Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's Befferny's Birfday.

Twenty years ago today, Bethany was born. 
I know that I'm old enough to have a twenty year old because 
I also have a twenty-one year old. Seriously. How did that happen?

Just yesterday they were this... 


But now, many, many birthdays have gone by 
and once again, 
for the third year in a row, 
she is not here on her birthday.
                                  


When she turned eighteen she was in Washington...

...nineteen in China...

 And today, she is in transit from Rexburg 
for the last time until spring semester. 
We hope to catch a glimpse of her late tonight. 

Happy Twentieth Birthday Bethany.
We LOVE you!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hey Gurl Heeeey!

Sorry- I needed to get that out. 
Ever since our last Relief Society Activity speaker opened her remarks with that, 
it has been bouncing around in my head constantly. 
It makes me smile every time.
It's helping me through this mid-December funk I'm in.
Yes, mid-December. 
(It makes me soooo worried for January).  
Because really, who has time for a funk in December? 
Whatever. December has been so lovely, really.
And with the snow that has just been dumped, 
it doesn't get prettier around here.
One of my favorite things we have done this December, is read a really good book together--


It's the story of a man with a tragic past, trying to find relief from his pain, hoping somehow that death will come.  But things begin to change when his life becomes entwined with the life of Jesus-- from his birth to his death and beyond. No matter how you feel about the author, this story is wonderful- and brings Jesus and Santa together in a remarkably beautiful way. 

It's highly recommended by this girl who loves a good story about Jesus. 

So, Merry Christmas, and buckle up for January
It's going to be a fun one!!!




 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What Happy People Know.

Last weekend, I cashed in my birthday present from my seestah's and went to Time Out For Women. 
If there was ever a time I needed a "time out" it is now. 
Yay for awesome birthday gifts!

I must say that my favorite part of the weekend was many, many Gentri performances.

Pleeeze don't underestimate my love for Gentri.

In person, they were flawless. 
Did I mention I love them?

Anywho---many other great things happened at TOFW...
One of them was Hank Smith and his happiness list.
He spoke about what to do when your plan of happiness changes.
That's something that I can relate to, yesiree.

Anyways, he gave a list of 10 things that happy people do.

1. Happy people surround themselves with happy people.
Note to self- don't be that person.... 
2. Happy people try to be happy. 
They work at it, they choose it, they fight unhappiness...
3. Happy people spend money on other people.
Yes, apparently money can buy happiness...
4. They have deep "in-person" conversations. 
Save the texting/messaging for your shallow interactions... :)
5. Happy people laugh a lot. A LOT.
6. Happy people use the power of music.
I could do a whole post on this one.
7. Happy people exercise and eat a healthy diet.
Sorry, it's true. You know it is.
8. Happy people take time to go outside.
Driving outside does not count. 
20 minutes of breathing in outside  air.
9. Happy people get enough sleep.
Thus why my years as a mother of newborns are a blur...
10. Happy people meditate. 
Deliberate meditation, no distractions, 10 minutes. 

And there you have it. The secret to a happier you.
You're welcome.  :)

Shabbat Shalom.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Birthday to Molly.

She is officially 18.
She has also left for home for 6 weeks-
I guess her mom misses her or something :)
We know how that goes.

See you next year, Molly.
Happy, happy holidays.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And When Life Just Gets Too Heavy....

...Watch a Korean Drama

Hannah and I are obsessed.
One of us, a tad more than the other.
It's not the one you think-
Unless you're thinking it's me and
then you would be right.

 
I have watched this one twice....25 episodes. Eeek.


And I'm in the middle of this one.


I can't explain why I love them-
but I do. 
And I am not ashamed.
 (Okay, maybe just a little because twice is really too much for a 25 episode season, 
even I know that.)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Of Cleaving.

I fasted yesterday.
It has become my new "go-to."
Though I have been fasting once a month since I was 8 years old,
I have never truly tapped into the power of fasting more than monthly.
It has become another lifeline for me.
Sometimes I am embarrassed that I need so many lifelines.
And by lifelines I mean that I am dependent upon them for my survival.
-the temple,
-the Book of Mormon,
-lot's of gut-wrenching prayer.
But my spirit craves more. And the more I feed the craving, the more I need.
It's a beautiful relationship.
I am also keenly aware that it goes both ways.
The less I give, the less I desire and so it's a cautionary tale. :)

But back to yesterday.
I found two beautiful scriptures.
A simple answer to my hard questions.
I loved the moment in which I found them, and I love the continual strength they bring me.

" Yea, cleave unto me with all of your heart...."
D&C 11:19

"...cleave unto God as He cleaveth unto you."
Jacob 6:5

I can do that.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Discipleship in 2015.

