Friday, June 24, 2016

What a happy day!

Yesterday we celebrated with the happy couple, David and Shari.  They were married in the Mt. Timpanogos temple.

Adam and I got to sit next to Dillon Johnson who we hadn't seen for several years.  (That's what you get for moving when a kid is on his mission.)  It was a beautiful wedding and I loved that we could be there.  I squeezed Adam's hand during the ceremony.  It reminded me of us and reminded me of forever and forever is a really wonderful thing.

We hustled home afterward to prepare for the luncheon that was at our house.  Eric's sisters, who are not surprisingly lovely women, had helped prepare the food and Janet and I darted around getting things set up and I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have Janet in my kitchen.  I got Leif, in the absence of Braeden, to reach things off high shelves and the lovely Freja and Emma kept asking, "What can I do to help?"  It was slightly chaotic but mostly really really great.  People thanked us for hosting and I just felt grateful to get to be involved.  We were the lucky ones.

I stole the rest of these pictures from Facebook:

This is Shari's dad, reading a letter Shari wrote to him when she was a little girl.  Then he read his response.  It was very sweet.  There's Dillon in the background and those are...ahem...his girlfriend's arms around his waist.

Now we have a delicious day ahead of us of more time with the Jorgensens.  The only thing that would make this better is if Braeden were here.  We miss that kid.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When tragedy strikes

In the last few days I've heard about sad things happening to two different families that I care about.  My heart is aching and my little troubles seem minimal and I wish I could fix things for everyone.

I can't fix things.  Life throws us curve balls and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to it all.  It should be that terrible things only happen to terrible people, but terrible things happen to really good people too.

The only source of comfort for me is to remember that there is One that can fix things.  I read this a few days ago--before I even knew about the sad things.  It comforted me then and it comforts me now.

Life may get hard, confusing, painful, and discouraging.  I bear you my witness that through the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ will cut through the confusion, the pain, and the darkness.  Whether it comes in a remarkable burst or in gentle flow, that glorious spiritual power will infuse healing love and comfort into the repentant, wounded soul; dispel darkness with the light of truth; and cast out discouragement with hope in Christ.  We will see these blessings come, and we will know by the witness of the Spirit that it is the Lord Jesus Christ working in our lives.  Our burdens truly will be "swallowed up in the joy of [our Redeemer]."
 Elder Kim B. Clark

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


It's a summer of walks with these two and Adam.  It looks like they're holding hands, but they're not.  Mark just struggles with personal space.  I do hold Adam's hand while we walk.

It's sunsets on the deck.

And getting pictures and updates from this one.

(I didn't say I always understand the pictures.  I just said that I receive them.)

The sun goes down and this happens.

And we start all over again.

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, June 20, 2016

What the world needs

Father's Day caused me to reflect on fathers in general.  My conclusion?  They're pretty great.  I'm blessed by my father.

 He is loving (and tall):

He is an example of goodness and service:

He's a good grandpa to our kids:

I'm blessed by Adam's father.  Not only did he raise an excellent man for me to marry, he played a big and important role in Braeden's, Emma's and Mark's childhoods.  His absence is all the more felt because of the way he loved them.

I was looking over some old pictures and just skimming through paints a picture of Adam and what kind of father he is.  He is the one with all the good ideas.  He's the one that lets them swim whenever and wherever our adventure takes us.  He's the one that cleans the sand off their feet after they swim.  He's the one that takes most of the pictures (which is good news because he's a better photographer than I am but bad news because he isn't in many pictures).

He is the best one at wrapping you up when you're cold.

He's the one that is responsible for three children that love water and swimming...

...and waverunners.

He's the one that provides for our needs...and a lot of our wants too.

I don't just mean he provides for us monetarily.  He provides counsel and wit and support and listening ears.

He's a good sport even if Small World isn't his favorite ride.

He shares good things he knows.

And inspires good things from our kids.

Marrying him was the smartest thing I've ever done.

I'm grateful for good men and good fathers.  They make life happy and inspire me to be better.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The horse and his boy

No, I'm not talking about the C.S. Lewis book.  I'm talking about a different boy, the one I miss every day.

He asks me to pray for him.  Um...really?

I do, kid.  And sometimes I even pray for you without crying, but not too often.

He's having so many amazing and hard and wonderful and intense experiences and I know he is growing and improving in breathtaking ways.

And then he's still Braeden.  So very Braeden.

Rebecca Justesen sent me these pictures:

My first thought was, "Did he take his horse head?!?"  I looked in his room and didn't see it.  I found this picture (and texted it back to Rebecca).

