Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

R E L E A S E..


Pronunciation: \ri-ˈlēs\ transitive verb 1: to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude. 2: to relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses. 3: to give up in favor of another. 4: to give permission for publication, performance, exhibition, or sale of; also : to make available to the public. 5: to move from one's normal position (as in football or basketball) in order to assume another position or to perform a second assignment.

Today I was released as Young Women's President. I have had such a crazy amount of thoughts and feelings since I learned of the release. Honestly, I am glad I found out when I did, because I have been able to sort through some of those feelings and have come to term with them.

I have served in the Young Women's program from the time Ethan was about 1. I did have a short break when we moved and changed wards, but during that time I was a sunday school teacher for the youth ages 12&13, so I still feel like I was "with" them. It is interesting though even through all that time, my first feeling when I learned I was getting released was, "I could have done more. I SHOULD have done more. And now it's too late."

For a while, I felt like that calling defined who I was. If I didn't have that calling anymore, who would I be? Who would look forward to seeing me on Sunday because they "HAD" to talk to me?
I know the Young Womens program, and although it is demanding, I love the program. I know it is an inspired program, and it is another thing the Lord has put here to help our youth in their trying times.

Working with the youth has been an amazing experience. When they first come in at age 12, they are so unsure and rely heavily on their parents to make decisions for them. They are excited to be there, silly and fun. As they grow in their time in Young Women's, they begin to realize that the things being taught them, are actually their responsibility to know. They start to take things more seriously, and friendships deepen. With that comes stress, disappointment and hurt as they make mistakes and realize the impact that their actions have on others. But they forgive easily and move on in a few weeks. They seek to find the truth of the things THEY believe and rely less on parents to make decisions for them. By the time they are 18 and graduating, they have developed a strong sense of self. They know who they are, what is important, and what they want in life. They let less of the little things bother them, and they are ready to go out into the world- confident that they will make a difference.

My favorite thing about my calling, was the chance to have a part in their growing process, without having to discipline or raise them. All I had to do was to be their cheerleader, friend, and hopefully an example. I was someone they could share anything with, and they trusted me enough to do that. I learned so much from their strength and their spirit, and that is what will leave the biggest void. Going from being with them 2-3 times a week (sometimes 4) to just seeing them on Sunday will be so different.

I am thankful for a break, not from the girls, but for myself and my family. Things have become increasingly busy and I have felt more stressed from being pulled in too many directions. It is not fair for my kids to suffer for that.

The day after I found out I was getting released, I found a note that Saroya had written and left behind. To me, at that time, it spoke volumes. It was exactly what I needed to remember. I know I worked with the youth because that is where the Lord wanted me. He gave me talents so that I would be able to reach them when they didn't want to be, that they could trust me when they felt they couldn't trust others. It isn't that I thought I was the "only one" who could be there for the youth, because certainly my counselors and other caring people have done a lot more than me, but I WANTED to be that person for them. I wanted them to know that I would never give up on them. However, I know I did what He wanted me to, and I can take comfort in that.

More important than that though, I AM A MOTHER & A WIFE. He gave me my own kids to raise and to be an example to. I am so thankful that they have supported me in the many years I have served the youth. My kids STILL get excited to go to church when I have a youth activity, and they don't complain when we have driven all over to pick up and drop off different youth. I am thankful to be able to spend more time and energy focusing on them and their needs now. Why would I ever question the way the Lord works?? :)

Oh, and in case you were wondering... I got called to serve as 2nd counselor in the Primary (kids ages 18months- 11 years old.) After church today Saroya looked at me with a big smile and said, "Hey Mom. I think you are going to help be a teacher for me in Primary!" I said, "Yes, I am actually..." then she looked down and said "YESSSSS!!!!" :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dancing in Meadows of Strawberry Jam

Every time we go berry picking, I always think of the book, "Jamberry" by Bruce Degan. It is such a fun children's book and I love the story at the end that tells about him growing up picking berries with his grandparents. "When I was a little boy, berries never came from a store. We found them in fields. Grandma would take a pot, Grandpa would take a can, and I would take a pail." It reminds me of picking raspberries with my grandparents at their "farm". I think I ate more than I picked, but it is such a precious memory.

My kids are strawberry FIENDS, so we make sure to pick strawberries every year. This year I had a dream that we missed strawberry season (which we did once when I was 2 weeks to delivering Jaleigh) and we couldn't do that again. So Thursday morning at the crack of dawn we got up and headed for the strawberry patch!

They just have a table there that have the price ($11.00/ 8 quarts) and a glass jar to put your money in. They also have instructions that say "Find a row with a pink flag, start picking away from the cars and then move the pink flag to the end of where you pick so the next person will know where to start." Easy enough.

