Weekly Nutshell

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Today in Sacrament meeting (the family hour of my church), one of the speakers, a lovely mother who is new to our ward (congregation), shared a quote by C.S. Lewis that really stood out to me. She was talking about adversity and how our trials can challenge us, strengthen us, and lead to personal growth.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Isn’t that lovely? Backing up… this was Marcus’ and my first week back to Arizona after spending most of the summer in Utah. Friends and family keep asking us if the temps are cooling down here. If cooling down means the upper 80’s to lower 90’s than I guess the answer is yes? To those of you who are enjoying temps in the 70’s and upper 60’s, and especially those of you seeing signs of fall, you are so lucky!

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The highlight of our week was three days of impromptu service, which of course pushed off our formal homeschooling in the best of ways. This service involved a lot of elbow grease, child care, and friendship. The only picture I took was a trailer I helped fill with potted plants!

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It was also Marissa’s first week as a college student. She sent me these pictures that she took of the horticulture gardens and the Rexburg temple (which she took at a distance once she realized she was walking the wrong direction!). She loves her courses and has already made friends with her roommates. She even has a calling in her new singles ward, as a family home evening leader. She called and sent me texts several times each day, asking me for advice or to proof-read an essay or just sharing her day with me. I am still enjoying weekly calls and texts from my oldest college kids, sometimes as often as daily or an every-other-day basis. I’m so thankful we are a close family and nothing touches my heart more than to hear my sweet 18-year old baby girl call me, “Mommy”. ♥

And that was our week in a nutshell.

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Weekend Nutshell

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“If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.” -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Last Friday, on our way to Fairview, Utah, for the weekend, my oldest son, Zach, phoned us to say he had just been called in to see his still-new neurologist (new to my son, not new as a neurologist) right away. We took a detour to the hospital to meet up with Zach and join him for his second appointment with his neurologist, who confirmed his week-old diagnosis, based on our son’s recent spinal tap results and the results of his earlier MRI and of three rounds of blood work. At the age of 23, Zach has Multiple Sclerosis. That’s the shocking bad news. The good news is that it’s been caught early, treatment has already begun and nothing is wrong with his spine.

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My talented cousin, Heather, made this amazing cake! The theme for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party was her travels around the world.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday with a three hour, surprise open house in her honor. It was a success with over 60 of her family, friends and neighbors attending.

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Mother and Sons

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Me and my lovely daughters

We stayed in Fairview, visiting David’s mom, until Sunday afternoon. Then we drove to Salt Lake, dropped the kids off at another birthday party, this time for my side of the family. Zach and I then dropped my husband off at the airport so he could return to his job in Arizona. Once back at the party, we didn’t stay long as Zach was tired and the kids and I had a two hour drive ahead of us. The kids and I are staying here in Utah for the next four weeks. ♥ Last night, Zach bravely posted about his MS on Facebook. Here is the link to his blog, Yo-yoing With Zed, if you would like to support him by following him.

Staying Strong

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I don’t ask why because I know this earthly life, this mortality, wasn’t meant to be easy. If I didn’t know sorrow, I wouldn’t know joy. Part of my Heavenly Father’s plan is to test my faith through adversity. And I know my trials can make me stronger, if I let them. The key is to never give up hope and to put my trust in a loving Father and His Son. I’ve seen others lose their faith in a trial that seems to swallow them up. I won’t let that happen to me. I choose to exercise my faith instead. This is my moment to let my faith shine.

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.”                          Philippians 4:13