Letters from Mom September 2014

September 29, 2014

Hello, my dearest!  I am excited to hear about your week and the new adventures you've had in the past seven days.  I'm also excited to hear another update on your knee.  I know you said last week that it is doing great, that you/it has been blessed by Heavenly Father - for which I am so, so grateful - so I'm sure you will give a positive report.  I just want to hear it again.  That's all.  :)  I hope it's been a good week and that you've felt an extra measure of the spirit to guide and direct you in your new calling.  I love you, darling.

So, this place, Tennessee, is so, so, so beautiful.  Seriously, I just can hardly stand it sometimes because it really is a magical place!  Idaho is beautiful, too, but when you are here it's easy to see just how much of a desert Southeast Idaho really is!  I've uploaded photos and video clips onto OneDrive, but they don't tell how comfortable the weather is and how warm the water is.  

When we went boating this past week, the water was as warm as Lake Tenkiller.  It was so fun just to swim around - can you imagine how fun that would be to have lakes and ponds and rivers everywhere when you were a kid - warm ones, not the freezing cold, chilled to the bone kind of canals, lakes, and rivers? You could spend the entire day in the lake!   And there are forests everywhere!  

I mean this place is crazy with trees!  And I really like this part of Tennessee because even in the  city, there are buildings and major stores/shopping centers and then across the street you'll see a big old pasture with cows grazing or a hill with a giant meadow.  It feels rural and yet it has all the conveniences of a city.  It's not like Salt Lake or Boise that is just wall to wall pavement and buildings with a few trees and parks interspersed here and there.   This is a city that I could live in because it doesn't feel too much like a city!  There really is so much to do - parks (like really great parks), boating, concerts, hiking... and there are so many things within a relatively short distance.  The Atlantic Ocean is 6 hours away.  Amazing US History sites are closer than that!  It's a great place...really lovely.  And I've had a great time so far.   


 I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father that I could come out here for lots of reasons.  For one, I think I have been able to be somewhat helpful to Cindy, allowing her time to get some rest and just to ease her burdens a little.  She's totally capable, but 5 little kids is a lot!  That is another reason why I've been grateful to be out here - I see more clearly (because hindsight IS 20/20) just how crazy life can be with a house full of little kids!  There are papers and crayons and pencils and dishes and toys and clothes and leftover food and towels and diapers and all kids of stuff all over the place... just like there was when you guys were all little.  And even with two and a half adult women (I'm counting Heidi as half an adult because while she can be helpful at times, she is still very much a teenager - into her own thing) we can't keep up with everything.  I mean, Lucy alone... she is like a 2 year old in whirlwind form! 
 She goes from thing to thing to thing and if you're not constantly on alert then she creates some pretty impressive havoc!  (But she's so darn cute while she does it!)  And that really isn't the focus anyway.  This stage of life isn't all about keeping the house clean, it's about nurturing and loving and teaching these kids.  That is something that we muddled in my mind when you guys were younger.  I did too much comparison with my super sister, Cathy, and the real objective, the real purpose of being a stay at home mom got muddled and I was way to unkind to myself.  Cindy is stronger and the mess and chaos doesn't eat at her so much, which is great.  She has a quote on her bulletin board that reads, "Comparison is the thief of joy," by Theodore Roosevelt.  I like that a lot.  So it is great to be here and to feel some validation in my own experience as a stay at home mom with a house full of little ones.  The kids are really great.  It's been fun to get to know them better.  Also, I'm using this opportunity to "practice" my Grandma/mother-in-law skills.  hahahaha  I know it's premature, but it has been a good experience for me to see how easy it would be to interfere or become bossy or to over-suggest that Cindy do things my way, and yet to practice being observant and looking for ways to help her succeed as she does things her way and not interfering or being bossy.  I want to be a good Grandma/mother-in-law, and I can see how easy it would be to, unintentionally, be a pain!  hahaha  So that's been fun/eye-opening/great, too.  