"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, 
This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
John 6:60

Might I just say- Never.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Halloween or Something Like It.

Halloween was almost a non-event this year.
At the last minute, I headed out of town to help 
a friend who was in need. 
I was gone for 10 days and returned the day before Halloween.
The same pumpkins I bought before I left sat uncarved,
 and none of the pre-Halloween traditions had been done.
I felt pretty pathetic.
And really, when you only have one costumer at home, 
the hoopla is kind of half-hearted anyway, right?
Sadly, the answer is yes.
However, Will headed out to school in a 
pretty cool costume contrived by he and his dad (high-five Michael). 

 Hat and Russian face courtesy of Michaela.
Red eyes courtesy of my camera and my extreme laziness that prevented me from fixing them.  


Later that evening the Russian face was still going strong. 
He was joined by a nerd and serial killer 
and headed out to conquer two neighborhoods.
 KGB agent
 Smartie pants (get it?)


 and Freddy Kreuger.

Yep- some real creativity going on there. 

And just because, Michael and I decided to celebrate Halloween by going to the movies. Super duper pathetic but hey!

I was so out of it, I didn't even confiscate candy.
Nor did I make disgusted noises over the 
amount of candy hauled in. 
As a matter of fact, Will, being wise to my past methods,
took it straight to his room and hid it in multiple places.
And I didn't even care. I'm blaming jet lag. :)

So Halloween has come and gone and per tradition (that I began last year), 
the Christmas music is playing loud and strong.
I find no shame in that.
The way time is flying Christmas will be here and gone 
before you know it. 
I intend to squeeze out every bit of joy I possibly can 
between now and then. 

So Merry Christmas and no, I haven't forgotten you Thanksgiving.

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Doing the Work of Jesus.

Hello again, it's me. 
I use to blog regularly.
Now I don't.
And that's about all you need to know.
Here's to hoping I find my groove again.

I've been thinking a lot about missionaries lately.
Probably because almost every sacrament meeting this summer hosted an outgoing or incoming missionary. 
It was awesome.
I can't explain the love that fills my heart for those who leave and then return.
It's amazing, the change, and I can't get enough of it.
Mostly because I find myself constantly examining my own commitment to doing the work of Jesus. 
I love it. 
For the Brown side of the family, it was quite the year for missionaries.

We had this lovely girl come home from the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. 
She was an awesome girl before she left, but oh my, 
the difference in her has been so amazing to see.
She is a great example of how missions are meant to sink the gospel deep into your own heart as you do the Lord's work.
Lindsey continually seeks for people to help and ways to serve.
She is truly one of my favorite people to be around.
She adds a dose of joy to everything.



Then, this boy left for  Honduras.
His letters home make me laugh. For example and I quote:
"Here's the story of the week. My companion 
almost killed a baby ".  
Yowza.
But more often than not, they make me cry:
"My mission has and is changing me into the person I was MEANT to be". 

 Love that Elder Neeley.


Not long after he left,another Elder Neeley came home.
His brother had served for 2 years in Colorado Springs, (Spanish speaking).
This boy killed me.
As happy as he was to see his family, he was not ready to be done. If someone had offered him the choice, he would have turned right around and headed back to Colorado, 
not even having to think about it for a minute. 
To say he loved his mission doesn't
begin to describe it.
And so, he has committed himself to extending his missionary service to the Olympia, Washington area. On any given day, he can be found seeking out service and reaching out to those who are struggling. 
And in between all that he tries to work a job. :)
 What an example. 




And a couple of months later this Elder came home:
He served for 2 years in the Texas Lubbock Mission, 
also Spanish speaking.
I happened to witness the emotional moment 
he took off his tag (Sorry Cody).
It was heartbreaking.  
I never realized how hard that moment can be.
Especially when you have literally left everything on the field for Jesus, like Elder Backus did. 
You could just feel it.
I'm crying just remembering that moment. Ugh.

And now, in just a few short weeks, our year of missionaries culminates with Sister Paynter heading to the 
Raleigh, North Carolina Mission.
We are so excited for her.
I know it will be the hardest thing she has ever done and the courage it takes to make this decision is pretty intense.
But I can't wait to bask in her returned missionary glow in just 18 short months (Ha!)

