life kicking and screaming because I haven't sampled everything life has to offer. =D

Life is change. Those two words could be synonymous. If it wasn't that way, life would be stagnant. Reflect upon ponds of water that contain still water. They usually don't smell very nice after a while. This is the direct opposite of a refreshing stream that hurries forward continually. Movement\change is crucial to promoting growth. Not all growth is good\and\or\fun, I will admit, but without it, we would not progress. And how sad would it be someday to stand before our Maker and reveal that we spent our entire time in mortal mode hiding under the bed?!

Here's to enjoying the journey, making the climb, and cherishing each moment as it comes. Face the violent rainstorms with courage---even though the thunder makes us cringe, and the lightening often inspires us to run and hide. The new growth that will take place as a result is something to be appreciated, not feared. (Remind me I said all of this the next time thunderclouds appear in my sky.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Four Letter Word

There are several four-letter words in the English vocabulary. Some of those are considered inappropriate. ;) The four-letter word I'm thinking of today is on the other end of the spectrum: HOPE.

A couple of years ago, we did a fun craft at girls camp and we each made a handy tote bag, utilizing inspiring quotes, bright ribbon, and paints. My bag proudly shares this saying: "With hope, each of us can live a life with peace, faith, and love."

It can be difficult to cling to hope when challenges descend, especially when some trials extend through several years. Those are the moments when we sometimes wonder if our prayers are being heard. What I've been learning lately is that our prayers are always heard, but they are often answered in ways we don't envision. And always, our Father, who sees the entire picture, helps us through, despite our fearing doubts.

Recently we've witnessed some miraculous events in our family. Without divulging details, may it suffice to say that a couple of the challenges have been heart-wrenching. There were days when we wondered if we would survive. And yet we did, sometimes by taking life one day at a time.

When walking a darkened path, it is scary to take a leap of faith. To hope for brighter days when
there is no apparent light. And yet it is during these murky moments when we can prove our mettle. And as the scriptures state, it is often after the trial of our faith that we gain the answers we seek.

So today I am grateful for the knowledge that even when all seems lost, we are not alone. I am overwhelmed by the tender mercies that are extended daily from heaven, especially when we're drowning in dark despair. Though the path ahead may often seem unclear, guidance, comfort, and the peace of heaven can be ours when we use hope as our shield against life's storms.