Hello, my loved one! I hope this letter finds you well and good. :) Hopefully, you've had a good week with experiences that have strengthened your faith in the Lord and your dedication to the work you're doing. You know, sometimes when I "zoom out" and look at the bigger picture of all of this - or look at "world view" so to speak - it's kind of incredible what you're doing, ya know? I mean, when so many people your age (in the zoomed out world view) are leaving home to a world of college or work and all of its "freedoms," you're serving God's children and inviting them to His fold. It's incredible! But, it's easy to understand why in the day to day of life in Shelley, Idaho your service as a missionary isn't so peculiar. Last week, there were four missionaries from Shelley who entered MTCs! Peyson and Whitney Erickson entered different MTCs on October 2nd. Whitney went to the MTC in Guatemala previous to her mission there. I didn't know they had an MTC in Guatemala, and I didn't know she was preparing to serve a mission! Peyson is going to the CCM prior to his service in Honduras. Like the Wilsons, brother and sister left on the same day. Crazy! Mikayla Wadley also left last week for the CCM before she returns to the US to serve in Kentucky. Nick Kelley is the only one who went to the Provo MTC before he goes to the Philippines. It's really so exciting. You can feel the push, the urgency of the work you're doing. It was mentioned several times in Conference, too!
I loved General Conference. I'm grateful for the November Ensign because, after the fact, I forget who said what. It gets a little jumbled in my brain. I simply remember the feeling that I had. We went on a little excursion, the five of us. Friday afternoon, we traveled down to Utah and stayed in a hotel that night - swam in the pool, ate pizza, hung out. Saturday morning we watched the morning session of conference and then drove to Farmington, UT where we met the Prices and spent the rest of the day at Lagoon/Frightmares! We had a really fun time, and for the most part we stayed together and just enjoyed the rides and the spook alleys. Of course, being us, as we waited in line we played a variety of games: swords, the hand slapping game, the finger/number game, etc. We laughed and played and didn't really care what other people thought of us. It was very relaxing and a whole bucket of fun! That night, Prices drove home (Uncle Boyd wanted to spend one of his two Sundays "off" at home in his pajamas), and we returned to the hotel where we sank into the hot tub. It was COLD after the sun when down! We left the park at 9:30pm and it was 45 degrees. Yeah. Cold. AND we were super glad that we weren't driving home ourselves! We slept like rocks and then woke up and enjoyed the Sunday morning session in our jammies in the hotel room, then we packed up and began the drive home while we listened to the afternoon session. Sam drove the whole way home. It was a good experience for him to drive through Salt Lake... especially on a Sunday afternoon when much of the population was at home or at Temple Square - the roads weren't too congested! :D And, being a very conscientious driver, he followed the speed limit the entire way home. Good man. ;)
It's been a nice break. I finally got over that stinking cold and we all got some rest. BUT, now for the tsunami, the rush of activity that will swell and swirl and threaten to overcome us. Our show opens in exactly one month. AND we have done exactly nothing in terms of set building at this point. Yikes! Well, that's not 100% true. We finally got the set designed. We're going for a two fer like we did with You Can't Take It With You/Seven Brides. So the design has been kind of a big deal. But we finally got that nailed down. So, we have to block/work/rehearse the show, find costumes (pretty easy for this show, thankfully), and build a giant set in the next month. At the same time, Sam and Meg are finishing up the soccer season (this is the last week of regulation play). The girls have a pretty solid chance at going to state, which means their season won't end until two weeks before the play opens. Also, Dad is going on an elk hunt with the Dixon men next weekend for several days (I'm so glad he finally gets to go hunting again!). Also in the mix is the end of the quarter, quarter finals, quarter grading, and parent/teacher conferences, not to mention Halloween, which is so much fun! :D So, we've got a wild month ahead of us! But, then the waters will recede for a few months before the spring musical begins. hahahaha And so it goes, and so it goes.... It's a good life, and it is what Heavenly Father wants us to be doing right now.
Well, not much of an individual update on everyone, and, sadly, no pictures this week either. Ah well. We'll try again next week. That's all we can do, yeah?
I love you so much, and I'm so grateful for the service you're rendering to the Kingdom of the Lord. Thanks for being awesome.
You I love,
October 14, 2013
Just a quick message to say hello and that I love you! Time has not been my friend today... or any day lately, truth be told. It's soccer/play season, so time is as tight as a paupers budget.
