Sunday, October 24, 2010

White Shirts and Jeans

I wanted a family picture.

One of those cool ones where we all match and are beautiful.

I stayed up nights envisioning it.

I picked a time and place.

I knew I wanted it to happen before the storm came and blew the leaves away.

Finally the "last chance" day arrived.

I still hadn't gotten in touch with the girl who offered the "family picture" at the ward auction.

My husband was really busy with school and didn't think he'd be able to make it home before dark.

But I went forward with my plans anyway.

The kids all had a half-day of school so we decided to pick out pumpkins and go geocaching.

The youngest started throwing up right before we left.

At one of our stops, three of them were stung by bees.

I was not deterred.

We were doing this no matter what.

The boys complained about having to wear their sunday shirts when it wasn't sunday.

The teenager was trying to be different.

We got a hold of our volunteer photographer at 4:30 and set up a 5:45 appointment.

Dad came home a little early from school.

We made it to the park and the wind wasn't blowing,it wasn't freezing yet, and no one had barfed for at least an hour.

We took pictures.

[amid telling kids not to make faces, threatening to take away toys, trying to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time (9 is a lot of people), and bribing kids to smile.]

I've always envied those dentist and carpet cleaner ads and their family pictures.

Now I wonder what they went through to get them taken.

My favorite moment came as we were getting ready and my teenager said:

"it's like we're going to the temple, but in jeans!"

Yes, yes it is.

What a perfect description of life.

We are on a journey that will lead us to the most beautiful place.

We want to go as a family

But it takes a lot of work to get there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In The Middle

When I run, it's hardest for me the first 10 minutes.
Then it feels like I hit "the zone" and I can just keep going.
Until I see the end.
Then, I always seem to pick up speed.

My pregnancies were kind of the same.
There's a some nausea and excitement at the beginning.
Then it seems like it will just go on forever in the middle.
I love the nesting stage at the end when I finally start getting things done again.

Unfortunately, a similar thing happens in my church callings.
I feel so motivated in the start.
And then it just becomes a "job" where I can get by with doing the bare minimum.
When I finally get back on track and motivated, it usually means I'm going to be getting a new calling soon.

My current life experience, grad school, is a 3 year deal.
The first year is over.
We are in the second, or the middle year.

Last year, everything was new and hard and exciting and tough.
Moving to a new place, making new friends, surviving the dreaded winter, meeting financial obligations.
It was enough to keep me on task.
I made it through.

Only, now there's two years left of this.
Most of the excitement or worry has been dealt with and now it's just the way it is.

And I can't see the finish line yet.

I wish there was some way for me to keep the spark alive through the whole thing and not feel stuck in the middle.

I believe the answer lies in being more grateful.

When I run, that middle part is when I can meditate and work things out.
When I'm pregnant, it's in the middle when I begin to realize what a miracle creation is.
When I serve in the church I learn from watching so many others serve faithfully.

I may not be the one in school, but here are the 3 R's I will be working on this year:

Recognizing answers to prayers.
Remembering blessings that are received.
Relying on the Lord.

The thing about it is, the middle is when all of the growth and strength take place.


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