08 July 2009

I cannot seem to focus on one thing long enough to put some thought together for an updated blog. Do not love that. Here is my effort.

The wind-down of the school year. It always seems to sneak up on me. I do not know why. Could be because there are so many fun things going on, like baseball games, concerts and church activities. I know one day I'm going to miss all the places I used to have to be. What will I do with myself? I will be the little old lady at the school musicals that does not know any of the actors and the band/orchestra concerts who does not know any of the musicians - I love them!

Lauren graduated - Horray! She finished up her public school experience ready for the drama to be done. She is so grown up and is ready to move on to Madonna University to study Sign Language Interpretation. She went to orientation, created her schedule, secured financial aid and even made a few friends in her curriculum. Lauren's graduation commencement from Churchill was so great. Lauren sang in the choir that performed the National Anthem and the class song. They were terrific! The choir members were the last ones to take their seats, so we were able to keep our eye on her the whole time, very helpful with over 400 students. We had an ice cream sundae graduation party for Lauren that would have been much less cozy if it had not rained!

Colin finished up his baseball season just in time to go to Colorado with one of his best friends and his family for two weeks. We really missed him, and I think he got taller out in the mountain air. It is so strange how the dynamics change in a family when just one is gone for a while. It is so good to have him back.

Brenden explored parts on Pennsylvania with his Boy Scout troop during a High Adventure Camp. They explored underground caves and did white water rafting. Brenden had a great time, and came back with lots of very dirty laundry and very cool stories of adventure.

Liam has been out and about, too. He spent a long weekend with some of his best friends, the Vos's, and went to 11 year old scout day camp. He even went to Toledo with the Vos family for more adventure! I do not think Liam slept very much at Christopher and Calvin's house, but made many great memories.

Lauren, Brenden, Darren and I had a spiritual time warp experience in June. We all went with the Westland Stake on a Pioneer Trek re-enactment about 2 hours north of home at a Boy Scout camp. We wore period clothes (except for our very modern athletic shoes), ate period food (except for the ice cream sandwiches at the end), slept on period hard ground (no exceptions there), and pushed period hand carts that are replicas of the original handcarts that many Latter-day Saints used to take their families and their belongings across the United States to a new home in Utah. They are called handcarts because they are pushed and pulled by hand, not animals. While we walked with our handcarts for only three days, the early Saints' journey could take up to three months, sometimes in the most unpleasant weather. And while those same early Saints would then have to build their new homes and plant their food when they arrived, when we finished, we were very blessed to have a nice car ride home, to a shower, washing machine, food in the fridge and a home that was fine. But the greatest blessing of participating in this Youth Conference was the strength added to our testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel that each of us gained. The humbling experience of leaving the world behind and tasting just a little of what inspired so many to leave their comfortable worlds behind for the love of the Savior is very difficult to describe. To feel uplifted on a difficult trail, to hear the testimonies of youth who are gaining their very own testimonies for the first time, to see teenagers put together with others they do not know very well bonding and working together, to see a reserved young man take on the role of leader for his "family" and a young woman refine her skills while encouraging others, and many other moments on this journey is something amazing. The Spirit of the Lord confirmed so many truths to us. I cannot think of another situation where almost 100 teens would don costumes, give up electronics (and deodorant and make up!), push their belongings in a cart through a river and a deep ravine, over logs and through the forest and sleep on the ground for three days, but also feel the Spirit, gain confidence, learn what was most important, and understand gratitude in such a way as to exclaim, "This was awesome!" We all came away from that experience with more love and gratitude for the Savior than we thought possible.

Liam and I went to the Fourth of July parade in Downtown Plymouth that was one of the best we had ever seen! It was a beautiful day, with lots of music (Fife and Drum Corps, Marching bands and Dancers), clowns, unicyclists, politicians, costumes, kids and veterans. Then our family was off to a church picnic with the Canton and Plymouth wards, a BBQ with friends, and a movie with more friends. It was a fun day with lots of opportunities to be reminded of our blessings, like living in this country with so many freedoms. Makes me happy!

And coming down the calendar pipeline - A family trip to Nauvoo to see friends and the pagaent, Scout camp for Colin, a trip to visit Alex and Lawson in Idaho and Young Women's camp for Lauren, more days of friends and sleepovers for Liam and filling up the social calendar for Brenden. I just love summer! I love the casual schedule, the Farmer's Markets, the late nights, the bare feet and a million other things that make summer so magical.

Ok, feels good to get this ready to post! Starting to even feel the groove again, and hopefully will not wait 2 plus months to post the next one!