Friday, September 15, 2017

A few thoughts...

A few weeks ago I got a text from a good friend asking me if I would mind praying for her dad.  Of course I would not mind.  I felt honored that she asked me.  We had heard rumors that this family didn't like Mormons much when we first moved in.  But slowly over the years we have built a nice relationship with them.  She kept me up to date on his progress and again text me shortly after he passed.  I have only met this man once and he was wonderful.  To be trusted by this friend and to have her confident in our prayers as well was a wonderful experience for our family. 

There have been many fires raging through B.C. this summer.  Last week it started moving close to where I grew up.  The loss and devastation for many is more than I can comprehend.  I keep trying to tell myself that if my house burnt down it is really just stuff.  But I haven't convinced myself yet.  I waited a long time for my home and I can't imagine starting over.  It is more than a house to us, it was a family project.  We sweat and worked and froze and sacrificed.  Every wall and floor we did with our hands. Since Tuesday, this picture has gone all over FaceBook and Instrgram.  It has taken me a few days to track down who it came from.  (I am a huge believer in giving photo credits, but I won't rant on about that today)  It was taken from a Savanna Norton in Cardston.

I love this picture.  It just embodies so much.  The smoke behind and the light of the temple.  What do I need to focus on?  What is most important in my life?  Even though things are tough and dark we have hope, we have light.  The fires are so destructive.  But from my far distance there is a beauty in the fire.  So many pictures I would have like to share here, but I couldn't find original source.  Raging towards me it would be terrifying, but looking at pictures I see the renewal that will come.  The land will renew itself.  There will be a raw beauty as it comes and refeshes and builds itself again. And we will get to witness it.  If I was an articulate person I could let you know all the emotion that I feel with this picture.  

Leah is in CALM right now.  Their assignment this week was to  find an apartment, build a grocery list, and a few other thing that they will need after they graduate.  She was in a partnership with a friend.  After about a 1/2 hour the friend said she was not finding anything.  Leah already had 4 places and her groceries done.  So they started talking about how Leah had found things so fast.  It was all through church sites.  They talked about how Cora already has a group of friends up there and things she is involved with.   The friend commented how her sister moved up and it took her 3 years to get to know people.  Then said convenient our church makes everything.  She was very impressed.

So with all these situation the last week and so much devastation around us, I have been extra thankful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I am so thankful for the knowledge of life after death I have and for the peace and comfort we have.  I can't imagine going through this life not knowing that my Savior is there for me and that he loves me. Through Him we get to renew ourselves, make ourselves better and become what He wants us to.  It was so much easier letting Cora go, knowing that she was moving in with good people and that she had an instant family and people to rely on.  She would have Home Teachers and friends that have the priesthood if she need anything.  Through hard times we can rely on our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  We have ward members and faith.   We know all will be well.  Look to the light!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Another School Year

Well it is back to another school year.  The days that Leah rides the bus in the morning it comes very early, and the other days, seminary is even earlier.  So I got one quick fantastic picture as the bus was pulling in the yard for Leah.  What a great first day picture.  (eye roll)
Leah is in grade 10 this year.  So far all is going well.  She said it really is not that different from junior high.  Just more people.  She is enjoying all her classes.  Blake is in Grade 7.  He did not enjoy going back the first two days, but is now having fun.  They both are loving band.  We talk to Cora a few times a day at least.  She is loving it.  Has had a few job interviews, we hope something pans out soon.  She has been very dedicated about looking.  Signed up for a gymnastics class and a mission prep class.  She said I should take more school photos and leave a big white screen for her with a sign that says 'photo not available'  Leah is looking forward to basketball starting.  She decided against drama.  The band teacher really wants her to take rock band because he knows she can sing. She said she would be willing to sing O Canada at assemblies and such but not interested in rock band.  Blake mentioned that he really does have more homework already.  He thought it would be just a little harder, but junior high is way more intense.  :)  But he really likes his teachers and is off to a good start I think.  So here we are for the 2017/2018 school year.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

And she is off....

It was finally time to take Cora to Edmonton.  I put it off as long as I could.  Dave and Blake went ahead of us in the Tahoe and Leah, Cora and I went in her car.  We had her drive so we knew she could go the distance and drive through all the traffic.  We got to her place a little after noon and started hauling things in.  Cora had never seen the place and didn't know what to expect.  Also it was a little smaller than I had remembered.
Leah colored on the way up to entertain herself.  Both the kids colored on the way home it was funny. I could tell Cora was a little down about the place.  There had been a girl in their room all summer and she had left a lot of stuff behind.  It was really messy.  And Maycie had gotten there the week before and had already cleaned up tons.  Can't imagine what they found.  We dropped her stuff, made up the bed and went to Galaxyland.  Thank goodness for Airmiles.  I couldn't believe how much stuff had gone up.  We did Galaxyland, Waterpark and 3 hotel nights all with Airmiles.  We would not have been able to do it otherwise.

