Monday, June 15, 2015

I have been neglecting my blogging duties as of late.  It has been a very busy but filled to the brim summer so far.  My kids got out of school a bit earlier than I have been use to.  Before memorial day our summer vacation began.  This has been a summer unlike any other for a few different reasons.  

1) I don't have a child in diapers....the first time in ten years
2) we are in a place that we feel like will be our home for long time
3) our older kids are getting old enough to participate in summer camps and activities
4) our future goals don't include finishing Mike's medical training....

With the above being true our family focus, mission and purpose has changed.  In a way we are trying to find ourselves, and our new purpose.  Mike and I feel like we have more responsibility and accountability with how we spend our time, efforts, and energy now that he is finishing his fellowship.  The other day I heard an analogy at church which really hit home.  The speaker talked about being in the middle of an ocean by yourself without a view of an island in sight.  He then reminded us that if you have an island in sight you have a purpose and a goal.  This purpose and goal helps you to get to where you need to be.  It is when you have a purpose and mission that you find hope and peace.   

For so long our little families focus has been getting Mike through his medical training, and getting four healthy children here as part of our family.  We have been in a bit of survival mode for 10 years.  We feel like we finally got to our island.....we completed "the goal".   It feels great to be at this point in our lives, however we feel like we are thrown back into another ocean not sure where our next "goal" should be. 

We know our focus needs to be on values and centered in our belief in God.  It just feels like we are at a new crossroad.   Our "island" has been mapped out for us for so many years.  It has been a time of growth for us the past few months we were not expecting to feel.  

With all of this being said one of the greatest joys in our life is our constant family literally, and our constant family we feel within our church.  I have been mindful lately of gratitude for people and experiences that lift me and inspire me to become a better person.

This brings me to our last month.   Mike and I had a chance to go on pioneer trek with our stake.  In our church once every four years they take a group of youth up in the mountains and reenact pioneers from our church who crossed plains and suffered so much hardship to settle in a land they were free to worship God and maintain their beliefs.

I was expecting pioneer trek to be a good experience.  I was not expecting pioneer trek to be the impacting, enriching, and amazing experience it was for me.  I felt like pioneer trek was just for me.  Obviously it wasn't, but that is how it felt.  It was just what I needed at a time I needed it.  It was like my spiritual bucket became filled when I didn't even realize it was empty.
We were so grateful and luck Mike's parents came down to help us with the kids so that we could go on Pioneer Trek.  We couldn't have gone without their help and felt so much comfort in knowing our kids were having a blast with those they love most.

The youth taught me more on Pioneer Trek than I could have imagined.  They inspired me to become a better person.  They motivated me to become a better parent, and realize the importance of being a good parent.  Good kids come from good parents.  Small and simple things make all the difference.  Experiences and life lessons can change people and lives.

Extra effort was put into the planning and execution of our stake pioneer trek.  It was the extra effort and planning that made it the great experience for all who participated.


Our Stake photographer did an amazing job.


Our stake pioneer trek theme and scripture.


Strength in numbers and youth....


My GIRLS!


Arboleda Spanish ward......we LOVE!


More of my GIRLS!



Dustin weighs 100 pounds....and almost single handed carried us up rocky ridge.....mighty in strength and soul.



Justin behind me is Autistic......but was amazing in helping our family.  He held on to the rope the entire way and told us everything and anything about tanks.



Lots of great music throughout the trek.




Cute Mike.....the front of the helm.


My supermodel friends....even on trek....:)





more of my family....










bonding friendships....that will last forever with the above.  LOVE HER!  She was my ma....ma's even need ma's...


I couldn't not cry....I was either smiling ear to ear or touched and trying not to cry the entire trek.



Can you handle how cute her dress is....this future missionary is such a doll.



Our auction for desserts....it got heated....


Bishop above...




Fires to keep us warm in the eve.  It got surprisingly cold in sunny AZ.


darling staged events on the side of the trails....


What an amazing experience I will always cherish.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Portrait Photography

 I LOVE a great portrait that captures just the right expression or silhouette.  Portrait photography is my absolute FAVORITE!

Last week the light was just right....again!  Thank goodness for Arizona predictable sunshine:)  I was so excited how these photos of this darling boy turned out for his baptism.  
We surely enjoy this darling friend  of Mikey's.  










  





Arizona Style

I always love a good trend wherever you live.  I feel like if you dress the part of where you live, you embrace it that much more.  Fashion and decor are subject to where you live.  Houses and clothing I loved while living in the East, don't quite look right here in Arizona.  The same goes with clothing....wool and Arizona....just don't go together.  

Every place I have lived or traveled seems to have a bit of its own fashion flare.  In the South I loved to see people wear madras plaid, and seersucker.  In the East....a polo shirt, loafers, and bow ties.  In Utah it is a mix, but I could always spot a native with Patagonia or North Face.  

Arizona .......has it's own fashion staples.  I know my list below are trendy everywhere...but in Arizona I notice a lot of.... 

white
free people clothing
espadrilles
booties
maxi skirts
workout outfits from head to toe

and lets not forget

SUNGLASSES!  

I always love a good trend...







My new white jeans, and cut out booties are my "embracing the fashion culture" Arizona staples.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Prom

When my friend asked me to take her prom pictures.....I was thrilled.  This beautiful senior had one lucky date:)  








Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

Past, Present and Future.  Yesterday I listened to the best talk at church given by a man reflecting about past, present, and future women in his life that have influenced him for the better.  I was so inspired and reflective on women in my own life past, present, and future that inspire me daily.   I am who I am, and want to become better each day because of women in my past, present, and future.  

I look forward to the future and my own daughters as Mother's.  I can already imagine Catherine toting, and Alyssa organizing future children:)  

For me the talk in church about past, present and future Mother's struck home in part because of my own Mother who passed away over four years ago now.  She is still such in an influence in my life presently, as she was in my past.  Her influence is far reaching forever.   I also have Grandma's and others ancestors that play an important role in motivating me to be closer to God.   

I have always known and been taught the importance of being a Mother.  I always knew in my own house growing up that being a Mother was the most IMPORTANT job!  It was something that I knew I wanted to be from the time I was a young girl.  I learned this from not only my Mom, but from my Dad as well.  I am grateful for Dad and his respect for his own Mother and my sweet Mom.  

I am blessed to be surrounded with great example of motherhood all around me with friends, sisters, sister in laws, Aunt's and cousins.  I am grateful for a day to be reflective on the importance that Mother's are in the world we live in today. 

I am mindful of all woman who are Mother's in their heart.  Woman who may not have children but who love, nurture, and lift others souls.  They are Mother's in their hearts and play just as vital and important role to those around them.  






I was blessed with hugs, handmade cards, and roses, and dinner.  Truly the best gifts EVER!