Glen had a work trip planned for Southern California the first week in October and he suggested that I come along.
It was perfect because they kids had the days off of school so we drove them to Salt Lake to be taken care of by relatives and we flew out from there.
It's always so calming to go to the beach. It was the first place we hit up as soon as our plane landed! We were both happy to hear the waves crashing and feel the sun!
Of course one of our very favorite beaches is in Laguna so we made sure to have some time to stop there too.
We have lots of memories here with the kids, it made us kind of sad (for a couple mins) that they weren't with us.
We got a good laugh out of this family affair photo shoot that was going on. It looked like a teenage "couple" be photographed by a father and mother team. But the positions they had them getting in were rather inappropriate! & extremely awkward! Then we were glad our kids weren't there!
The company that Glen was working with treated us to a nice dinner one evening. It was so fun to sit outside in October, in short and t-shirts, and enjoy each others company with no interruptions! The sunset at the beach happens to be one of my very favorite things!
We had to take a picture of Rapunzel's castle for Maggie!
Also we spent one day canoeing the ocean, no pictures as I was scared to bring a camera along for that! We had a good time watching for pretty fish and sea lions. We both agreed we couldn't do it for too long because we were getting a little sea sick. We flew home on a really early morning flight after being away for 3 days and 3 nights. We picked up the kids and drove home. It was a very fast trip but relaxing and that's what we both needed!
My Dad and Stepmother Susan just returned home from a church mission to Boston, Massachusetts. I'm so proud of and inspired by them as I've read their blog posts each week. I don't think I've ever seen my Dad happier as he has lost himself in the service of others. Kendi and I have talked about going on a service mission when we're older, but after watching these two, I'm more committed to doing it than ever.
Here are a couple of my favorite pictures. Well done Papa and Nana Sue!
For Christmas, my Dad sent us a book from Clayton Christensen called "The Power of Everyday Missionaries". I highly recommend this book. Clayton Christensen is Harvard professor a world-renown businessman. I studied his Harvard Business Review case studies in business school. He is not only a brilliant mind, but he is a humble disciple of Christ that finds joy through sharing the good news of the gospel with others, one-on-one as the Savior did.
While watching my dad on his mission and reading this book, I realized that I haven't been the kind of member missionary that I should be. I've been praying for chances to share the gospel and feel the joy of missionary work.
This past Sunday, I fasted, prayed and set a date. I asked the Lord to help be find someone not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with whom I could have a gospel
conversation in the next week. I believe that there are many people that the Lord wants us to
help, but He wants to see our commitment and know that we can be trusted. I was all in and had faith that He would provide the way.
As a side note, I think Satan has a foothold in the workplace. It's okay to talk sports, our families and politics, but it can be taboo to discuss church or religion. Some companies have policies against it. It's easy to understand why the adversary works this way. We work 10-12 hours a day, get
home and try to spend the balance of our time with family. You add the extra time for community and
church service, and it's easy to justify to ourselves that we simply don't have the time.
Hogwash! Why should the most central part of our lives get squeezed out of day-to-day conversation? I've found recently that there are tons of opportunities to talk about
church, scouts, and church service. I don't need to give the 1st missionary discussion. I can talk about my boy in scouts, how the church gives me a chance to service, what I learned from a speaker at church Sunday. You get the idea. It's not threatening and if they want to know more, they ask. I just need to
be open and share how the gospel impacts my life day-to-day, and avoid deflecting a gospel conversation into something else when it may be tempting to do so.
This past Thursday, a friend of mine that I've done business with for 5 years asked me if I could give her a letter
of recommendation. She told me that just before Christmas, her company
closed down and that she was out of a job, looking for work. I finished the letter of recommendation and then a peaceful, brilliant feeling entered my mind
and heart. I knew this was an answer to my prayer from last Sunday. I thought about
what I could say that wouldn't be threatening but that could help her. I told her that I had been out of work before myself and could empathize
with her. I told her, “ You can take it for what it’s worth, but prayer
and my faith really helped me through that tough time when I was going through
it myself. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.”
This is what I got back from her:
Thank you! That means a lot to me.
I don't know if I ever told you but my daughter was baptized
into the LDS faith about 9 months ago and has never been happier. With the
missionaries coming and going from house constantly, my faith has become
stronger recently and my admiration for these young people is incredible. (I
come from a history of 13 years of Catholic school.) The Church and its members
have been so kind to us and has welcomed us warmly even though we are not members.
We actually live less than a mile from the Glenview, IL temple.
I hope that wasn't TMI!
Her email brought tears to my eyes and I had to
close the door to my office. It really touched me. I told her so
and asked her a couple questions about her daughter. I also remembered Clayton Christensen's book and asked her if she had any questions that I could help her with. She gave me
a short list, mostly about the temple. She also told me that she hadn't yet taken the lessons from the missionaries but that her newly baptized daughter was preparing to be married in the temple soon. Some of her questions had to do with the temple. She also shared
some positive interactions she has had with members of the church in her area over
the past 13 years, and the special spirit she feels when she sees the temple.
