Friday, November 18, 2011

   Speaking of inspired by (that's my blog's title), Carolina gets the nod!  I've been able to get to know Carolina much better in the last few months, and the more I see, the more impressed I am.  She comes from a family of 4 children--she is the oldest living at home.  Her family came to the United States from Venezuela when Carolina was 4.  A year ago, Carolina's parents divorced and her dad returned to live in Venezuela.  Carolina's mom, Sandra, stayed here and is working hard to provide a home for her children.  Being a single mom is challenging enough.  But on top of that, their legal status expired long since. So she works for wages far below what she could earn and lives in fear every day that she'll be caught.
  Carolina attends UVU full time.  She is a motivated student and wants to get a teaching degree, which is a perfect fit for her.  She went to meet with the counselor and was told that she cannot apply for the education major because she doesn't have a social security card.  A big heavy door just slammed in her face.  Every thing she has been hoping and working for was just nixed.  When she told me, I just wanted to cry.
   But the inspiring thing about Carolina is her faith and hope.  Of course she gets discouraged, but only for a moment.  She draws strength from this well deep within and immediately starts to figure out a new path.  No matter how difficult things get for her, she testifies of God's love and watchful eye.  She looks forward with hope to a future with different opportunities.  She looks for miracles every day and she receives them and is thankful for them. 
   I'm inspired by her resilliency, her happy attitude, and her willingness to take what comes at her and make the best of it.  Sometimes when we're talking, I forget that she is 30 years younger than me because she is so wise.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What's wrong with me? Somehow before I knew it, the words had shot out of my mouth. Doug said he would give up Diet Dr. Pepper if I would give up something and my mouth involuntarily shouted out, "OK, I'll give up chocolate!" It was like the words were tangible, hanging there in mid-air. I looked down at them, but couldn't take them back quickly enough--it was game on. That was on June 5. Our contracts are taped to the inside of the kitchen cupboard. The most difficult chocolate I've passed up has been my dad's homemade fudge, our famous fudgy chocolate birthday cake--twice, and chocolate chip cookies every Friday.

I can hardly believe it's August and I'm chocolate free. What has happened to me?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hello and goodbye and goodbye

August will go down in my personal history as a month of hellos and goodbyes and goodbyes.  I have thought ahead to this month and all that was going to be happening, but I had no idea how much it would impact me.

I probably shouldn’t be writing right now while I feel so tender, but then again, maybe now is the best time to write.

Three weeks ago I said goodbye to Elder Jaden Walker. We’ve received three letters. Thursday has become the new highlight of my week because that’s when we get his letter. He’s working hard, I can tell. He seems happy, if not a little anxious. He’s learning about prayer, and relying on God. He’s learning Spanish and how to be a missionary. I won’t lie—it seems like I haven’t seen him for three months not three weeks. I miss him like crazy. I write him often and send him a package or two a week, but I’d sure like to see his cute face and give him a hug.

Jaden leaves for the MTC.

My hello was a sweet one. Little Grace Leila Gonzales joined our family on August 24.  She looks so much like Lynzy did as a baby--thick dark hair and a cute little fist pumping the air when she's upset or impatient.  She is a beautiful gift.  Lynzy is now a momma, and such a sweet one. Little Grace was a week late, but once she decided to arrive, she came so quickly the doctor missed the birth and a student nurse, only three days on the job, literally caught her. We are o thankful she's here safe and sound and that she has such good parents.  Keith and Lynzy are so mindful of their little daughter. It's so wonderful to see my daughter with a daughter of her own.

Lynzy, Grace (1 hour old), and Keith - a beautiful family

This morning I said goodbye to Dave. He just left for Minnesota. We’ve known all summer this day was coming ever nearer. We’ve been excited for him, in fact. To have such a good job in these crazy economic times is a blessing. But this morning as the U-Haul got more and more full with all his earthly possessions (it wasn’t much, but more than we thought!), it hit me that although I’d said goodbye many times to Dave over the last ten years as he left for his mission, summer work, EFI, and internships, this was the first time he was leaving that I didn’t know when he’s coming back.
Nana is always willing to go along for the ride.

Luckily he has some good traveling companions—Nana and Papa and Jesse are riding along. That helped a lot. To see him pull away in his truck alone would have been horrible. They’ll stay until Wednesday and help him get all moved in. It’s Thursday I worry about Dave. The family leaves and he goes back to his new apartment and new city all alone. He doesn’t know a soul. I know that feeling and it’s no fun. Luckily Sunday will come soon and he’ll connect with a ward full of young people.

Jesse and Nana ready to roll.

Minnesota is a good fit for Dave. He loves the cold, fishing and camping and such. But he also loves his family and spending time with us, and I know he’s not looking forward to being away.

Papa and Dave ready for the long ride to Minnesota.

All the emotions that come with saying hello and goodbye are a reminder of how important our families are. Love is what makes it hurt so much to say goodbye. Love is the overwhelming joy of saying hello.

