Monday, January 16, 2012

Blog? What Blog?

I have spent the past several months witnessing personal struggle, observing courageous effort and learning from the experience of others. In a unique and inexplicable way I have been fighting my own battles too. And while I am no smarter today than I was months ago, I have learned some valuable lessons about life, parenting and faith.

I am a missionary mom . . . again!
It is remarkable how fast time flies. What is even more amazing is that all the lessons I learned during my first experience have somehow been forgotten. I am equally weepy, worried and woeful this time around as I was last. There is one difference, however, and that is the assurance I have that all will be well. The last part of that scripture that says . . ."and all these things shall work together for your good," . . . well, I know that is true.
Easton is a strong, determined, motivated, capable person. He has known many personal challenges - physical, emotional and spiritual - and he has always prevailed in a miraculous way. I don't know why I expected his mission experience to be any different.

He is working so hard, has such a positive attitude and an incredible drive to "do it" perfectly. And . . . . it is hard! He is - a 10 hour bus ride, a one hour van trip and a ferry ride across a river - from the mission home. His companion is from Nicaragua, speaks no English, and he is in a district of only 4 Elders. He is tough and humble, resolute and overwhelmed . . . . and I am aching. The blessing in all of this is that I know he knows where to turn for real help!

I have witnessed the long-awaited return of a daughter's missionary boyfriend. There was joy and excitement followed by pain and confusion. I have watched the courage it takes to seek and follow divine guidance that goes completely contrary to what you have always dreamed of. It has been emotionally exhausting and spiritually taxing to see a child work so hard to do what is right.
There have been an untold number of tears shed and countless hours of quiet prayer and pondering. I have learned by observation that if you are not making life easier for someone you might very well be making it harder for them. I have seen unintentional cruelty and incredible support. The blessings were not immediate but the tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father have been felt. And with patience and time, things are beginning to fall into a very inspired and happy place.

While we are not strangers to the Emergency Room for sports injuries and household accidents, physical difficulty is something we have been blessed to avoid. Watching a daughter suffer through ankle surgery and struggle with the painful recovery process has been inspiring to say the least.
Motivation with a smile. Perseverance with optimism. These are indications of real character and evidences of personal faith.

I used to think that 'parenting' was a fairly finite occupation. I believed that your chance for teaching was limited and your years of influence numbered. I was wrong. My mother is an amazing lady.
She is 80 years old. She has a new knee and an awful hip. Walking at all is painful . . . walking well is impossible. She does it anyway. She believes that this life experience will all be worth it in the end! She doesn't fuss over the things she can't change. She only worries about making a difference - making life easier for someone else! She trusts that the Lord will make up the difference in every battle . . . and he does!

I have learned other lessons in the past months too. I have learned that there are always wonderful people to bless your life. I have learned that just when you think you have it figured out . . . you don't! I have learned that I have more weaknesses than I can count. And, I have learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, October 10, 2011

25 Years Later...

I like to think of myself as a realist. I consider myself rational and sensible. I believe that I am an optimist but not a dreamer. Today marks 25 years of marriage for me, and I honestly never thought about where I might be at this stage in my life. The prospect of being 50 years old along with the realization of being married as long as I was single were two thoughts I chose to ignore. For the record, I feel much younger than 50. Also for the record, my children are the greatest result of my 25 years of marriage. They are way more impressive than anything I accomplished in my 25 years of single life! I recognize everyday how wonderfully blessed I have been to associate with the amazing people I call my children. When I became a parent I felt a weight of responsibility. I believed that it was my job to teach them, be an example to them and help them realize their potential. Now, they are doing all of those things for me. They are better, more diligent, faithful and inspiring than I will ever be. They teach me everyday by their example, courage and perspective. It is overwhelming to think about how far we have come. To Al, I say, "We have done OK!" And, on this day 25 years later. . . it is my remarkable children that I celebrate. I love them. They make my life complete!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Here We Go Again!!

The summer is over.
A new school year will begin.
Another sixteen-year-old driver.
Another missionary to send.

I have nothing to show
For the months that have passed
No projects completed, but
Memories that will last.

My children once clamored
Like pups in a pile
Now scattered and separate
United once in a while.

School work and friends
Priorities changed,
But for time spent together
Schedules are rearranged.

Guatemala will be
Easton's destination.
Short time left at home
Shows complete dedication.

Ben's back in town.
A smile on Haley's face
Having him at our home
All things seem back in place.

Surgery for Kali.
New ankle secure.
No running for months
But soccer future is sure!

Teag has completed
His elementary school days.
"Hanging" with friends.
Adopting Junior High ways.

Chandler's own business
Still pays for his fun.
University courses
Quite a few 'til he's done!

My 50 year age is
Reality, no doubt!
Grown children and wrinkles
I could sure do without!

I have run many miles-
An attempt to avoid
My new station in life
With which I'm annoyed!

The years unforgiving.
Time marches on.
There is no reprieve
Precious moments now gone.