So, next year, after you get home, after you report your mission and everything, I want our family to come on a trip out here to Tennessee, sort of the last family vacation before things change for good.  I mean, you'll be heading off to college and to your new life as an adult, Sam will be.... doing.... I don't know.... but things won't be the same, which is right and good because they aren't meant to be the same, right?  hahaha 

So I think that would be awesome.  I'd like to take you guys on the Virginia Creeper Trail.  We drove through the Smokey Mountains to Virginia on Friday and then went on the the trail on Saturday.  The Virginia Creeper Trail used to be an old steam engine railway line, but has since been converted into a bike trail.  You start at the top of the mountain and ride bikes down through some of the most beautiful country imaginable!  Seriously, I had to start singing Äll Creatures Of Our God and King" because it was just so, so beautiful! It was a fun ride, about 17 miles mostly downhill.  The trail ënds" in Damascus, VA but the trail doesn't end there - you can go on another 15 miles to Bristol, TN.  Uncle Brian came with us on the Virginia Creeper trail.  It was fun to see him - he's a funny old guy - and then that night we met Aunt Kathy in Johnsonville for dinner at the Cracker Barrel, which is a super fun place to eat!  We were all dirty and gooey from our long day on the trail, so we looked especially awesome.  hahaha  We had literally "just come down from the hills" to eat at a "fancy restaurant." hahaha  

Another thing that I've really liked about Tennessee is the diversity.  Mormons are definitely the minority here.  Just like there is an LDS building on every corner in Shelley, there is a church on every corner here, but they aren't LDS!  The cool thing about that is that there is a culture of religion, of God-fearing, do what is right, love your neighbor-liness here that makes it a nice place.  Yesterday, there was a steady stream of people standing to bear their testimonies in Sacrament Meeting.  One of the speakers was a lady who is investigating the church.  She wants to be baptized, but is trying to quit a 60 year old cigarette habit.  She gave such a sweet testimony of her experience with the missionaries and the change that has occurred in her life since she has been coming to church.  How wonderful and rare to hear an investigator bear testimony! And during our combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting we had a fabulous meeting about missionary work.  It was so inspiring.  The ward mission leader taught us how love is the real key to inviting others to want to learn more about the gospel.  He talked about how 2% of people that we meet/invite are golden - they have already been prepared and are ready to accept the gospel - while the other 98% need to be prepared and are at different levels/stages of preparation.  Our job is to love them and allow them time to "be prepared," to have hearts and minds softened, to have predispositions and prejudices eased, to develop questions in their hearts and minds that need answers that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can answer.  That takes time, and so our job is not to convert, but to love and invite with patience and sincerity.  He challenged each of us to become intimate friends with one nonmember this year.  He said that when he was living in California, their ward took that challenge and in their ward alone went from 3 baptisms in one year to 33 the following year... just by becoming better friends, by loving others.  He shared personal experiences that he had had where he never once"pounced" on them, knocked on their door with a plate of brownies and a Book of Mormon and asked them if they'd like to know more about the church or asked them if they'd like to meet the missionaries, but was just a friend and then, when the time was right, when hearts and minds were prepared, they were ready to know more - they asked him questions or they shared conversations that let him know it was time to invite them to learn more.... because they were prepared.  So I found that to be so, so beautiful and inspiring and motivating.  At the very beginning, he talked about how nice it feels to stand next to a fire, to feel that heat seep into your body and push out the chill.  Then he talked about how, after you've been sitting by a fire for a while, staring at the flames - almost in a trance - you don't really feel that heat pushing out the chill anymore.  The only way to get that feeling again is to go out and invite someone else to join the fire and then you can feel that heat again.  That was a cool analogy, I thought.   At the end of the meeting, Brother Powers who had recently joined the church - a year ago; he and his family were recently sealed - stood and shared his conversion story.  They had been very devout Southern Baptists and it was through love and friendship that their hearts were prepared and they made the decision to join the church.  It was such an amazing meeting!  I want to be faithful and to set my fears aside as I work to be a better misisonary... as I work to love others who are outside of my current circle.  I  hope I can be faithful.

That is one thing that I realized today that I need to work on - putting needs ahead of wants.  Sometimes I feel so driven to do things - like I have no choices because there are so many demands, so many committments - that when I have an opportunity to do what I want to do I always choose the want instead of the need.  Does that make sense?  I need to read scriptures with this nugget of spare time, but I want to play candy crush and so more often than not I choose the want because.... it makes me feel like I'm somehow in control, that I'm the boss of me.  But it isn't healthy.  Balance... moderation.... still so much to learn.  I am grateful for every new day that allows me another opportunity to improve.  I'm grateful to recognize these things in myself, though.  Í'm grateful for that inspiration/insight.  

