Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Holy Place of Certainty.




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."

Yes.

Shabbat Shalom.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Turning.

May 30th, 2017

 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. :)

 Happy late birthday Will.
Love you.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Independence is Not for the Weak.

 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. 

Truly awesome.

And Emily, bless her heart, 
got to light her very first Sparkler ever.

Happy Independence Day.

Friday, June 30, 2017

It's Complicated.



Goodbyes have never really been a problem for me.
I moved a bit when I was growing up so maybe that made it easier-
I don't know.
But without fail, there is one goodbye that is always hard.
When I get to Moroni, the last book in the Book of Mormon, I struggle.
I stall. 
I read it very slowly, maybe even just a few verses a day. 
I just don't want to let it go.
Kind of dumb because I'm just going to flip back to the beginning and start again.
It doesn't matter.
Each Book of Mormon read-through creates a new history, new answers, and new revelation. 
I own and love every bit of it and I just want to hang on.  
I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Seriously!
But sometime this next week I will push through those last chapters  and I will mourn just a little bit.
Then -- I will fall in love with Nephi once again--so to speak--and the cycle will continue.
I'm kind of an idiot but I'm okay with that. :)

Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Texas-the Second Largest State in the Union.



Okay, seriously, it is hard 
not to be impressed with the great state of Texas. 
And it seems mighty wrong to not include 
"the great state of" when referring to Texas. 
It's HUGE. 
For spring break, we spent a solid 7days there 
and loved every second of it. 
All of us. Even the teenagers.
Right???
I can say with absolute certainty that despite  all of the cool places we visited, the best part of the trip for all of us was just hanging out with:



Valentina,

 Audrey,


 Little miss Scarlett,




and Sabrina. 

That just never gets old :)
Love those girls and their mama too.

We manged to squeeze in a Texas sized amount of sight seeing...

No one visits the great state anymore without hitting Waco.
Such a great place and Magnolia Market is unbelievable.

Super impressive stuff but all I could think was 
"there's a lot of cash being transferred in this place."
A Lot.

And as much as we like the Silos, for me, the best part of Waco is Lula Jane's. I know it's shocking that a bakery would be my favorite place to visit :)
But look at those cookies on the plate (back left).
They are the best I have ever had.
Everything was delish.

And then we had to get the obligatory 
bending over the railroad track picture.
Thanks Will.

We spent some time at the Baylor bookstore...

and visited the Space Museum in Houston.






Caught a decent movie, 
but really?
Hermione singing?
What were they thinking?


Will bought his first cowboy hat...

Watched a few movies with this little girl.
She always gets the front row ...




Seriously the best barbecue I have ever eaten.
They know how to make it melt in your mouth.



 And speaking of food-
in Austin we found the best doughnuts EVER.

 The menu.
Crazy.

 And also in Austin, we toured the capitol building 
and found this former president. 
Remember the good old days? 
The hatred for him was just child's play.
The capitol building was stunning. Too bad no pics.

The fam went to San Antonio to see the Alamo without me. 
I stayed at home and had some quality with Lizbeth and a police visit when I accidentally set off the house alarm. 
Good times. :)

Our final day was spent in Galveston at the beach.
It was awesome.













Yep.


 Texas love.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Epiphany at a Mission Homecoming...





A couple of nights ago, I reread  this blog post
Again I began to think about the promises of joy in my patriarchal blessing. 
I pondered my life right now and wondered if anyone on the outside looking in would think that joy and happiness was reigning supreme.
Even I wondered if it was true. 
More importantly, I wondered how it could be true.
Once again I asked Heavenly Father to help me understand.
In her talk today, my newly returned missionary niece read this quote 
from the talk I have read a thousand times:

"My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.”9 And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!"

In that moment, the spirit bore witness in a powerful way that the reason that joy and happiness can be supreme in my life is because I love, follow, worship, and live for Jesus. 
I do. 
It's that simple.
Once again, it just goes back to this:
Jesus first. Period. The end. 
He is pure joy. 

Thank you Meghan for that powerful teaching moment.
 Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dream Team.

Have you ever been thrown together with people you kind of know, but not too well, and then spent 14 hours a day with them for 5 days, cooking for 180+ girls and leaders, and at the end of the 5 days wish you could spend a little more time with them? 
Yup, that was Girls Camp this year for me.
Loved every moment.
5 days of joy, joy, joy.
Muchas, muchas, gracias Heavenly Father. :)


Eight years in a row, but who's counting?

 Apparently my ward is...

Friday, June 23, 2017

And Just Like That She is Back.

Really, it must be the 18 month thing because 
this girl's mission seemed to fly by. 
She might disagree, and so might her mother
 but I'm sticking with it.






There is almost nothing I love more
 than basking in that returned missionary glow.
It's lovely.
Well done, Meghan.
We sure love you.