Monday, July 25, 2011

How Do You Spend Sundays?

we each had an 'arm band' which got us admission into the game-filled basement

I brought this game home from New York for the kids. It is super fun to play as a family

Porter is showing us 'airplane' but he looked more like 'Eagle'

Cruise director Bryn guides the kids through charades, and takes our family through a fun evening full of games and being together

Our Sunday mantra goes like this;
"Use the Sabbath to worship the Lord, attend church, draw closer to your family, and help others. Do not seek entertainment or spend money on the Sabbath. When possible, avoid working on Sunday."
from 'For the Strength of Youth' wallet card

in other words ;
"Keep the Sabbath Day Holy"
from 'The Ten Commandments' in the Old Testament

often on Sundays we are happily occupied with our extended family
and sometimes we have obligations because of our church service

but some Sundays we are home together, and that is kind of our favorite

This Sunday was one of those Sundays. And Brynley made the most of it.
She and her younger sisters and brother created a 'family game night'
while Madi made browines from scratch
We went from station to station playing board games, charades, a card game and even the Wii.
And, of course, eating yummy brownies (with Ice Cream, of course)

It was awesome.
We loved being together in the cool basement
Bryn was proud of her efforts
Madi was proud of her brownies
and they should be

Sometimes it is so rewarding to raise a large family
sitting in a circle playing 'BS' is one of those times

I'm thankful for Sundays spent this way
As a Family

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finding the Higher Self...

How I can be when I seek my higher self...

The summer is half way over, and some parts about it have my nerves pushed over the edge. Particularly the part where the kids tell me they have finished their jobs when in fact they are not finished. And the part where they just avoid the job doing so long that other (FUNNER!) things are not accomplished instead.

I boiled over today.

I had planned to stay at the our gym's outdoor swimming pool far beyond the girls' morning lesson. I had planned to buy lunch for them (greasy summer corndogs) at the pool's concession stand, and to deliver them to the gym's 'play place' so I could attend a lunch hour yoga class.

All they had to do was the morning check list. They had until 10 a.m.

Needless to say, 10 a.m. came, and they had not finished the work. By 10:15 I was a screaming mess, shoving them into the car so as not to miss the bulk of the lesson. Reaching the pool beyond the start time, and leaving right after the finish. No fun lunch. No time in the sun.

I was done. Mad. ANGRY that my summer plans are again and again completely foiled by my children's inaction. Molly is the worst. She has not concept of time, it passes by her faster than a bullet train as she moves as slow as a snail. She does not care about consequences, happy ones or sad ones. She is usually the straw that breaks my back.

I yelled at her, with an angry face. She looked frightened, I looked ugly. I left to get a grip.
A time out for mom, to yoga class.

The older ones in charge at home, I blazed back down to the gym, seeking a chance to regain composure, perspective and the feeling of 'center' that can come when we realign ourselves to what we know is right.

At the conclusion of the class, the teacher (in her yoga-speak) encouraged us to 'seek our higher selves' for the rest of the day. I lay on my yoga mat, eyes closed, and heard her words sink down into my core.

My higher self.

I do have one of those.

I believe we all have a 'higher self'. An inner divine nature that is capable of great things like patience, forgiveness, peacemaking. A spiritual core within us.

That core must fight our lesser qualities; Our baseness, our selfishness, our jealous angry human qualities. Those are the things that scream louder for our attention and are more easily accessed when life is hard. The Overcoming of these things is called many things. My favorite term is mastery; self mastery.

Clearly today I was not master of my lesser self.

I'm so grateful there is one true Master. That when I become base, less, if I ask Him, He can forgive me and help me be more. He can lift me to my higher self. And He can do it again and again and again until I become master of me. My Higher self. Closer to Him and more able to do His will and His work with my children and in my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime? Part 4

A Wedding!Jess' amazing floral talents were fully realized on her Wedding day. The flowers were EXQUISITE! And she did them herself. Very "from the garden", using lambs ear, peony leaves and even, dare I say it? Carnations. All of it came together wrapped in string and yarn and ripped fabric. It was an amazing end result. Every bouquet and every table setting were absolutely beautiful

My job was to execute Jess' creative ideas for her dessert table. It was fun to try and put together what was in Jess' mind and on the beautiful magazine layouts she had saved which gave all the inspiration.

Father of the Bride (and my Daddy) was the coolest guy out on the dance floor, and he had the prettiest dance partners too! His wife (mom), the bride, and all of his daughters, not to mention his sisters and granddaughters...daddy's always known how to dance-it was fun cutting a rug with him

Brother and Sister-in-Law Ty and Katie cuddling as the sun goes down

She made a beautiful bride. Vintage lace dress, grandma's gold watch, a hankie tucked just right and peep toe wedges. So Jess. So beautiful

Jess and Matt married last week and celebrated with a lovely back yard celebration. Not a reception. A garden party. Cafe lights, white table clothes and beautiful flowers paired with a hand made dance floor (crafted by the groom) and home made desserts (brought by family and friends) set the scene. The bride and groom rode their bikes from the ceremony to the wedding dinner, and left the party after dark to ride down to their wedding night hotel. Matt in his grandfather's fidora and Jess in vintage lace, they were very careful to create memories that will last a lifetime for them.

