Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mom's Shared Journal, Week 2

Week 2: March 26, 2017

We’re all on a journey—and will be for a long time!  I was reminded of this today when someone shared the story of a well-known successful company that doesn’t ever feel satisfied with the status quo: they say, “we’re only 1% there.”  One way they keep this feeling going with their employees is to never finish the ceilings in the offices; this way they can give off the same vibe as a startup company. This got me thinking:  we’re all really just “startups”—no matter how long we’ve been “in business.” I just turned 51—not so young—but I’m still a startup.  :)  This way of looking at life helps in two ways:  it helps me avoid becoming complacent and satisfied enough with what I’ve accomplished, but, it also gives me encouragement to know that even if I mess up and make mistakes, it’s not over!  I can keep on working and improving each day. 

This past week when I was definitely feeling like a “startup”—so unsure of many things—I read a quote from President Monson: “Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.” Isn’t that the truth?! Doubting is so easy when life feels hard. It comes without effort. It’s the “natural man” to doubt instead of have faith.  And I noticed that once doubt kicks in, it’s so much easier to let other things like jealousy, anger, and sadness take over. When this happens, I tend to let my imagination go, creating in my mind an alternate reality, thinking things are worse than they really are. After feeling all these negative emotions, I quickly reminded myself that I don’t want those feelings in my heart. I want to be full of faith and hope and to see things as they truly are.  So I was very grateful for a Bible video I came across at just the right time before letting my false reality spiral out of control.  The scriptural reference is John 16.  The specific verse that I needed to hear is verse 33:  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  So, we’re told that through tribulation, we should be of good cheer.  The world would say this doesn’t make sense; it’s not logical.  And without the Savior, the world would be right.  But, because of Him and what He did for us, it’s not only possible but it’s reality:  things as they really and truly are!

So, this week I’m grateful for the visual reminder of my unfinished ceiling.  I still have time to work on developing faith and hope and to see things as they truly are.

I love you all!  So much!   

Mom's Shared Journal, Week 1

Week 1:  March 19, 2017

So… I’ve become my Grandma. J All my siblings and cousins will understand what I mean, but you may not.  For Christmas gifts, she would write up quotes from General Authorities and scriptures and share them with all her children and grandchildren.  Often she would include some family history stories and photos.  She placed everything neatly in sheet protectors, attached them with ribbon, and wrote each of her loved ones’ names on the copies to distribute.  I always felt her love for us when she handed these out—but truthfully, I usually read them, thanked her for them, and tucked them away nicely in a drawer.  But a wave of understanding came to me recently.  I understand a little better what she was feeling.  She loved her children and grandchildren and she didn’t want any lesson she learned to go untaught or any story of faith in her life to go untold.  All that really matters in life is what she focused on—and that’s what she consistently shared with her loved ones.  So, when I say, “I’ve become my Grandma,” I really mean I’m hoping that I’m becoming more like my Grandma. 

Last night during our stake conference, I had a profound sense of urgency to share with you all what I would typically put in my journal.  Nothing else mattered at that moment:  not the kitchen tile that needs to be replaced or the new dress I’m hoping to buy.  For that moment, I could see clearly everything that really matters in life. I have to admit that the new dress and the new floor tile crept into my thoughts again, but what matters most is more clear to me. :) 

As a teenager, I was the best journal writer!  I wrote faithfully, every single day, for at least five years.  It’s fun to read what I wrote—but my handwriting is difficult to read and often I wrote in pencil, so these entries won’t exist much longer.  Rather than wait until I’m gone and leave piles of journals to be read or simply stored until there’s time to read them, I thought I’d share my thoughts with my loved ones in a semi-private journal.  (I don’t want to call it a blog because that gives me anxiety!  With too much pressure to add photos in just the right place, or to word everything professionally, I fear that I won’t do it.)  I simply want to share my experiences and thoughts with my loved ones.

Here it goes!  In my Grandma’s words, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”  :)             

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What a difference a week makes!

Well, my life hasn't been the least bit boring.  In fact, two of the most significant events in a family's life have happened in the past 5 days...

