Saturday, March 25, 2017

We Ride Home Together

“You may not remember the time you let me go first. 
Or the time you dropped back to tell me it wasn't that far to go. Or the time you waited at the crossroads for me to catch up. You may not remember any of those, but I do and this is what I have to say to you: 
Today, no matter what it takes, we ride home together.”  
― Brian AndreasTraveling Light


























I seem to be constantly thinking about the sand in the hour glass. Do you know what I mean? What I mean is that my handsome 17 year old is stretching his wings and we are down to just over a year before lift off. I know he'll still be my boy, I know he'll still need his Mom, I know he'll come back and live at home at least for a bit but I also know that things will never quite be the same after he leaves. I'll never really have all 5 "kids" at home again. Even when he comes back and sleeps in his same bed, he'll be a man. A-grown-man. And so I am cherishing my time as a Mother more and more.

Believe me I still have the hard, mundane, draining, exhausting days that I wish would end but when the sand is about to run out on you, it becomes easier to ENJOY even the hard and to relish even the mundane.

I love ANY chance we have to be off of school. And when I say love I mean LOVE. We are ending a glorious 2 week Spring Break and I am still all warm and filled with HAPPY from our time together. I love that a little time off,  well spent, can cast its light on busy, difficult, schedule filled days ahead.

Thank-you Spring, you are my Hero!

We spent half of the first week up in the White Mountains. Playing with friends and cousins, eating junk food and staying up late. The boys and their friend shot, skinned, cooked and ate a real life rabbit and then the next day they did the same with a fish. It was all manly and brave-ish.





























The next day Kaden played the organ for our entire church meeting and did a great job!







































On Monday the little girls went back to school which created a rare opportunity for me to really focus on the teenagers and plan around them. On Wednesday my friend and I took a whole load of teenagers to the lake. I loved seeing them relax and play and let go of all the homework and responsibility that is creeping (or slamming more like it) into their lives. Carefree days of childhood are so short and so I love when we steal and day and extend the carefree a bit longer.












































Thursday Scott and I took the big kids plus one cousin hiking to the Wave Cave. And man I tell you it was a sweet little slice of Heaven day. The desert was at her best. All green and alive and interesting with its twisting unique cactus, absolutely vibrant wild flowers and a sea of steady Saguaros. Plus we nailed it with weather. It was sprinkling and overcast but the sun would break through and let us feel that warm toastyness on our shoulders. IDEAL is what I am trying to say.

I will relive this day for years to come. My strong athletic kids, scaling the mountain beside me and taking it all in from the top was as good as it gets.  Oh happy day! Not to mention this hike rewards you with a chance for some pretty amazing pictures.


































I am convinced that the whole world and all the work that God has done from the beginning of time is all there and all exists for FAMILY. God's plan is families. He put us together in these little tribes so we can take care of each other, learn to love others more than our selves and then come home to Him better, wiser and more like He is. I love that we call Him Father, He is a parent and, at least in my experience, I feel closest to Heaven in the painfully hard and yet beautiful role as a Mother. Somehow, as we hiked and climbed and felt our lungs heave and legs burn and looked at all that creation around us- I was filled to past full with love for my children and for my God who allows me the privileged. Forever is the only place long enough for that kind of love and I am so thankful to a Savior who descended below all so that He could reach to us and say,  here, here is forever, its yours. Because of Him we get to hike together, help each other through the hard parts, enjoy the scenery and someday ride home together. And when that day comes, it is becasue of Him that the sand in my hour glass will never run out.

How I love Him for it.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Heavy and the Light

I was so thankful to be able to attend my cousins funeral a few weeks ago. It was sad but the whole service was filled with the Spirit and it was filled with love. I am so thankful for the light of the gospel. I don't feel any confusion or worry when someone I love dies, I am just really grateful for the understanding I have of life after death and progression and eternal families and the Atonement that makes it all possible.

The week of  my cousins death my Aunt asked if I'd write a poem for the funeral program. At first I felt completely worried and sure that I was not the one for the job. Even though we are first cousins, I am several years older and I didn't know him as well as I know some of his siblings. But soon after that thought, came the quiet reassurance that I know the process and I can trust it. I set aside some time to fast, study and pray and then I sat down and waited and listened. In time the words came and the Spirit guided my thoughts and I felt that I had written what The Lord wanted me to. I sent it over to my Aunt and she called with the sweetest, most tender, heart-felt thanks. We cried together and expressed our love for family, for the gospel and for the Savior that makes death only temporary and families eternal. How I love Him and His willingness to be involved in our lives.


























Along with the heavy and hard we've also had so many silly little daily things happening and even though they sometimes feel insignificant and not worth writing down, the ordinary stuff of life really is LIFE and so I write!

We had a simple and enjoyable Valentines Day. I made pink pancakes in the morning and set a candle on the table for a "candle light" dinner. It was just grilled cheese and fruit salad but add a candle and your're good!







































Branson has been hard at work earning money to buy tools. He especially wants saws and staple guns and other carpentry tools. He has always been my builder and he loves to create. He even went dumpster diving for scrap wood to start some little projects.














































































He already made me a cool #7 and an Arizona!

Poor Cali has had all kinds of dental problems and had to have a tooth pulled. Good thing the tooth fairy remembered to pay up!





































Kaden had a few moles removed! Fun way to spend an afternoon! Ill take it though, my afternoons with Kaden are numbered so I'm just so happy to be with him even if its at the doctor!








































Last Saturday I was able to run the Phoenix Half Marathon with my good friend Karlie. Karlie is the best and we spent our training runs over the last few months sharing our best ideas on FHE, parenting, the gospel and mostly the Savior. Karlie always inspires me to study more and learn more and be better. Race day was so fun and I loved the whole experience. I am so thankful for friends like Karlie!






































The older I get the more I realize that the good stuff of life is the people you are around. I sure love my people!