Monday, June 30, 2014

Lake Powell.

 Back in the day, I learned to water ski at Lake Powell.
It looks like I've passed on some serious skills to my son.
You're welcome Elijah :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer So Far.

Summer is rapidly slipping away, ticking like a clock on the move....
I can't decide if that makes me happy or sad. 
I always go through a learning curve at the beginning of summer vacation. Ask my kids-I'm like a crazy woman trying to find my groove. I am okay with kids hanging around taking it easy, but when that hanging around is always with their face in an electronic of some sort- I start getting makes me a little crazy. After a few weeks of adjustment, I mellow a little --
and do my best to find a compromise I can live with. 
And so here is the summer breakdown so far:

Michaela is home, and yet she's not. 
She has traveled to California and Ohio since coming back from Russia. We don't see a whole lot of her even when she is in Provo :)  Now that she is done traveling for awhile, she is job hunting. 
Fun times.

Bethany has reclaimed her job at Provo Beach Resort
She has decided to put her trip to China on hold-
still trying to figure out what she wants to do next...meanwhile, she has Molly for a few weeks to keep her entertained.

Yes, we are still in this phase...

Elijah secured employment at Franklin Elementary School this summer. He works on cleaning crew and loves his job. 
Especially the hours-8:00 -2:30, Monday through Thursday.
It doesn't get better than that for a teenager.
He is also "this close" to finishing his Eagle.
It causes me me great mental anguish to feel how close he is, 
and yet not be there yet. Ugh. 
He should have it done by the end of July. 
A mother can dream.

Hannah finds herself in summer limbo.
She is not old enough to work, but feels a little crazy 
about all the time on her hands. 
She decided as part of her summer goals to take up running. 
She goes faithfully every morning at 7:00 with Buddha, 
which is awesome because guess who doesn't have to get up with him now???? 
With her first year of high school on the horizon, 
she is not happy about summer slipping away.

Will is just soaking up every last minute of summer. 
Between books and friends and books and friends, 
there is never a moment lost.
It's great to be 12.

Michael and I are just trying to keep the plates spinning. 
So much is going on all the time - sometimes 
it seems that things will never slow down.
In August, we are taking the seven of us to Florida for some much needed Harry Potter time, with a little Disney World thrown in.
Yay for us. 
Until then, there is Scout Camp and Girls Camp 
and plenty more in between.
Ah Summer.

Monday, June 23, 2014


 Sundays aren't always the day of rest that I hope they will be. Sometimes they are a marathon of meetings and then more meetings and then exhaustion. 
 But sometimes they are just perfect. 
Like this Sunday.

After attending a wonderful ward conference in another ward, I headed to the temple for a couple of hours before my family came home. I wandered around the grounds until I found the perfect spot in the shade under a tree. 
And then I read, wrote and pondered...
it was fabulous. 

We then had Sunday dinner at the Cook home. 
Have I mentioned Molly is back?
Her first words to us were, "I am so happy to be here, this is my favorite place in the whole world!" Aaaaaw.

After dinner, the puzzle person in our family heard the call...
We didn't leave until that puzzle was finished.

Others heard the call from the backyard playset...
and so they hung,

and climbed,

and swung (swinged?) to their heart's content.

The horses across the street literally called to us.
And who can resist that call?

They were so sweet and gentle-
and hungry...

And that kind of describes this boy too...
sweet, gentle and hungry!

There you have it-
a practically perfect Sabbath.
Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When Happens When You Leave Hannah In Charge of Taking A Pie Out of the Oven.

Needless to say, our neighborhood barbeque was pie-less.
Love you Hannah :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Picture Perfect.

I love this picture.
Not because of the flattering backside shot 
in which I am wearing my husband's pants.
Not even because I am dancing with my favorite 12 year old
 and he wanted  to be my partner.
It's because this silly square dance made me sooo happy.
After a long day of trekking,
I felt elated and joyful as we do-si-do'd in the dirt.
It was happiness.
After we were done, I realized that even back home in my comfortable, clean life I hardly ever feel that kind of happiness.
I feel stress and worry, and busyness.
Lot's of busyness.
And I really am happy.
But I need to feel that kind of exhilarating joyfulness 
just a little more often.
Not necessarily in the form of square dancing-
or in my husband's pants.
But definitely more often.

I think I have a new summer goal. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Some Truths On Fathers Day.

It's Fathers Day and in truth,
 I won the lottery when it comes to the Fathers in my life.

My Dad- 
he is truly an amazing man.
 He gets uncomfortable when his praises are sung 
but really, he is the wisest man I know.
I trust his life experience.
The best we can hope for is that we learn
 from the mistakes we make 
and the trials we have. 
He does both valiantly and I am lucky 
to have that wisdom passed on to me. 
One of my greatest blessings is to have him as my Dad.