But every Fall
When school starts once again
Goals re-emerge...
Resolve comes from within.

Another fresh chance
To improve, make a change.
And the process of life
Seems a little less strange!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Moments of Joy

Life is filled with moments of joy. I have learned to recognize and appreciate them because sometimes it feels that they are too infrequent. I'm inclined to believe that those moments are sweet reminders of a loving Father's merciful care.

I have had the privilege to be acquainted with many great people. I have benefited from their examples, their faith and most assuredly their trials. I have always had a testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I know it is a perfect plan and I know it is designed to bring happiness. What I do not know is exactly how that works within the framework of a world filled with sorrow and tragedy. I think the mystery of it all comes full circle in those moments of joy!

I believe it is no mistake that special people surface at just the right moments in our lives. 27 years ago I was privileged to make the acquaintance of a very energetic, faithful, fun, inspired friend. She returned from her mission to her home ward in Quilpue, Chile where I happened to be serving as a new missionary. She was engaged, soon after her return, to the mission leader in that same ward. They were both awesome individuals; and best of all they were my very dear friends. They visited me nearly a year later in another area of Chile, and that was our last connection before my return home. Just last October, I received a message from Gloria, my friend, on Facebook. She was living in Provo, had two married children and two darling grandchildren. Her son was living with her husband from whom she had separated. We stayed in touch and always talked about getting together. Saturday night we finally had our face to face reunion! It was truly a moment of joy. Even in light of the fact that Gloria is leaving the country to return home to Chile, I am forced to recognize that our reunion was a blessing from above!

There are heroes everywhere. None of the one's I know wear capes or have super powers. All, however, are endowed with spiritual strength superior to any human capacity. I know that it is heaven sent. It comes as a result of personal preparation exactly at the time of great need. I am impressed by the courage of these people. Even more amazing to me is the realization of how many of them have played an important part in my life.

My High School years were the best! I have great memories of endless happy, funny and joyful events! Interestingly, however, I don't think I appreciated how wonderfully blessed my life was in those days until recently. I have learned that you have to create your opportunities. So, just a few weeks ago I connected with an old friend and found out that her son was leaving on a mission. The Sunday of his farewell I determined to attend the meeting even though I did not personally know her son. What a blessing! What great testimony and strength he shared in his farewell address. Nothing is coincidental. Nothing happens by chance. Together, my friend and I decided to attend a benefit run sponsored by another of our High School friends a couple of weeks later. It was a moment of joy to be in the presence of old friends, but realizing that I was in the company of living heroes gave the phrase whole new meaning. Both Pam and Marie have endured great personal heartache and physical challenges. Both are amazing, strong, inspiring people - and I am privileged to call them friends!

I have incredible children. They are upright, exemplary, and delightful. Each one is unique and each one fills a different need in our family. Easton is graduating in two weeks. He completed his final missionary interview with the Stake President yesterday. He is well prepared. I am not. I have had years to get ready for his departure. I have prayed about it and been amazed at the individual he has become. I know, too that he will be a great force for good in whatever mission to which he is called. What I do not know is how we will survive at home without his witty, fun, and hard-driving personality. He will be so greatly missed. And yet, past experience tells me that the coming two years will be filled with many great moments of joy!

I consider it an honor to work with children. They are honest, sincere and innovative. They try hard, love learning and show joy often. Everyday I am reminded what it is like to feel accomplishment in even the smallest measure of progress. Teaching reading in the Elementary school brings many moments of joy!

I have decided that "going the distance" in life is a lot like running a marathon. It had been over two years since I ran my last marathon, up until about three weeks ago, that is. I like to spend a of of time doubting myself. I'm not a fan of personal preparation. It takes time. It is hard work. It isn't pretty. I have always found it hard to exercise self discipline in an effort to strengthen weaknesses. But I have seen in those around me the benefit of putting in the extra time and effort. The results are inevitable.

I ran the Provo City marathon on May 7. It was my first race "alone." I arrived alone, ran alone, finished alone and drove home alone - and yet, I never felt alone. I felt inspired by all the great people I know who love running like I do. Running has always been my metaphor for life and I have found that I am not alone. There is great personal satisfaction in crossing the finish line. Even when the time is too slow or the legs feel weak, there is a determination to run again. "What the years have shown me is that running clarifies the thinking process as well as purifies the body. I think best - most broadly and fully - when I am running." It is always a moment of joy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The end of another era is quickly approaching. Easton attended his last High School prom last night. His graduation is less than a month away.
His mission papers will be completed this week. The call will come too soon.
I will be counting and crying before we know it!

Last night as we did the traditional picture taking at the park before the dance, I realized how much I will miss this great group of boys.

They are handsome, intelligent, diverse and unique. They are high-energy, creative, motivated and fun.
They will do many great things. They are a joy to have around.

