Friday, October 30, 2015

My Joy is Full

I am a Grandma!

Hunter Dawn delivered Bradley Corbyn Siever on October 28, 2015.  "He came to the world in the usual way", and blessed my life more than words can express.

Hunter's water ruptured some time over the previous weekend and because of complications with a UTI and because she didn't go into labor, she was misdiagnosed.  On Wednesday, she went in early to the doctor for her regular weekly check up and he immediately sent her over to labor and delivery, which was conveniently a few steps away.  She called me at work and I came over as soon as I could. She was hooked up to be induced by 9:30 am and delivered by 3:15pm. Hunter did such a great job and I'm so proud of her. She was literally born to be a Mom.

I was able to be there to help Hunter receive her epidural and my Mom and I each held a leg as she delivered Bradley. What a sweet experience to have my own Mom and Bradley's Great Grandma there to help bring him in to the world.  I also felt many more generations of love all around.  His delivery was one of the most sacred and special moments of my life.

Bradley Corbyn Siever, 6 lbs 9oz and 18 1/2 inches long

Great Grandma Sharon, who was there to help deliver

Grandma and her Bradley Monster

Great Grandpa Corbyn, who Bradley gets his middle name from

For the last 9 months friends and family have been excited for me, especially those with Grandchildren. Everyone has been supportive, telling me how much I will love my grandchildren and how wonderful it will be to be a Grandma. I admit, I had my doubts. There are just too many reasons to be afraid of babies in my mind. But I tell you and I readily admit I was wrong. As Bradley made his way into the world, I was literally so overcome with instantaneous and overwhelming love that I thought my heart would burst. Every single doubt, fear, trepidation and sorrow immediately disappeared. I can't describe the emotions or feelings adequately. Love, yes. But more. Joy. Pure Joy. A tiny speck of how our Father in Heaven feels about us and His JOY in us. I now understand a little bit better what it means to "have joy and rejoicing" in my posterity. I get it and everyone was right.

I may even go so far as to say that I feel like I have been given a fresh start. The slate is clean. Nothing else matters. It's as if every bad thing has been erased and being a Grandma compensates for so much...for all. I know I am not describing accurately what I'm feeling and I know there will be hard days ahead, which will fill me with doubt and sadness. I know that our lives won't be all rosey as it feels now but I will have JOY because I have GrandMonsters!!! Oh, I'm going to love this season.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Shoulders Wanted

It's been a long time since I've blogged or read anyone else's blog for that matter. I spent a few minutes this morning reading some posts from women who inspire me. I needed to get "juiced up" to write a new post about last week's event...Trek.

Trek is a reenactment of the travels of pioneers as they migrated across the United States. It's usually done over a week long period and includes pushing and pulling a handcart while wearing 19th century-styled clothing. Treks are well planned and prepared and include youth, ages 14-18 in a stake, as well as adult leaders. The purpose of a trek is to honor the sacrifices of those who braved the wild frontier, who walked as many as 1,300 miles or more, in order to provide religious refuge free from persecution, where temples could be built and covenants made. We go to gain a better appreciation of the challenges they faced as well as to experience a small portion of the miracles and blessings associated with such sacrifice.  Many treks take place locally, in the region you live and occur about every 4 years. We were fortunate enough this year to be able to go to Wyoming and trek along portions of the original Mormon and Oregon Trails.

Handcarts. A genius invention that allowed thousands of people to travel with necessary goods, by foot, when funds ran scarce and wagons, teams of horses and oxen and other means of transportation could not be afforded.

I can testify that I know that the revelation for the design of the handcarts was inspired, just as were the boats used to carry Nephi and his family and the Jaredites across oceans.  I marvel at the capability of these wood boxes on giant wheels.  With man power, both human and angelic, they can crawl over and through any terrain, including the rockiest of trails and rivers. Believe me when I say I know that it took both man and Angels to do it, as I witnessed it for myself.

