Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last sleepover of the summer

I love summer!  My kids love summer.  I love staying up late and sleeping in.  I love seeing my kids outside running around.  I love the time to read, get better organized, blog, spend time as a family, and be more relaxed.  And I especially love that my children have such good friends.  So when they asked if they could do a sleepover before their friend Peyton moves this week, I said yes.  Ella organized it because Michelle was at Oakcrest.  So Peyton, DJ, Liv, and Tia came over.  We had pizza and cookies and chips.  They watched some shows and talked and hung out.  Gabby went with her friend Gracie...they went swimming and had a sleepover at Gracie's house. 

I love these girls.  I love serving in Young Women's and getting to know these sweet girls.  I am so glad that my girls have such good, good friends.

Unfortunately, the night wasn't completely without incident.  Michelle and Liv had been at Oakcrest all week together.   They were both tired and maybe having a sleepover the day they got home wasn't such a good idea.  As they were talking, Michelle said something that hurt Liv's feelings. Suddenly, one of the girls came out to tell me that Liv was crying.  Liv didn't want to talk about it; she just wanted to go home.  I took her home and then went in to try and find out what had happened.  Michelle was crying.  I had her come sit in the living room and talk to me.  She said she was pretty sure she had hurt Liv's feelings.  She didn't mean to be mean, and she felt horrible.  She said Liv had said that she felt like she was losing her best friend.  Michelle said she was tired and emotional and she also said that she had just had one of the best and most spiritual weeks of her life and she felt like she had ruined that.  She came home and wanted to be better and had already messed up.  We ended up having a good discussion about the Atonement and repentance and forgiveness.  She sent a text apologizing to Liv and I think their friendship is going to be just fine...perhaps even stronger because hopefully they will learn to be careful about how they tease one another and talk to one another.  They are both such good girls.  Genuinely good girls. 

I understand how disappointing it is to have a spiritual experience and have a desire to be better and then make a mistake...and I think situations like this are one of the reasons I love Alma 22: 18 so much.  Aaron is teaching King Lamoni's father and King Lamoni's father, the king, prays, "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee..."  I love this because he has the DESIRE to give away all his sins in order to know God.  I am certain that he wasn't perfect from that moment on.  I am certain he still sinned, but he no longer desired to sin.  In Alma 41:3, 5 it says,

 "And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good....The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh."  (bold added by me, not in the original)

I believe our Heavenly Father is very merciful and just and he rewards us not just according to our works but also to our desires.  I have desires to be patient and forgiving and full of love, but sometimes my actions don't meet up with my desires.  I believe that He knows my heart and blesses me based on my desires and my actions.  That's not to say that we shouldn't try to become better and try to give up our sins and try to make our actions match our desires.  But, at least for me, I often have better success having good desires and so I am very thankful for this merciful plan.

Elder Holland said,
"...surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it....however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you don't think you have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.  It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines."

What a blessing that is!!  I hope I can do a better job of teaching my children to understand and use the Atonement.  How thankful I am for my merciful and loving Father in Heaven.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Michelle spent 5 days at Oakcrest last week.  She had such a great time.  I was able to ride the bus up to Oakcrest as a chaperone on Monday morning, so I took our cute Beehives to the meeting place.  We had Michelle, Liv and Kate plus Kate's cousin Karli.  I was excited for them.  I didn't grow up in Utah, so I've never been to Oakcrest.  But I've heard great things about it.  I'm so glad she got to have this experience.  She and her friend Liv were cabinmates.

On the bus

Just arrived at Oakcrest....headed off...

On the bus ride home, we passed this pretty river...just about a mile from Oakcrest.  It's  a pretty area.
 Michelle's thoughts about Oakcrest (written by Michelle): The first day they had told us that we couldn't say any words like gosh, dang, stupid, hate, crap, and many more. My first thought was oh no this is going  be a hard week. But, throughout the week I realized that it got easier. On Tuesday, my cabin and another cabin did a thing called Whisper Grove. At first, we were blindfolded and held to each other. Then, we were separated and left alone. For awhile, I stood there alone just holding a rock in my hand, then I realized I had to kneel and hold the rock up (just like we need to kneel and pray.) I was then led to a rope which I held tightly and then thought, maybe this is like the tree of life and I need to move forward so I did. I realized after a long time that I was just moving around a triangle so, I kneeled down and held up my rock and was led to another rope the same thing happened over and over again then in the ending my blindfold was taken off to where I was looking at a picture of Christ and my counsler said " We always need help from our Christ throughout our lives just like you needed mine throughout this course" This was one of the most influential parts of my Oakcrest experiences. My second favorite part was the giant swing. There was a harness and a circular swing that I sat on then I was pulled from my cabin mates up to the top of a totem pole as soon as I got to the top I let go of the rope I was holding and started falling. To me, it was one of the coolest experiences ever. I also met seven new friends three of whom I got really close to. Their names were Paris, Angie, and Ella. Oakcrest was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had and I hope to always remember the friends I met and the fun I had.
This photo, and the 6 photos after it, were taken by Laurel.  Her husband is in the Bishopric and the two of them went up to Oakcrest for the stake night.  President Gustafson did a fun activity making bracelets where the knots they made in the bracelet reminded them to "Doubt Not, Fear Not" which was the theme for Oakcrest this year.  Laurel was kind enough to take the girls a treat and a note from us parents and to take several photos that she shared with us.

On Friday, we picked the girls up.  It was so good to see Michelle again.  I'd missed her.  I knew she was having a great time and I'm SO glad she got to go, but I was so glad to have her home.  She made new friends in her cabin and was excited to take her photo with them.  She hopes they will keep in touch and get together again soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Red Pine Lake

On August 3, the girls and I took a hike to Red Pine Lake.  My friend Annette had recommended it.  My friend Stefanie and her kids came with us.  It was supposed to be about 6 miles long but according to Stefanie's Fitbit, it was actually about 8 miles long.  So either we accidentally went to White Pine Lake, Stefanie's Fitbit was wrong or I heard wrong.  Whatever the case, it was long.  So incredibly beautiful, but long.  There was lots of whining by my kids on the way up.  And some whining by her kids on the way down.  Plus, McKell got hurt on the way down.  But it was beautiful.  I thought it was completely worth it.  My kids ended up liking it...but there were tears and grumpiness and complaints for a good chunk of the hike up.  It's pretty mean of me to force them to do such hard things, they think. 

 The hike is really pretty.  You cross a river and hike near a river for awhile.  There are so many beautiful wildflowers.  There were also wild raspberries growing along the hike.  But the best part of all (aside from being with my girls and my friend Stefanie) was I finally saw a moose!  I've wanted to see one for awhile and especially this summer, it was on my bucket list.  But so far, I've had no luck.  When we camped in the Uintas, there were moose tracks near our camp on the second morning but no moose.  But while we hiked up to Red Pine Lake, there was a bull moose lying in the grass in a clearing.  He was lying down and hardly moved so it wasn't the best look at a moose and my photos aren't good...but there was a moose!!!

Such a beautiful  view!  I love the fresh air and the feeling of being up in the mountains.

Hard to see...but that brown in the middle of the grass?  That's the moose's antlers.  Like I said, not a very good photo.

The lake was really beautiful.  The kids enjoyed tossing rocks into the water and we all enjoyed resting and having a snack in this beautiful location.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jordan Conservation Park

We went to Jordan Conservation Park for Gabby to get her beautiful baptism photos taken.  The girls and I enjoyed wandering around the gardens and watching her get her photos taken.  I took a few photos of the girls while we were there.  It's really a very beautiful garden.