The end of another era is quickly approaching. I will never be a fan of change.
I will never feel that I have mastered the challenge of adjusting. I will, however, be eternally grateful for the whisperings of the spirit that lead us to this neighborhood and this home.
Our children have enjoyed a blessed upbringing.
Their lives have been touched by wonderful teachers, amazing ward members, and heaven-sent friends.

The end of another era is quickly approaching . . . and we know that we are blessed!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Timing is Everything!

"Bad news never has good timing." I've always thought that John Mayer was right. However, of late, I have decided that, while that may be true, the Lord has perfect timing. This past week has been one of sorrow, remembrance and realization. A week ago last Sunday as we sat down to dinner, Haley said that she had seen on Facebook a post that suggested that Lacie had passed away.

Lacie was and is one of the most vibrant, beautiful, mischievous people I know. Twelve plus years ago she was one of the Laurels while I was serving in the Young Women's presidency of our ward. We had a sweet connection that I treasured then and cherish now. She was wild, fun, willing to try anything, and always had a story to tell! There were numerous times that she would be riding shotgun in the car with me on the way to a Young Women's activity and I would be silently praying for guidance about how to respond to her crazy experiences. I loved Lacie. She was everything I never was. She was brave and forthright. She wasn't afraid to say anything. She had no secrets!

Lacie was sealed in the temple when she was only 18. She didn't seem that young to me - she had already experienced so much of life. Her husband, Jace, was a lucky guy - and she was a lucky girl. Jace was good-hearted and sweet. Most of all, he loved Lacie. I will never forget sitting in the sealing room that day and knowing how lucky and blessed they both were.

I got updates on Lacie often from her parents and others in the ward. Through the birth of four darling children, illness, and other difficult times, Lacie just kept going. Within the last year, I connected with her again on Facebook. (On the Facebook page that I vowed I would never have - I suppose everything happens for a reason!) I will forever be grateful for the connection.

After the news of Lacie's passing, I was overcome with sadness. When I served with the young women I loved them. I always thought it was just because of the time we spent together. The past week made me realize how much I really love every one of those girls. They are now mothers and wives. They are living the lives that they only dreamed of when I knew them. But, every time I think them I just love them! There really is no good time for any death; but I suppose that it always comes at just the right time for the individual. Lacie will always be everything I never was, and I am so lucky to have known and loved her!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I RUN . . . Why???

I always say that I run so I can eat. There are a few other reasons that I have chosen running as my "sport." They are:
1. I run because it is the only thing I know how to do.
2. I run because any idiot can put one foot in front of the other.
3. I run because it is mindless and automatic so I can pass the time pondering other things.

Yesterday I ran my first trail run - and, with one race, all of the reasons why I run changed.
The Buffalo Run is held on Antelope Island. It includes a 25K (15.5 mls), a 50 K (31 mls), a 50 mile, and a 100 mile race. The 25K route makes a figure 8 across a small section of the island that includes a five mile loop of steep downhill and treacherous switchbacks uphill. I registered for the race with no knowledge of the course. In fact, the day of the race I had no idea what was in store for me.

I always figured that running was running, regardless of where you did it. I run everyday. I can run long distances without ever feeling it in my legs. I am not fast but I can keep going. 15.5 miles is not out of my range- i will sometimes run that distance without even pre-planning. I can run it without water (at this time of the year) and I don't need any additional nourishment.

I always get pre-race jitters. I don't sleep well the night before I run. I wake up every hour worrying that I might not wake up on time or that I might forget something. This race day was no different. I was awake before the alarm went off at 5;30. Kari was (as always) my knowledgeable running companion.

She wasn't sure if she was going to run the whole race, but she went anyway. She is great to drive, get us to the starting line and ease my anxiety.
The scenery on the island is beautiful I have spent my entire life in Utah and have never even been to Antelope Island.
We saw buffalo and antelope (hmmm, weird, maybe that is how it got it's name!). The larks were singing loudly as we got out of the car.

The trail was rocky, steep in places and muddy in others. There were places that were what I would consider "impossible" to run - not so, however if you are a trail runner! The whole experience was challenging. I ran alone - except for the two life-savers I met on the way. I met Cameron on the switchback section and the good conversation and great positive attitude that he had just kept me going.

Not long after we parted ways, I met Mark who ran with me for the last 6 miles. He literally had to pick me up off the trail twice. In the last couple of miles I tripped and fell flat down two times - gotta love eating dirt! On the last fall i completely blew my Nike running watch to pieces! My legs felt like Jello from the strain of climbing up rocks and stepping over uneven ground. I was feeling pretty spent, but Mark just kept reminding me to drink. The last 3/4 mile we picked up the pace and finished at a pretty respectable speed.

Now, I have some new reasons for wanting to "TRAIL" run. They are:
1. There is nothing automatic about concentrating on the placement of every step.
2. There is no chance of boredom when staying upright alone is a challenge.
3. You see places that you would never otherwise experience.
4. I really never knew that I had "quads."
5. Today I am stiff and sore - but I have a sense of accomplishment. I remember now that I can do hard things and that I am pretty tough!