Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer time!

Summer time is finally here, and boy is it another beautiful one here in our valley. The kids are loving their free time now that school is out. They have amazed me at how responsible and good they have been. They are home alone each day while I'm at work. My brother, sister, and I were latch key kids growing up and did just fine, so I was confident that the kids would do well also. But even with that confidence in them, they have been amazing. They are so good about doing their chores and keeping the house clean. I love my kids!

I get together a couple of mornings a week with a group of guys here in Midway to go skiing on Deer Creek before work. We usually get up at 5:30 and are on the water by 6:00. At about 7:30 we are off the water and back home to head out for work. It's a fun morning session with the guys that gives me some much needed "me" time that seems to be so elusive and rare these days.

Watching the sun rise on Timpanogos never gets old.

We usually rotate whose boat we take out each trip.

Surfing is the main activity that the guys prefer. I've been getting better at it, but my passion for water sports still lies with slalom skiing.

Friday night I took the kids down to a Bees baseball game. I got them dinner at the park and they were in heaven eating their hot dogs, nachos, and ice cream cones. You'll notice in this photo that Tucker and Cole have been stealing my hats and taking ownership of them. Oh well. It's a good thing I love them so much.

The weather was amazing and the Bees actually won. They have lost the four previous times we have gone, so the kids were excited about that.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Recent Thoughts About Lisa

It's crazy to think that Lisa passed away 6 weeks ago last night. Time seems to be flying. That doesn't mean that I don't miss her, because I still do. I miss her terribly. But I think that the pain, suffering, and complete exhaustion over the final three months of her life made it seem like each day dragged along so slowly. Once she passed away I had a tremendous feeling of relief. My sweet heart was done fighting and suffering. What a long fight it was too.

Thankfully I have had a couple of wonderful experiences since her death that have eased my concerns and allowed me to be at peace with everything knowing that she is in a better place. A few days after her funeral, for an entire day I had the distinct feeling that she is very happy right now. It wasn't just a feeling that I was yearning for or imagining either. It was very real, and very different than your typical feel good story type of feeling. The Spirit was very strong and very apparent. That helped ease my pain quite a bit. Then, the week after the funeral when Aubrey had her dance performance at Lagoon I had another wonderful experience. As Aubrey got up to perform her team dance I could strongly feel that Lisa was there smiling over Aubrey. It brought tears to my eyes to feel that. I wasn't alone either. Some of the other clogging moms noticed it too and came up to me with tears in their eyes to express what they were feeling.

The final three months of Lisa's life were far and away the most difficult of my life. They were harder than I even imagined they would be. They were incredibly exhausting, both physically and mentally. It was so hard to watch her deteriorate so much and to see the tumor completely take her away from us. Having to physically do everything for her also took a huge toll on me. From baths, to feeding her, to changing her diapers, to brushing her teeth. It was very hard to be her care taker and at the same time try to run my business and try to care for the kids. All of that pretty much overwhelmed me and took me beyond my ability. You could say it broke me.

Thankfully though the past six weeks have been much easier than I thought they would be. Again, I miss Lisa terribly and wish she were still here. I wish I could just sit and talk with her and make her laugh. I wish things were different. But this is now my reality and I will tackle it with faith and optimism. There are two reasons why I think life has been easier since Lisa's passing than I thought it would be. One is because in comparison to her final few months, this is so, so much easier. The other, and bigger, reason is because the kids and I have been blessed and buoyed up by the Lord. We have had the Spirit very strongly in our home that has been comforting us and strengthening us. What a blessing it has been.

Through this all I have been reminded of Ether 12:27. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Boy oh boy does that accurately describe how things have been for me. I was completely brought to my knees as Lisa deteriorated, and I was made painfully aware of my weaknesses and mortal shortcomings. I realized that I wasn't as amazing as I thought I was and that I couldn't carry this burden alone. I wish I were the type of person that chose to be humble without the need to be compelled to be humble. Thankfully though the humility came and I recognized the need for the Lord's help in all things. When I completely turned my heart over to Him and placed my faith in him, that is when I noticed how much the Spirit has been comforting me and helping me. I have seen and felt the sustaining hand of the Lord in all of this. That is why, in my opinion, things have gone so much easier than I had thought they would.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

I took the kids camping down in the San Rafael Swell along with my parents over Memorial Day Weekend. It was a fun camping trip surrounded by tremendous beauty. The kids and I arrived a couple of hours before my parents and set up camp. It rained pretty hard on us as we were driving in, so we got fairly muddy. The rain storm did provide some beautiful rainbows though.

Our campsite had some amazing views. We could see Temple mountain to the north east.

To the straight east was a beautiful view of where the Swell rises up above the desert floor.

And to the south of us was a deep canyon where the kids loved to play, throw rocks and chase lizards.

It was nice seeing them all play together and collaborate so much on what they were going to do next. Most of the time they played very well. There were only a few fights and tears. I even had to put a stop to a rock fight that had just erupted at one point where Tucker and Aubrey were standing at the top of the cliff throwing rocks down at Blake and Cole in the canyon. Not such a good idea.

I camped in a tent while the kids stayed in my parents trailer with them.

 Here's a cool view of Temple Mountain at sunset.

The kids ended up catching a couple of lizards, though I only let them keep one to take home as a pet. We now have two pet lizards. I make weekly visits to the local pet store to buy crickets.

Most of the weekend was very sunny and quite warm. It felt good to get out of the cold rainy weather we had been having most of May at home. My dad rigged up this umbrella while he relaxed on the edge of the cliff enjoying his view.

The kids made up all sorts of games while sitting on the edge of the cliff throwing rocks.

We are so blessed to live so close to the beautiful red rock country. The kids and I love to go there frequently in the Spring and Fall.