annes is 9!

Nov 26, 2016 by

It feels like a gazillion years since my baby was born nine years ago. It also feels like it was such a short time ago that I held her in my arms for the first time. Surreal.

My entire life has changed since she was born. Our family has grown up. There are no more diapers, kids needing help getting dressed, bathed, or fed. There are no more board books, burping, or putting on their shoes for them. They are all big and capable and my role as mother has changed from caretaker of physical things to nurturer of the soul (and let me tell you, soul caretaking is hard for me).

I remember so clearly the fear and faith that surrounded her pregnancy and the joy that came with her birth. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and told me, “It’s gonna be okay.”

And you know what? It has been. The past nine years have been full of incredible challenges, immense mountains of love, poignantly tender miracles, and so many experiences I would never have chosen, but am grateful to have learned from.

Annesley has never had the privilege of having her papa have a schedule where he can spend lots of time with her as he has worked long hours six days a week her entire life until this fall. She doesn’t remember her mama not being sick or broken because the breast lump happened when she was 3 1/2 and right after recovering from that is when the EDS challenges began in earnest. She has had to face hard stuff and she has done it with laughter, love, and light. Annesley’s spirit is huge. She spreads joy everywhere she goes with her big smile and loving heart. We adore her to Pluto and back.

She has been totally in love with Leonardo da Vinci and inventions for months, so her birthday book this year is Cleonardo, The Little Inventor. It is a darling story of Leonardo’s granddaughter and her awesome invention.

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She is still in love with Adventures in Odyssey, fishing, hiking, music of all kinds, playing the piano, drawing, soccer, football, baseball, and Irish Step-Dancing. Her dreams are big and she has endless confidence that she can do anything she sets her mind on. She recently was able to go on a date with her papa to an Irish performance and loved every minute of it. She couldn’t help but dance in the lobby during intermission and I was told she put on the quite the show!

This morning she opened her presents – a tackle box, her first set of Prismacolors, and a doodle book. Keziah and Dallin took her ice skating this afternoon and tonight we will enjoy her ice cream cake creation – Mint Oreos, a layer of chocolate ice cream, and a layer of Breyer’s Mint Ice Cream. She has been planning it for months.

Miss Annes reminds me so much of myself. She looks just like me, has oodles of interests, and is full of zest and sass and sparkles of happiness. She has adopted most of the elderly people in our church congregation. She makes them cards, takes them presents, and loves to go over to visit. They shower her with love right back.

Here are some pics from the last year of her life.

Christmas Jammies from Grandma Dorothy – Star Wars!

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Snowboarding for Homeschool Ski Days

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Annesley is so excited to be in plays like her big sisters some day. Keziah’s January play was so fun!

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Provo City Center Temple Open House in February

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Liberty Girls Icicle Finding

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Liberty Girls Fancy Tea Party for Purim

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Going to General Conference with her dear friend, Olivia and big sister, Keziah.

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Scheel’s aquarium on the General Conference trip.

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Playing the piano and singing at the top of her lungs.

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Swim Camp 2016 – What a great way to kick off the summer!

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Rock Climbing with friends – she’s a natural!

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Smith Reunion and visiting Grandma’s and Grandpa’s graves.

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Reading The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic – our summer read-aloud. Snuggling up and reading for hours was our favorite way to spend the morning hours this summer.

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Camping, hiking, fishing and snakes galore. Oh, how she loves the outdoors!

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Daddy-Daughter Date with her papa at church.

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Fisher’s Birthday Hike at Cave Falls

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Our first ever family bike ride since I was injured in 2012. I rode my Elliptigo and everyone else was on bikes. I only made it about a mile, but let me tell you, it was glorious!

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Climbing trees at Fairy Land – our favorite spot at the greenbelt.

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End of Summer Party at Lava – speed slides are the best!

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Her new Irish Step-Dancing Class – yes, she is the youngest and smallest! She loves it! She hardly walks anymore and prefers to do one-two-threes everywhere she goes.

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Cousins holding hands at the Star Valley Temple Open House in September.

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Thanksgiving sledding with cousins, Easton and Oaklyn.

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Last hugs before we came home yesterday.

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We are so, so grateful for this girl that God sent us at what seemed like the worst time. We need her sunshine! It is so much fun being her mama! She has had a wonderful year learning and laughing and having fun. May she have many more happy, happy birthdays.

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week 40

Nov 26, 2016 by

Celebrating the 4th of July without my freedom-loving girl was kind of strange. She is still in America and was able to see some fireworks. I love to hear her stories of teaching. Sharing the message of Christ a beautiful privilege.

Aloha, y’all!

We had two pretty cool lessons this week. We came over to teach a lesson to a friend of someone in the ward and it was really spiritual. The friend had already been reading the Book of Mormon, and it went really well. He had a lot of good questions. We have to pass him off to the Saddleback YSA district, but it was still pretty cool.

