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 twitches....it 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.
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.
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 swung (swinged?) to their heart's content.
The horses across the street literally called to us.
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 becomemore. 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.