Friday, June 29, 2012

A little movie

Hoping YT doesn't block this......

Happy Sealing guys!



Time to catch my breath and bask in the smile on my face

Seriously, I am just barely recovering and need to get all this journaled before I move forward too much.

So the Chloeefornia kids came in town.  YES!  Best time ever!  From the minute they pulled into the driveway, to the minute they pulled out, it felt like every single minute, every single second was scheduled to the hilt.  So many friends and family to catch up with, see and spend time with!

First thing Chloee did was to walk around the house, checking every room and telling me to "remember this Mimi?".  The joy on her face was incredible.  Seeing Corbin and Karalee's face as they walked in the front door was amazing.  You know that feeling of "coming home?", it was in prime form for them!
"Mimi - take a picture of me and Jack"

"Mimi, take a picture of me and Poppa"

"Mimi, take a picture of me with your swim stuff"

"Mimi, take a picture of me with the sprinklers"


"Mimi!  Look at me!  Take a picture!"

We started out the weekend with a little Relay race called Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay.  My beloved team "Legally Dead" had room for one more runner so Corb got the spot.  We were so excited to run together!

The bummer came when Corb woke up the morning of the start and was sick.  Between being sick and the elevation change with running, he was in bad shape.  He tried to gut it up and work through it, but by the end of his first leg, he was in bad shape and the medics told him no more running.  Splenda and Kar came to get him and the rest of us grabbed his miles and pushed on.

No shame in passing a fat cow and chalking up the kill

Love my teammates, love the relay (even though we complain every year by leg 2) and excited for next year!

The next week was busy with temple arrangements for the kids.  In my church, we perform our marriage ceremonies in the Temple, believing that with certain ordinances in place (from back when Christ was on the earth and established His church), that couples and families can be sealed forever.  Meaning that once death happens and we pass to the other side, we have the opportunity to remain as family units and as husband and wife.  It's such a beautiful thing and one of the many gospel principles of which I have a strong testimony.  Being allowed in the Temple requires a commitment to living gospel principles.  We believe that it is such a Holy place that one should and must be worthy to enter it.  Therefore, there are certain gospel elements that one must be faithful to, to earn the privilege of entering the Temple.  If a couple is not eligible when they first marry, they can have a civil marriage (til death do ye part), and then after a year, if qualified can then have their marriage sealed in the temple.  If they have living children, those children are then also brought in and sealed to them as an eternal family unit.  Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!  Just think, you have your children as yours forever.  Your family is intact for all eternity!

Anywhoodle, this was the main reason for the kids to come to Utah.  They had been working on and preparing themselves to enter the Temple, receive their own endowments (gifts and covenants made with God) and then have their family sealed.  So the week was busy with getting all the temple clothing purchased, and an open house celebration planned.  In addition to making visits to various family members and friends.

Wednesday, they went to the Jordan River Temple to receive their endowments.  It was pure bliss.  To be in the Temple with Splenda, Corb, Kar, Luke, so many family and friends was such a great experience.  In the Temple, there is a feeling of love and peace that I have never found outside it's walls.

Of course, more partying with family and friends.

First a little race for me - American Fork half
Me and my cousin Anita that I haven't seen since my Dad died.  Like 31 years ago!  So fun to meet up with her at the start line!


This was a race for cancer and you could put someone's name on your bib that you were running in memory of.   Rob, Kevin and and miss them,

A Litster family reunion,

some golfing with the boys,
some movie attending for the girls

 And then came Saturday evening

Corb and his little family gathered at the Salt Lake Temple, along with family and friends who had current temple recommends (document that shows your worthiness to enter), gathered in a special sealing room to witness the eternal beginnings of their family.