My role in this trek began over a year ago when Boyd and I were called to head the Family History and Temple Committee and as a Ma and Pa to a family of 8 youth. It was determined that the goal of our committee was to prepare the youth for a stake temple trip to be held the week before trek, where each youth would bring 5 of their own names in order to perform baptisms for them. Throughout the year, they would be trained to use the new techniques in finding ancestors who needed ordinance work done.  We would also have each youth and adult research and find an ancestor to trek on behalf of.  This ancestor could be one that they admired or the first one they could trace back to joining the LDS Church.  We would want them to provide the conversion story, if possible, and a brief history as well as a short paragraph about what they admired most about their ancestor. All of these histories would be gathered and then printed on individual cards that would be worn by the trekker as they hiked in remembrance and in honor of their pioneer.

A pioneer isn't necessarily someone who walked from Iowa to Utah, pulling a handcart.  Anyone who charts new territory or initiates change can be considered a pioneer. Perhaps some of the youth themselves, or their parents would be the first members of the Church in their families. That makes them a pioneer.

So my purpose for the year, was to help the youth prepare spiritually for the trek by learning the techniques and tools for finding ancestors, providing the opportunity for them to perform ordinance work for their ancestors and drawing near to them by learning about their history.  And I was to do this while fulfilling my ward calling of Young Women's President and later, Girls Camp Director.  The day after President Bown asked us to participate as a member of the Stake Committee, I called the St. George Temple and reserved a day and a half in the baptistry for the following July for the youth, and my 'work' began.

Pioneers made the trek west as families in Companies.  Our treks are similarly designed.  We trek as 'families', under the guidance of a Ma and Pa and we are organized into Companies made up of several other families.  As we were called to be Ma and Pa, this would require us preparing our family for the trek as well.  We were 'assigned' 8 children, which we had stewardship over and we were given the task of helping them prepare spiritually and physically. The process by which youth are placed in families is done with much prayer, temple attendance with thoughtful and concerted fasting. Father in Heaven directed how our families would be set up. Our stake was planning on 400 people, including youth, leaders and other committee members participating in this trek.  Ultimately we would have 33 families and 4 companies of A, B, C and D.

My assigned family consisted of 4 girls and 4 boys.  Sage Anderson, Brittany Koopmans, Annie Heath, Kiarra Dalley, Ammon Takau, Zach Rolfleness, Parker Killian, & Shon Paul Swensen were our 'children'.  We were family #30 in Company D.

Fast forward through a year of meetings, firesides (of which we were in charge of one) and many many hours of work to July 17th & 18th.  These were the days designated for the youth to come to the temple and perform baptisms for 5 of their ancestors, whom they had done the research to find. The time slots were divided into hours by families.  Two to three families, including the Ma and Pa and their 'children' came to the temple during their designated hour and were baptized and confirmed for their own family names.  Most of the youth brought their own names and over that 2-day period, the youth of our stake were baptized for more than 2,000 people. The baptistry was a hive of activity and the Spirit was strong as was the presence of many who were so grateful to have their work done.  The Stake leaders were there the entire time and it was an incredible experience.

My other role, in gathering the histories of the ancestors, was to type them up on a card that would be worn during trek.  I began condensing, typing up and putting together these histories in June.  I spent countless hours pouring through individual's stories. Many, many times I was stressed beyond belief at the weight of this responsibility. I have had many personal burdens in my life this year, as well as other callings and a job that I work at part time. I found myself pulled in many directions and overwhelmed.  I would sit down to the computer and begin reading and typing and I would sob through inspiring histories.  I literally marveled and the heritage of the youth of our stake.  I personally came to know the ancestors of almost 400 people.  I felt their love for their posterity.  I know they are very near and I know that they are grateful that our hearts are turned to them.  I had numerous sacred experiences and felt blessed beyond belief over this opportunity.  I have typed until my fingers were numb and my eyes throbbing from the strain of staring into a computer monitor but throughout I have experienced real joy and sacred moments during late nights and early mornings, where the veil was very thin. Very thin.  I testify of the love of family and of our Savior who strengthens us in our weaknesses. I was still typing, printing, cutting and laminating cards until the day before we left for trek.