So as of today, September 2, 2011 Doug and I are officially empty nesters. Two bedrooms upstairs that for 20 years have been the headquarters of one child or another, now sit empty and quiet. There are no wet towels on the floor, Jaden’s shoes aren’t in the middle of the kitchen, no music is coming from Dave’s room. No, the house is so quiet I can hear ringing in my own ears. I could probably hear my own heart beating if I listened a little closer. I already miss the phase I’m leaving. I always knew I would.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Best Two Years

August 10 finally came. After almost 5 months of waiting, Jaden finally got to pack his bags for the MTC and then the Chile Concepcion South Mission. I loved his comment as we were driving in the gates of the MTC. We'd said our goodbyes, taken pictures--all that was left was this. He said, "My stomach feels like I'm on Re-entry at Lagoon." Mine did, too! But we took our place at curbside, unloaded, said a quick goodbye and off he went.

Being the mom of a missionary is quite an emotional ride. You feel extremely happy and extremely sad, very grateful, tender, emotional--it's hard to get all the emotions to settle in and just feel the joy. I had prayed for strength to be brave and not have my ugly bawling red face Jaden's last memory of me. We had said our goodbyes, taken pictures, and cried and hugged. All that was left was this. So we took our spot at curbside, unloaded the luggage, a few more hugs, a few more tears, and off he went.

Jaden was most worried about meeting his companion. We have all been praying he got a perfect match. We haven't heard yet, but we're hoping. Bishop Caywood told me last night that he feels like the assigning of companions is done under inspiration much like the mission call itself. That made me feel good, because we all feel like Jaden's call is handpicked.

When I got home on Wednesday, I went outside to straighten up. Bad idea! I picked up the worn out basketball that is Jaden's favorite to play 4 square with and got all choked up. I tightened the cover on his pool and started to cry. Finally I just gave up and went inside and upstairs and cried myself to sleep on his bed.

I do pretty well when I think in terms of days of weeks; it's when I think about not having Jaden around for 2 Christmases or until Lynzy and Keith's baby is Juni's age that I get really lonesome for my boy. But I'm going to count time in Fast Sunday's--only 24 Fast Sundays--that should go by pretty quickly.

I know Jaden will be a great missionary because he knows how to get along with others, he knows how to serve, and he has a strong testimony. I'm excited to think about his return in two years and seeing an even more pefect son step off the plane.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Patience and Hope

It's been a hard day. My son's heart is breaking again. It has been broken before, but it hurts just as much the second or third time--one never becomes immune to the pain of a broken heart. My heart is breaking, too, for a mother's heart feels the pain of her child. I still have hope for him, but the familiarity of this situation makes me afraid. All he wants is someone to share his love with. Why is that so hard to find?

My beautiful Aunt Phyl, gave my daughter a treasured gift. It's a white blessing dress that she made many years ago hoping a grandchild of hers would wear it to be christened in. When that didn't happen, she graciously offered it to my daughter. I can hardly wait to see my grand baby in it. But for now, we must all be patient. All she and her husband want is a baby to love.

For now, my daughter and son both must put their dreams and righteous desires on hold and struggle through the unpleasant lessons of patience and hope. My prayer for both of them is that while they wait, they will feel comfort; while they wait they will find understanding to their questions of why.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Progress, slow and stead progress.

Dear Body,

It's me again. Five days a week since January 4, 2010 I have walk on a treadmill 30 or 40 minutes just like I said I would. I started out on a weeny level 2 then 3. Now I sweat it out on level 9 and 10. Just so you know, I have committed to exercise five days a week for the rest of my days. I'll give you a little break on Sunday and sometimes Saturday, but the rest of the week, you're mine!

Here's the weird thing--I'm starting to like it. I like the sweat, and I like the feeling that comes when I'm on a steep incline and don't think I can finish, and then I do. Then I am pretty sure I can do whatever I need to or want to. It's empowering.

As of today, I've lost 16 pounds. Sixteen hard-fought pounds. I'm in double digits. I picked up a 15 pound weight today and realized you're not carrying that around anymore. It must feel like such a relief. I'm very happy with myself. And I'm happy with you, too. You seem to be getting on board with me this time. No telling where we can go together.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Bluge Battle

Dear Body,
I started again on January 4. As you know, I always start again in January. Something about January just gives me a spirit of change. So five days a week since January 4th, I've been at Anytime Fitness exercising. I know you don't especially like the idea. You seem to like being fat. You've been that way my whole life. You don't like it when I come along and try to change you. But I'm doing it anyway. I've let you have your way for all these years, and now I'm fighting back. I'm in charge now. And I'm winning, too.

I've been tracking your weight daily on an online chart. You're putting up a good fight. Rather than the smooth sloping downward line I was hoping for, it looks like a heart monitor hooked up to someone having a heart attack. But in spite of all the ups and downs, it's on a downhill slope. Yeah, it's heading down. You're getting smaller ounce by ounce, day by day.

Please don't think that because I'm trying to lose half of you, I don't love you. Just the opposite is true. By losing half of you I can love what's left even more. So please, work with me. Let's get along. If we work all year, then when next January rolls around, we won't need to start again, but just keep going. It will be much easier that way for both of us.