Monday, October 20, 2008

Hawaii Days 2 & 3

Tuesday was beautiful. Even though the weather was stormy so it made it difficult to swim, the clouds created a gorgeous background at Sunset Beach. I'm really glad Lindsay made us pose for pictures so we could get some good ones. : )
This is my hottie-Mitch! I love that shirt!
You have no idea how hard it was for the 3 of us to pose on this incline. It looks easy, but we were almost falling backwards...the ocean was just waiting to suck us in.
Lins took us to this Thai food place...honestly, I can't remember if the name of the restaurant or the town is Hollyeiwa...but at any rate, I could finally eat with chopsticks by my last few bites! Don't ever eat next to Lins when she has chopsticks, because even though she's helpful, she's also a pro & her bites always looked better on the sticks than mine.
Small anecdote: We really were happy, but this is the point in time when my tooth began to hurt & the car had to be push-started. Thank goodness Mitch knew what a push-start even was. LOL
Lins was so awesome--she found us a place to stay within walking distance to the gorgeous Laie temple. I feel so fortunate that I had a chance to do a temple session with Mitch. My mom hasn't ever been inside & she's been to Hawaii on a few different occasions.
I must say that the temple grounds are stunning. The entire street leading up to the temple is a sight, not to mention the greenery, hedges, flowers, fountain, view of the beach, and Spirit on the temple grounds itself. We were also fortunate to have visited when we did, because the Laie temple will be closing soon for an 18 month rennovation. I hope they keep the Celestial Room the same--that was my favorite part.
Tuesday morning, we borrowed some boogie boards, and this was the sign we saw on ALL the beaches that day. Apparently it's surfer season & the inexperienced tourists might DIE. It's really not a joke, though, because we talked to Wyatt Buschschulte on the planeride home (he visited Kawaii) and the day he was on the North Shores there, 4 tourists died b/c they didn't pay attention to the signs. Mitch & I didn't mind sitting on the beach, though. Those waves were SCARY! They were 10-15 foot pipelines on the Rock Point Beach. A sight we've never seen before!

Hawaii Day 1--Pearl Harbor

Our first day in Oahu (Oct. 12th), Lindsay picked us up from the airport, and took us to Pearl Harbor. It was a humbling experience to read the plaques of the first hand accounts. One story was of a crew stuck underwater for days after the Dec. 7th attack; they could hear tapping on the outside of the boat they were trapped in, so they tapped back. When the tapping stopped they thought they would never get out, and his commrade was ready to give up & drown. Shortly later, they were found again & removed safely from the watercraft.
This is the wall of names of the fallen on the Day of Infamy.
This archway we are standing under is one of the 21 archways that represents the 21 gun salute in honor of the fallen soldiers.
Behind me and Mitch is one of the few parts of the USS Arizona that can be seen above the water. The monument stands over the middle of the ship that was sunk, still entombing those who died that day.
This is my Meridian Geo-Pony who accompanied us to Hawaii & will take tales back to my 6th graders of his travels to the sacred site of Pearl Harbor. Being there reminded me of the way I felt when we were attacked on Sept. 11th. Both events were unexpected attacks on the unarmed & took our country into a war to combat inhumanity. May we never forget. I'm really grateful we had the chance to visit Pearl Harbor. It also gave me a greater depth of appreciation for those who died in the Pacific when we later had a chance to visit the Punchbowl Cemetery.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thinking about Azure

This time last year, my family and I came up on a car crash in the White Mountains. A beautiful young woman, named Azure, and her sweet baby Eric were in a roll over accident. I will never forget being there that day, as more and more people pulled over, and Good Samaritans tried to save her life and help out in any way possible. Azure didn't make it, but her precious baby was completely unscathed and calm; that was a miracle I'll never forget. I believe that angels protected him because it was not his time to go.

My heart goes out to her and her family this time of year. My life is a better one because of what Azure's death & funeral taught me. It's amazing that she was the type of person who's actions and choices affected people for the better throughout her entire life--even in her death. I want to be more like Azure.

When I think about Azure, I think about these things: There are such things as miracles and angels (heavenly and earthly). Life is fragile. Make the most of it. Love others. Apologize. Forgive. Don't worry too much about the future, or wish for the past, but live each day as if it were your last one, and cherish every moment you have with your family--especially your kids. Choose the right always. God knows what's best for you; trust in Him, and live your life so that you can return back into His presence, again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Answered Prayers

You know, it amazes me that Heavenly Father cares about the little things. Maybe the lesson I'm supposed to learn is that all it takes for something to make a difference to someone is a little act of kindness or love.