(I can't believe how teeny Mark is in the picture.)

Then I found myself comparing horse heads.  Is it the same one? 

Is this my life now? 

Comparing pictures of my son wearing the same/different horse heads?

Did he take his horse head on his mission? 

The follow up question, of course, is why?



At least he didn't take his fur coat.  I know that because he left it in the trunk of his car. Along with the rest of his costumes.

(Because you never know when you'll need a costume apparently.)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Emma's room

Emma wants to paint her room and make some changes to what furniture she has (get rid of the clunky desk and trade it in for a bench with storage).  I'm all for renovating (we're not really renovating, but that's what we are calling it since we watch HGTV).  I love changing things.  I also love negotiating.

I told Emma we could make the changes to her room if she got rid of stuff.  A lot of stuff.  A whole lot.  Emma is a dangerous combination of sentimental and creative.  She was very prolific as a child, filling notebooks with stories and drawings.  She used more glue and tape than any ten children and if I ever needed the scissors or stapler or hole punch, chances were they were in her room.  She is also as stubborn as anyone you'll ever meet and when I suggested my terms for the painting, she started to dig in her heels and tell me that she didn't want to get rid of ONE THING.

I said, "OK.  That's fine."  And I walked away.

But then, I had her.  Because she wanted to paint her room.  (It is so rare that I win in these situations!)

For the first step, I dragged three enormous boxes labeled EMMA out of the dungeon.  (The dungeon is our very aptly named storage room in the basement.)  I instructed Emma to go through the boxes and get rid of what she could.  The boxes hadn't been touched in nearly two years.  I was betting she didn't need what was inside.

Emma made three piles.  A (quite large) keep pile, a throw away pile and a give away pile.  She eliminated one whole box which was progress!  (Now we can fill that box up with stuff she's unwilling to part with, but willing to box up from her room.  Baby steps I tell you.)

I was looking at the give away pile and deciding what her cousins may be interested in.  In her throw away pile, my eyes landed on a notebook.  It was one of many notebooks in the pile but it looked familiar.  It was the dialogue journal she and I wrote to each other when she was 9.  It obviously means more to me than it does to Emma.  She threw it away, but to me it is a treasure.

There are lots of pages like this:

I would write something quick (I was busy) and Emma would write something long.  Usually a description of her dreams.  No one could describe their dreams like Emma!  I finally would tell her she could only tell me her dreams if it took under 30 seconds.  Writing them was a good solution.

I just loved looking through her writing and remembering those home schooling years when my children were the center of everything.  It was a bustling, immersive time.  I would end most days with an ache from the tension between my shoulder blades.  There were lots of power struggles and tears but also a lot of cuddling up to read together.  There was that irresistible thrill of seeing my children understand something I was teaching them.  It was magical and just plain hard.  I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

I wish I'd realized how fast it would fly by.

It's been a while since I've been invited to a tea party but I know to still knock before entering.  Girlie loves her privacy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My brother

Did you hear the story that happened last week in rural Oregon?  Outside of Walmart, a guy stole a lady's bike.  Another guy got his horse out of his horse trailer and roped the would be thief.

The only thing I could think was that that is exactly what Tabor would have done. 

Mark stayed with Tabor while we were at Girls' Camp.  I felt a little anxiety in advance because I always do when my children are going to be away from me.  Then I would remember, it's Tabor.  I trust Tabor.  I knew that he would not take any guff from a teenage boy but that he would also be kind.

Mark was excited to go because he loves Tabor and Katie and especially his cousins.  He also knew that Tabor was going to pay him to work.  You could not make Mark happier!  When we were driving home, he reveled in telling me all about the hard work he did and how dirty he got.  Also, he had to mow the lawn three times--because Tabor insisted on it done right + Mark was a novice on the ride on lawn mower.

Mark didn't mind.  He sort of thrives under being pushed physically, especially if it's by someone he likes.  He loved how hard his PE teacher pushed him.  He enjoyed the little swim clinic he participated in that was a fund raiser put on by the high school swim team.  Mark's teacher was a big senior boy who told him that he was going to make them work hard and he would be, "the monster under their bed."  Mark thought that was the best thing ever.

I don't know.

Another thrilling part of Mark's time with Tabor was that Tabor introduced him to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio.  "It's all about money!" Mark said.  "It's about staying out of debt and he just told people what he thought about their choices."

I'm grateful for siblings.  Sometimes I feel like we're pitching in and raising our kids a little bit together and I love that.


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