We’ve been going back and forth with emails. I'm not sure how things will turn out. Regardless, i'm sure we'll stay in touch. It's her personal journey to find truth and I respect the decisions she makes. I've shared a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon and videos from Mormons.org. For those new to our faith, leaning how to pray and how God answers prayers is really important because it is something very different from memorized prayers. But the personal relationship and communication with God is how truth is revealed and testimonies are built.
Having this experience and watching the faithful service of others is strengthening my faith in the
gospel. What happened with my work friend is not coincidence – I’m sure of that. Sharing the happiness the gospel brings is something that I hope I can openly share. It brings tremendous joy. It's a little gem I've recently rediscovered and one that I hope not to forget.
I get to spend most of my days and nights with this little girl and I couldn't be luckier!! She's a talkative energetic one that keeps me on my toes!
They started working on right their names at preschool, I think she does a pretty good job! I love little kid handwriting, it's my favorite!
Maggie and I are quite lucky too because we get to meet up with dad quite often on lunch dates. Here Maggie perfected her self portraits of dad and herself at Bono's Restaurant. She pretty much nailed them both!
With the kids back in school Maggie started to realize what a real drag mom was.....she was ready for preschool to start back up!
This year she is taking from a different teacher that is ALOT closer to home. There are only 7 kids and they are all 4-5 preparing for kindergarten. Crazy to think that she will be in kindergarten next year!
This picture cracked me up...the sun was in her eyes!
She's looking too big!
Miss Amber is AWESOME!!!
Maggie really loves her 3 mornings a week that she gets to go learn and be with her friends.
The rest of our Labor Day weekend was spent doing as much outside as we possibly could. The weather was perfect and we knew with school starting full swing that we wouldn't be able to enjoy it as much!
We met the Lewis family down by the river in Eagle and let the kids do the rope swing and then hit up 5 Guys for dinner. It was a fun day!
On Monday we didn't get enough river time on Saturday, so we rode our bikes back down to the same spot and did some more rope jumping!
This part of the Green (brown) belt is not the prettiest but it gets us to the river and the prettier parts. We LOVE riding our bikes. In fact I think the kids get sick of it at times because Glen and I are always up for a bike ride. We spend much of our summer on our bikes.
Monday (Labor Day) night Glen's old high school friend, Aaron and his wife Afton, had us over for a BBQ and volleyball out in Star. We had a great time with them! We rushed home quickly after because we knew it was the last night to swim in our pool. We wanted to make sure we took advantage of our very last night before they closed it for the year. It as SO perfect because we were the only ones crazy enough to be there!
The only indoor activity we did that weekend was a little dress up.......CRAZY CRAZY KIDS!
We decided to give the local hot air balloon festival a shot this year. It fell on Labor Day weekend so we hit up the first night Friday by watching the balloons inflate at dark.
There happened to be WAY too many people there for likes! Watching the balloons as they inflated was cool but that's all it really was. We were lucky to run into our friends the Jacksons so they saved us some pretty sweet seats. It also made the trek down there a little more worth it!
At the end of the night, after we were herded like cattle off the bridge to our car, we all rated the overall experience of the night.......the numbers weren't HIGH! But you always have to experience to know what your missing out on, right? And maybe if we are REALLY bored next year we will fight the huge crowds and enjoy it a little better?!
A few quick morning (fake) smiles before they head out the door!
I made Glen drop Carter off at school the first day....I just couldn't do it. Well I could do it but I couldn't do it by just letting him out of the car and driving off. I felt like I would need to get out and go in with him and make sure he got his locker open and then make sure he found his right class first AND well, that's not okay anymore I guess! So Glen took him and quickly dropped him off at the curb and drove off! But Bess, I still got to take her. (sigh of relief)
Sara and Bess showing off their new backpacks.
Bess is excited to be on the lower campus of the school. Just 4th and 5th grade classes are down there and it's one step closer to growing up! Bess has the new teacher at the school this year, Mrs. Garrett and she's awesome! It's going to be a good year!
Carter did allow me to pick him up after school, however. It was kind of pure chaos trying to find him though. So I finally just parked the car and told Maggie I would be RIGHT back. It took me way longer to find him then I thought when I hopped out of the car. I couldn't believe all the kids with cell phones but after 15 minutes of looking I started to think that maybe I was the dumb parent! (but not really, we don't need a cell phone)
Sadly, this is what I came back to. We still aren't quite sure what happened. She said she was screaming for me because I was taking so long and then she saw blood. So weird! She's never had a bloody nose before either?! What a mystery.....we ran home and cleaned her up and all was well!