The logistics of putting together a trek for 400 people is staggering.
Transportation to Wyoming and back and food and bathroom facilities....I still can't comprehend how it all comes together.  The only way any of this is possible is through hard work, prayer, fasting and miracles.  All of those things happened.  The Stake Presidency, the Stake Young Women's Presidency, the Stake Young Men's Presidency and the Stake Trek Committee Chairs have gone above and beyond in preparation in order to provide the youth an unforgettable and sacred experience.  I will be forever grateful for all of their efforts.

The theme for this year's trek was selected and voted on by the Stake Youth Committee: Shoulders Wanted

Our physical trek journey began at 4am on Monday morning July 27th when we boarded seven buses, followed by a dozen-or-so trucks and made the 15 hour drive to Wyoming.  When we arrived at Sage Campground, the sun was going down and the wind was blowing 50mph.  We had to set up tents in the dark, in the raging wind before we could eat dinner.  Most of us ate dinner at 10:30 that night.  We rose at 5:30 am to begin trekking Rocky Ridge. With the wind still howling, we took down our tents and packed them up before heading out on our 14 plus mile hike for the day.

My family, ready to embark on trek. This was before blisters, blood, sweat and tears. Pictured left to right: Shon Paul, Ammon, Parker, Brittany, Kiarra, Sage, Annie and Zach.  (The other two youth to the right were members of another family)

Parker had his shoulder to the wheel. 

Ammon and Shon Paul on the official Mormon Trail. 

Rocky Ridge and the following campground at Rock Creek are designated historical sites and have also been dedicated by President James E Faust as "Hallowed" ground.  President Faust explained that the designation of "Hallowed" means that the Savior himself has been there.  It is evident that this sacred stretch of trail where the Willie Handcart company was rescued, is indeed sacred as it is the site where many saints consecrated their lives to the Lord by heeding the call to travel to Utah and ultimately giving their life in sealing their testimony and dedication to the Gospel and Jesus Christ. 

Our family on Rocky Ridge.  

A sample of the terrain on Rocky Ridge. Pa pulled or pushed most of the way.

We contended with mud in a few stretches.  

Pa and Ma on the trail.

Parker takes a break. 

Zach seeks shade. 

We encountered hardships along the way.  There were cases of dehydration, sun burns, wind burns and blistering feet but there was a lot of joy as well. We stopped along the way for breaks and uplifting devotionals.  The first day's hike took over 10 hours and we arrived at camp weary but still had to set up our tents again before we could eat.  The first 4 miles stretch of uphill, took the Willy Company 27 hours to get through and we were able to get through the entire 14 plus miles in less than half of the time because we weren't contending with starvation and sub zero temperatures. At camp, we rushed through dinner and setting up camp to head to the Rock Creek Amphitheater near the cemetery where the saints of those who perished with the ill-fated Willy Company are buried. We had a spiritual fireside that evening and retreated to our tents just before midnight.  We rose again at 5:30 am the next morning, to a thick layer of frost all over us. The temperatures would sink into the 30's and 40's by night and would soar to the 90's during the day. At the high altitudes we were at, the rays of the sun felt like they were searing your skin.  

The second day of trek began with some transportation hiccups and delays which gave us a late start on the Trail of the Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater River.  When we reached the top of the ridge, the men were called out of the line in symbolism of the pioneer men leaving their families to participate in the Mormon Battalion. In many instances, women were left to get their families and themselves to Utah.  Some times these women pulled handcarts hundreds of miles by themselves.  Sometimes women would lose their husbands to illness, injury and death, requiring them to make the trek without their spouse. In each trek, there is an opportunity for the young women to experience a small portion of what these women went through.  Without the men to assist them, our young women would have to pull their handcarts up a steep and rocky trail for a short distance.  I gathered my little family of girls together and we said a prayer that we would have the strength to pull our handcart up the hill without our men and that angels would buoy us up and be with us.  Kiarra Dalley later testified that she looked up and saw a vision of angels, including her own grandmother, standing all around and helping push handcarts.  I know I felt the presence and love of many all around us.  It was a sacred moment for many, including the young men who tearfully and helplessly watched as their sisters struggled to make it up the hill.  