However, Nathan thinks it is a ploy to hide the really BIG berries so he opted for the flagless row. During our pick, the owner of the field drives by, "Is there a flag in that row?" Nathan plays dumb... "Oh- (looks around) no. Should we be in one with a flag?" "Well, there are usually more berries in the rows with the flags, but you can pick there if you want to" and he drives off. Nathan goes over to the flagged rows and looks around. "Nope," he says when he comes back "we've got much bigger berries here..." So the conspiracy theory continues...

We did get a lot of berries pretty quickly so maybe he is on to something. And leave it to Saroya to find the berry twins!

Anyway- not bad for $22.00 and a lot of fun family memories!

When we got home I was like "Yeah COOL! I love that we got all these berries! I am going to freeze some and make a ton of strawberry jam!" And then it hit me... Oh, I have a lot of work to do. Oh and I need to go grocery shopping today. Oh and we promised the kids a trip to the beach today. Yuck. Nathan was nice enough to take over washing and cutting the stems off so I could go shopping and then we hit the beach for the evening.

I don't really mind making jam by myself, late at night. It is kinda messy.....

but my Grandma Nellie always said that "a good cook always cleans up". I do what I can...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Think Tom is my Only Friend by Now...

When you open a new "myspace" account, everyone gets "Tom" as a default friend. (He is the guy that created myspace.) Then when you ignore your account for awhile and so do all your friends, "Tom" shows up again. A myspace account with Tom as the top friend usually is a good sign that the page has been abandoned. I am quite sure if this was a myspace, Tom would have shown up quite some time ago. Bless you if you have still been checking in on me. Wow it has been busy!!

I have to rewind and post some recent events before moving on in blogland...

The last few days of school were so busy with parties and assembly's. Saroya had a Authors Party and read a book she published and illustrated. It was called "Who Is Nancy?" and it is hillarious! She has really become a great creative writer.

Ethan's final honors assembly of the year was so exciting! We got there late, but just in time for him to be awarded his Honor Roll certificate. Then came the awards for the Accelerated Reader awards. Ethan and one of his best friends were the last two to get their awards.

So in case you can't understand what is being said, the principal talks about how getting to a 200 point level is pretty amazing and it takes a big commitment to read outside the classroom. He calls up Ethan's friend for a 200 point award. Then he says, "Now for our top point earner, not only for 4th grade, but I believe for the entire school, 250 points- Ethan Avery" and then I scream. :) Isn't that exciting?? I was so excited for him because I know how hard he worked on getting that. And then to have that kind of honor! He did inform me that the selection of books for him in the library at school was diminishing. I hope they get a lot of AR quizzes this summer!

After the last day of school, we discovered that we had a whole night with no plans! It was storming pretty bad, but we loaded up the trailer and went camping. One of the places we like to go the most is Ludington State Park. I know I blogged about this place before, but I will never get tired of that park. We love it! They happened to have some openings so we camped there for the first time. WOW!

On our way up there, the tarp on our camping stuff came loose. (So much for keeping stuff dry!) We pulled off the side of the road and I see a cop pull over behind us. I thought, "Oh this is a nice way to start our rainy camping trip..." We'll I shouldn't have spoken so soon. Nathan ended up knowing him from work, and aside from telling us we were crazy for going camping in this weather, he was very helpful. (I thought this documentation was rather creative of me. Do you see how I took it on the sly?)

Well- the closer we got to the campground, the lighter the rain became. When we got there it had stopped all together. We quick made dinner (although the do have a really nice restaurant in the park right on the lake!!) and got things set up. It never rained another drop while we were there. Once in the park, we either hiked, biked, or ran as our mode of transportation. On our first bike ride that night, we almost ran into 4 deer that ran right in front of us!

In the morning after a typical AMAZING breakfast by Nathan, we set out to explore. There are so many trails there, and equally as beautiful! We let each of the kids choose a trail to follow, and then they led us on that trail.
We ran into some more deer. Just babies!

Of course all good things end up with at least one battle...

Yes- that is Ethan sitting on top of a crying Saroya....

Ethan wanted his trail to be to the beach, so we rode our bikes there. It was a very windy day because another storm was on it's way in, but it was fun to stand in wind that strong (for a few minutes!!)

When we got back, we decided we had better head for home because we didn't want to get caught in the storm. As we were leaving the park, I looked up on a hill. Don't you think that "A" is a sign meaning we HAVE to go back? :)

You know it was a good get-away when they crash out a half an hour after walking through the door, like this...

Oh- I almost forgot a few show pictures from the school production that Ethan was in. He remembered all his lines and he did great even though he was nervous. Yea ETHAN!

OH man! This little girls socks took me WAAAAYYYYY back! So Cute! (I love that she is on her toes to reach the mic)

Monday, June 2, 2008