There are no words to describe the joy that this Momma felt.  Seeing my son, whom I worried about for so many years.  Whom I prayed for time after time after time for his happiness.  Whom I shed many a tear over and with during hard struggles.  Whom I watched become a Marine, a Man, a dedicated Father, and devoted Husband.  To see him kneel across a holy alter and pledge his devotion and eternal love and commitment to his sweetheart.  To watch as they brought beautiful Chloee in and add her to the eternal family sealing her to both her daddy and her mommy.  Well again, there are no words.  The best I can come up with is:  Pure, exquisite, sweet, peaceful joy.  Of course, there are more things experienced that are far too personal and sacred to share on a public blog, but they are seared in my soul forever and I thank God that He, as our Father in Heaven, loves us so much as to provide such experiences and privileges.

We enjoyed some pictures out on the temple grounds and then headed out for a celebratory dinner.

Chloee falling asleep mid spoonful of spumoni

Spaghetti Factory never disappoints

I wish to thank every single person - family and dear friends who were able to be with us, offered well wishes via call, text, email and facebook.  And especially dear to me are the well wishes from friends who are not of my faith, don't quite clearly know and understand all the things I talk about, but share in our happiness anyway.  I am such a blessed person to be surrounded by incredible people.

Monday was to be a legal day, but some circumstances came up that pushed the issue until July.  Instead, the day was spent running around gathering things for a party that I had promised my son if/when he went to the temple. : )

It was SO FUN!!!  Very casual, very low key, just plain fun!  And again, thanks to so many who came out to support us.  Many of them met Karalee for the very first time.  Some met Corbin for the very first time.  And the supportive comments that were passed along were just the cherry on top of the wonderful week!

I know, I know......two whole pictures?  Just two that I could get a hold of - Jon has a whole lot more and when I get some, I'll post them.  So many fun people and things!

Tuesday morning and goodbye's came way too soon.  I tried not to cry, and gratefully only Karalee saw me, but it literally broke my heart to watch them pull out of the driveway.

I know that what they are doing is good.  He is doing an honorable thing, and I love the fact that Corbin carefully explained to Chloee that they needed to fulfill their commitment and responsibility to the Marine's, but as soon as they could, they would come back to Utah.

As I closed the door behind them, and allowed myself to cry, I looked around at the chaos that my house was in.  Toys were scattered, Chloee's bed still pulled out, dishes in the sink (and Karalee kept cleaning but by that morning I made her stop), but the feelings as a Mom were overwhelming.

I went to bed, cried some more that they were gone and then reflected on the entire week or so that they were here.  Such happiness in such a short period of time. So many blessings.  So much support from friends and family.  The glow of joy in Corbin, Karalee, and Chloee's faces.  It was almost too much for my happy heart.

And now what?..........I guess we keep going on with life.  I do know that I could die happy right now.  Not that I'm planning on that by any means, but just the feeling of peace in my heart is such that if called home, I could go.

Congratulations to Corbin, Karalee and Chloee.  You did it!  You are an eternal family.  No one can take that away from you.  You've earned it and earned it righteously.

I am so happy for them.  Happy for their happiness.

I think my cup is running over........

And I'm feeling kinda squinky.........

Need to plug in the sarcasm button again!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday Wrandom Wramblings - Thursday edition

Gosh.  Been a long time since I rambled eh?

Yes Wendy, the eh was for you.

So many happy things happening right now.  Can't blog them until Tuesday.  Prepare to be overloaded with pictures, gushing, and crap like that.

Thursday mornings have become my weekly breakfast appointment with a dear friend.  I also think it takes the place of therapy.  Nothing like sitting in the sun outside the buck, sipping a beverage and shooting the breeze.

I think I've recovered from Ragnar.  Waiting to post about it since there may be a video in production that I want to include.  I need to get back to the gym, but I just can't shake the fatigue.  Overwhelming fatigue.

Gonna see a gastro doc next week, see if we can figure out the stomach issues.

Gonna schedule a neurologist to see if we can figure out the CRPS issues.

Ever feel like a broken down, worn out unit?
Yeah, me too.