OK.  You're turn to talk.  I can't wait to hear about your new...everything!  You're in a new area, right?  Close to Copiapo?  I'm excited to hear it all, my dearest!  

OH!  yeah - news.  Tauni Ackerman is engaged.  Pretty awesome!  She's been home less than two months!  I am thinking he is someone she met on her mission because that was fast! hahaha  And I guess you will have to hear the updates about the family from Dad since I've been away this week.  OK.  That's all.  



September 21, 2014

Hey, Darling!  So your last letter was quite the experience!  We were gasping and oohing and aahing as if we were watching an action film!  I can only imagine what a difficult week/experience that was for you, my dear.  I think you handled it really well.  Truly.  I am still really concerned about your knee, and I'm looking for a DETAILED UPDATE on that end.  hahaha  So are you at home in the pension for the next two weeks?  Is that what the doc meant by "resting for a few weeks" and then you'll be good to go, or does that mean you're on crutches, or in a car, or....?  So, I want all the details, my friend.  You had mentioned some months ago that you thought you'd more than likely need another surgery when you came home, and I am thinking that this experience just sealed the deal, yeah?  I'm sorry that happened.  That must be so frustrating for you.  I hope things are going well with your new companion - we're eager to hear all about him and about how things have been this week.  We are still praying for Elder Jimenez, hoping he will get the mental health care that he needs.  We understand only too well how important mental health is for a person, how devastating a mental illness can be to a person and his/her family, and how challenging it can be to get good mental health care.  We will continue to hope and pray for the best for him.

So, tomorrow I'm leaving... on a jet plane.  I'm heading to Tennessee for Spud Harvest break to spend some time with Cindy .  In your future life, you will find that for most women (like your future wife) most of the help comes right after a she has a baby, the 7-10 days immediately following delivery, but many times she NEEDS that help the most about 5-6 weeks later, near the end of her 40 days/nights "in the wilderness" of no sleep, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and general adjustment to a new member of the family and their wants/needs.  So I feel super, super grateful that I can go out and be with Aunt Cindy and hopefully help her along the last leg of her days/nights in the wilderness since Weston arrived.  It will be a good time, I think.  We were able to use frequent flyer miles, so the ticket only cost about $100.  Such a blessing.  I'll take lots of pictures while I'm there and put them on One Drive for next week.  :D  I have to admit that I DO feel a little chagrined at leaving during Harvest Break.  There are a plethora of things screaming for attention here (I forget how insanely busy the fall can be - it's like we are never home), not to mention Janie gets her braces off in a week AND Meg's 16th birthday!  But, Meg is planning to be busy over harvest, working for Grandma & Grandpa Dixon (they pay very well), since she didn't secure a job in the harvest.  AND she and I went out for birthday lunch and shopping this past week - I took the afternoon off - so that was a good time.  

The birthday lunch/shopping trip was extra fun because Meg is being asked to the Homecoming dance, which will be Oct. 11th.  She hasn't been officially asked yet, but she has been "reserved," so to speak.  So, since I was going to be gone, she and I went dress shopping.  I have to say it was pretty fun.  Meg was all kinds of uncomfortable and vulnerable about dating and dancing and wearing a fancy dress, which was freaking hilarious, but after the first couple of dresses, she got into it and we eventually found a nice, modest dress (for a modest price) that looks really great on her without being too....much.  She looks really pretty and still looks like herself, not some dressed up doll.  She is going to go on her "first date" with Dad on Friday, so I took the opportunity to talk to her about how to be a good date, how to keep the conversation going, how NOT to send mixed signals to your date, what to do if he tries to hold her hand and she doesn't want him to, what to do at the door, etc.  This is what was so funny.  Meg, by her own admission, doesn't like to do things she's not good at.  This girl is so naturally talented that most things generally come pretty easy for her, but talking to boys, flirting, even relationships with friends, doesn't come naturally for her, so her answer is AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!  And it's so funny because she knows she needs to know this stuff, but it just makes her uncomfortable because it's foreign to her - so she doesn't like it because it doesn't just click and come naturally.  Well, welcome to what life is like for the rest of us, Meg! hahaha  We all have to work through things that are difficult (math, sports, music, cooking, etc. which all come naturally for her) in order to function as we want to... so it's funny to watch her squirm.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that the boy who is asking her - he's talked to me about asking her - is named Lee Carretero.  He's a new student, moved here last year from American Falls.  He is a sweetheart - super nice, kind of shy.  I told Meg that she may have to carry most of the conversation because he is shy, especially because he has a bad old crush on Meg.  He asked her out this summer, but she wasn't old enough to date.... but not anymore!  hahaha  Let the games begin!  hahahaha