We crossed the Sweetwater River at Sixth Crossing, where the rescue party finally reached the Willie Handcart Company as they camped in the willows along the river.  Here nine people died and were buried before help arrived. We attended a spiritual fireside in the willows before heading out and finishing our trek for the day. When we returned to camp, we had another late night dinner and the youth participated in a square dance. 

Our last day of trekking was spent in Martin's Cove, location of the rescue of the Martin Handcart Company.  This was the hottest day of the week but we were compensated by the Spirit and felt blessed to be there. 

Our beautiful daughters, left to right: Annie, Sage, Kiarra, & Brittany

Our handsome sons, left to right: Zach, Ammon, Shon Paul and Parker

At this sacred site, we crossed the Sweetwater in the same place where young men from the first rescue party, offered rides on their backs for women and children and others too weak to walk on their own.  These young men carried them through icy water in frigid weather and one by one would drop them off on the other side and then would return across the river to help the next person. They did this for several hours in water above their waist.

There is a monument erected and dedicated at this site in tribute to these men for their sacrifice. "When President Brigham Young heard of this heroic act, he wept like a child, and declared that this act alone would immortalize them." Solomon F. Kimball

Many young women opted to allow the young men and Pa's in each family to carry them across the water so that they could have the experience of offering that service as the rescuers did.  This was a spiritual experience for many young men.

Ammon carries Brittany across the Sweetwater River.

I myself opted to push the handcart through the water.  I wanted to have the experience of what many of my female ancestors experienced.  None of my ancestors crossed with the Martin or Willie Companies, but I did have many who made the trek and came during more desirable weather conditions with most of them walking the entire way.  From their journals, I know that the journey was incredibly difficult but their testimonies were sealed in their trials. I also felt that it was symbolic for me to cross physically, as I have had to work and struggle for my own testimony and do many hard things alone.  I felt the strength and promptings of great grandmothers and great great grandmothers throughout the whole experience.  It is a blessing that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

We ended the day in Martin's Cove with a walk through the actual valley tucked behind rocks and a hill, where the Martin Company huddled together to try and seek shelter from the wind and snow and where they were discovered by the rescuers.

We returned back to camp after trekking in Martin's Cove, where we ate dinner and retreated to our individual families and held a testimony meeting. I know that every one who participated in this trek had their testimonies strengthened and witnessed many miracles during this week.  Everyone was completely unplugged from electricity, social media, cell phones and everything else worldly.  Not once did I hear complaining or mention of missing technology.  The Spirit of the Lord was there. We all felt the love of our Heavenly Father and those who have gone before, making it possible for us to have the gospel in our lives today and temples enabling us to be with our families forever.

The last morning as we were waiting for the buses to return to pick us up, the stake held a small fireside near camp.  At the end of the meeting, President Anderson gave a powerful closing prayer at which time, he pronounced a blessing on the youth of the Bloomington Stake.  In his prayer, he blessed the lives of the youth and told them that they were being prepared as they would be on the earth ushering in the Savior when He returned at His Second Coming.  I testify that this is true.  The youth of these latter-days are strong and have been saved for these days and for these times.  I'm grateful to have been a witness of this momentous occasion and blessing.

I am a witness to a few things:
Pioneer children were not so different from the youth today.  They pestered their parents with "how much farther are we going today?" and "how many miles will we be walking?" or "how far have we gone?"  It was really quite funny actually.  I know that the pioneer children faced different challenges than our youth do today, but they are all still children of our Father in Heaven and as such, very much human and the same.  By the way, I wore a GPS to track our walking.  Not including running to and from everywhere around camp, fetching water, going to firesides, square dancing and so on, we hiked almost 30 miles.

