Monday, March 19, 2018

Mom's B-Day

Gavin and Shipton helping me put the demo boxes together.  It has been about a 6 months process start to finish, but we were given the go-ahead to assemble care packages for the women in our stake battling betrayal trauma from a spouse's sexual infidelity! Each item was clearly meant to be included (check out Mark's video HERE to see what they are like). I was expecting a request for maybe 20, but the bishops asked for 60 (so we did 70 to have a 10-box-buffer). My family could help me do a few of these, but 70!?! I quickly realized this was bigger than us, which is how it should be. As I considered possible dates, I realized my B-Day was coming...I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my life than by making others' lives brighter! With amazing connections that were truly God sent, everything arrived on time. As we made our final preparations for these, it has been a beautiful experience for me. There is healing in paying it forward, making the path smoother and clearer for others, and pointing others to Christ. It doesn't change what happened, but at the same time, it softens the experiences from the past and allows even more love into my own heart. I believe one reason we go through difficulty is that God can use us to reach His other children; we would be unable to do so without our experiences.

Sennika helping to carefully measure, cut, and heat seal-the ribbon. The care packages came together with our entire family working together on the prep work. I appreciate their love, support, and interest. I didn't remember to take a single picture or movie clip of my "B-Day party" (our care package assembly party), but it was incredible. It gave me goose bumps seeing all of the beautiful boxes lined up against the wall, knowing they represent women who will hopefully have a smoother healing process because of our efforts. I cannot fully articulate what it meant to me that night. As my life was completely shattered, I was alone and had no idea where to turn. We had already been working with therapists for about 6 months previously and things had only gotten worse. I felt like I was the only one in my situation and I had no idea where to start, let alone what to do. But to have an entire roomful of people coming together to support these packages plus easily double that who couldn't be in two places at once, did something to my heart. People care! They really do! These people were there because they care about me...but they also care about women facing betrayal trauma. I have no idea what the chances are that any of the women who receive one of these packages will see this post, but if they do, I want them to know that they are so loved. Complete strangers love you. Your friends, family, and leaders love you. God loves you. You are known, even in moments of darkness, despair, and darkness. I am kicking myself that I didn't film it for you so you could experience that, but know that you aren't alone!
A woman in my self-reliance group made me a birthday basket. It was so thoughtful!

Mark scheduled my B-day off, which was a nice surprise. We snuck away for lunch together.

My beautiful roses aren't as fresh today as they were when Mark gave them to me, but their fragrance has filled the house.
It was a wonderful celebration surrounded by those who love me. I appreciate family and friends who couldn't be with me in person, but still reached out on my special day.

Friday, March 2, 2018


Lego Land 2018!

Last year, Mark's parents took us on an epic family vacation to CA.  Unfortunately, we were rained out for our Lego Land day.  The kids were devastated!  Lego Land offers an unreal promise: if you are rained out the day of your tickets, then you can come back within 1 year (now it has been recently changed to 6 months).  Our tickets were going to expire the end of February, so we needed to make our trip happen.  We had a blast!  Lego Land is a kid's dream---especially our Lego-head, master-building kids.  We drove at nights, which was nice/difficult.  It was nice to have quieter travelers, :) but Mark and I came home tired.  So worth it for the kiddos, though!

The kids had been saving their money for almost the entire year.  First thing in the park, they wanted to make their purchases.  Lego Land will hold onto your items and have them ready for you to grab on the way out of the park.  Genius!

Everyone raves about the apple fries.  I, personally, thought they were okay.  The rest of the family was wild about them.

Shipton's and Leland's faces! <3

As soon as we got back to the hotel room, the master builders started into action.

...and started again first thing after waking up.

Day 2 Lego Land!

Even though Lego is traditionally considered more of a boy toy, there is an entire section of the park for girls (or boys who like Friends Legos).

About to watch the 4-D movie

We somehow missed this opportunity on the first day.  You pay $25 for unlimited professional pictures throughout the park.