Sunday, April 13, 2014

All happy families are alike.

Leo Tolstoy said, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".

I don't know if I agree with this or not, but there are certainly millions of ways to be miserable in family life. When I served as a missionary for our church in South America, one of the greatest things I felt I did was bring people the option of living happily in the way God wants us too. We were going into homes, knocking on doors we'd never seen before and talking with new people all day long --and so many of those people were unhappy! There were husbands cheating on their wives. There was a mother who ignored all of her children except the 1 year old, and then had a new baby and started ignoring all but that baby. There were families living in grinding poverty who had fathers that only worked when they felt like grabbing a "changa" --single day of labor, and drank at night. There were husbands who belittled their wives, and vice versa. We spoke with a group of prostitutes one night and gave them some scriptures, and they seemed so unhappy and lonely it was heartbreaking. We taught a young women that was pregnant, with the father being a much older man who we knew --we KNEW wouldn't make any commitments and was jerking her around emotionally, but she couldn't stay away from him. 

What we taught people was to make covenants and promises to each other, to be true to each other for not only this life, but forever. We taught them to be honest and kind to each other. Taught how God loves and values each of us. We taught how families were part of his plan: a father and mother committed to each other, and to raising, caring for, and loving their children.  Why is this so hard to accomplish? I know it requires self-discipline, and sacrifice, but the love and peace available in a happy family is worth it isn't it? The security has to be worth it to little children who don't get to vote on the adult decisions. 

 (Tinkering at the Dinosaur museum) 

  I know it's worth it to me. I dated a lot in High School and college, and never felt really bad about dating more than one person at the same time. In some ways I was really rotten back then. I just wanted to be with a lot of people, liked a lot of guys, and enjoyed having a good time. I stayed chaste (look it up), but did a LOT of kissing! Told you I was rotten.  When I made the commitment to Jeff, I knew I was committing for eternity. This was a little nerve-wracking! What if I'd chosen wrong? It took me a long time to find him, and I did it with my eyes open as wide as I could, looking for qualities I needed in a best friend --not just a romantic flingy thing. But, I had a lot of nightmares during our engagement, and even the first year or so that we were married. But, divorce wasn't an option on the table for each of us, and luckily, he was better than the good guy I'd thought he was. I completely trust him. Maybe not to change the light bulbs when I want him to...but yeah. In all of the big stuff, I completely trust him, and my kids can trust him too.

 What about all of the families in my church --heck - in my ward - that get divorced? That have horrible tragedies of families? That happens too. I know I got really lucky in picking my spouse --or I got really blessed. No judgements are possible to make on another's situation. With so many variables, as many variables as there are people, how could you know all of the factors involved? But I believe in the principles. I believe in commitments, I believe that prayer helps a marriage and a family. I believe making the covenants (promises to God this time) we every Sunday, keeping our faith current, helps a family. I believe studying God's word in the scriptures helps us know how to treat each other, and Grace from God gives us the patience we need to deal with each others' peccadilloes. 

 (Corona Arch Hike)

 (Petroglyph family)
 (Slickrock Paintbrush)

 I know we had an incredibly fun and peaceful spring break together this year. We got along, and the kids didn't fight (much). We really enjoyed each others' company and being together. I've been reflecting on how grateful I've been for this week. 

 It turned into a big religious thing -this post! But yeah, I think there's more behind our great week than just a good agenda of activities.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Strong and Smart. Kind and Beautiful.

 She turned 16 just a little over a month ago. She's still my "Little Tiny" in my mind.
 We 're greatful for the larger than life example she is to her younger brother and sister.
 For the strength and perseverence she uses toward her goals.
 Her speed alone is inspiring.

 My birthday morning she spent hours working on a path of kind notes to make me feel special.
Ending with a treat she'd saved from her personal stash.

 Not to mention the handmade heart garland strung across the great room where she'd posted her card and her brother and sister's cards for me. All of this work just for an old lady's birthday? Who does that?

Someone not only artistic, but smart. Loving, and kind.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Washington spectrum.

The reason why Meesha and I went to Washington was actually this little bundle. She was being blessed, so we flew into Seattle, then drove over to Yakima for the blessing, then we all drove back to Seattle for a couple more days to play together. What is so surprising about Washington, is the difference in the landscape from one side to another. 
Meesh and I took a walk along Cowiche Canyon while we were in Yakima on Saturday, and it was gorgeous in its desertty way. Then I went back and ran it Monday morning. 

I was glad we took all of the pictures on Saturday so I could just enjoy the run Monday.
Dogwoods or willows? I love those bright red stems.  I think dogwoods of some sort.

Driving back over the Olympic pass (OK, I kept mixing up mountains while I was there, but I think these were the Olympias) we stopped at Snoqualmie Falls. 
That mysterious fog! This is what I picture for the Pacific Northwest!
They had some educational plaques there talking about the falls, and our pictures matched their "flood season" pictures. It was truly a massive amount of water. 
We beat Kira and her family by a few minutes, so went inside The Salish Lodge and Spa for hot herb tea with a view of the falls. My friend said she was proposed to here. I could see that! It was posh. I kind of wish I were back there now.
We rode the ferry the next day over to visit my Aunt who lives in Sequim. I tried to go back and figure out which ferry, and Kingston-Edmonds sounds familiar...psssh. I don't remember. 
Here are our little cousins all together. Poor Keaton was the only boy. I wished over and over again I had brought Kai. 

We took the ferry over, then drove and drove. We went right through Port Angeles (for you Twilight people --you know who you are!).

Then my Aunt Dawn drove us even further (God bless her! --I was done driving) to an enchanted forest for a walk. 

A little cabin right out of a Thomas Kinkade painting --it was even right on the edge of a lake!
I took this picture to help us remember where it was. 
I was enchanted while I was there --couldn't be counted on to be responsible. 
We don't have woods like this in the real world where I live.
Green lace.
Furry tree creature.
And the ferns! I love them and they hate it where I live!

Tree shelter for little golden-haired fairies.

These last two were for a second waterfall we got to see. Yeah. No idea the name, but it was just as pretty. 
Vacation is over, but I squeezed every last drop out of it that I could!