Blake had really wanted to go back on Ropequest.  We didn't think we would be able to do that added expense.  He was so excited when we remembered that it had been moved inside Galaxyland and was part of the ticket.  They went all over that thing.

Leah was looking forward to the Giant Swing.

Cora was very determined that she was doing Mindbender this year.  They did a few other things as she worked up the nerve.  Blake was very unsure.  As he was sitting there I thought he was going to hyperventilate.  He had the biggest smile and thumbs up when he rode back in.  Cora could not believe it took her that long to get on it.  They rode it at least 10 times that day and really wanted to go back again.  Now that Blake is a little older, he enjoyed the space shot a lot more.  Also many rides on that one.

That night we dropped Cora off and went to our hotel.  I was a little sick inside, wondering how I could just leave her in a place she was so unhappy about.  I kept reminding myself that we had all felt really good about this place when we found it.  Unbeknownst to all of us, Cora, Dave and I had each spent a good portion of the night thinking about how we could make it better.  When we got back together the next morning we had a plan.  Dave and Blake got to work organizing some junk and hauling things out.  They moved the other girls stuff out of the way.  The Leah and I sat and talked to Cora until she was ready to go and cheered up.  We got the kitchen organized and helped Dave move stuff around.  We then headed to Ikea to get her a lot of organizing things, like desk and shelves.  She was feeling a lot more hopeful by the evening.  I had booked temple baptism and we went off to our appointment.  We were so glad Maycie decided to come with us.

It was a fun experience.  Very different than our temple.  You could tell that they don't do baptisms often.  Blake was the only male doing them (they put us in with a small group of RS sisters).  The guy in charge asked how many he could do.  I asked how many he needed done.  20 was the answer, but they found 5 more after.  He was so happy to do it all.  After the temple we grabbed Subway and dropped the girls back off.  Cora was more upbeat and ready to organize her things.  That night we were sleeping nicely and the fire alarm goes off.  At 3:45 a.m.  We snagged our phones and wallets and evacuated.  It was surprising how many just looked in the hall, not going anywhere.  We were out for about an hour.  The fire department determined it was a false alarm.  So we were able to go back in.  There were a lot of angry people the next morning.  Too bad, it was not their fault.  I was glad to know everything was working and if something did happen we would be safe.  

The next morning was some more organizing.  We loaded up the Tahoe with garbage and recycling that had just been thrown out of Cora's back door.  Dave took Cora driving around to find the recycle center and a few job places, grab a few things at Ikea they had forgot and just practiced driving around.  Blake, Leah and I went to the store to stock her up on groceries.

They found great hats while there.  We meet back and ate lunch at Cora's then off to the waterpark.  We had an extra free ticket, so Maycie came with us as well.  We stayed as late as we could and took the girls home after.  Thursday we slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. We went to Cora's to see how she had got all set up and say good-bye.  It is odd not having her here.  We talk to her lots and she is having a blast.  A little stressed about finding a job.  Keep her in your prayers, but she loves the YSA activities and is meeting tons of people.  She is happy and upbeat.  Quoting movies and sarcastic as ever.  So many great thing in store for her.  We miss her like crazy, but this is her next step and so far she is handling it amazingly.

Phantom

Awhile ago, Cora mentioned that she really wanted to see Phantom and Metallica.  Both coming close to our area.  We decided that I couldn't to Metallica, a little out of my price range and a bit to far away, but we could do Phantom.  Since she will be gone for her birthday we wanted to do it as an early birthday present for her.  The Saturday of the event we got up early and headed up.  There were a few stores she wanted to look at for things for her apartment. Then we went to lunch.  Dave doesn't like Earls so we never go.  But I LOVE their chicken nuggets.  So that is where we went.  As tradition we did not even look at a menu, just ordered our usual.  I asked the girls if they wanted other options.  Both declined.
After lunch we drove to the theater.  I got matinee tickets so I wouldn't have to find my way around in the dark.  We were quite far back but the girls completely loved it.  It was so fun to spend the day with them.  The performance was wonderful.

I love that Cora has such a wide range of interests, that she could go from the classic Phantom of the Opera to a Metallica concert.  It was a perfect girls day.  I am so glad my daughters have a sister.  They have such a great friendship. I hope they always stay this close.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Temple Baptisms

I like to get my kids to the temple as soon as they turn 12.  With trek prep and EFY for Leah I dropped the ball with making an appointment for Blake.  The temple was closed for their 2 week cleaning till just after his birthday.  As soon as they opened back up, I called and took the first available day.
It was short notice for everyone.  But we were grateful to those that could make it.