Women's bonnets were not a fashion accessory.  They were necessity. As stifling and constricting as they seem, they protect you from wind and sun.  I should have forced myself to wear mine. While none of us looked 'pretty' on the trails, I couldn't help but be in awe of how BEAUTIFUL the women were. Pioneer clothing was practical.  Hiking in skirts and bloomers really wasn't cumbersome or a burden, in fact, I actually enjoyed it.  There is also a unifying experience about having everyone wear the same kind of clothing, just like there is in the temple.

Angels exist.  They are all around us all the time.  In some places, the veil is very thin and when we look with our spiritual eyes, we behold them.  Our ancestors love us and are around us always.  They petition on our behalf, they strengthen us and guide us.  If we will turn our hearts to them and learn of them, they will make their presence known.  As much as we honor them for their sacrifices and faith, they admire us for the challenges we face in these latter-days.

Miracles continue today.  I have come to the knowledge that there are miracles happening all around us all the time, we just need to open our eyes to see them and then acknowledge them in gratitude.  Our Father in Heaven is constantly blessing us with what we need and wishes to bless us with much more.  He loves us with an infinite love and proof of that is in these miracles.

Our Bloomington Stake Presidency and Auxiliary Presidencies have been called of God.  They live worthy to receive inspiration for what our stake needs.  I am eternally grateful for their service and all that they do.  Words can't adequately express my gratitude for their hard work on behalf of our youth and this trek. Our Trek Committee Chair-couple, Bro. and Sis. Trask are amazing.  I love them.

The stories of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies are lessons in Remembering and Rescuing.  Shoulders are wanted and needed in this great work.  It is up to us to be prepared and willing to go out and serve and rescue.

Our Savior lives.  He is our Redeemer and he lives and will be in sacred places where righteous people do righteous things with a righteous outcome. We are His. He loves us infinitely and individually and wishes to bless us with His love. He rescued us. He rescued me. He requires that we rescue others and that we always remember Him.

I feel that hearts and souls were changed because of this trek.  I know mine have been. I came home a different person and pray with all my heart that I will always remember this experience and to stay valiant and endure to the end.  I love my family and recognize the family unit as designed by our loving Father to be eternal.  Happy day!  All is well!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Go To Breakfast

All whole-food eaters are gonna hate me.

It's real.  My reality is not being able to have the time or means to hand grind whole organic almonds every day for my milk.  If that is you, God bless you.

Almost every morning I have the same thing for breakfast.  It's my go-to fuel for the day.  I will drink it around 7 am and not feel hungry until 1:00pm.  I always have this shake before a hike and it keeps me fueled for several hours of strenuous mileage.

Here it is:

1 banana
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
1 Scoop of Protein powder, I use Chocolate Orgain or Vanilla Creme Body by Vi
1 cup Spinach
2 Tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter, hated by all whole-food foodies)
1 cup Almond milk
1 cup ice

Mix all that in a blender and you have a creamy, sustaining breakfast.  If I don't have PB2, then a Tbsp of almond butter is delicious, but heavy laden with calories and on days where I really need an extra punch, I'll do that.

It has 292 calories, 16.8 grams of fiber and 23.2 grams of protein.


And it can be made in 5 minutes.

I do try and buy organic spinach and bananas.  So there.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

Set back after set back.

In early November I had surgery and before Thanksgiving I had a nasty bike wreck.  I feel like I can never get ahead.  I feel like my life has been on hold for almost 4 years now.  I just live day to day, waiting for things to happen and for change for the better.

This morning I read something that the Lord said to Joseph Smith and I am reminded that I need to be patient.

"Yea, for this cause I have said: Stop, and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee."

I know that Joseph was frustrated.  He had already spent YEARS working with the plates of brass when he was given this vision of standing still. He had gone to the Lord many times, I'm sure, wondering how things were going to come to pass.

This is the Lord's work, His plan, His timetable.  I have to trust that.

Thanks Doctrine and Covenants.  Thanks Joseph.  If he can STAND and wait for the Lord, so can I.  So can you.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trails vs. Treadmills

It's no secret that I love hiking.  Nothing makes me feel better and more alive then having my lungs infused with clean air under a celestial blue sky.  A little Navajo sandstone added in the mix isn't half bad either.  I am rejuvenated when the fragrance of sun-warmed silver sage, Ponderosa & Pinyon Pines, Cliff Rose and Scotch Broom fills my senses.