Last Friday evening, Kelton proposed to Lauren!  The proposal was magical and beautiful!  Kelton called Rob and me last week to ask for our permission to marry Lauren.  The answer was easy.  :)  We adore Kelton.  He clearly loves Lauren and she is the happiest she's ever been in her life.  She sings out loud and smiles all the time.  They will be married on April 25th in the Salt Lake Temple.  Ahhhhh!  My little girl is getting married!  

Here are a few of my favorite photos:

Five days later, Drew reported to the MTC!  I'm not sure if I can put into words all that I've been feeling.  I've been blessed to have amazing friends who truly understand what I'm experiencing and have shared their insights with me.  My cousin, Tina, calls it a "painful joy."  Makes sense--because I definitely feel joy, but I can't deny the pain I'm feeling, too.  Lauren reassured me today when she said, "Mom, he was glowing."  :)  It's crazy because literally one minute I feel like I can handle it.  I'm smiling and talking and just have everything under control.  And then, out of nowhere, I cry uncontrollably.  Here's an example... Last night, I took Anthony and Trevor out to Panera for dinner.  Rob had to go out of town for a work meeting so the three of us were planning to have dinner and then go to an Eagle Court of Honor.  I walked in and ordered our food.  Then I saw a friend and started chatting happily about the events of the day.  I was completely fine.  Then, we sat down and started eating.  At one point, I looked up and glanced at the door--and completely lost it!  I was not prepared for the tears!  The reason why is because at least once a week, I'd meet Drew at Panera during his break from working at ShopRite.  Usually I'd order the food, and sit and wait for him.  I'd look at the door, waiting for him to come in and look for me.  So, last night, I instinctively looked at the door--hence, the reason for my tears.  These photos make me happy, though:  

I'll be updating Drew's blog as we receive letters and emails:

I'm one proud and happy mom!  I feel like my heart may burst.  :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Called To Serve

I woke up this morning to the sweet sound of "Called to Serve" on the piano... Drew is so excited to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 Grandpa Allen would be proud. My cousins all know what I'm talking about! We all have memories of waking up on our summer vacations to loud hymns on the organ. Back then, we'd cover our ears, moan, and try to go back to sleep. Today, I smile at the memory--and am grateful that a little bit of Grandpa Allen is with my sweet Drew.
Another reason Grandpa Allen would be proud is that he and my Grandma served two missions to Argentina. I have been blessed to have all their journals and letters--and I look forward to keeping busy, organizing and writing about THEIR experiences while Drew is on HIS mission. They loved the people of Argentina!
Drew always planned to serve a mission. I love this photo of him in Primary, many years ago, dressed up as a missionary with a missionary name tag. I remember getting teary-eyed at the prospect of him one day "filling" that suit and being prepared to serve a mission.
Today I'm still crying at the thought. But I'm so happy and proud.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Daughter is a Miracle

This week, I came across this quote: “A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous...full of beauty and forever beautiful...loving and caring and truly amazing.”
-- Deanna Beisser It's Lauren's 20th birthday this week, and these words PERFECTLY describe my girl! After almost 10 years of waiting, Rob and I were blessed with this beautiful girl: She was definitely worth waiting for. I love having a daughter! Yes, she's miraculous, beautiful, loving, caring, and amazing! But she can also be... A bit silly And sometimes sassy I love you, Sunshine! You're "practically perfect in every way!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Our first visitors!

We were so excited for Grandma and Grandpa Burns to come visit us in Connecticut! We have had a wonderful 10 days--and wish it didn't have to end. We spent a lot of time shopping for small items to make our new house feel like a home. Grandpa Burns hung lots of pictures and gave us advice on colors for painting. It is a beautiful time of year, and I'm so glad we were able to share it with some of our family who don't live here. We were able to visit the construction site for the Hartford Connecticut Temple and Tulmeadow Farm for some ice cream. It was General Conference weekend--and it was also the week Drew's mission papers were submitted to Salt Lake City. :)

So THIS is yardwork!

We went from having no grass in AZ (only a pool, rocks, and pavestone) to a small yard in IN, to 2 acres in CT! Quite a change!