In further updates, Janie is doing really well in the play.  It's really fun to do that with her.  The play overall is going well.  Melodramas are, generally speaking, easier than a traditional stage play, so we're doing good and the cast is really stepping up.  We're right on track with rehearsals, so I've felt confident going to some of Meg's games.  Speaking of Meg's games, the Shelley girls soccer team is still undefeated although the only tied with Sugar Salem 2-2.  Bummer.  Next time we play them, Jasmin Vega will be back, so that should be interesting, hopefully in an awesome way!  Oh, and their float won first place in the general division for the Spud Day parade yesterday - they won $100!  Let's see... oh, Chelsie Westergard won the Miss Russet pageant (such pressing news) and her sister, Lindsay Westergard, got engaged to Kyle Killpack.  Who saw that coming?  In sad news, Eugene Humphries passed away - he was/still is such a great man - Mr. Petty's wife, Roberta, passed away, and Rob Campbell passed away.  Who is Rob Campbell?  He was the principal at Sunrise Elementary, the dad to Ryan Campbell, former math teacher at Shelley, and he was the assistant coach for the Shelley Cross Country team.  I only tell you this because he died of a sudden heart attack while at a cross country meet on Thursday.  He was walking the course with the middle school girls team before the meet when he started feeling poorly and asked them to go on ahead while he rested for a minute.  When one of the girls looked back, he had collapsed.  It was very traumatic for those poor kids, not to mention the whole town.  

OK... other news... Aunt Cathy started school at BYUI this week.  It is going to be a big adjustment for her (and her whole family).  She called me on Thursday night to ask advice about how to read a scholarly journal article that was required for one of her classes.  She said she had spent more than two hours reading it and didn't understand a word and had already cried twice!  hahaha  I was glad that I could reassure her that she could do it, that she simply needed to build stamina (like when Kindergarteners go to first grade.... all day long... for the first time), and then I gave her a few strategies to help with difficult reading.  She is going to be an excellent student.   Sam remains.  He wakes up and sits at the computer.  He gets off of it long enough to do what is required, but then he is right back on it again.  It will be interesting (almost scary) to see how things go these next few weeks when everyone is home.  Sadly we have become a boring tech family.  Everyone has a device, and more often than not they are plugged in in some way - Janie down in her room, Meg in her room, Sam in the living room....  We have to warn them in advance when we will be having a technology free evening, like this afternoon when we go over to Grandma's for dinner.  I've put a block on the wifi so it turns off automatically at a certain time each night, but after they get their required things done each day, what is to stop them from plugging in until that time?   It is a new battle that we have to face, and we are still working to negotiate these waters.   Such a strange challenge for these times.  OH, and Sarah Roy is like the student body president of BYUI - did you already know that?  She is amazing.  AND she is in love, which is super great.  I hope things continue to work out for her and that I will get to tell you all about her wedding reception in months to come!  hahaha

Alright - enough of that.  Although I DO have a question for you.  Your birthday is coming up.  Yeah, it's six weeks away, but I want to make sure your package is in Antofagasta in time for you to receive it for your actual birthday.  So, is there anything in particular that you want/need?  I can guess that you'll say something like, "Packages are expensive.  You don't have to send anything,"  and I appreciate that, but if those are your thoughts then consider this:  if/when Dad and I are on a mission, or if Lexa were on a mission, wouldn't you send something even if it is a little bit expensive?  If it was possible, of course you would.  So there you go.  Your argument is null and void.  Anyway, you've been out for over a year - is anything wearing out?  Need more ties?  Shirts?  Socks?  We already have a couple of little things that we're going to send, but PLEASE let me know if there is anything else you'd specifically like in your package.  A certain candy you've missed/are craving?  Anything?  At all?  Make it a good old list and we'll use it for Christmas, too!  hahaha

OK THEN!  I'll let you get back to it!  Check One Drive for some crazy pictures from your crazy family.  