Things are going well. The play is going really well, I'm very excited about it. The cast is going to be good. The girls will probably go to state soccer, which is super great for Meg. What a fun experience! The boys won TWO games this week, both against South Fremont, so they actually have a district game this year. Bonus! Sam didn't play, but that's another story.
Things at work are crazy for dad. The government has shut down and so if things don't get resolved in Washington by Friday, that is Dad's last day of work until they can come to a resolution. I'm super grateful that we have some savings set aside and that I have a real job. We'll be ok. I am really not stressed about it, but if you could include us in your prayers, that would be super swell.
Well, lunch is over, and class is about to begin. Beginning drama.... full of freshmen... oh, so crazy. Not my favorite way to end the day, but, hey! It's all good.
YOU I LOVE!
Thanks for all you do and for being so awesome.
Love from Mom
October 20, 2013
First of all, I love you.
Secondly, your birthday is coming up! Christmas is not far behind. Do you have any wants/needs? If not, we'll get creative.
Third and lastly (in the I-need-a-response-today area), if you could send a little message or note to Garrett Nelson, McKay Cannon, Josh Leal, Big Garrett, Jace Wright, Nick Kelley, McCray Foster, or any other missionary "buddies," what would it be?
OK. Those are the things that need immediate response... at least the second and third items. :D
Love from Mom
(Later that day) Hello, darling.
Your letter and photos from last week were great! You guys are very creative without a stove or oven! hahahaha Uncle Jason wondered if you wanted to turn into dutch oven cookers. Then you could actually bake stuff, but I dunno if you have time. It's sort of involved.
Also, I had to wonder if you were trying out the underwater feature on your camera with the underwater nametag pic. :) And I can't believe all the creatures that are just right there on the beach. Do you see seals/sea lions alot? The Vargas family looks like a great family (adorable baby!) and we're glad they're watching out for you - feeding you cake and such, and Hermana Estrella makes you look like a GIANT! Holy Smokes!
The week here has been pretty good. I think the weather is giving us a nice little reprieve before we really dig down and succumb to winter. It's a nice time of year. The harvest is all done - no more spud trucks on the roads. Sam is finished with soccer. They beat South Fremont TWICE and then got destroyed by Sugar Salem in their first game of the district tourney. Ah well... now he can focus on the play. :D He had a medium sized role, but Calvin Boll, who had the leading man role, is having some complications with a hernia surgery he had two weeks ago and could no longer do his part because it is very physical - lots of climbing and carrying and running and falling and crawling - none of which he can do for another month.... long after the show is over. So he and Sam traded roles. Sam now has the male lead... and has to learn all of the blocking. Ugh, but at least he's familiar with the show and the blocking overall. He's going to do a great job, and the play seems to give him a good boost each day. It's a positive thing in his life, and I'm grateful for that.
Sam, overall, is doing somewhat better. The mood stabilizing drug that we added a few weeks ago seems to be functioning well. It also helps him sleep at night, which has helped alot. His highs and lows are not as dramatic as they have been in the past, and that is a very good thing. He still has some interesting thoughts, but we're beginning to come to the core of them, to see their seed so to speak like his obsession with having super powers. Also, he seems to be coming to terms with Taybree and laying that aside once and for all... more and more each day at least. It helps that he got asked to Harvest Ball yesterday by Rachel Durtschi. I know, Rachel has, in the past, been kind of.... intense. But she seems to have mellowed a fair bit. I hope they'll have fun. She gave him 18 cupcakes that all had bits of a note baked inside. He's planning to answer her with a basket full of wood that says, "I WOOD love to go to Harvest with you!" This will be his first date (November 16th). :D
Speaking of firsts, Meg is going to state soccer championships with her team this week! This will be her first away trip with the school - she's rooming with a bunch of sophomores. They're leaving Wednesday and play Thursday AND Friday (double elimination, one game/day). If they win at least one of those games, they'll play on Saturday in either the consolation bracket or for championship. Depending on the competition there, I don't know if she'll play keeper the whole time. While she has grown several inches this year (nearly as tall as me... which isn't much), she's still the smallest one on her team, so they might need Kira Marlow to play keeper. But it's all good. Dad and I are taking the day off Thursday and yanking Sam and Janie out of school to got to Boise to watch the games. We're really looking forward to it.