Every time I start out on a hike I am reminded of how much I prefer trails over treadmills.  I get so much more from the great outdoors than I do in a stifling gym.

1.  Let's start with the most basic of all needs.  Oxygen.  True, clean oxygen unencumbered with the stench of other's sweat and other unpleasant bodily excrements.  When I think of inhaling others discarded and ill-smelling air in a gym a feeling akin to claustrophobia comes over me.  That isn't a problem in the great outdoors where there is plenty of fresh air to go around.  Here's an interesting article on the benefits of being in fresh air:

2.  Trails don't care what you wear.  I've yet to see a fashion show on a mountain.  Only weather and conditions dictate what clothes you choose to wear or not to wear. So you don't have a matching outfit or the latest in gym attire?  No worries, the rocks and trees won't judge you.

3.  Free, natural, unfiltered or filtered (as you choose) Vitamin D can be found on the trails, not in gyms. More research is revealing that Vitamin D is necessary for promoting the absorption of calcium, which assists in bone growth.  It has also been linked to a potential inhibitor of cancer cell growth, it stimulates your pancreas to make insulin and it may be an important part of the immune system to fight off sickness.  I've even read that it may assist in maintaining a healthy body weight.  Who doesn't want that kind of supplement?  Can't find that on a treadmill.

4.  Trails provide plenty of rocks. Sometimes I like to encourage people to leave a rock and a worry on cairns we find while hiking.  The idea is to mentally attach anxious thoughts, concerns and worries to a rock by picking it up, placing the worry on the rock and leaving it behind with other's rocks. Just walk away from it all.  I believe in my heart that we can leave our troubles behind on the trails.  We can vent, meditate, process, concentrate and are better equipped to make decisions with each step.  Hiking on trails is a stress relief and allows your mind to become uncluttered and clear of unease or trouble.  Getting away from the world and into nature, enables you to ponder and deliberate without distraction. There are plenty of rocks for every worry. When I return home from the trails, I am rejuvenated and I have a better perspective on life.  It's not quite the same experience on a treadmill, while you watch the timer and count down the seconds to how long you'll be done with your workout.

5.  Trails are cheap.  Compared to gym membership fees or the cost of a treadmill, trails are free!  The money used for gyms could be used for gas in your vehicle that will get you outside to see the world!  Plus, it is a sport/hobby that can be used for a lifetime.  How many gyms give you a free lifetime membership?

6.  Trails are alive.  Things grow outside.  Animals thrive.  You can too.

Seek out local city trails, reserves, State Parks and National Parks in your area.  Take advantage of a few days here and there to find your way to a trail.  Make the effort to choose trails over treadmills as often as possible. Carry adequate water and supplies with you and remember, the heavier the backpack, the better the workout and the more calories burned!

Take a hike and find yourself on a trail.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to...

Normal?  Work?  School?

As I watch my friends send their littles back to school (anything up to a senior high school counts as a little to me now), I keep thinking about how different this year is for me.  Back to...what?

No more little back packs, Crayola's and loose leaf paper to sort, label and organize.  No first-of-the-year, annual photos.

I did start back to 'work' today for the first time in 3 months.  It's a bit surreal to be driving by the carpool lines at schools and realize that I'll never be in one of those again.  But work is a great distraction.  At least my calves say so.

Bridger will be leaving for Snow College on Saturday.  Then my house will be thrown into a silent and horrific abyss.  I have learned that there is no way to prepare your brain for this change of season in your life.

Now I'm an outsider.  I'm not retired and ready to attend the Empty Nesters events nor can I relate much with younger Moms anymore.  I hear them talk of their woes of back to school drama, sleepless nights, changing diapers, carpools, soccer games, ridiculous 3rd grade science projects, PTA, hormone changes, immodest clothing, bad friendships...and I have what I can only describe as an out-of-body experience.  It's almost like deja vu or talking with someone that I vaguely used to know, only that person is me.