You I love!


love you! socks!, ties are always good, pictures, jerky, peanut mnms.... i may need a new suit and new shoes by the end of the mish fyi. my knee is good.

September 15, 2014

First of all, I am so, so,so, so sorry that you did not receive a letter from either one of your parents last week.  Truly. I'm sorry.  

OK.  Moving on.

So life is just crazy as always!  I had forgotten how busy the fall can be with sports and plays and birthdays and just so much!  A week ago, on the 7th, we went to two baby blessings: Brad & Ami's blessing at 9:30am in Logan and then we drove up to Rexburg to make the 2:45 blessing for Michael and Ally at 2:45.  We decided to have a fun family getaway the night before, so we rented a super cheap hotel room in Logan.  hahahaha  It was quite a dive, but the dive-y-ness of it made it fun.  It was an additional expense, but it was worth it to wake up in Logan.  It had been a long day on the day before and we were all tired!   The baby blessings were really sweet.  Both of these new little baby girls are so precious.  We had Kyle, Bailey and Lynette's little guy, for most of Sacrament Meeting in Logan.  THAT was fun.  He is super adorable.  I can't wait for you to meet him - all of them! hahaha  there will be four little cousins for you to meet, no, wait, five when you get back!  You'll love it!  

Anyway, the meetings were great.  I felt blessed to have a particular impression come into my mind during the Sacrament Meeting in Logan.  I've been frustrated with myself that I am not making greater strides spiritually in my life.  Physically and emotionally I'm doing good things, but spiritually I've not been moving forward as I'd like to.  My personal study and prayer has been weak - it's getting better - but it has been weak since, well, for most of this year.  Its been a rough few years for me.  Anyway, I was thinking about that and the Holy Ghost helped me make a connection between my own personal weaknesses and our pioneer heritage, which I have been thinking about alot this year, with the centennial and all.  It occurred to me that sometimes on the trail from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake valled, sometimes the pioneers had good roads: dry, firm, easy to travel.  Their wagons were working and they were able to make great strides and travel large distances in a day.  Other days they were bogged down with ruts, mud, broken wheels or axels, injured animals, etc. and they didn't make much headway along the trail.  Sometimes they were able cover a lot of distance, sometimes a small amount, and sometimes they didn't move at all... all they could do was stay on the trail and not turn back.  I connected that with my own journey - spiritually, there have been times in my life when I have made great strides - studying scriptures for hours each day - and other times it's all I can do to stay on the strait and narrow and not turn from it.  The blessed thing is that the Lord does respect those who "make it to the valley" first anymore than those who struggled along the way.  Any and all who make it to Zion are welcomed to be there - we just have to stay on the trail and have faith that there will be periods of dry roads ahead that will allow us to gain ground and move forward as we'd like to.  I feel the ground beneath my spiritual wagon getting drier and firmer.  The past few years, the past year especially, have felt like I was walking in mud up to my knees and I admit that I sat down on the side of the road, metaphorically speaking.  But, praise be to God, the trail feels somewhat easier these days - even though it is crazy busy... as always - and I feel more able to move forward in my journey.  I'm so, so grateful to my Father in Heaven for His tender mercies!

