Monday, May 24, 2010

Praying For A Strong Back

This morning, I heard an amazing talk by Ardeth Kapp. She told a story about when she was about 10 years old her father took her to the Belly River to teach her to swim. She said that it wasn't easy and it took alot of courage because the water was ice cold, the current was swift and she had to swim against the current. She said what made it possible was that her father always swam along side her; she said she can still hear his voice saying "You can make it. Keep going." By the end of the summer, her back was strong from all her effort and the constant encouragement. The water eventually receded and the current slowed, but only after she had learned the lesson: there must be opposition if we are going to develop strength.
Yesterday I attended an amazing Ward Conference where the theme was Mosiah 24:14 - "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." As this theme was shared from the pulpit, I looked around and saw almost everybody dabbing at their eyes - on some level, we are all swimming against the current.
I know our trials and tests are to strengthen us, but when we're in the thick of the current and swimming as hard as we can it's hard to remember that the current will slow at some point. I am grateful for those who swim beside me - I do know that I am not alone...and I pray that my back will grow stronger as I swim upstream.

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Year In The Field....

Yesterday marked one year in the mission field for "R" or as I should probably say, "Elder Hall". Everytime people ask about him and how long he's been gone, they conclude with "it's been THAT long already?" year in the field.
When I really think about it, I remember having these same feelings about "S": the time has gone by quickly, but when I think about how long it's been since I've actually seen him it seems like forever. Now, I don't want to sound like one of those "moping", depressed moms, so I'll quickly follow up my last comment with "I'm so glad he is where he is" and how grateful I am that he is with people that he loves and who love him. That is absolutely the truth. I also know that this experience is changing his life forever and is giving him experiences that he simply wouldn't receive if he was here. He is becoming the young man that the Lord needs him to be.
When his letter arrives next week, I'm looking forward to hearing about how he "burned a shirt" to celebrate. And now I can relish the fact that I can begin to count backwards: next month he'll have 11 months left in the field!
Love you, Big Man!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lovin' Miss "E".....

I've been thinking about my new daughter-in-law (I still can't believe that I'm a's weird to hear myself say it). Adorable Miss "E" is exactly who I prayed "S" would find. She is already such a strength in our family and we are all almost as smitten with her as her husband is. She handles the ups and downs of life with true wisdom beyond her years. She is soft spoken, but strong. She has a wonderful smile and doesn't take life too seriously. She is an angel....I could go on and on, but I can already imagine her blushing. I'm so glad she's ours. I love you "E"...or as we say in the Hall house - "SSUUURRREEE love ya!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy 24th Birthday "S"!

I remember so clearly the day "S" was born; it was undoubtedly one of the happiest days of my life. Since we had almost 4 years together before "R" was born, we had what I think was some great mommy-"S" time. Almost every day, we would do something fun - go to the park, meet friends for a playdate, go to the museum, feed the ducks, or one of our all-time favorites take a picnic lunch and eat it on the grass at the Torrance Airport while we watched the planes fly over us and land on the runway (that is, until we got busted and they told us we couldn't do it anymore)!
Here are 24 things that I love about him:
24. He used to get everybody all stirred up and then say, "Family, family. What is wrong with us? Let's have some love at home!"
23. He and "R" played tram-ball almost everyday and nearly every day "R" would come in crying because "S" had cheated so he could win.
22. He NEVER made his bed when he lived at home...I think he got better on his mission (but I might be kidding myself)
21. He used to love watching The O.C.
20. He had this blue pair of shorts that I HATED because they used to sag and when he left to go on his mission, he left them in the car and I ended up keeping them because them reminded me so much of him.
19. He has always had a knack for making people feel comfortable
18. He read every "Goosebumps" book he could find.
17. He isn't a picky eater - except he doesn't love spaghetti
16. He has an amazing work ethic - in school and work
15. Even when I'm irritated, he can make me laugh
14. He LOVES to tease his sisters
13. He has scared himself watching scarey movies
12. He and his Dad can talk for hours
11. He is the best big brother there is
10. For many years he thought he was going to marry Kelly Clarkson
9. When he loves what we're having for dinner, he always says "Oh y-e-a-h!"
8. I love how he calls home for no particular reason
7. He is extraordinarily loyal
6. He loves is family and adores his new wife!!
5. We have a lot of "injury" stories and most of them involve him
4. Since he was a "first child" he wore a lot of really goofy Halloween costumes and never complained about them
3. He is very, very kind
2. He can look at his best friends, make eye contact and nod his head and they completely understand each other
1. He was the perfect way to begin our family
Happy 24th Birthday, "S"! You are as wonderful as they come and we love you to pieces.

Open House Pictures...More To Follow

The Fairy Tale Wedding

Well, I have been so excited to finally write about the wedding!! What an incredible week - I was so fortunate to be able to go up to to Utah a few days early and spend time with "S" and "E". I was there when "E" went through the temple for the first time - what an honor to be there. "S" and I spent some time together that I will always remember and treasure before the rest of the family arrived. And then the actual day arrived....
It was a glorious April Saturday - the sun was shining almost as brightly as "S" and "E" and they both looked amazing. We were joined by so many wonderful family members and even a number of close friends who came all the way from California. "P" and "B" kept their emotions pretty well in check until they saw "S" at the temple all ready to go up and get married - and then they cried like the little girls they are. It was a sweet moment. I have to admit that I thought so much about "R" that day; I know he was with us in spirit and although we missed him a ton (and he would have LOVED the entire day), he is exactly where he needs to be. The sealing was just beautiful and I will always remember the feeling I had during it.
Afterwards, we had pictures outside of the temple and then headed over to El Rancho Grande for a fun luncheon and then it was off to the reception in Lehi.
"E"'s family did such a beautiful job putting the reception together - it was lovely. The food was great and everybody loved the dancing! It was the perfect way to end the day.
"S" and "E" headed off on a honeymoon in Las Vegas and then came down to California for an Open House a week later. We were so happy that they could come spend some time with us!
The Open House turned out exactly as I hoped. I'm so grateful for amazing friends who so willingly stepped in and helped out. Also, a huge shout-out to my sweetheart who hung lights, secured deck railing, planted flowers and everything in between - he, "P" and "B" were terrific.
In short, it was definitely a fairy tale week...and I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.