THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK:
Suddenly noticing that it was much too quiet. We all started looking for Dixon. When we couldn’t find him after looking in all the obvious places, I started to panic a bit. We started yelling for him outside. FINALLY, I heard Bentley barking out in the neighborhood. I told everyone to be quiet and follow the bark. We met up with a neighbor walking him back with the dog. She was so sweet. She had been out on her deck (thankfully it was Saturday morning) and she heard his little voice telling Bentley to come back home. Dixon had followed Bentley between the backyards of the houses. Thankfully, away from the busy street. This kid might be the end of me. He gained some major confidence on our trip. Now I am watching him like a hawk. He thinks he is 16 years old!
Wood Bees chewing holes in the eve of our garage! I hate house maintenance.
Cleaning out every cupboard, drawer, closet and room in the house! I hate taking the time, but it feels so good when it’s done! As the summer was wrapping up and I noticed I was not going to get it all done. I let the girls start to clean things out as hours of yard work. Poof, it was done. I still have the office and media room left, but Kevin is trying to not let me touch his organized mess. 🙂
Dixon incessantly whining about not being able to peddle his new “Cars” bike. I was so excited to get it for him of Craig’s list, until I got home….
Corbin: “I thought of the coolest Christmas Present! Ten pounds of lemonade that I can make whenever I want. I want it in a cooler in my room!” I think this solo room thing has gone to his head!
Royce trying to understand Barnaby, our Christmas Elf. Royce was thinking about not doing his chores one day. He then asked me if Barnaby took messages to Santa year round. I asked him what he thought? He then said “You know when he comes in our house and gets all those paw prints on our floor, does he not care about getting our house dirty?”. Ahhh, the mind of a five year old.
THINGS THAT WORKED:
Beach dance! I forgot to say that Addisen and Corbin got to go to a youth dance at the beach in Oregon! There was a big bon fire and they loved it! Thanks to the Cheney’s for driving the group. 🙂
Addisen and Tessa getting to go to Girls Camp! They had so much fun and the weather wasn’t as hot as it should have been in July. We are so thankful for all the wonderful leaders that make camp happen.
Corbin getting to go on High Adventure! They went hiking in with heavy back packs and built their own shelters. It rained and rained! Corbin now fully understands how to survive the night wet. 🙂 Once again, his leaders were great and we are so thankful for all the time sacrificed by them and their families.
Dixon running off the diving board. It was so fun but scary because he would jump before he got to the end and almost scratch his back. The lifeguards caught him for 45 minutes. This was the first time he would jump to a lifeguard that wasn’t Bryson. Of course, he kept calling all of them Bubba. 🙂
Our wonderful neighbors bringing back gifts from Korea for the kids. Each gift was so thoughtful and sweet. They also had the kids over for a barbecue. They are a huge blessing in our lives. 🙂
Moving our old dining room table into the kitchen/family room. I put maps on it and covered it with plastic. Thank you Pam Cheney! I also purchased table clothes to cover it when needed. I had to custom cut the coverings to fit the long table. It’s been so fun to have the kids constantly talking about where everything is in the world. It reminds me of Bryson playing geography games in Oregon during our lunches. Dixon can point out where Bryson lives now. So cute!
Measuring the kids growth on our family chart. Matthew Ray, our neighbor and Bryson’s good friend, had to be put on the family chart too. We love him!
Getting to go out with the sister missionaries to teach people. Love it!
Mondays! My new favorite day! I now look so forward to Bryson’s e-mails that the day almost feels like a Saturday. We also get e-mails from the McCullough and Durrant missionaries. It’s such a great day!
End of the summer day at Point Mallard Water Park. It was so much fun! Kevin was even able to go. 🙂
Fireflies! Need I say more? We love them!
Kevin giving everyone “Father’s Blessings” the day before school started. The spirit was so sweet in the house the rest of the night. I am so thankful for the Priesthood.
Getting ready to teach Statesman again this year. It’s been great to buckle down and study again, but taxing on my time. Thankfully, I have a co-mentor this go around. I’m so excited to work with some great youth! Thank you Lynne Nielsen for helping me. 🙂
Trying to write in my journal every day. I’m on day three. We’ll see how this goes….. I love it when I do it more often, because then I put more detail in it. 🙂
Tessa joining the Huntsville Youth Choir. She is so excited!
Royce: “Mom, you know those red blood things in your blood stream? I don’t understand where they come from and why.” We immediately got on the internet and watched some great videos. I love raising kids with the internet. It’s so different from my first batch of boys. 🙂 Tonight he asked me what mushrooms do. I told him we could figure it all out tomorrow. Love it!
Getting FB friended by people in the wards where Bryson is serving. This was an unexpected joy for me! I was as giddy as a school girl. The Bishop sent us a sweet note about Bryson. Then Bryson got transferred the next day and someone sent me a fresh picture of him. Everything was within hours of it happening. It was so exciting! I am truly thankful for people that go out of their way to bless others lives, even when they don’t have to. 🙂 I have been smiling for 24 hours, just from that one picture.
I thought I would add some of a letter I wrote to a family member. I have had many people ask me questions about Bryson’s mission and our beliefs. You can stop reading now, if you don’t want to hear any more. But if you had some unanswered questions or thoughts as to why we or he does the things we do, this might help. Please feel free to ask me anything! I would never be offended by a question you have. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 21 years now, but I can still remember what I thought beforehand (not always pleasant thoughts). 🙂
Here is some of it:
As you can see in Bryson’s blog posts, he is VERY straight forward. He has never held back. But I think it’s good to be “transparent” and let others see the growth of a young man. I love seeing his personality come through as he writes his experiences. He is learning to love and step out of himself. He will definitely question things and have to really decide for himself what he believes as he gets challenged. We have thirteen Articles of Faith, http://mormon.org/beliefs/articles-of-faith, that state our beliefs in a nutshell. #11 is “We claim the privilege to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where and what they may.” This is one of my favorite ones. I love the freedom that we have in this country to believe what we want. But you can’t know about everything unless people are willing to share their beliefs.
I read this talk soon after and thought it applied well: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng.
I often think of how hard it would be for others to believe in the Gospel. I have been there myself 21 years ago. But I know that I can’t deny the testimony I have. I love this scripture in Joseph Smith History:
25 “So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.” (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)
I feel that same way. My knowledge of a living Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is so real that I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t declare it. I have had many special experiences that are very real and close to my heart. I can’t deny those sweet blessings in my life. The love that I have for Kevin and my kids is the same love I have for Christ and Heavenly Father. We teach this to our children, they choose whether to believe it and then they can choose whether to go and declare it too. I think it would be selfish to not share the joy and happiness that our life has because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You are so sweet to take the time to read our blog. I have a hard time putting myself out there and writing (it’s not something I’m good at or enjoy). But I felt like we really need to do it for our kids, family and friends that want to stay connected with us. Also, to show how we mess up on many things, but make it through somehow. I’ve had many people come to me in tears, thanking me for letting them see into our life. It’s uncomfortable for me to put myself out there thinking I might hurt someone’s feelings, but I think the blog is doing more good for others than hurt (or at least I hope so). 🙂 Thank you for loving and supporting us as a family.