Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life in Our World - What Life is All About

Six weeks of Spring.  Six weeks till Summer.  This is what Life in our World has looked like the last six weeks:

One Week:

Trevor, Michelle, and Cortney came to see us so Ray, Cali, and the boys came to see them.  It's nice being in the middle.

We visited, ate (food seems to be an important part of our gatherings . . . as rightly it should, I guess . . . for even lions share the spoils), and flew kites.

At least that's what I took pictures of.

Michelle playing a game with Atlas and Levin.  This is the boys' first sustained interaction with Michelle, but she has the kind of personality that envelopes and includes and they responded quickly and accordingly.

I'm not a kite-flyer, but Trevor is and he taught Levin, Atlas, and me how to get one in the air and keep it there.  

Our front window cracked a few cold winter's ago when the fire in the fireplace was too hot for the cold window.  Trevor, a carpenter by trade, helped Calvin to replace it.  This is how they brought the window home.  Calvin's a great buffer.

We ate well while they were here.  Ribs the first night and a crab pot the second.  And chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.

Family really is what life is all about.

Still Another Week:

The day before his 30th birthday, Abe took command of Crazyhorse Troop, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment.

We went to Fort Lewis for the ceremony.

sketch on the wall in the gathering room

The troop gave Grace a bouquet of roses.  Abe is standing above her left shoulder.

Abe asked Calvin to help him prepare a dinner for 90 of his men.  Calvin bbq'ed and made pulled pork.

As the troop gathered in the room and I saw all of the big boots, I panicked a wee bit.  Calvin and Abe asked me to help figure out the quantity of food.  I used old figures in my head that included regular appetites of men, women, and children, not soldiers. No worries. Calvin had beefed up the meat quantity and we had plenty.  And since no women were present, we had more than enough vegetable trays.

Freedom and family really are what life is all about.

And Yet Another Week:

Brent and Nesha Roylance and Calvin and I took the Young Men and Young Women from the Spanish Branch to Utah for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference.

In order to go on the trip, the youth had to read the entire Book of Mormon, attend church and mutual 80% of the time, accomplish several goals in their Duty to God and Personal Progress books, and the girls had to do a ten hour service project.

Two smart things we did for the 12 hour car ride (and the whole trip) is 1) took all their electronics/phones and gave them back for only one hour a day, and 2) every stop they drew a card for seat assignments.  Red was Brent's car, green was Nesha's car, and yellow was our car.  The kids and conversations were constantly revolving.  As one girl said to her friends, "I've known you guys forever, but I didn't know half of this stuff about you."

Here are the kids and Nesha ready for General Conference Sunday morning.  We listened to the first session in the Joseph Smith Building and the second session in the Conference Center.


On Monday we toured Temple Square and on Tuesday we stopped at BYU-Idaho for a tour of the campus.  It was a great trip and gave the kids perspective and new experiences - for many it was their first experience with a revolving door let alone General Conference or a college campus.  For all, it was spiritually uplifting.

The four brave souls that took the youth to General Conference.

We got home late Tuesday night.  After work on Wednesday I met Cali in Ellensburg and picked up Levin and Atlas so they could stay with us while she had Lasik surgery.

Calvin led the little boys in a prayer about the time Cali was going in to surgery.

Her surgery went really well.  For the next few days the boys and Calvin and I worked in the yard . . .

. . . did chores.  Levin gathers eggs with no fear of the rooster.  He learned that El Ta Ta and Dan love raw eggs and fed them both several.  They'd never had such sleek coats.

. . . we did projects.

. . .  and played.  But if you think these are doll strollers, you're mistaken.  They are spaceships.

And if you think irrigating boots are to keep your feet dry, you're also mistaken.  They are best when they're filled with water.

Ray came over on the weekend to pick the boys up.  Let it be documented that Ray fits between the car seats in the back seat.  No small feat for a 6'6" man.

Serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

The Week After That Week:

Ray, Atlas, Levin, Calvin, and I caravanned to Cle Elum to meet Abe, Grace, and Henry for an impromptu picnic.  It was cold, but it was worth it.

Calvin and I brought Henry home to stay with us for a week.

He was our happy little buddy.  

Abe and Grace came one the weekend and we spent it celebrating Grace's birthday, working, and enjoying each other.

Father-Son bonding is a funny thing.  Somehow rug burns and bruises and lots of sweat spells I love you in a very real way.  FYI, both were on the top sufficiently long to claim victory.  But judging by the severity of bruises and rug burns Calvin lost.

Taking care of your responsibilities, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

And Then, Next to Last Week:

While Abe went to the field in training, Grace and Henry stayed with us.

We kept a pretty relaxed pace that included a nap every afternoon.

And a walk.  It was Henry's first time in the wagon.

It was also his first face plant from the wagon.

One night Grace and I attended a baby shower together and went to see Cinderella.  We both loved the movie.  It was a fun night.

 We had a good week.

And then it was over.  We met Abe in Cle Elum so he could take his family back home.

Love, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

And Finally Last week:

The lilacs were in full bloom and you know it's going to be a great week if the lilacs are in bloom.

And it was other than that one day I was terribly sick and even missed work.

One day Afton called and asked if it was true that little girls need to play outside to grow healthy and strong.  I told her indeed it was and asked her if she would take a picture of something red, something yellow, something blue, and something green when she went outside and send it to me. 

In return I took a picture for her with something red, yellow, green, and blue in it.

I can't tell you how grateful I am for Facetime, Instagram, and texting so that even though Afton, Eliza, Zeph, and Ezra aren't at our home or in our arms as often as Levin, Atlas, and Henry, we are still very much a part of their lives and they ours.  It's a great comfort and source of happiness.

This week we also worked a lot in the yard and Calvin built a new trellis for the tomatoes.  He's certain this is his year for good tomatoes.  And I believe him.  He is a great gardener and he's always been such a good provider.  Actually, he's just a really great man and I'm grateful to him.  I love him. 

And through these past six weeks, we also learned that the position I have on my day-job was being terminated. We wondered what to do.  And wondered some more.  And then still wondered what to do.

Three rather long-ish weeks later, I was offered a full-time position doing what I've been doing for the last 14 years:  teaching high school aged students the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are grateful.  

Last night I snapped this picture from our driveway.  The peace the picture captures is how Calvin and I feel as we reflect on these last six weeks of family, answered prayers, and life. 

God, love, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.


Michelle said...

You are incredible.

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

Just what I needed this morning. I love you Jane. You are incredible.

Ande said...

I loved reading this and seeing the pictures. Thanks for sharing what life is all about.

Heather Williams said...

You have THEEEE best posts ever! You are a writer, an uplifter, you find the good and make the best out of everything! And you love your family, your freedom, hard work, service and the gospel. Thank you for sharing your talents....and never in a boastful way but in a true way that helps me want to be better.

Kathy said...

I really enjoyed these posts and the variety of your family life. I love that you are so positive! Congratulations to Abe (and Grace). You have adorable grandchildren! Congratulations on your new job, you have been and will be such a blessing in the lives of our youth. Glad you could take the branch YM and YW to general conference. They will never forget it!