It will be fun to spend the time with Sam and Janie. Sorta strange, but good. I mean, we're down to two kids in the hotel with us. It's very weird. Janie needs the time with us and minimal distractions. She spends too much time alone these days.... play season. Next year, crazy enough, she can be in the plays WITH us! Jinkies! The play is coming along, but at breakneck speed. Because of scheduling conflicts and other things, we are having to hold off on finishing the set building. And then we simply MUST go to the state tournament because whose to say they will go to state again? (We're losing 6 Seniors, a third of the team, and many of whom are key players.) So time, as always, is my foe. But I feel confident in our decision to take some family time and go to Boise.... I'll split work and family - try to find a good balance. While we're there, I'm planning to hit as many thift stores as I can to get stuff for the play! hahahahaha
Janie is a great young lady. She is a loyal friend. She told me a story about some people who were making fun of one of her dear friends the other day and she just piped up and confronted them. She is a bold little potato chip, I'll tell you what! She really is so so great, and I love spending time with her. Can you believe she'll be 14 in two weeks? You'll be amazed when you see her again. Of course, between now and then we have to work through the RAGING hormones that are coursing through her veins. She's not boy crazy per se, but she is more like the Price's cat. She can be loving and sweet one moment and then claw the skin off your hand the next for no apparent reason. But we'll get by.... times and seasons.
Meg was made the Mia Maid class president today. She's going to do a great job. She is a natural leader, and she really wants to do what is right. Speaking of doing what is right, Randy Bauer gave a GREAT lesson as our home teacher today. We were talking about our commission to "rescue" our brothers and sisters who are not members or who are not active.
Randy talked a lot about his two brothers and then we had a really great discussion about what we can do to help bring people back to the Lord. Randy talked about how he has "made a switch" and he is really headed in a good direction right now. That was awesome to hear.
The conversation was great for me especially because Sam has all but left the church. He has stopped coming to church because he doesn't believe in it. For a long time, he didn't even believe in God, but he is beginning to realize and admit that he does believe that God is there. It's a long and involved story about how he/we came to the.... compromise (?) that Sam could provide for his own spiritual health. We continue to invite him to meetings each week, and to Tuesday activities. He still participates in family prayers and scripture study and FHE. At this moment, my personal feeling is that he may need a little space to decide for himself what he believes. When it becomes his own idea then he will hold fast to it and not falter. He believes in so much that the church teaches because it is "logical" and "just makes sense." Perhaps as his mind heals a little and as he feels the freedom and trust from us to make his own conclusions he will realize that the church has much to offer him in terms of answers, peace, and direction. But, I don't dare put any eggs in that basket. We take things day by day by day with Sam right now, and try to be happy about any positive thing in his life. He may simply choose not to commit to the church. That makes me more sad than I care to express right now, but I also feel that I have to give him that freedom, that opportunity to use his agency, if I'm going to abide by the 11th article of faith. This may all blow up in our faces, but for now it feels like the right thing to do. Randy said that part of the reason his brothers have such a bad taste in their mouths about the church is because their mom stuffed it down their throats at every turn and they simply couldn't swallow any more. That wasn't the only thing, but it was a big one. And then their rebellion led to poor choices and to sin and secrets and feelings of guilt and.... I can't help but think that Josh felt in a similar manner with Aunt Cathy, though she has been more mellow as of late. So, I dunno. Maybe we're swinging too wide the other direction. All I can do is trust the Lord at this point in our journey with Sam.
Does it drive you crazy that I talk about Sam so much? Does it make you feel like he is the most important person in my world right now and that the rest of you don't matter as much? He isn't and I truly don't feel that way - that the rest of you don't matter, but he is taking and improportionate amount of time and energy these days. Seeking for balance is a daily battle for me, but I am working hard to overcome my EXTREME tendency to second guess myself, as per your counsel. :D
OK. It's well past time to call it good. I have some photos of Meg and Sam playing soccer, but I don't have them uploaded yet and it is quite late. SO, I will take some more photos of our trip to Boise and send those next week.
Thank you for being where the Lord wants you to be right now. Thank you for working to love your companion and for working to love the work. Your stories are so fascinating. Sometimes I'm yanked back by the thought that you are in South America right now, below the Equator. So surreal. But I'm so grateful for your excellent service and for the wonderful person that you've been, that you are right now, and that you're growing to be.
YOU I LOVE, my son.
Love from Mom
well... we would have to buy lots of stuff to do that and its super involved yea... i miss dutch oven. yummmm.
well... we would have to buy lots of stuff to do that and its super involved yea... i miss dutch oven. yummmm.
