Saturday, July 26, 2014

A few things of late I have been enjoying about Mesa, Arizona.

I have been loving Mike around A LOT more.  We still pinch ourselves that he has completed his schooling and residency.  We think this year he will be able to spend more time with his family and less time at the hospital.  Mike has started moonlighting at the VA in Phoenix and had his first day as a "real" orthopedic surgeon.....Yikes!  We feel blessed he can moonlight while finishing yet one more year of his fellowship training.  

I already have a few favorite spots here in Mesa including: Circle K for daily slushy's, sonic across the street for my vanilla diet coke, the Orange Patch (kind of like Jolley's in Utah) for gifts and icecream cones.  Handmade tortillas sold in every store have become meal time favorites.  We look for the waffle love truck daily...hoping it makes it's way near us.  

We are learning people from Mesa LOVE MESA.  Die hard Mesa people are die hard Mesa people.  Gilbert, and Chandler may as well be in a different state!    To be honest....I am kind of catching on.  We love it.  I signed my kids up for school, they can ride their bikes.  Catherine's preschool is three doors down, and she learns her ABC's with church primary songs.:)  I have about 5 different options for my kids dance lessons, piano lessons and every other lesson in less than a two mile radius.  My hair dresser lives two streets over and works from home.  Logistically my life has gotten quite a bit easier with the move and a biggish family.  I say biggish because "big" family is relative here in Mesa.    

I get to see dear DeAnne daily.....she gets me in gear with her "agenda's" including work outs, decorating, book name it....she does it.  She has already made me a list of spots a mile long I need to go including favorite restaurants, shopping, activities etc.   

We are learning that 105 degrees is totally "doable".  Mike and I were discussing we don't really notice the heat until it gets over 110....then it's just "too" hot to go outside (even in the pool).  We take daily drives to new spots.  I think it will take much more than a year before we even see a quarter of Phoenix and its suburbs.  

We are kind of falling in love with this area we are living.  Life is good, life is good.  His fellowship is only for one year, so we need to just enjoy the good while we have it! A year from now I could be living in the tundras of Alaska just never know.  So for now I will enjoy waking up to the sunshine EVERY day!!!   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Catherine in the beautiful wheat fields of Brigham!

And.....cousins in the apricot orchard!!

Home Sweet Home

As much as we enjoyed our time in Utah visiting family, it felt peaceful and wonderful to come "home".  Our own beds are priceless:)  Arizona welcomed us this week with only 105 degree temperatures.  All relative, but cool for this time of year.  

Life is simple for us this week.  I have been reminded of a talk that I love.  It was a talk about a man who saved and saved for years of his life to be able to afford a cruise vacation.  It was a beautiful cruise ship stopping at amazing locations.  However, the man was very concerned with what little "money"  he had.  He hibernated in his room and did not participate in any of the boat activities.  He missed out on entertainment, food, and mingling with other people.  At the end of the week he realized that all of the food, entertainment, and many social activities were all free.  He missed out on lost opportunities because he was so concerned about money.     

This time in our lives is a bit of a transition.  We could easily be staying in Arizona for Mike's career, but we could easily be moving in a year.  I have been concerned that I will fall in love with this place we now call home, and be crushed to move and leave friends AGAIN in one year. We have a choice as a family to bury   our heads to the ground and not experience life in Arizona for fear of becoming attached.  We could ignore the horizons and sunsets finding fault just to protect ourselves.  

I don't want to be the man/woman on the boat who misses out.  I don't want to go through life and not experience the best part of things that are offered  because of fear of unknown.  I want to teach  my kids to recognize the hard in life,  but always choose to see the good.  In order for them to learn I need to be an example.  It is not always easy.  I have been struggling to want more clarity in our future.  I have been focusing more on what we don't know than what we do.  

This is what I know....

I have an opportunity to live in a sunny "happy" spot for a year of my life.
I am surrounded by many amazing people I have already met.
I have those closest to me around own family.
I have a million places to discover and explore here in the desert valley.
I get to have a chance to visit family in a days drive.  
I have a closest dear old friend a mile away.
I have an opportunity to spend many of my days outside all year long.  
This week and month I have to make a conscious decision to enjoy and be at peace with where we are.  I need to have faith in a greater plan.  

The desert is beautiful.  The sunsets here are amazing.  I spent 3/4 of my day outside yesterday despite the heat.  I ran, swam, biked, and swam again.  I have my kids around me all the time.  I need to  focus and enjoy the good, not fearing the unknown for the future.

We love it here already.....and that is ok!  

View from our pool at sunset!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

These girls are silly and adorable.  It completely makes my heart happy to see my kids with "cousins".  This weekend has been very nostalgic.  
It started off on Friday night eating dinner at a park I grew up going to regularly during summer months. I have many memories of both my Mom and Grandma taking me to the "pumpkin" park playing for hours as they chatted away.  This year my sister and I chatted away with the kids playing around us.  It is amazing the simple pleasures that rekindle the most fond memories of childhood.   

All of the family was in town for a special day for my nephew Tommy.  Tommy is my sisters oldest son who is leaving to serve an LDS mission in Ecuador.  He spoke in church today, and both sides of his family arrived in masses.....literally masses.  

My younger brother Billy and I are the only two that live outside of Utah.  Mike and I had the chance to stay with Billy and his beautiful new bride at my Dad's house this weekend in Salt Lake.   With my Dad and his wife Sylvia out of town, we had a chance to reminisce about childhood memories at our home, and enjoy spending time together.  It is amazing how Billy's new bride Abby has helped make our family feel complete.   I feel I have known her for years, and she has been part of our family forever.  She is an instant confidant, friend, and amazing sister.  Not any part of their romance has felt less than orchestrated from the Heavens above.  