My husband-
another amazing man.
When we first got married, I told him something like:
"Look, I plan on being in the Celestial Kingdom, 
with or without you, but I hope it's with you."
In other words, "Keep up buddy!"
Isn't that terrible? What was I thinking?
Having been raised by the man previously mentioned, 
I think I held the bar a little too high for my new husband.
But not only has he "kept up," 
he has surpassed me in so many ways. 
He is good, kind, wise, patient and serves others tirelessly.
Our family couldn't be more blessed.

And finally, my Heavenly Father-
Once upon a time when I was in college, 
my mom and dad moved to Africa 
and my older sister deserted me to get married (sob!)
I experienced a horrible/beautiful time in life.
I felt truly alone to my very core.
It was at this time that a beautiful relationship
 developed between me and God-
one that seriously kept me from descending 
into a deep, dark abyss. 
Not an exaggeration.
He worked little miracles that threw me lifelines-
 just when I thought I was surrounded by darkness,
a stream of light would penetrate through 
and He would remind me that I was His and I was not forgotten.
And though that dark period is long gone,
His careful attention to my life is not.
I could not be more sure that He is my Eternal Father
and that one day I will be with Him again.
And if my husband is lucky, he'll be there too.
Just Kidding!

Happy Fathers Day.
Shabbat Shalom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hard Things.

Trek was hard. Have I mentioned that enough?
Physically, emotionally, and spiritually hard.
Spiritually, because after listening to pioneer stories of sheer heartache and heart break, sometimes I was left wondering, "Why did God require so much?"

So, as we pulled handcarts for 22 miles over a period of 3 days and listened to stories of of our pioneer heritage, here is my overarching take away: God is not a God of ease and comfort, He is a God that requires hard things.

It's not really a new concept to me. 
I have experienced hard things and I have watched others go through unbelievable heartache and struggle.

The big question is, "Why?"

If you  believe that we are here on earth for no particular reason except to just live out our lives the best we can and then die, then maybe it's not so easy to comprehend why a God of love would allow so much struggle.

But if you believe that we are here to become something more, to actually take on the attributes of Christ and become like Him, then it makes perfect sense that God would actually refine and shape us into what He alone knows we can be. Almost always, true growth in character comes from hard experiences.

As he reflected on his mission experiences in Africa, I remember my Dad saying that when they were facing a difficult problem, the Lord would always let them go to the very edge, struggling for answers and pouring out their hearts in prayer. When every option was exhausted and the situation seemed impossible, only then would the Lord bless them with what they were in need of. It's at that very edge that we see who we really are, acknowledge God's mercy, and become more.

Elder Holland said in the last General Conference: "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."11

Life is hard. 
It is happy and joyful, and painful and soul stretching.
It was for those pioneers who crossed the plains with unfathomable sacrifice, and it is for us as we navigate our way through our own lives and struggles. 

But it's hard because God loves us.
Trek taught me that.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Scenes From A Trek.

Still too tired to write a post, but here are some pictures...
One more solid night of sleep and I'll be good to go.

Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


For the past 3 days our family participated in a ward family Pioneer Trek. 
Some willingly, and some unwillingly in the beginning. :)
We drove just 40 miles away and hiked for 3 days
 pulling handcarts until we thought our feet would fall off. 
To the outside world, it's probably a little strange that we Mormons are so into these reenactments that honor our pioneer heritage. 
Why would anyone put themselves through that for fun? 
Actually, it wasn't fun most of the time. 
It was pretty hard and hot and dirty and exhausting.
At night when I crawled into my sleeping bag
covered in dust and dirt, the thought of getting up 
and doing it all over again was overwhelming.
I tossed and turned my aching body 
all night long on the world's most uncomfortable cot.
And when the sun rose, we got up, 
 loaded up our handcarts and trekked out again.
Somewhere between that first day and the last, 
magic happened.

So many lessons were learned in these past few days.
As I unravel 600+ pictures from my camera, I'll share a few.
But for now, my lovely, lovely waterbed is calling my name
 and I must answer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Russia, With Love.

It's hard to say whether the kids were more excited for Michaela to be home, 
or for the awesome gift giving she did....

Hands down, it was for Michaela :)
but she did bring home some pretty sweet stuff.

It was kind of like Christmas in June....

It's good to be a complete family once again.

Monday, June 2, 2014

She's Home.

All is right in the world. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

William's Birthday Weekend.

On the very last day of school, Will turned 12. 
After a hoopla of graduations and such, 
he might have been worried that he would be forgotten. 
Didn't happen.
He danced his way through the dance festival,
went out to lunch with Grandma and Grandpa,
shopped for a new bike with Mom,
and celebrated with cupcakes from Uncle Randy who shares his birthday as well.
He swam away Saturday at the Rec center,
and was ordained a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday.
Following which he shot out the door of the bishop's office to join the other deacons collecting fast offerings.
He then joined us at the Paynters for a real birthday celebration which included Jordan who turns 18 next week.
this kid was not forgotten.
Words cannot express how much I love this boy of mine.
Happy Birthday William Michael Labit!
We Love You.