Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Car time

I think everyone out there is aware of the many hours I spend in the car each day driving the kids to school and activities.  The time in the car when I have my teenagers captive has actually been a real blessing.  It's sometimes the only time we get to "talk" to each other and they usually are very gregarious as they share the ups and downs of their day.

However, I also spend a lot of time alone in the car, so I got smart and finally started began listening to audiobooks.  I got hooked during the drive to California earlier this month when Caroline and I listened to one of my favorite books, The Good Earth, as well as some thoughtful and entertaining talks given by Jon Bytheway (we drove home on a Sunday and figured listening to some youth firesides would suffice as church :-).

The past week I have been enjoying Truman Madsen's lectures entitled The Life and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I can't believe how much my testimony has been strengthened just by listening to one of the most intelligent and humble LDS scholars present these lectures on Joseph Smith.  It made our drive up to Snowbasin this weekend for our family ski trip (post to come) very pleasant since Chris esteems Madsen as much as I do and we both listened intently while the kids basically tuned out and plugged into their i-pods ;-).

Today while I was driving to pick up Caroline, a statement he made in one of the lectures struck me and I had to listen again and then write it down, mainly because it has been on my mind lately and explains so perfectly the greatest principle of the gospel - love . . .

"How can you love the unlovable?  How can you love what has been a cause of great suffering and pain to you in your life?  That is the deepest secret . . .

That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ." - Truman Madsen

Sunday, March 28, 2010

House update

Something I failed to mention in my "as of late" post was the latest news on the sale of our home.  Well, the good news is that we are showing it quite often and Saturday my realtor held an open house which attracted a few more potential buyers, furthermore, we have some people coming through tomorrow morning for a second look!  The bad news is, NO offer yet, but that's alright since it's only been officially on the market for a few weeks.

Our family is really crossing our fingers we get an offer in the next month.  The home we would love to move into will go on the market at the end of April, so if we don't have a buyer by then, we just have to hope no one else will put in an offer before our home sells.

Last Sunday Ryan and Caroline were invited to a youth fireside at the home of some good friends of ours who live in the ward we are moving.  I took the kids while Chris stayed home with the little girls.  It was a wonderful evening - the speaker was fabulous, the spirit was strong, and we were lovingly welcomed and embraced by the ward members.  You would have thought we had already purchased the home and moving in next week, they were that excited to have us in the ward!

As difficult it was at first to put our home up for sale and leave this spectacular canyon, I now know it was the right decision.  I feel much more at home in the new area.  I feel like we just belong there, that we are meant to be there.  I've never felt completely comfortable here, never felt like this was "home," and always had a feeling that the future of our family would be somewhere else, hopefully a place where each one of us could continue to progress and truly thrive in an atmosphere that best suits our personalities.  Now I know that we found that "somewhere else" and I feel so blessed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One of my favorite quotes . . .

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet.

Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped.

Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.

Charity is expecting the best of each other.

~ Marvin J. Ashton ~

For the entire talk - well worth reading, click here.

As of late . . .

OK, not many pics in this post, but just need to WRITE and get caught up on the latest Cantera news, so here you go - the latest:

Liza turned SIX years old (March 13th), I wasn't around on her actual birthday because it was during my trip with Caroline, but we celebrated early before we left.  Yes, I also missed her first day of Kindergarten.  In typical Julie fashion, she still hasn't had her birthday party I promised, but it IS still going to happen - not sure when, but hopefully before the summer!

Sophie continues to burn through the "Little House" series - now on book six and reading every spare minute she can find!  She is counting down the days until soccer season begins again and has become an amazing little math student as well as wonderful little helper around the house.

Caroline had the time of her life at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells a couple weeks ago - click here for all the pictures.  The highlight was meeting Melanie Oudin and watching Caroline Wozinacki, her two favorite players.  She continues to navigate her way through the social nightmare that is 7th grade and keeps smiling despite it all. 

Ryan is the captain of the JV lacrosse team for his high school, and is either at practices or games every night of the week.  We are so proud of his athleticism and leadership . . . he continues to impress not just us, but the young ladies as well.  It wasn't a surprise the other day at one of his games when the girls' lax team showed up and began cheering how much better he played ;-).  Hockey season ended with an intense game and Ryan was thrilled when his team finished in first place in their division.

Julie and Chris trying to keep it all together, despite occasional setbacks, but always getting back on track through communication, humor, and love :-).  Chris was wonderful to stay with the kids while I went on our trip, and it looks like we're beginning a "Cantera girls' trip" tradition . . . Sophie gets to come next year, and they're already talking NYC - fun times.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can we just go rest??