Haha :) yea... i wasnt trying it out for the first time but i was using it yea :) fun times :) the beach is like an hour walking and we try not to spend lots of money so we have only gone once and it was just that one spot in the dock. but thats ok. basicallly like any other beach. The Vargas Family are our investigators... no matter how i word that it sounds bad... but yeah, theyre investigators and theyre youngest just turned 6... and we bought the cake :) but we are very well taken care of yeah :) All of the people here are just super short! there are lots of houses that i cant stand up straight in.
Yea... im sure that its gonna be a little hard for Janie right now... does she still hang out with her friends all the time? i know that you guys are trying to keep her involved and i know that she will be alright. She really is awesome. Im sure she is doing fantastic things as president. tell them that i would love to hear from them whenever they have time.
Go meg! she still is only a freshman so if she doesnt play a ton it wont be too surprising but thats awesome for her!
Yay Randy! he was starting that change when i left so i hope he is really into it now :) thats so great :)
It definitely doesnt bug me to hear about sam a lot, and its funny that you said that about second guessing because i was totes gonna remind you :) all is well Momma :) I love to hear about you guys and all thats going on, good bad or indifferent. im glad you are gonna get some good vacation/family time in this week! That will be good for everyone!
I love you guys :)
October 28, 2013
Already, the end of another month. Can you believe it? You've been in the field for three months... that is just crazy, man! We are so grateful for your good work. There will soon be others joining you in the "field that is white, already to harvest." Brooke Williams is waiting for her call, should have it any day, and Dalaney Nelson just finished her last interview with the stake president, so a call should be forthcoming for her as well. Tate is preparing to send in his papers and I think he's hoping to leave/get his call (I can't remember) in January. So there is some exciting stuff on the horizon. It is nothing short of miraculous how the missionary efforts are rolling forth. It's wonderful that you can be part of it all.
Weeks are never dull around this place, as you know. We went to Boise to support Meg in the state soccer tournament. The girls played fairly well, but got beat up in the first round by an amazing team from Sun Valley, Community School. They lost 7 to 0, but Meg had 24 saves, some of which were quite spectacular. Of course, I didn't get pictures of those because I was holding my breath, but I got a few good shots of her in action. She was the only one who made the newspaper for that game since she was the only one who had any stats to mention. They won their second game against Bonners Ferry, but lost the consolation championship game against CDA Charter School (Coeur d'Alene) - they were pretty tired by that time, and it showed. Still, it was a great experience for the girl, and one of the refs for their final game was wearing a kilt! Double bonus! Meg had a fun time. We also had fun. We went thrift store shopping for costumes/props for the play. They have sooooo many amazing thrift stores in Boise! So we got some great stuff for the show as well as Halloween costumes for all of us. It was a great time. We went to a really fabulous restaurant that Aunt Trina had told us about called Smashburger, and it was suuuuuuppppper delicious. Sam and Janie shared a raspberry sorbet shake.... well, shared and then fought over it. I spent several hours at the hotel in the lobby grading papers because the end of the quarter is upon us. I have to have all of my grades in by 8am tomorrow... we'll see how THAT goes. Anyway, Janie came down to visit after I'd been working for about three hours and found a fascinating snack - a cup of creamer and a stirring straw. She is so random and super adorable.
So, yeah, one quarter down! Already! Parent/Teacher conferences are THIS WEEK! We open the play NEXT week.... aaaaaahhhhh! Life is just so much. It's sort of an odd year, how things all piled up on us all at once, but we'll persevere. Dad has been amazing, as always, to help with the set, which we're using for both the play and the musical, so it's beasty. While we were rehearsing one day, Dad was up top looking for 2x4s and got a phone call. It was so funny to see him perched up above in a chair that I asked Sam to take a photo. Very funny stuff.
We're doing pretty well down here. Life keeps rolling on and we do our best to keep rolling with it. We have ups and downs, but the Lord will help us push through. Sam is making progress. Sometimes it's two steps forward and three steps back, but overall we see positive improvement in his life. He even let the girls attack him with hair gel one day! Oh, and he got asked to Harvest by Rachel Dirschi, but I think I already told you that last week. So, yeah... He's enjoying the play and doing really well. He is a natural actor. It made me happy when Janie told me this week how excited she was to be in the plays next year. That IS why I started doing all of this stuff, to spend time with my kidlings. And it has been great, for the most part.
Well, I've gotta run and get ready for school. Love you so much, my dear son! I can't wait to hear from you today!
sounds like life is just rolling on! thats awesome about Meg! shes awesome! im glad you all got to go up there together! hahahahahaha that kilt had to have been interesting!
Yeah! the time just flies! im glad sam is still movin, even if its slow. hopefully foreward.
I love you guys tons!