That said, school is going well.  I am really, really, really enjoying teaching speech and drama.  Like, I love it.  There is a little sliver of guilt/shame that Satan likes to push on from time to time that says I was not a good enough teacher to handle six preps - that I should've been strong enough to teach six different subjects and do the plays/musicals and support my kids in their activities and help Sam with his mental illness and continue to serve in the ward and do all those things.  I should've been stronger, the Adversary whispers, and my load is easier now only because I was too weak to do what Heavenly Father wanted me to do, because He gave up on me - I clearly don't have the mettle to be "great."  BUT I try to remember that even Joseph Smith was given periods of "dry roads" in his own journey. After the devastation of Farr West and Liberty Jail, there was a period of rest and happy times in Nauvoo before the persecution began and again.  So, I'm choosing to be grateful for this period of rest in my life and dismiss the idea that Heavenly Father has given up on me - He gives up on no one.  So, yeah, school is going better.  Because I have only three preps, I'm able to develop my curriculum and that is incredibly satisfying.  We just finished a unit on nonverbal communication: body language, listening, etc.  I was able to teach an idea that is growing inside of me, that most of the bullying that occurs at Shelley High is "unintentional bullying."  Bullies intimidate, offend, make others feel invisible and worthless, right?  Yet, I see these "nice" kids from good families act like bullies all the time because they are not away of how their LACK of communication skills make other people feel.  So that has been very satisfying, to bring to light how important it is to help others feel validated and acknowledged in order to avoid being an "unintentional bully."  And the drama classes are really coming along.  My beginning drama class is HUGE - 33 students - so it's like a wild rodeo in there, trying to keep everyone engaged.  On the other hand, my advanced drama class has only 9 students, and while that is disappointing (there were 20 who had registered for the class originally) it has been fun to have a smaller class - we've been able to really work on stuff and have some great activities/discussions.  AND there are probably 8 students in beginning drama that I will invite to come to advanced drama next semester, so that should be fun and maybe even things out a bit.  

Ok, clearly this is going to be a lengthy letter - hope you don't mind too much!
So, we've been busy.  Meg's team continues to KILL it in soccer.  They are undefeated.  Their closest game was against Teton, 3-2, but the others have all been won with quite a wide margin.  Meg is frequently quite bored on the field because the ball is always on the opposing end!  And we don't even have Jasmin Vega back yet!  Last year, she scored 75% of all of our goals, but then, in the spring, she tore her ACL.  She should be coming back in the next few weeks, so it will be interesting to see how it all comes together then.  We've got a great team right now - we already made our reservations for a hotel in Twin Falls for the state tournament! hahaha (free cancellation, so it's all good).  We play Sugar Salem on Tuesday, so that should be quite a game.  We'll see if they can continue their streak.  And the boys team is amazing, too!  They are 4 and 1 - WINNING!  It's pretty impressive!  They play like a team rather than one or two super stars.  That is really fun to see.  Oh, and Meg is officially a licensed driver!  THAT is so, so, so nice!  She loves the freedom (and so do I)!

The melodrama is really coming along.  Janie is doing a great job, although she totally over-thinks her part.  She is so nervous about doing it right.  I mean, she only has like 20 lines, but she is really really stressed about it! hahahaha  She is a funny girl.  The play overall is going to be alot of fun, I think.  Half of the cast are freshmen, so there is alot of training that goes on.  I forget that they don't have experience yet to know what I mean when I say, "Cross downstage," or "counter cross as she walks past." But that's ok.  These freshmen are quite talented, so I see a bright future ahead for our program!

Sam is doing OK.  He does a lot of nothing right now.  He sleeps, does minimal chores, and plays games on the computer or watches Netflix.  And that is all.  It has been pretty frustrating for me/us.  Meg, especially, gets super frustrated with Sam because he doesn't do anything but comes across as SUCH a know-it-all, which doesn't go well with Meg because she doesn't respect Sam as an authority because he is doing nothing with his life right now.  It doesn't bother Janie as much because she accepts Sam as an authority, but Meg does not, so it just grates on her.  They are handling things pretty well, communicating better, and Sam recognizes that he makes mistakes from time to time, so its a working relationship between those two, but strained.  I have started attending a support group with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) that meets twice a month.  I've only gone twice, but it is amazing how comforting it is to talk about the challenges I'm facing with Sam and learn from those who have been dealing with these issues for years and years.  I am finding that Sam is quite functional in his illness, and that there are lots of reasons to have hope that he will find some level of recovery and normalcy in his life.  Dad and I also started going to a class provided by NAMI called Family to Family which meets each Wednesday for twelve weeks.  We meet with other parents/caregivers of the mentally ill and learn about the illnesses themselves, about how to cope, about the process family members go through emotionally whenever there is a psychotic episode,  about how/why the illness changes the person, about medications, about how to get help - questions to ask, patient rights, etc. - and more.  It's been good.  It will be good for our family as I come to the realization that there is no magic combination of pills that is going to put Sam back on the path that he was once walking.  Even if he does find a measure of recovery with medication and psychotherapy, he will never be the Sam he once was.  That is evident now, so it's time for me to accept that, to put that dream aside, and accept him fully as he is right now.   I included a page that I have found pretty helpful in understanding how Sam has changed over the past 18 months - I included it in One Drive.