I had a tire go flat the other day and my cell phone was lost. I was so upset & not strong enough to turn the bolts on the tire, and tried to drive on the rim, and gave up. I prayed that someone would stop, and shortly after, a very nice man named Phil pulled up with a kind smile to help me out. It meant so much to me, not only that my prayer was heard, but that a helping hand was extended by a stranger. Phil probably thought I was crazy because I immediately started crying--"You don't know how much this means to me; thanks for stopping." Being a woman has it's trade offs, you know (I don't know why I can't get a grip on my emotional rollercoaster ride sometimes).

In the end, I made it home just fine, happier than I was even before my tire went flat, and I had a greater desire to help someone, anyone else, too. I'm so grateful for the heavenly and earthly angels who answer my prayers. I am so glad that Heavenly Father sent Phil the other day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What a Weekend!

Saturday was Jodi's 19th b-day & we were just going to have a dinner & cake thing at the house. Luckily, Mitch was listening to the radio & heard that Brooke White was giving a free concert & signing photos at Milano's. We kept Jodi in the dark about it until we were walking her up to the Mesa Amphitheater & told her who we were actually seeing. : ) We had so much fun watching; thanks to Steve Wright, we were able to get VIP passes to meet Brooke back stage. She was so tired, and yet she was still so nice to everyone & down to earth. She treated everyone like they were a friend. It was an out of the ordinary evening, and Jodi had the best birthday ever!

Dad & Jodi
The whole gang: Taylor, Mike, Erin, Chelsea, Jodi, Tyson, Joe, Debbie
Mitch, Tyson (shockingly holding still), Deej

Believe it or not, before the concert, Mom, Erin, Jodi, and I went to the Relief Society Broadcast. It was from 5-6:30. I was so uplifted by the entire program. I was amazed by all the talks & felt rejuvenated. I am so grateful for the Church & the way it has affected my life.
At the broadcast, one of the sisters talked about temple covenants, and how people from Panama & the surrounding countries had saved and saved just to come visit the Mesa temple & get sealed to their families for time and all eternity. She said that the people sold TV's, and bikes, and anything they could to get the funds needed. Some even ate crackers & margarine on the trip because it was so tight. She said they traveled 5 days each way, and crossed 6 borders. They got to spend 3 days at the temple, and she said it was such a sweet experience to make covenants with the Lord & they all knew that it was where they were supposed to be. It wasn't until 24 years later that they got a temple in their region. I am so fortunate to have a temple nearby, and to know that there will be a temple built in Gilbert is even more amazing to me. All I want is to be together forever with my family. I love them so much. Going to the temple helps remind me of how I should live so that I can keep my hands clean and my heart pure so that someday I can live again in God's presence and be together forever with my family.
Elder Dieter F. Uchdorf also spoke at the broadcast. He basically shared (I'm paraphrasing) that women analyze everything so much that they don't always see the good things they do. He said that if we want to have more happiness that we should focus on 2 things: 1) Creativity, and 2) Compassion. Basically, he said that we are the spirit daughters of the Creator of the Universe, and so no matter what our talents are, we have the ability to create and to beautify. Creation extends far beyond the keys of a piano, or the canvas of an artist. He said that as women and mothers, we have the ability to create laughter, and memories that had never been there before. We can create children--what an honor. He said that to create is to make something that did not exist before. If you designate a spot and make it beautiful or useful, we are creating & it can help us find satisfaction. The second thing he talked about that will help us get through hard times in our lives, is to look for ways to help others. When you serve others, your own burdens seem lighter. He told a story of a widowed woman who Pres. Hinckley told that "work will cure your grief." Sometimes when you're going through hard times, it's hard to think about others, but I know that reaching out actually makes you feel better. We need to bear one another's burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I am so glad I attended the broadcast & I can't wait for General Conference this upcoming weekend. The words of the prophets lift my heart.

Twiners! We went to Devin's b-day party & decided that Tyson and Caleb are twins! It's easier to see when they have the same expressions on their faces, but I like this picture anyway. : )
Devin had an AWESOME b-day party on Saturday. I meant to take more pictures, but got distracted talking. I feel lame that I didn't even take a pic of the b-day boy. However, there was an amazingly talented balloon guy who made Tyson a Batman, and made tractors, and mermaids, and balls, and crowns. He was phenomenal. There was also a pinata that the kids took their precious time to pick up the candy. I think it took at least 5 minutes if not more for the kids to gently pick up the interesting pieces of candy & think about whether or not they should put it in their goody bags. : ) Priorities! Whatever happened to knocking each other out of the way?
This is Duane at the Gateway Ward Olympics that Melissa and Ryan invited us to on Friday night. Duane is Bret & Liz' kid; he is just a week or so older than Tyson, but he's so skinny that his12 month old pants fall off his waist. : ) Funny, funny!
These videos are of Taylor's amazing diving skills (we love attending his Dive meets), and the other one is of Tyson & Mitch taking 2nd place in the 3 legged race at the Church on Fri. night. : )
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