It's like those years almost never happened.  Don't get me wrong, while I was in them I was in the trenches.  I was in survival mode.  And I used to hear wiser women say, "enjoy this time because they grow up so fast". I used to wonder what those so-called wiser woman were smokin'.  Those days felt like they'd last forever but they didn't.  It's all a foggy dream to me.  I never ever in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be here.

And now I'm here, in this place.  How did this happen?  Am I supposed to feel liberated?  Am I supposed to feel free?  What exactly is my place?  I strongly emphasize this can't possibly fathom it until you go through it.  It doesn't matter that wiser women tried to warn me and it doesn't matter that others have gone this way before.  Until you personally experience this new chapter of your life, you can't possibly comprehend it. And because I've learned a thing or two, I know that each season will bring this shocking new reality.  I also know that someday I'll be looking back at this time of my life and will be still in awe that I survived it too.  It will be foggy to me as well.

Part of me sympathizes with the Mom in the trenches.  Part of me wants to scream, "buck up!" Oh, I remember those days and had someone said that to me, I probably would have popped them in the kisser.  I know now that the best advice you can get during those years is to ENJOY.  Have joy in the moment.  Appreciate the season you are in so that you will have no regrets.  My life is full of regret.  A wise woman once told me that I would feel that way. I didn't believe her. Listen to the wise ladies because while you think they can't relate, they actually paved the way for you and I and have lived through every circumstance imaginable.  Thanks to them for their sweet, assuring nod of the head as I tell my tale of woe, for their grinning, pinched faces beaming of love and pride for my accomplishments, for their genuine concern in their sweet embraces and for never belittling my struggles.  They know.

So, it's back to enduring to the end for me.  Each day should be living a life with no regret and not wishing the time away.  Enjoy the season you are in, whatever that may be.  Go back to the trenches, in your season because I am beginning to realize life is hard no matter what phase of life you are in.

Back to enduring for me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Road to Recovery

It's called Recovery.

That's the mode we're in now with Hunter.

She is home from the rehab facility that she's been in since early May. Previous to that she was in jail for behavior problems since Feb. 7th.  She's back in the real world, which can be pretty overwhelming if you've been literally away from society for half of a year.

Hunter has grown up.  She has learned boundaries and coping skills that will hopefully enable her to remain sober.  Her year mark of sobriety will be on August 5th.

She is not living at home.  She is 21.  I feel a variety of emotions about this. While I'm excited for her to live an adult life of independence, I am sad for the years lost and the influence of living at home under my roof with my family.  It's unrealistic to expect to get those years back and really not healthy at all to hope for my adult child to regress and be dependent on me.  I am very aware of this but still sad.  I suppose it will be almost a grieving process that I'll have to go through. I battle with the Momma Bear in me every day and have to remind myself to resist the urge to race over, scoop her up and fight her war for her.  It would be a major disservice to her and me if I hindered her growth as an adult.

Hunter is like a magnet. Everywhere she goes, people watch.  Every time she speaks, people listen.  She has the capability of being a great leader and yet doesn't value herself as one, rather, she has been more of a follower in recent years.  I'm not impartial when I say, she is special.  Truly. Those who know me, know that I'm not the bragger of my children that I probably should be.  But this kid glows.

She is healthy.  She is overwhelmed.  She is stronger than she knows.  Will I always be thrilled with her choices?  Probably not.  She has a LONG road ahead of her as she makes her way back to good standing in many aspects.  I certainly feel fear for her.  I know the adversary will impede at every opportunity.  It's part of the plan, and he knows she's worth fighting for as well.

So we are all in recovery and learning our new roles in this world of sobriety.  We're all kind of licking our wounds and healing as we move on. I am learning that as the Mom, I need to close my mouth more.  I read this passage in the new Drops of Awesome journal that has really resonated with me, "There is nothing a verbal flogging will do to help that child that pure love and encouragement will not do better.  Good results are accomplished by nurturing, not nagging.  Every time." So true and yet so stinkin' hard for the negative Nelly in me.