We also taught our investigator on Sunday. Her name is Venus. She has a 7 year old son and she is really prepared. She has a really hard time getting work off Sundays, so she hasn’t been able to make it to sacrament, but she came to RS last week and this week to Gospel Principles and Relief Society. She had a really great experience there and loved the lesson, which was on ministering angels. It was really great and she was able to meet some of the members. They just welcomed her in. It was really good. Then we took her to the Music Devotional and for a tour on the temple grounds and she really felt the Spirit. We ended up having a couple young women from my previous ward there, they were awesome on the tour and it went really well.

Zone activity yesterday was pretty fun. We did it late because they wanted us in before all the crazy people got their 4th parties on. So we hung out at the stake center and ate food. I laid on the floor with some others and we talked about random stuff, which was pretty much all I wanted to do. Then we heard the fire works start. The church sits on a big hill and looks over pretty much the entire valley, so we could see maybe 10 shows going on. It was pretty great.

Love you guys!
Sister W.

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week 39

Nov 26, 2016 by

This letter is from June 27. I am so grateful she has the opportunity to learn to love people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is one of the most important lessons of this life – loving those who are different than ourselves.

Aloha!

This has been a good week. We are teaching Brandyne, a long time less active member who has had a pretty rough life. Her dad abused her, her son and husband died, and her family and herself really fell apart. She’s made a lot of wrong turns, and has been absolutely miserable. A while back she ran into the missionaries, and was at a pretty low place, and wanted to meet with us. She’s about to have another baby, and she really wants to give him a better situation. If we had talked to her about God a few months ago, she would not have had ears to hear, but now with the path she has walked, her heart is starting to open. After all this time, she finally has the desire to repent, and have God in her life. There’s still a long road, but she is finally seeing the light. We taught her twice this week.

Venus is great! (She is a referral we received several weeks ago. Her co-worker is has been talking to her for a while, and she finally decided to meet with us. She’s SO ready, and is very close to the spirit. Her 7 year son is named Daniel.) She was not able to come to church this week because of her work schedule again, but she used her lunch break to go to Relief Society in Live Oak Canyon, close to her work. She is wonderful. She just has so much hope, even though she’s had a lot of trials. We are so excited! :)

Diana is great, too. (She’s the one we taught a couple weeks ago, but her husband isn’t ready for the gospel yet.) We stopped by to visit with her this week, and talked to her for a while. She is so sweet, and wonderful, and just loves us so much! If her husband wasn’t opposed, I think she’d be happy to be baptized. As it is, we’re praying for her husband’s heart to be softened. We’ll do what we can in the meantime. She is so awesome. Every time we see her around the community she gets super excited! We love her.

We had a funny experience this week. We were tracting in a part of our area that a lot of Hispanic people live and their houses are all sort of clumped together. We met several really great people out there, and one guy who argued/bashed us until we could leave. So we got there and there was this little girl playing outside her house and she was really excited to see us for some reason, so we said “hi,” and proceeded to knock on the doors, and she followed us, and we kind of wondered what to do. So we walked up to a door, and she says “You’re going to my house?!” really excitedly. There was some guy inside her house fixing something, and he was super awkward. He said “I don’t live here. Ah, let me get the lady who lives here” and he was trying not to talk to us. So turns out the girl’s mom is sleeping or something, so we told her we’d come back some time to see her mom. So then we walk away, and she keeps following us. All the doors face each other, so we were only like 15 feet from her door. Each door we walked up to, she’s say “This one is [blank]’s house. It two buttons (doorbells),” “This one has no buttons” “This one has 1 button” etc. It was pretty cute. We told her we’d have to come back when her mom could talk. It was pretty interesting.

Love,
Sister W.

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week 38

Nov 26, 2016 by

My goodness, I am SOOOO behind on Blythe’s mission letters. This letter is from June 20 so I have over five months of letters to post. If it weren’t for the need I feel to have all her letters posted in one spot, I would give up! I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!

I think I just wrote to President Orgill for the last time, though it’s possible that the letters next week will still be to him. I’m not sure. It was pretty hard. It doesn’t seem real that he is actually leaving. I will miss him so much! He is incredible.

We got a baptismal date with Venus this week. She is so excited to be baptized. There is some ground work to do to make that happen, involving her job and some things she has to overcome, but she is very prepared. We are so excited for her. She is moving, and she doesn’t know where yet, but hopefully it won’t be out of ward boundaries, but if it is, then I think it will still work out well.

Gloria had a really good talk with the Bishop a little while ago. Her son died when he was very young, and had a cool near death experience, a while before he died. He told her when he woke up, that God had said he had a plan for their family to be together forever and that they would see each other on the other side. So she has always believed that. She’s been investigating for a long time, 18 years, and hasn’t gotten baptized, even though her husband was baptized about a year ago. She just didn’t see the necessity of it, because she just thought that since her son had told her that God had a plan, that it was kind of automatic, that you die, and it just happens, but the Bishop was able to explain the necessary steps to make that happen, how baptism and being sealed in the temple were the steps to make that happen, and laid it out very clear for her. They talked about how nothing in this life that is worthwhile, comes with out effort and work. I think she is close. She is very close to the Spirit, and I think when it happens for her, it will just fall into place. I am so excited for her!