Yep, that would be Caroline's midday question today when I enthusiastically asked her, "so friend, what do you want to do now?"  Apparently it's been awhile since Caroline last took a vacation with her mom.  A "vacation" for me means I finally get to do all the things I wish I could do everyday but don't because "mom duties" come first, OR,  everything I wish I could do when the sun is shining!  SO, when I get to leave Utah during it's least appealing (i.e. downright ugly brown, melting snow, dead tree branches, muddy, bleah, etc.) then my vacation consists of waking at the crack of dawn, not missing out on any opportunity to be active, and then staying outside until you need a headlamp to continue :-).
Our day today:  rise and shine early for a brisk walk around the resort, visit the tennis club to reserve courts (YES, outdoor), go see the flamingos (that were still sleeping), and stroll along the golf course with the morning's first golfers.  Then it was back to the condo for breakfast and a quick run to the store for sunscreen (that I forgot) and treats, then back to change and head over to the courts for 1 1/2 hours of tennis with my girl, then back for lunch and off to the pool to relax (now Caroline, this is rest time!).
So, it was after a few hours of swimming and reading at the pool when I asked my question and Caroline wanted to go "rest" - which I think means "can we just go do 'nothing'?" - i.e. relax in the condo and maybe watch tv??  I'm thinking: "hmmm, that's not part of the plan . . . we MUST sqeeze every last activity into this beautiful 80 degree day!"  But, alas, it is her vacation too, so we came in from the sun, made nachos, and watched part of "Spiderman" on tv . . . before it was time to get back in tennis clothes for our 5:30pm court time :-).
We're loving it and we couldn't have hit better weather and it feels oh, so good to have the sun shining down on our pale winter skin.  Tomorrow we head over to the tournament and after checking the schedule I don't think Caroline will have any desire to come back and hang out.
The view from our patio - the distant mountains are always my favorite.

But then again, she may want to come back and take a nap since I've scheduled a 7am court for us in the morning . . .

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life is Wonderful

I really should be packing and cleaning and doing the 100 things that need to be done before we leave this afternoon, but I had to share my new favorite song because it relates a beautiful truth that's been on my mind as of late.  Plus, it just makes me smile :-) . . .

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.  If not so, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.  Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one . . .  And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin.  If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness.  And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness.  And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery.  And if these things are not, there is no God.  And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon . . .

And now, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon  . . .

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.  And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end . . . wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.  But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things . . .

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

2 Nephi, chapter 2, vs: 11-25
The Book of Mormon

Monday, March 8, 2010

Girls' Trip!

Tomorrow Caroline and I embark on our first ever "girls' trip" together - a road trip to Palm Desert to attend this year's professional tennis tournament in Indian Wells.  It's the warm sun, palm trees, and GREEN that will be so refreshing.  We have two days to swim, play tennis, shop, hang-out, and take long walks along the golf course ourselves . . . ahhhh, then two full days of incredible tennis action.  Federer, Nadal, Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovich, Oudin, Cljisters . . . the list goes on and we're really getting excited for our little adventure together!

We figured since the guys had their male bonding week on the lake in Michigan last summer, it's our turn.  Hmmm, I sense a yearly tradition :-).  I only made mention of their trip in this post at the end of the summer, and never put up any pictures of their adventures.  It was such a memorable trip for both Chris and Ryan (so memorable that they're going to try and go again this summer) that I feel I should post some pics, so here you go:

At the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Niagra Falls

The Sacred Grove - Palmyra, NY

On Ess Lake in Northern Michigan - where Chris spent his childhood summers

Ryan experiencing the magic of Ess Lake

Chris' grandparents' home on the lake - so many Cantera memories were made here.  We wish it was still in the family.

Ryan met some friends pretty quick . . . friends with motorcycles!

Last evening on the lake - hosts Jim and Missy grilled fresh fish for my guys!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ah, it's March and even though it's hard to let winter go, I'm ready for spring and some green!  We have some more skiing to fit in this month which will be nice - I took Liza up to Alta yesterday for an afternoon lesson and just sat out on the deck overlooking the resort, soaked in the rays, and read my book while taking in the breathtaking views of the canyon on a beautiful day (wish I had remembered my camera).

So, even if I'm ready for blossoms, green grass, and warmer temperatures, I'm sure going to miss amazing days like yesterday when the bright blue sky is the perfect canvas for the towering snow covered granite walls of Little Cottonwood!

How blessed we are to live in one of the few spots on earth where we enjoy all four seasons - I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything.  Life is good . . . everyday, everywhere we can tap into the amazing blessings offered if we just open our eyes a little wider, take a little deeper breath, and realize the potential this incredible life experience brings to each individual.

A favorite quote in anticipation of the new season . . .

Cultivate an attitude of happiness.
Cultivate a spirit of optimism.
Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature,
in the goodness of those you love,
in the testimony which you carry in your heart
concerning things divine.

~ President Gordon B. Hinkley ~