I could title this post, The Road to Recovery is Paved With Good Intentions because I really feel like that's how this trip will be.  There is good intent but I also know the road to recovery isn't necessarily a straight ride.  It's more like the windy back roads that you take a bit too fast in your car and careen off into the wilderness. (wouldn't know anything about that though. :)  I digress.  But the point is; we are going to slow down a bit and take it day by day.  Because I've learned that by small means, great things are brought to pass. Elder Uchtdorf said, "Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward." We will stumble, no doubt.  But we are learning how to pick ourselves up and continue on.  We'll get there.

I am not a fan of prayer by rote.  I am however, in love with the Serenity Prayer and not as a prayer unto God necessarily but as a reminder and mantra that can be what we need to get us through each day.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Did you know the rest of the 'prayer' goes like this?

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

May that be our road to recovery, is my prayer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All You Need is Love

We've been home from Girls Camp for 3 days! Preparation for 4 days of high altitude, outdoorsy living on Cedar Mountain at Camp Little Thunder, began last January when our stake announced that the theme this year for camp would be Come Unto Christ.  Each ward was asked to choose an attribute of Christ as their own theme for this camp. Our YW made a list, narrowed it down and unanimously chose, "Love".

How could we dress up this attribute and make it memorable for the girls? They decided that we should be the Master Chefs, where everything we do, is done with love.  Our motto was, "The Special Ingredient is Love" and as Jesus was is Master and did all that He did with love, so should we.  We had a baking theme that included aprons and chef's hats. Our camp cheer was, "All You Need is Love". Are the B7 YW geniuses or what?
Since January, we've spent months fundraising, creating packing lists, designing logos, making camp decorations, hiking, certifying, skit writing and rehearsing, practicing songs and preparing for this one-week event.  To say it's a lot of work is an understatement and that doesn't include all the preparation done on the Stake level.

The week of Girls Camp included great spiritual and physical moments. The YW participated in rock climbing and repelling as their high adventure activity.  To see these girls conquer their fears to climb mountains and scale 100 foot cliff faces is inspiring.

Their were plenty of unifying field games, and craft rotations to keep the YW busy.

One of the highlights of the week was the Skit Night, where our YW shined.  They performed so well and won the crowd over by passing out homemade chocolate chip cookies for everyone afterwards.  

The most memorable evening was our last night at camp.  We attended a wonderful fireside where we released balloons into the air with our testimonies tied to them.  We listened and participated in a beautiful program of talks and music and then retired to our own camp site for an uplifting testimony meeting.  

We spent some time discussing the wisdom of the attribute they chose and exemplified over the week.  Love is the root of all other attributes and characteristics of Christ.  The YW were examples of unity and love in all that they did this week and demonstrated what it means to have Christlike love.  

Much love and thanks goes to so many who helped make this Girls Camp the success that it was.  We appreciate Sis. Carter for being our camp director and organizer.  She did so much for us.  Sis. Green made pounds of chocolate chip cookie dough and darling decorations for our camp.  Sis. Bair and her daughters baked dozens of cookies and brought us Cafe Rio (probably the YW's favorite part of camp) on Friday evening. Sister Anderson helped create our darling aprons and made pins for our camp lanyards. Sister Larson joined us the last evening and helped bring YW home. Bishop Bair and Bro. Kanenwisher helped haul our gear to camp, set it up and then came back to help take it down and bring it all home.  We would not have been able to feel the Spirit or have enjoyed the atmosphere of camp without all their efforts.  We appreciate the Stake Presidency and the Stake Young Womens Presidency for all the time, sacrifice and inspiration that went into making this Girls Camp amazing.  The B7 YW are 'juiced' and ready to take on the challenge given by the Stake to read the entire Book of Mormon in 40 days!  We are warriors!  We can do it!

I'm grateful for the love of our Savior that made this all possible.  To accomplish all this and more, All You Need is Love.


Related Posts with Thumbnails