Running is really saving my life.  Right now it's literally the only thing keeping me motivated.  The more I involve myself, the more I keep my momentum up.  Even just doing a packet pick up assignment for a race I'm not even doing is enough.  I find I really need and enjoy my running community friends.

Politics are starting to boil for me.  I realize the scrutiny that is going to be blown up with Mitt Romney being the same religion as me.  There will be false information, skewed statements and bald face lies regarding how we worship.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE - don't believe anything at face value and if you have any question, feel free to direct them to me.  If I don't have the answer, I will find it for you.

Weird thing.  I had a comment come through a few days ago on a post I did over a year ago on my glitter toes.  Maybe even two years ago.  Freaky dude with a foot fetish.  Should I post a pic of my current feet?  Prolly would cure him of his fetish  LOL

Ever had times in your life that are so exquisitely happy that if you had to die, you could do so with  peace of mind?  

I like that feeling.

Not that I'm ready to go, just a thought about happiness.

Totally got sunburned today.  A complete rookie mistake and I am ticked!  I know better.  At least I have the great skin that by tomorrow, it will be moving in the direction of brown rather than the slight red.

Madagascar 3?  Don't waste the money.  I think it was half created by someone completely stoned out of their minds.  I kinda wanted to vomit out my eyeballs.

And finally, I am realizing true friendship.  From my weekly chats, to every day phone calls, to those who take time out of their busy schedules to join us at the temple for special occasions.  Not to mention the Facebook friends that I may have never met in real life, but inspire me daily.

People are good.  We need each other.  I can improve on being a better friend.

Okay, meds kicking in, so I can sleep.  

Peace out, and carry on with your awesomeness!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Girls Camp 2012 - Your Happily Ever After


Why is it that Girl's Camp is always such a highlight?  It's a lot of work, little sleep, lot's of junk food, full of dirt and dust, yet it's one of the things that I look forward to all year.

Last year's was on a ward level.  This year was on the Stake level.  The theme was Your Happily Ever after based on this.  Each day was focused on a different princess.  Perfect theme.  I loved the meaning behind it all.

I was able to go up Monday morning.  We unloaded, got settled in the cabins (making some minor bunk changes) and then some orientation from the LDS missionaries who host at the church owned property.

This was a nice, kick back stake camp with plenty of free time for the wards to do their own things.  Since I was asked to be in charge of the hike, it seemed a good idea to do a test run and make sure that I wouldn't lose the girls like last year.

Smart idea.  After a wrong turn, we finally routed a nice hike and felt good about being prepared for Wednesday afternoon.
(me and my girl 'Nae at the overlook)

The Stake was in charge of food, so well, at least they provided PB & J's.
We did need to bring out own dishes, and I totally forgot so again, 'Nae hooked me up
(I had to eat everything with a bowl and spoon)

(tried to get Charity to share her fork, but it wasn't working out)

It was fun to be able to build a fire, make some smore's and sing camp songs.  That seems to be the girls favorite!
(chubby bunny)

(Bird as a gangster in the skit)

Since, we were short a bunk for a leader in our cabin, I volunteered to sleep on the floor or the table.  I opted to push the two camp tables in the cabin together and made a nice bed.  I was too skeeved to attempt the floor.  After, settling in for the night (LONG after my normal bed time), I got the girls attention, told them that I loved them more than the sea, but if any of them woke me up, I was gonna crack skulls.  And then, I was out.

Tuesday was an early day with my girl 'Nae and a couple others who were up for a nice run before the day started.  We followed the dirt road out of the area and on to the highway.  Absolutely GORGEOUS!  The sun was rising, the air was full of the smell of forest and once we watched a deer run right past us.  A quick 2 miler for the girls (3 for me since I was circling around and around) and it was back to get going with the others for the day.

It was Challenge course day.  This camp has an area on the property that has several challenge courses.  Each one of them designed to challenge the girls physically, and relating those challenges to gospel principles.  I had my girl Tay who needed to be at the gate for a soccer practice so we went to the first course, got the orientation, went first and then I raced her down to the gate.

