Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to school-- my how they'e grown!

Yay!! School is back in session. As I took first day of
school pictures I couldn't help
but think of how quickly my kids have grown.
Here are some family pics from 2006 followed
by the most recent 1st day of school.

First Day of School 2006
Alex= 6th grade Jeremy=5th grade Kyle= 3rd grade
Baylie= Kindergarten Sophia= 1st grade Mikenzie= 2nd grade

Brandon and Matalynn= Preschool

Baylie= 6th grade

Brandon= 3rd grade

Kyle= 9th grade ( Freshman!! )

Mikenzie= 8th grade

Jeremy= 11th grade ( Junior !! )

Yeah, I know I am missing one. My camera shy SENIOR started a day after everyone else and I am still trying to catch up with him to get a picture!! One to follow shortly.

Any-hoo, they all grew up so fast! I remember the day the picture
from six years ago was taken.

1- We hustled all eight kids out the door, dropped Alex off at the middle school and got to the elementary school just in time to take each child to their new class.
2- I literally cheered as I drove out of the school parking lot. I almost cried tears of joy... then I felt horrible for being so totally thrilled to have all of my wonderful children ( not counting the two three year olds in the back seat ) outta my hair for at least a few hours a day.
Then I cheered again!
3- Arrived home just in time to receive a phone call from the school informing me Baylie had NO shoes!! We were all in such a hurry to get out the door, she forgot to wear shoes to school!
4- Felt totally embarrassed and humiliated for a moment and then laughed at the crazy life I call motherhood. Took Baylie her new shoes and once again, cheered on my way out of the school parking lot.

Be Grateful!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some thoughts on pioneering

Tomorrow is the first day of school year 2011-12. My oldest is a senior. My oldest... is a senior!! It seems like just yesterday I was a senior. Now here I am, a battle weary mother of teenage boys, pre-teen girls, and a feisty 8 year old.

Life is harder than I had hoped it would be at this stage in life for me and mine. It seems we have encountered one trial after another over the past year. It has left me wondering WHY? Why me? Why can't this road I'm on be a little easier to travel? Why can I catch a break, just once?

Sometimes I think my life is likened unto the pioneers crossing the plains. You see, some were very smart and left in late spring/early summer and arrived in the valley in reasonable time. Others were a little foolhardy and left in late fall, thinking they would be blessed by the Lord, despite their poor choices. Their story is a faith filled, heroic one, but filled with trials that could have easily been avoided if they had been a bit wiser. And then the third group, well, they didn't fare well at all and turned on one another, literally eating each other up.

We don't really know the names of the pioneers who had a fairly wise and easy trip across the plains. We don't want to know a lot about The Donner party, and we hear a lot about The Willey-Martin hand cart company.

I often wonder, which one I would have chosen to cross the plains with, or if I would have opted to stay in beautiful Nauvoo and not cross at all. I think James and I would fall into the Willey-Martin company. We seem to frequently choose the more difficult route in life, then meet up with folks who have traveled a similar path and after comparing our travels, wonder why we weren't as smart as the ones who left in early spring. We often look back and realize a hardy winter coat would have come in handy, or maybe we really should have opted for the extra flour instead of the 25 pounds of lead we thought would be important. You never know when you could use a hefty helping of dead weight, right?

So, how did I end up in the middle of Wyoming, in the middle of winter, in the middle of a rock? Why not an easy-peasy path for me? Is it one of my own making? Is it one to help me grow?

Some quotes from Women's Conference ( which I loved ):

Righteousness has never precluded adversity. Heavenly Father provides opportunities during times of adversity that cannot be gained otherwise.
Connie Zwick Allen

Every experience can be a redemptive experience. If we stripped ourselves of the learning and experiences of life, we would be left with an empty shell.
Jeffery R. Holland ( quote of a quote of a quote )

Seriously though, I still just want to whine and complain. This is not what I signed up for!

But then... in church on Sunday, during the Sacrament, which is usually the quietest time of the entire week for me, I realized something. I have spent most of my life waiting for that elusive state of happiness to find me. Just about 40 years to be exact. I realized, I need to be the one who finds happiness. It will not come to me. It needs to be a choice, a way of life, an attitude.

That little bit of insight brought to me by The Spirit has helped me greatly this week. I am seeking out happiness every day. I am looking for the blessings and goodness that are all around me, just because I am alive. Sometimes the clouds cover my sunshine a bit, but things do seem a bit brighter.

Frances Webster of the ill-fated Willey-Martin handcart company said:

We suffered beyond anything you can imagine... Every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with Him in our extremities!

I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me! I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there. “Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No! Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.

May I have the faith of Brother Webster when I take one last look at the long and difficult trail I crossed, called life.

Be Grateful!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A few more summer pics

Here are a few more pictures of our summer trip...

Having fun with sparklers on the 4th

Me and some of my BFF's from high school

Coolio and Grandpa on the first day of soccer camp-- that's our MVP right there

Having fun at Color Me Mine-- our annual art fiesta

Standing in front of an enormous pile of books/art display at BYU

It looks like a doorway- but it isn't! Another pic from the BYU museum of art

Our yearly picture at Bridal Veil Falls