We got a ton of service this week, and the last couple, which is great, because there is never service in this area, since everyone seems to have everything they need. We were helping with set up for a high school grad night. They seriously go all out! It’s insane! Set up took weeks, and a ton of volunteers. It was fun, but this weekend was take down, and that was rough. It got so hot this weekend! Saturday it was in the high 90’s. Sunday it was 103 over here, and in Mission Viejo and RSM, it was 114! It was AWFUL!!! We went knocking on doors when it like 99 Sunday morning. We purposely chose Nellie Gale since the houses are really big, and have shaded porches frequently. We gave out two copies of the Book of Mormon in about 15 minutes of each other, which made our goal for the week. One lady named Jenny, was super nice to us. She was really impressed that we were doing this even on Father’s Day, and we talked and got to tell her about the Book of Mormon, and she seemed pretty serious about looking into it. She invited us in, and gave us drinks, which was great, since we were melting. She was visiting her dad, so she wasn’t local, but she lives pretty close, and she didn’t seem opposed to talking to missionaries there, or being in contact with us. She was awesome!

This morning I was reading the Book of Mormon, in the book of Mosiah in chapter 5. In verse 2, it talks about how the people had the Spirit of God given to them and how through that they had no more desire to do anything wrong anymore. I love how, through the Holy Ghost, we can be cleansed from our past and be able to receive strength to overcome our bad habits, so we can come closer to God. Verse 12 was also really cool. It talked about how, as we follow God’s commandments, and build our relationship with God, we become more like Him, so that when He calls us, we will recognize His voice, and that when we go back to Him, we will know Him. I really enjoyed that chapter. It really strengthened my faith and understanding.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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hands hurt = memories lost

Nov 6, 2016 by

Here’s the deal – I’m failing at this whole blog thing.

I could offer a zillion excuses like these ones:

  • My hands hurt
  • My life is extremely full with my homeschooling, church, health, and friends responsibilities.
  • My brain is tired.
  • There is a whole lotta crap going on that I can’t talk about and it makes it seemingly impossible to even begin to compose a sentence about the many lovely things I CAN talk about.
  • My room is filthy and it hard to justify sitting down to blog when I should be cleaning with my five minutes of time.
  • And while all of those things are true, so very true, it really boils down to me not making or taking the time to write and letting my online time be sucked up by other things.

    So, here it is November 6 and I have hardly blogged for an entire year. My right hand was injured one year ago and I had to really limit my typing and mousing, but what started as a temporary heal-the-hand activity change has become the norm. Typing and mousing have been hard this entire time and now my left hand is injured as well so I don’t know when it is going to get easier in the foreseeable future. But I do know this; I have missed an entire year of recording and remembering our family’s experiences and hilarious moments and I can’t get those back. So, I am going to try my darndest to make the time, to take the time, and start writing again. My soul needs it…and I don’t want any more memories to be lost.

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week 37

Aug 23, 2016 by

So fun to go back and read this letter in August and to read her enthusiasm over meeting Venus since I now know she will be spending lots of time with her in the coming weeks.

Last Monday we started teaching a new investigator! Her name is Venus, and she is a friend/referral from a lady in Live Oak Canyon. She is a single mom, and super ready for the gospel. She was so excited to start reading the Book of Mormon, and was very receptive to the lesson. She has a 7 year old son named Daniel.

That is 3 Mondays, a.k.a. P-days, that we have picked up a new investigator! We’re going to call them Magic Mondays! It’s been really cool, since Mondays are often not the most productive time.

So, funny story about that. We got out of the lesson with Venus pretty late, especially since we just stopped in to contact her, and weren’t thinking she’d actually let us in. So we leave, and she lives at the end of this really long street where a lot of Hispanics live, and there is no parking ever. So we had to park down past the intersection of the main road, about 3/4 of a mile away, and we had to get back to our car quickly so we could get home, which was a 15 minute drive AFTER we got to the car, so we had to run back to the car. We got super hot, I was wearing a pencil skirt, and we almost got sprayed by a skunk since it happened to be near where we were running.

We also got a mission wide text on Friday morning, that there had been 3 earthquakes in the last 6 hours, which was “unusual” so we had to go over our emergency plan, and both of us and our roommates were talking about how unsafe our apartment is in case of an earthquake, as it is set on a hillside. It’s not really that unsafe, though. We were just having a good laugh over the image our apartment sliding down the hill. Then we were thinking that if we had an earthquake that maybe we’d be in danger of a tsunami, so we went over that plan, and talked about where we’d go if there was tsunami warning. Nothing happened, though. :)

I am also not losing my companion this transfer. For the first time in like 7 months I will have a companion for longer than 6 weeks. :)

Love you!
Sister W.

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