Also in One Drive is the runaway note that we left for the kids the other day.   Dad got another award for sheer awesomeness at work a few weeks ago and he decided we needed some time away from the rat race, so we left a note for the kids and spent 24 hours watching movies and sleeping and snacking and enjoying time away from rehearsals and practices and menus and phones and responsibilities.  He is so very good to me!

It sounded like, from your last letter, that you may be getting transferred - or that there might be some change coming your way.  We're anxious to hear all about it.  We love your letters so much.  Only, I hope you don't feel that you have to only send sunshine and lollipops.  I hope you feel safe in being honest with the struggles you're facing as well as the positive things.  It's important to stay positive, yes, but it is also important to acknowledge the frustration and give it room to air out as well.  Just sayin'.



i love your letters :) hahahaha and i loved your running away note! you guys are awesome! i love you all to death. ;) Mom :) i love you thanks for being you. just keep doing that because it makes me happy. im glad that you are continually doing better. i only send sunshine and lollipops because i like to look on the brightside :) not to protect you guys :) it just makes everything happier for me. i hope you have a great week!
Elder Gold

oh, and now every letter and package and everything has to go to the "casilla 70" adress. fyi.

September 1, 2014

Good morning, my dear!  We're getting ready to head down to the state fair to work in the scone booth... aaaaaaaaalllllll daaaaaayyyyyy looooooooonnnnnng.  Ugh.  But it will be a good fund raiser, I hope. So this will be a shortish letter, sadly.  We'll jump strait to the news of the week:

Aunt Cindy had her baby!  Weston Knox Peterson (I will still hoping for Spike) arrived on Thursday.  I uploaded some pictures.  He's a big boy and he likes to EAT!  But things went well and they're home now.  So that is super awesome.  Three babies this summer - in the last two months.  It's alot of fun.  This Sunday we'll be driving down to Logan for Brad and Ami's little Marlie who will be blessed at 9:30am and then drive up to Rexburg for Michael & Ally's Isabell who will be blessed at 3:00.  hahahaha  should be quite a day!

Things at home are going pretty well.  Meg KILLED it in her first soccer game on Saturday.  We beat Firth 7 to 1 - Meg had some impressive saves.  Consequently I watched all of the great saves and only got photos of the goal that went in.  Good grief.  Ah well.  

Meg is now officially taller than me by about an inch, so that has helped - that and her sweet vertical jump!  We went down to the Rocky Mountain Rumble later that day to see the first varsity football game - Justin and Marcus are both on the Varsity squad (Justin is special teams; Marcus plays special teams and receiver).  They played a private school from Las Vegas - one that actually recruits players - and they looked so, so scary!  Half of their line looked like collegiate athletes, AVERAGING 6'2" and 250#... one of their guys was 340 lbs and 6'7". We thought, "This will be a humbling experience for these Shelley boys."  Oh contraire.  They killed them with a final score of 27 to zero.  So much for a little humbling before the season begins.  It will be good when we move up to 4A, which seems inevitable.  We have so many students this year!  All of my classes are huge! 

I'm not sure what else to say - oh yeah!  We had auditions for the melodrama and got a really fun cast.  Kolby, Brecklyn, Janie, and her friend Natalie are the ones that you would know in the play.  I think we're going to have a fun cast, but there are a lot of newbies who have NEVER been on stage before, so I'm going to have to be extra patient as I teach them the basics.  hahaha Ah well, that's what melodramas are for, right?  They are a great "beginners" play because there isn't too much nuance or skill required to make it work.  

OK.  I have to go now.  Scones await.  Sorry this letter is so abbreviated.  

I hope you have had a better week.  It is true that sometimes it's the long-suffering and endure-to-the-end portion of charity... and those are often the most difficult.  We pray for you daily, my dear!  I love you so, so much!

Talk to you next week!

Love from Mom

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