And just because he didn't leave or return this year,
 let's not forget Elder Paynter.
He just passed his one year mark 
in the Mexico, Pachuca Mission.
I'll close with his amazing testimony:

"No one can truly understand the importance of the Atonement without reading the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true! I know that it can bless the lives of us as a Family! Don't stop reading the Book of Mormon, Mom!! I love the Gospel and know that only blessings and Eternal Life come through our Savior. I love him and love getting to know him more through my study of the Book of Mormon. My greatest Advice that I can give to Meghan as she is preparing, is to read the Book of Mormon. The greatest advice that I can give to all the kids is to read the Book of Mormon. IT IS TRUE! I know it is! I love it and hope to be able to have the opportunity to study it for every day of the rest of my Life!!"




Amen Elder.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

So Much Love.


  I love that Meghan decided to go through the temple
 with plenty of time to return often
before she heads out on her mission in December.
And I love that I got to be a part of that. :)
Such a beautiful experience,
on a beautiful night, at a beautiful temple.







 Love you Meghan!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Matters of the Heart.


 " Have an eternal love affair with the life of the Son of God. 
I pray that you will .. . love everything He did, 
everywhere He went, everything He said, 
and everything He is. 
 
I would walk on hot lava, I would drink broken glass
 to find one more word, one more phrase, 
one more doctrine,
 any parable that anyone could give me 
of the life of Christ, the living Son of the living God. 
 
The doctrine of Christ means everything to me 
as a result of my feelings for the author ...”
                                                       
 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland                       
                                                                                              

Monday, September 21, 2015

Time.

The other day, Angie, my hard-working single mom sister, asked me, "What do you do all day now that you don't work?"
Ha!
I'm not sure what I do all day but I am definitely "doing" all day.
I don't feel any less busy than when I was working!
To quote Janis: "I'm not sure how I ever had time to work."
Anyhow, time is marching on at a rapid pace, and things are always changing here at the Labit household.

Michaela:
Just started her first semester at UVU in the digital media program. So far so good. She also changed apartments and jobs all at the same time. She doesn't often get stressed or ruffled but all of those changes at the same time pushed her a little... thank goodness she has more of her dad's temperament than mine. I have been so proud of Michaela's desire to be independent and self sufficient. She has amazing resilience and adapts so easily to change. She loves her new ward and just received a new calling, in a new way. Basically: "Hey, here's a list of callings we need filled. Which one would you like?"  Ha! Life in a student ward I guess. She is officially the Relief Society Activities Coordinator. Woot!

Bethany:
Traditionally, the women in our family go to BYU Idaho and hate it. Bethany has decided to buck that tradition and embrace Rexburg. Undaunted by Michaela and my horror stories (okay, horror might be too strong of a word) she is settled in and doing fine. Some might say she is doing great! :)
After a long week of adding and dropping classes, which is basically a nightmare of stress and ulcers, her schedule is set, and we are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. Yay Beth! She has good roommates and has found a fun group of friends and if you know Beth-that's top of the priority list. Leaving Sodalicious was the hardest part of leaving Provo. To say she loved that job would be an understatement. :)

Elijah:
Elijah is home and that makes my heart happy. Before Bethany left, sometimes I would look around at all five of my kids and think how great it was that we were all together again. It's the little things. He is working full-time at Clear Link, and seems to feel like he is a natural born salesman. To complete his last year of seminary, he goes to Institute at UVU once a week. We just got the official word that his high school diploma is in the mail. BIG sigh of relief on that one.

Hannah:
Hannah is completing her second year at Merit Academy. She is happy there and that make me happy. In 2 weeks Hannah will be 16. SIXTEEN! So many reminders in my life that I am old.
She is chomping at the bit to get her license and be a full fledged solo driver. Of all my kids, she is probably the one I feel most confident letting on the road at sixteen. She still loves art and is taking her 3rd art class at Merit. For a few weeks, she was the only student in Art 3--she enjoyed the one on one art lessons. Since then, two more students have joined her.  Sure love Hannah and her calm in the midst of our craziness.

Will: 
Eighth grade has been bit of a challenge. Most of his classes are honors classes and his homework load has increased dramatically. On top of school, he does cross country, volleyball and plays the bass ( all are of his choosing). He is "this close" to finishing up with Merit badges for his Eagle.... and even with all of that on his plate he never complains and lives his life with gusto. He certainly brings happiness wherever he is.


Michael and I: 
Michael is experiencing life as a high councilman. It's certainly different than being in the bishopric. He is still busy but it's a different kind of busy.
I am going on a month with no calling. Kind of weird. It's a nice reprieve but I am ready to get back to work.
We are both just hanging in there doing the best we can to keep the wheels turning and the going in the right direction.

So there you go. Life moves on. Better try and keep up as best you can.

Happy Sabbath.
Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Half Century of Gratitude...

I turned 50 last week.
It was awesome (snicker, snicker)
(Actually, since my Forties was the decade of the dog bite and Rheumatoid Arthritis, I am hopeful that my Fifties will be kinder to me...)