That first course was the zip line.  Okay, so I've done the zip line before several years ago and was terrified of the actual sliding down the zip.  I did okay climbing the pole and crossing the log up high, but the feeling of letting go and letting the zip line take me was almost crippling horror.

Of course, Tay and I needed to go first for time purposes.  We were set up with the gear, donned helmets and listened to the instructions.  Taylor went first and absolutely KILLED it!  She was awesome.  As I waited for my turn to go, I talked a bit with the sister missionary helping me get ready.  I told her I was scared of 3 things.  One, that I would pee my pants.  Two, that I would cry. And three, that I would swear.  After her jaw dropped when I mentioned swearing she reminded me that I couldn't do that or I would be a poor example.  Sweet, sweet sister.  Isn't she cute?

Finally my turn and away I go.  First, one has to climb a wood pole.  There are foot and hand holds, but at the very top, you have to let both your feet go to change their positions.  It requires both quad strength and upper body strength.  I wasn't sure I was going to pull it off, but luckily, no falling.  At the top, you have to pull yourself around to face the other way while your feet are on a tight rope and your hands are grasping a second rope above you.  That was fairly hard.  Once turned around, you need to get across the tight rope to a second tree landing.  You only had the rope above to hold onto for balance.  Very, very scary.  It was proven though, that if you leaned forward into the rope, it was much stabler.  Also, if you slid your feet along the rope rather than actually picking them up and stepping.  The thought of leaning forward was terrifying.  But, once you could do that and feel the support and balance it gave you, it made the crossing much easier.
Once you reached the ledge, it was time to hook to the zip and unhook the belayer.  This was the part I was worried about.  I remembered the last time I did it, how I didn't like the sensation and was scared to feel that again.  The sweet sister missionary at that station was the BEST!.  She made me look her in the eyes while she talked me through the steps.  Rather than jump forward, she had me turn around with my back to the line.  Sit down until I felt the harness holding me, and then just let go.  After choking back the puke sensation, I did it!  Off I went and while the initial feeling of "loss of control" was still there, it was muted somewhat with the knowledge that the harness was safe.

(I did not cry, pee my pants or swear.  I'm calling this a success)

After we hustled down the mountain and I dropped Taylor off, I hurried back to the zip line area and luckily was able to watch all of our girls go through it.  So interesting to see each girl react a different way.  Some flew right through it like it was second nature.  They were getting the thrill of it all.  I loved seeing the fun and happiness in their faces.  For others, it was more than a little bit scary.  Some were shaking and some were crying out of fear.  As many people stood around to cheer them on, I discovered that the less "noise" there was, the better they could concentrate.  If there was just one calm voice giving them instructions and encouragement, it helped them focus and ease along the rope.  Parallel to life, I probably need to extinguish some of the "noise" surrounding me and listen a little more carefully to the Voice that I need to.

Later that day, our girls did a funny skit, we had a nice devotional and another fire with camp songs.  Since Taylor's bunk was now open, I ditched the table for that and again after warning the girls of bodily harm if awoken, I crashed.

Wednesday was rough.  The early girls who liked to get up and work out, still got up and we made it a light easy one since we knew we also had the hike later that afternoon.  In addition, we found out that the lake (where we were going for another activity that morning) was a mile and a half walk.  One way.  There was some muttering of cancelling the hike but as far as I was concerned, I thought the girls should do it.

Brenda and I wanted some running in, so after getting the instructions on how to get to the lake, we took off.  It was a BEAUTIFUL trail run.  Oh my goodness!  I've decided I most def need to do more of that.  And, by the way, it was no mile and a half.  It was 1.75.

