Spotify just let me know that this was my most played song last year.
Not surprised at all.
And I could make a good case for it becoming this year's too.
Have I mentioned that life is hard?
At the fireside I went to last night one of the speakers said something like this: We are trained to think that all questions should have answers, that there should always be a happy ending. But the truth is, mortality is messy- and life is hard, and for some complicated issues, there are no "clean" answers.
That resonated with me.
My life is messy.
But I am learning to embrace the mess and in the process, God is embracing me.
Mostly, I am learning how to trust Him more.
God is HUGE about trusting Him.
Personally, I wouldn't be able to believe in a God that I understood completely
and all of His ways made sense to me.
That would put Him on my level. How then is He God?
I believe in a God who has all the answers but only gives me some of them right now.
Because with me, He is trying to create someone who leaves this earth better than when I came.
And most importantly, He is trying to create someone who trusts Him and His son.
That just doesn't come without a whole bunch of awesome, terrible, happy, painful, joyful, and spiritually stretching experiences.
And stretching is scary.
Thus my most played Spotify song:
When it gets hard, I get a little braver now, I get a little stronger now. And when it gets dark, I get a little brighter now, I get a little wiser now...
Yep, braver, stronger, brighter, and wiser.
I'll take all of those.
Here's to a braver, stronger, brighter and wiser 2018.
I was driving when I heard the news that Glen Campbell died. I cried. Glen Campbell was part of the soundtrack to my childhood--my dad loved him.
My dad. I cannot put into words how much I love him. I came into this world a little bit crazy maybe. My sisters used to call me "moody" and my parents kindly referred to me as "dramatic." I'm both. But both of those things are part of a package deal that makes me who I am. And who I am is someone who feels things deeply. It's good and it's bad but it is what draws me close to Heaven--I long for the things of the spirit. My dad has always understood this about me and we have had countless conversations about things eternal. He is struggling a bit and it's hard. Hard on him and hard on us. As he is beginning to forget, I am doing lots of remembering.
Five things I never want to forget about my dad.
1) He modeled for me what my Heavenly Father is like. I have never been afraid to approach God because I knew Him to be loving, kind, and forgiving. I learned that from my dad.
2) He is the hardest working man I know. Every minute of every day. He taught us all to be hard workers and to do our best and to dream. He is a dreamer that put his dreams on the ground. He wasn't afraid to fail. And he failed a bit. But he also succeeded big. Grandpa's Ice Cream Shop is the cherry on top of those dreams...
3) He loves God. He LOVES God. There is nothing he wouldn't do if God required it of him. His life has been living proof of that.
4) He has been the answer to many of my prayers.One Sunday in college I fasted for relief of the pain I was experiencing from a broken heart. A few moments before my fast was over, and I had felt no consolation, he called me. As we talked he shared exactly what I needed to hear, and what I needed to do. It was the beginning of the healing for me. I will never forget that.
5) He deepened my love for the temple. As he and my mother served over the years, their love spilled over and inspired me to be more meaningful and dedicated in my temple worship. So grateful for our long conversations about the temple. Those are just five things. There is so much more. Love you Dad.
A few months ago, a friend gave a beautiful talk in sacrament meeting titled : The Holy Place Uncertainty.
The concept was something I had never thought about in that way before, but it hit me hard.
The idea was that in our places of uncertainty we have the opportunity to become the most holy.
The times when we don't know for sure where God is.
When it feels like He has stepped back.
When it feels like we just don't have the strength to take on one more heartache.
Those times when our faith takes some hard hits--yet we hang on.
We keep praying, we keep trusting, we just keep moving forward.
Those are the times that eventually, God writes upon our hearts who we truly are.
However, the other night as I was walking into the temple, the spirit whispered: "This is a holy place of certainty."
It is the place that shows me the end from the beginning-- it shows me who I am in no uncertain terms.
Time and time again as I grapple with the uncertainty of my current struggles,
I am reminded in the temple of the sure promises of Heavenly Father.
That my covenants bind me and my family to Him.
Because He is a God of certainty.
But He knows there is great strength and power in uncertainty, when you turn your heart and faith over to Him anyway --
Faith- it's the first principle of the gospel for a reason.
I am reminded of my religion teacher's mantra for when he doesn't have the answer to a hard question or struggle:
"I don't know.
But I know God knows.
And that's all I need to know."
Having your youngest turn fifteen is not for the faint of heart. Each birthday has brought me pangs of angst from the time he turned 5. His birthdays mark an end to an era. In a kind of a melodramatic way it's like saying goodbye to each of my children-- I'll never have another 5 year old, 6 year old or 14 year old. See what I mean about dramatic? It's not fun. However, so far, this boy has welcomed his fifteenth year in a big way. A high adventure trip to Lake Powell, a Pioneer Trek, and a stellar week at EFY have occupied June and July. He has loved it all. He's becoming a fine young man. I'll take that as a consolation prize for the trampling of my heart. Drama queen. Sorry. :)
Once upon a time about 4 years ago, we decided to pretend that the epic parade held in Provo each 4th of July,
was NOT too stressful to go to, after avoiding it for years and years.
The main stressor is that 24 hours before the parade starts,
people start camping out.
That is enough to keep anyone away.
We didn't want to take it that seriously,
so we learned that if we just set our sights on the last leg of the route,
we could get up a little early the morning of,
and find a decent spot.
It works like a charm.
Even for parking. No stress.
And so we now love our parade.
And when I say we, I mean me, Will, and Grandma Tomi.
This year, Grandma Tomi was in the parade so others made an extra effort to go as well :)
These three decided that they wanted to get up at 5:30 a.m.
to secure a place for the 9:00 event.
And so they did.
Therefore, we got a lovely spot with plenty of leg room.
In the pre-parade festivities, Will won Comic Con tickets by being able to name the next three Marvel movies to come out.
Child's play for that boy.
After others showed up to help save the spot,
he assumed his usual parade position. :)
Gotta love a good book.
Yup, it's a motley crew.
A new fun element added to this 4th of July, was celebrating with a Brit....Michaela's friend Emily came across the pond just in time to see what goes on as we commemorate our independence from her home country. She had no idea.
And then, I turned the camera over to Will.
After deleting a lot of pictures of garbage cans, people's ears,
and other random things that a 15-year old would find interesting,
it left me with about 4 shots.
Lots and lots of horse pictures.
Luckily, we managed to capture the main event.
Grandma Tomi walked the entire parade route with the
Provo and Orem missionaries in the 90 degree heat.
She was awesome.
And let me tell you, Provo loves its missionaries.
They ignited the most spirited applause.
It's such a great sight!
I think Grandma Tomi has still not recovered completely but to say it was a highlight for her is an understatement.
We finished the day off with an epic fireworks show at Angie's.
Our supply turned out to be meager compared to all of her neighbor's combined efforts, so we lit ours, and then sat back and watched with amazement everything going off around us.