He absolutely loved it.  Leah had already made plans to do baptisms that night with Emily's ward, so we didn't plan anything after.  I packed a lunch for us to eat.  After baptisms and Leah had meet up with the other ward, we had a nice picnic on the temple lawn.

We decided to get milkshakes at Dave's before we left town.  So good!  Blake took it all in and really enjoyed the experience.  On the way home he asked if we could go back and do them right away.  Luckily I had already made an appointment for the Edmonton temple a few days later.  It was so neat to finally have all my kids in the temple together.  I was one happy mom to see them all sitting there together.  Dave and I were feeling very blessed and thankful for the kids we have.  I am so glad he loved it.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Leah's Patriarchal Blessing

A few years ago, Leah had decided that she wanted to get her blessing just before high school.  When it happened that she was going to trek and EFY the same summer she thought that it would help to be the perfect time.  She felt she would be on a spiritual high from those experiences and it would be good timing for her blessing.  While she was at EFY, Leah had one of her friends invite her to a party.  In our family we have stayed away from high school parties, because it is always a big drinking party.  On the way home, Leah mentioned that she had been invited and had told them that she would not be going, but thanks for the invite and she hoped they had a good time.  Leah did not even ask us about the party.  She made a decision on her own.  A lot more went into the conversation with her friend, but it doesn't matter and in the end she understood.  So as Leah is telling me this, I reminded her that she would not have been able to go anyways.  That was the night she had an appointment for her blessing.  Leah got very emotional, broke down crying and said to me, "So Monday, at 7 as they are lighting the fire, as they are all arriving at ______'s house, I will be sitting down at the stake patriarch's and getting revelation from my Heavenly Father.  Revelation that will guide my life.  This is were my life splints from the decisions of my friends.  How telling Monday at 7 will be"  I have to admit, I got a little teary myself as she was saying all this.  I was very proud of her.  It was a beautiful blessing, with lots of things she needed to hear and help she will need.  I love this crazy, fun girl.  She has a lot going for her and is a true blessing to us.  I can't wait to see her future friends and family and to watch her fulfill the wonderful things from her blessings.  Leah is a cherished daughter of God and has no problem standing up for what she knows is right.  I hope that strength never leaves her.  She is going to need it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

EFY for Leah

We were able to take Leah to EFY this year.  She asked Emily if she wanted to go as well.  We left Sunday morning.  It was so fun to talk and be with these two all the way down.  I had decided this year, since I didn't want to leave Blake alone that I would travel down and drop off, then travel down again and pick up.  Natalie and I had so much fun together.  
We got in late Sunday night.  Check into our hotel and found somewhere to eat.  Then we went for a walk along the river and looked at the temple.

The next morning we got ready and drove the girls to Rexburg.  They got all checked in and found the place they would be staying.


We meet their roommates for the week and some of the moms.  All the girls instantly felt close and it was nice.  We had gotten them snacks for the week before checking in.  So a quick lunch and we left them to meet with their councilor and have a blast.

Leah loved every minute of it.  She had many fun people in her company.  They have been keeping in contact so far.


She absolutely LOVED the speakers.  Leah took so many notes and learned so much.  She enjoyed all the activities and the down time with her roommates at night.




She wasn't quite as talkative as Cora had been when we picked her up, but they were also pretty tired.  She tried out for the variety show and just missed getting in.  But I was glad she took a chance.  Also they sang in the EFY choir.  It was another amazing, testimony building experience for her. She continues to tell us stories when things pop into her head and when she gets a text from the group chat set up by all of them.  Friday, Natalie and I drove back down.  Time went quickly.  We had over 36 hours in a car together and never ran out of things to say.  Early Saturday morning we picked up Leah and Emily.  We were so happy to see them.  We drove straight to the temple and had them to baptisms before we left.  One of their friends came with them, and they passed many on the way out.  It meant a later start for us, but I love ending with a temple visit.


After was another quick stop to buy snacks for the way home and breakfast for the girls, back home we came.

We loved hearing their experiences and all about the fun they had.  Both really want to go again next year.  :/  We will have to see.  About 3/4 into the trip, they both crashed.

I am so glad we were able to have Leah experience this.  It is a wonderful opportunity and such a faith building experience.  Leah has said many times that she is so glad she got this boost before starting high school in a few weeks.  She continues to read her journal from EFY and study the scriptures as she was challenged.  It will be good for her to keep these good habits up.