Jul 24, 2012

Faith and Pioneers

I love history!  I love reading and learning about the history of our country and of the church.  I love reading about the brave men and women who made the freedoms that I enjoy possible.  I love learning about those who sacrifice everything for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Celebrating Pioneer Day has always meant something to me because I was taught of my ancestors who crossed the plains and sacrificed so much.  I have loved learning from others and for myself of these brave women and men who were willing to sacrifice all for the gospel. I love going to New York and Nauvoo and other historic places as I feel the spirit of those that have gone before.  I have always wished that I could go back in time and be with them, live amongst them and learn from them.  ( I would just like to bring along my flushing toilets and showers please).  I would love to serve a mission in Nauvoo and share with all the visitors my love for those who have gone before.

Last week Tony, Jared and I participated in Trek with our stake.  For four days we pushed/pulled handcarts through dirt and rocks, up and down hills.  We walked over 30 miles in blistering heat, and had an opportunity to get a small glimpse of the life of those who walked across the country to get to Zion.  We were asked to choose an ancestor to walk for.  I chose to walk for Ann Molyneaux Alston who was so committed to the gospel that she was willing to send her two oldest sons, one ten the other eight, with friends to Zion so that her in-laws could not stop her from going with her children.  Imagine sending two young boys to unknown lands not knowing if you would ever see them again.  Then she came from England the next year with her three youngest children, alone.  What a joyful reunion they must have had in Utah when she was reunited with her sons and her father and family.   I thought about her and her faith as we pulled the handcarts silently on Thursday morning, and then again as we pulled the handcarts up a huge hill with just the girls in our stake.  As I felt of her spirit and her faith, I felt a reassuring warmth that I too could have done what she did.  None of us have an easy road in life.  The pioneers forged ahead not knowing what the immediate future held for them, but trusting in a loving Heavenly Father and Savior and the promised blessings in the eternities.  Life is like that really for all of us.  We don't know what challenges and trials we will face, but we move forward  with faith, knowing that the Lord will support us.  I often hear people say they could not have done what the pioneers did, but after watching our amazing youth participate in Trek, I thought there isn't one of these kids who couldn't  or wouldn't do exactly what the pioneers did if it was asked of them.
I came home from Trek dirty, tired and looking much like the pioneers in 17 miracles. ( I have already lost a layer of skin and I used sunscreen!) I also came home with a renewed sense of gratitude for those who sacrificed for me to have the gospel, and a stronger commitment to follow the prophet. Those people who crossed the plains knew their Savior and were willing to go wherever He called them.  I too in a small way experienced some miracles on trek, enough to reaffirm to me that I have a Heavenly Father who is mindful of me as well.
Those dark clouds moved right over us on Friday afternoon that brought winds and a thunderstorm.  The rain lasted for awhile, but moved out in time for dinner and testimony meetings.

Jul 12, 2012

Little Piece of Heaven

With all the camps, jobs, trek, and our trip to see Tony's parents, I was afraid I wouldn't get to the cabin at all this summer.  There was no way Tony could go.  With all the time he has taken off for camps and trek and our vacation, there is nothing left.  But when the kids suggested we just take off for a few days while Tony was at priest camp, I couldn't come up with a good reason not to.  We weren't able to leave until about 9pm on Wednesday night after Lexie got off work.  We drove in the dark the whole way listening to the playlist Ashley made that included all the soundtracks from High School Musical, a little Justin Bieber and Jonas Bros, music forbidden when Tony is with us.  (Never fear we did listen to Tony approved music too!)  As most everyone was asleep Lexie and I had a good talk, and as we got closer to the cabin she tried to not give into her "irrational fears"  of animals lurking in the darkness.  (Good thing we didn't know until morning that there is a bear on the island) We got to the cabin safely at about 1:30 in the morning, silly as to be expected that late, but traveling without incident. 

It was COLD when we arrived, the thermometer in the car said 38 degrees.  Honestly it felt wonderful.  It has been so hot and dry this summer-it's awful!  I am not a hot weather person so escaping to the cool mountain air was a welcome reprieve.  We were only able to stay until Saturday evening, but it was so nice to just relax and enjoy the scenery that never ceases to thrill me.  We swam in the cold, mossy lake, we ate good food, watched movies and played a game or two.  My parents and two of my nieces joined us as well.  I just wish we could have had Jared and Tony with us.  The hardest thing about going to the cabin is having to leave.  The trip was too short, but I am grateful we decided to do it.

Jul 11, 2012

Just Look Up!

A couple of weeks ago we loaded up all the Young Women and went to Lava Hot Springs for girl's camp.  I only had the opportunity to go to girl's camp twice as a youth, then we went off to Brazil where they either didn't have it or I didn't go. (I don't know which)  Even though I am not much of a camper, I have really enjoyed the opportunity I have had for the last two years to go to camp.  The young women in our ward are amazing, all week they were helpful and enthusiastic. And an added bonus is that I get to be there with my youngest daughter.

Our theme for the week was Just Look Up taken from Elder Cook's talk in October 2011 General Conference.  He talked about being overwhelmed by his calling as a general authority and stepping into the elevator with his head down.  Some one else entered the elevator, but he didn't even look up.  The person asked him what he was looking at down there, and Elder Cook recognized Pres. Monson's voice.  Pres. Monson pointed heavenward and told Elder Cook, "It's better to look up."  So true always! Elder Cook said, "President Monson’s encouragement to look up is a metaphor for remembering Christ. As we remember Him and trust in His power, we receive strength through His Atonement. It is the means whereby we can be relieved of our anxieties, our burdens, and our suffering. It is the means whereby we can be forgiven and healed from the pain of our sins. It is the means whereby we can receive the faith and strength to endure all things." We all face challenges, but we can face them if we are looking up to and relying on our Savior.  It was a great theme for camp!

We had such a great time at camp! We got to tube down the river, swim at the Olympic-sized pool in Lava, participate in service opportunities, sing silly songs, sleep far too little, eat delicious food (had to put a plug in for my menu planning skills, and for enlisting Bro. Wesche for making a most excellent Dutch Oven Dinner Thursday evening), laughing a lot,  and being spiritually fed.
Yes that would be the Bishop in the middle. :)  I think the girl's loved his Barbie impression too.
 The only thing better about girl's camp is coming home to a bed in a quiet room where no cows moo/moan!

Jul 9, 2012

Blink twice and summer will be over

I remember when I was a young mother how summer seemed to drag on forever.  With the constant supervision required, no set schedules, and the every other second comment of "I'm bored!" Don't get me wrong I still loved summer, but it was a challenging time.  Now I feel like summer rushes by so quickly that we hardly have time to enjoy it.  I love having the kids home, I love having less structure when we can just enjoy each other's company, and I hate that it goes by so quickly.   One month GONE already.  How does this happen?  It happens because I have kids that have to be to work, kids that do swimming lessons, tennis and cross country.  Kids who are EFY Counselors who have to be transported between Provo and Logan because the parents won't provide them with a car.  Then throw in Girl's Camp and Priest's Camp and a trip to Island Park, holidays and birthdays.  Yeah it makes me tired just thinking about it. I wouldn't change a thing though...ok well if I could change something I would make it cooler and include some rain here and there. Summer is good and this year we even get a bonus few days since the kids don't go back to school until after Labor Day.  Then we will begin the dreaded 3 kids in three different schools, actually I guess it will be 5 kids at 5 different schools if you count the college kids. I am not thinking about that right now though.  My plan is to live and enjoy every second of the 56 days of summer that we have left!