At the lake the girls were able to get in canoes, the leaders in paddle boats and with life jackets on, we were able to putter around on the water. So much fun!  It is so incredibly beautiful and peaceful!  The girls were duly warned about the leeches in the lake so there was no canoe tipping or water fights.  Instead, just peaceful rowing/paddling around.
(Brenda and me - "peace, love and temple marriage")

Interesting side note about the leeches.  Celeste who used to be one of my Young Women and now is called as a leader has on her bucket list "Have a leech"  Thankfully, the sister missionary who had shown them to the girls to warn them, was accommodating to Celeste

After the water, Brenda and I started back on a run while the rest of the group again walked the trail.  Going back was much harder!  It was hotter in the day, steeper uphill and my legs were getting tired so tree roots and rocks were not as easily navigated.  After turning my ankle three times and tripping onto my hands and knees, I decided to slow the pace down.  There was no way, I could afford to get hurt!

The girls made it back, some lunch and rest time and then a meeting at the pavilion to discuss the hike.  That 2.5 miles they had just done to the lake and back and taken it's toll on some of the girls and leaders.  So it was given as an option to do the hike.  I was then asked to speak to the group.
Wha?  I wasn't prepared for this.  Seriously praying as I walked to the microphone to know what to say that would encourage them to push themselves.

Since the whole theme was Princesses and "Your Happily Ever After", I decided to tie it Mulan.  Other nights they had discussed some of the hard things the princesses had to do in their lives before they got their happily ever afters.  Cinderella endured the abuse of her stepmother and stepsisters.  Tangled was led to about her true heritage and kept captive my mother Gothal.  You see the point they were making.  I pointed all this out to the girls and then reminded them of Mulan.  While other princesses might have had to endure emotional struggles to become who they were, Mulan had to endure physical trials.  She had to pretend to be a boy, fight with a sword and go through all the warrior training.  I told them that she must have been exhausted every single night when she went to bed and that her muscles probably ached constantly from all the physical exertion.  But at the moment when she passed the test and the feeling that she had, well no one could ever take that away from her.  Ever.  I challenged them to dig deep and unless there was a physical emergency that prohibited them, they should go on the hike.  Everyone was allowed about 45 minutes to return to their cabins and prepare.

When it was time, we met up again.  The girls and women going on the hike met down at an amphitheatre at the trail head.  Those that were not going, were to bring their scriptures, journals or other reading material to stay in the pavilion and work on.  I thought it was good to give the girls a choice, but understand that if they chose to stay back, it wasn't going to be a party or nap-fest.

We started the hike, and I have to say I was impressed and proud of every single girl and leader who did it.  We didn't start until about 2:30 so it was in the heat of the day.  They had already been walking/hiking earlier and honestly, the trail was a little tough.  I had a walkie talkie up at the front of the line, and then someone had one at the end so we were able to keep the group together somewhat.  The girls around me had great attitude, and we laughed and talked all the way.  We saw some deer, and amazing scenery!  There is nothing like being in the mountains.  Period.  Nothing really quite compares.

(we were warned about the caterpillars, and once I saw a beautiful, black bird just sitting high in a tree watching me)

Gratefully, the hike went off without too many stops and once we made it back to the camp area, I really wished I would have had something to give each girl to acknowledge that she had earned her Warrior Princess status!  Me and two other leaders quickly packed our gear and left camp.  There was a rule put into place by our stake leaders that not all the leaders could be there all of the time, so we were taking turns.

Luckily though, we were all invited back Thursday night for the final devotional and ward testimony meeting.  That last testimony meeting is always the highlight.  Girls that don't normally share their feelings feel safe at camp to do that.  This year didn't disappoint.  In fact, it was so special that I'm not even going to give more detail.  Just know that NO ONE will ever forget what they felt that night.  And that my love for each of those girls and other leaders is sealed forever.
(my girl Chels.  No words needed)

So chalk another girls camp down in the books as a success!  I really, really love my calling to work with them, and honestly, they are such amazing young women that it's a privilege and an honor just to rub shoulders with them.  I'm a lucky and blessed lady indeed!