As a family we were happy to help in every way so the day could be exactly what they hoped for. The last wedding my parents will see until their grandchildren say 'I do' , I think there was a sense that this was the end of an era. My parents handled the entire affair with generosity and joy.

My favorite part of the evening was dancing with my dad, and calling John down from his photo taking perch on the balcony to hold me close under the lights. There is nothing more romantic than cafe lights on a summer night, don't you think?

Congratulations to the happy couple. We all wish you the greatest joy as you look to a hopeful future!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime? Part 3

The man who walked the most miles, trying to capture for the kids their experiences through pictures

Mason's pride was the front of the cart. He loved leading his family forward, and feeling strong and helpful while doing it.

I was a lucky tag along. Taking pictures and cheering on those who were doing the really hard work. It was a great pleasure for me
to witness something so incredible as this Trek.

This summer, We TREK! John and I were lucky enough to be part of our Stake Pioneer Trek June 29-July2. Mason was lucky to be old enough to be part of the whole experience too. Days without showering, soaked through clothes and shoes (RAIN!) and lots of dust in our teeth was a small price to pay for the overwhelmingly amazing experience of being part of this incredible effort.

Over 200 adults took 4 days from their lives to provide a unique wilderness experience for 250 kids age 14-18. The kids were placed in 'families' with a 'ma and pa' (a married couple) to lead them. They hauled all their gear in a real live hand cart across a thousand acres of pasture. We saw no sign of 'civilization' for days, only the expanse of rolling hills and the crystal blue sky. The kids proved to themselves that they could do something difficult. And they learned again how to get along without cel phones or ipods. They played fun 'old fashioned' games like 'Tag' and 'Ninja' and they had a blast without remote controls or facebook pages.

They were also introduced to the idea of rescuing. Stories were told of handcart pioneers who were caught in early snows and who began to whither in their journey west. Many even perished. But a prophet sent men to rescue, to save those who were weak and wandering, and to bring them to a valley where they would be cared for and brought back from the promise of a frozen grave.

We have a prophet today; and he invites us all to rescue. To look out for the widow, the one who is lonely. The person who has little or the one who has wandered and whose heart has grown cold as stone. These kids, the ones pulling the handcarts? They (and all of the adults who walked with them) -and you too- are invited to become rescuers. Not from the frozen planes, but from a life of chilling emptiness.

I hope I can be a rescuer. I hope I can remember the strength in their souls when I meet a stranger in need, or when I think of a neighbor who could use my help. The example of those strong kids (my own son included) who committed themselves to helping and rescuing souls through the refinement of hard work and hand cart pushing will be in my mind when my turn to rescue has come.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime? Part 2

my worst triathlon ever. I mean EVER. But I did it, I guess that is something to smile about...

summer has been 'my season' to train for races and enjoy the motivation to improve my fitness. This summer has been a huge challenge-I thought it would be my best season ever, but it has started out as my worst.

In the spring I took a 6 week triathlon training camp offered at our local rec center. It was a challenge to get out of bed with time enough to be dressed and on a spin bike by 5 a.m.-the weather was a challenge for both run and swim training. But over all the experience was great.

Then I got sick. Real sick. And the camp ended with a week of recovery time before the camp's race day.

I spent the week coughing, blowing my nose until my sinuses bled and generally feeling like a zombie. Add to this the stress of getting through the last two weeks of school. The training took a way back seat.

I raced so poorly that day. Hadn't even been on my bike outside when I transitioned from the pool to the road. My run was slow, and I was embarrassed that I-who had stayed with the top 1/3rd of the camp during the training fell into nearly the last place on race day.


I'm supposed to enter 2 more triathlons this season. Needless to say I haven't. I'm hoping I'll be ready for at least one of them, but for now I'm just going to try and stay healthy, work on improving my swim and bike skills, and get ready for a half marathon I promised I'd finish with my neighbor. When I've accomplished that task we'll see if this summer will include any more swim/bike/run races or if I've retired for the season.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh What Do You Do In the Summertime? Part 1

Neighbor and good buddy Kelly was our tie-die master. She let us use her die, her driveway, and her expertise so we could have these fun T-shirts!

This year we enjoyed a pretty fun cousin camp, complete with t-shirt day (tie die), Game day at the park, A Hike and a Bar B Que. We were lucky to have all the cousins together (cousins Will and Andrew were here from Newport Beach. Miss you guys already!). The activities were simple this year, but like always they were fun. This is our 10th year of cousin camp. I hope we enjoy 10 more years of summer fun with our cousins!