We celebrated Billy's birthday on Saturday with swimming and cake at my sisters.  She was an amazing host considering she was preparing to feed and entertain masses the following day.  The celebration was finished as a family by eating at a favorite Edward's restaurant.....Kyoto's.  

Today my nephew Tommy spoke in church in preparation to leave for a mission.  He leaves for Ecaudor on Wednesday to serve a two year LDS mission.  He had over a hundred family and friends their to support, and listen to him speak.  I was prepared to enjoy his talk, but wasn't prepared for the strong emotions and spirit that I felt.  Ten years ago when Mike and I got married Tommy was just getting baptized.  I have been away for much of his growing up and have missed out.  But I was reminded today of the countless times cute Tommy as a baby showed up at Mom's with Rebecca while I was in college.   We would watch him run around with his other brothers and sisters while my sister, Mom, and I chatted and chatted.   

As I listened to him today I recognized I had no idea that 17 years later  what  a profound example and influence this young man would be for me.  I look up to him.  I admire him, and I find strength in his courage to serve an LDS mission.  He is a leader, and I admire this quality.  I felt strongly today when Tommy was speaking that not only is he going to be a missionary to countless people in Ecaudor, he is a missionary to his own family, including me.  

Missionary work has taken on a whole new meaning for me over the last ten years.  While living away I realized for me missionary work is as much or more about service and inspiring others to be better than it is about converting people to a religion.  I always equated missionary work with baptizing people into a certain religion.  I found while living in Pennsylvania I was a recipient of missionary work all the time.  

People in my church and community served me.  They helped me to become closer to God through their example and beliefs.  This is exactly what Tommy has already done for others, and will continue to do in Ecuador.  Just as he has inspired me to become a better person he will inspire countless others.  I know many people shut the doors on LDS missionaries because they think they just want to baptize them.  Although....missionaries do want to baptize, they also genuinely just want to help and uplift others.  They want to help others recognize that God loves them.  

I believe people sometimes have a misconception about what missionary work is.  I think in our own way we all serve missions on a daily basis if we are in tune to needs of others.  I know I have been blessed by family and friends, Mormon and not who strive to be in tune with God, and help others to have faith in him.  

I know that my nephew will be a great missionary because he has already been one for 18 years. 
I was reminded of the importance of missions today.  It made me excited to serve one someday with Mike, and motivated me to become a better person and example.  

What a special couple of weeks we have had in Utah.  The best part of leaving this time around is that see you soon......really means see you soon!!!:)  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It is evenings like these that help me get through the other days that are filled with craziness, homework, and schedules.  

Mike and I just had the two littles tonight.....

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our Trip....

The trip to Utah.....
We spent the first four days in Salt Lake visiting family.  It was so wonderful to catch up with all of our family.  They are all so kind and simply amazing people.  It was busy enough the first few days.....I hardly had a chance to soak it all in.   

We have been in Brigham City visiting Mike's family since Thursday.  This little town has amazingly grown on me over the course of my marriage to Mike.  A town I once thought of as little, kind of strange, and "too country" has become  a haven for me.  During the years that my sweet Mom was sick this was a spot I could escape and just think.  It still is a place I can reflect and enjoy.   Life is simple in Brigham City.  There are not a lot of distractions.   

The older I get the more I crave SIMPLE.  I think life is complicated enough as it is with the world in which we live.  I enjoy being outside, and beauty that surrounds me.   

Brigham City has become kind of my little haven spot in "Lancaster" of Utah.  

The first night we came to town, Mike and I took a jaunt up to the canal road.  The road  overlooks this beautiful view....

CHerries galore at the Sumko house.  Apparantly this season they have had the most cherries in ten years.  

This was the apparantly the best method for picking cherries....

Yep....those Sumko genes are strong....

Mike's Dad and his hands.  His amazing hands that have fixed bones, painted beautiful paintings, played instruments......and worked in the yard....ALOT!  

Kathy working away...

The Sumko's  "little" GARDEN

The orchard directly next door to their property.

Literally covered in cherries this trip.

Amazing what a little sun and a lot of sleep can do for a man.........

My daredevil!!!

My jumping bean.....

My acrobat......

Quite the pool....with quite the company.....

Spiderman lives.......:)  

My time has been amazing here.  Kind of hard to leave......

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our first Sunday.

Our first Sunday....

My first Sunday I don't know how long.

It felt amazing!  

I really love being a Mormon for a million different reasons.  
One of my favorite aspects of the Mormon Church is no matter where I live, where I visit, where I am in life.....the Church is always the same.  The same format, the same lessons, the same teachings.....even the same building structure. Of course the people are all different, unique, and have interesting insights on doctrine, but the church is the same everywhere.  

There is nothing  more comfortable moving to a new area than knowing that I can take my family to church and instantly be connected with people who have similar beliefs, values, morals and ideals.  Today I was particularly grateful for a home away from home at our new ward/church.  

It is not easy moving, especially across the country, but the moment we moved into this house....we had people from church here supporting us.  Supporting us by physically moving us in, providing meals, offering babysitting.  It has been humbling, and amazing being a recipient of service from dear friends who helped us move from Pennsylvania, and new immediate friends from church members here in Mesa, Arizona.

As exhausting as the last few weeks, and even months have makes the quiet moments that much more amazing and enjoyable. nap was the best I have had in years.  
It finally hit me, and I SLEPT and slept well!   

WE DID IT.  MY husband completed 9 years of training, and we moved back to a place that feels like home.  As much as I LOVE the East, and appreciate its beauty...... the West.....and even the desert feels like home.  HOME SWEET HOME!

We get to travel home to Utah tomorrow to be with family for a couple of weeks and I couldn't be more excited....

Packing is fun this time around, and ten hours is nothing compared to the drive cross country.