The best part about any birthday is the outpouring of love.
And I felt it.
Especially from my daughter Bethany who went to great lengths to plan a surprise party for me.
FOR ME.
And I was surprised.
And almost embarrassingly blindsided by it, but it was super sweet.

One of the treasured gifts I got was my Grandma Brown's beautiful personal history. 
It was wonderfully put together by my Aunt Joan with the help of my sister Kathleen. 

I read it from cover to cover in one sitting.


I laughed.
I cried.
Seriously I did.

Mostly I just rejoiced in the blessing it is to be part of her posterity...

I was reminded of a letter she sent me when I was studying in Jerusalem...


Grandma Brown had a way of making you feel that you were the most important person on the planet to her. 

I'm pretty sure all of her grand kids felt that way...

Sometimes I wish my kids could really understand how they won the lottery with the family they were born into. And what a great opportunity that they have to draw upon the strength of the magnificent people that are part of their great heritage. 

From their own Grandma and Grandpa Brown, and Grandma Kaneshiro, all the way back to those who crossed the ocean to get here. 

What a blessing of faith and strength. 

And even with a half a century under my belt, I feel that from my head to my toes, and deep in the corners of my heart.

 I am blessed. 

Here's to 50 more years.
Ugh. Just kidding. Maybe just 35 or so?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Pro-Life. ALL Lives Matter.

Every color.
Every size.
Every age.
All lives are valued equally.
Or at least they should be.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Post 40 Problems.

Someone said something really funny.
If we weren't all over 40, we'd remember what it was.
 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Independence Day

 The week prior to the Fourth, found 
Hannah and me scouring places from which 
we could have an awesome view 
of the Stadium of Fire fireworks...


 ...we found a great little mountain side spot 
that seemed just perfect.

 We watched a few breathtaking sunsets.

In the end, we skipped the fireworks but 
were so happy to have found this great spot. 


 On the actual day of the Fourth, Grandma Tomi, Will, and I were the only ones cool enough to go to the Provo Freedom Festival Parade. It was pretty dang awesome.





video

 I mean Storm Troopers--


 and Senior Missionaries!

 Right???


After all that work Hannah and I did to find the
 perfect fireworks spot...we settled on our own show, right in Angie's driveway. 
Woot.








And there you have it. 
Happy Independence Day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Of Reunions and Such.

 Once upon a time, I lived in Hawaii with my 
tiny little family of five.
Well, truthfully, we were a family of two, then three, then four and finally five.
During that whole process I had a great friend-- Nicole. 
When we met she was single-
then she became a missionary-
and then she brought her new husband back to Hawaii.
She had her first baby there too.

We had quite a few adventures together:
We were both nannies in the same neighborhood--
each Friday we left work and drove to the temple.
There, we met up with Michael who was 
just getting done with a long day of classes and work.

I opened her mission call while 
she was working on the Big Island...
She said, "I will be happy to go anywhere but Utah."
I got to tell her that she was going to Salt Lake City... :/

We pushed strollers together while we
talked about the gospel, motherhood, and losing baby weight.
We even battled lice together. Yay!

Fast forward 15 years and we finally met up again last month.
So much catching up to do--
but it was almost like no time had passed at all. 

Her little family had grown to a family of seven just like ours.
Missing their oldest who was just dropped off at Utah State.
 
 I took one picture and then Will got a hold of my camera...











Awesome job Will.
Even after all these years, we sure love these guys.
Aloooooha!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On the Second to Last Day in May....

On May 30th, 2015, my last child officially became a teenager. 
(You can probably guess how I feel about that). 
This is the same kid who told me 
he wouldn't turn 5 if it made me sad. :) 
Unfortunately, aging is beyond my control 
and so it happens whether I agree with it or not.

This year, Will asked for a cake in the shape of the Mexican flag
 in honor of Jordan, who usually celebrates
 his Sunday birthday with him.
Jordan is serving a mission in Mexico.
 

Will's birthday request was a new suit. 
I was super happy to oblige.

As always, we gathered with family to celebrate...


At the ripe old age of 13, Will has dwarfed his grandma.


We sure love this kid!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

She's Twenty-One!

Happy Birthday to my niece, Meghan who officially turns 21 today.
Sunday, we celebrated with a chocolate Oreo cheesecake
 and a whole slew of family. 
I took this one picture at that party. 
Dang.
Having just recently finished her third year of college, 
Meghan has switched gears and has decided to to go on a mission! 
She is smack dab in the middle of doctors' appointments and bishop's interviews etc.
We could NOT be more excited for her!
Happy Birthday Meghan! 
Great things are in store. :)