Thursday, September 29, 2011

our two eagles

Caroline all smiles as she heads out the door early this morning to compete in the high school region tennis tournament, and Ryan just as excited to kick off the Skyline hockey season with the first varsity exhibition game this evening.

Way to go kids!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

forget me not

Every year I look forward to the annual Relief Society meeting held the week before the October general conference.  It is always a spiritual lift to listen to the RS general presidency and a member of the First Presidency speak to the women of the church.  So yesterday evening a friend and I headed downtown to the conference center to hear the inspirational messages and feel the beautiful spirit of so many righteous women gathered together in one place.

I especially felt a connection with Elder Uchtdorf's sincere and timely message of never forgetting the simple things in life that will bring an added measure of joy and peace.  He used the analogy of the forget-me-not flower and mentioned five things we should never "forget," just like the five tiny, perfect blue petals on this delicate, unpretentious flower.

never forget . . .

1.  to be patient with yourself.  Part of our mortal experience is to have weaknesses. We are not perfect and no one expects us to be, especially our Heavenly Father.  Be compassionate with yourself.  We have a tendency to compare our weaknesses to others' strengths, and by so doing feel we will never measure up.  However, by staying on the long path of discipleship, our weaknesses will eventually become our STRENGTHS.

2.  the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. Be wise when committing our time and energy.  Sacrifice is worthwhile when we are sacrificing something "good" for something "better."  Our time is limited - choose wisely.

3.  to be happy now.  Never fail to notice the blessings that surround you daily.  Don't be miserable while waiting for your "golden ticket" - that elusive goal that you believe will bring happiness.   Be vigilant and watch for the everyday miracles and blessings.

4.  the "why" of the gospel.  Never forget that the gospel is the pathway leading to happiness and peace in this life and a fullness of joy in the life to come.  Seek out the beauty of the "why" we live the gospel and keep our covenants . . . this will transform the mundane into the magnificent.

5.  that the Lord LOVES you.  Never forget that you are a precious daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, that you are never forgotten, and loved with an infinite love.  He loves you because you are His child and are the daughters of His kingdom.  Never forget that His love in your heart can heal any wound and relieve every heartache.

Click here for a few video excerpts from Elder Uchtdorf's talk (it's so much better to hear him relay this message straight from the heart).

Friday, September 23, 2011

reflecting on 20 years

September 21, 1991

I really can't believe we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary earlier this week.  I remember my PARENTS' 20th anniversary when I was in Jr. High and they seemed so OLD.  Honestly, how did this milestone creep up on us so quickly?  As alarming as hitting 20 years together seems, it's also been a sweet reminder of the things that have kept us together all these years and how we've grown, both individually and collectively.  We've reminisced about everything from the excitement of meeting one another and dating, to the realization that we've actually put up with one another for this long ;-).

Of course, we have had highs and lows like every other marriage . . . we've struggled, we've done stupid things, we've hurt one another, we've said things we regret, we've felt unsupported, unappreciated, and misunderstood, we've yelled and slammed doors, we've cried together, we've forgiven, we've learned from our mistakes, and we've stayed up all night working things out . . . we've also created countless memories, laughed so hard it hurts, shared some unbelievable experiences and adventures, nurtured our faith and testimonies in the gospel, raised our children with unflinching honesty, and become closer with each passing year.  Through it all, we've realized that we are two firstborn stubborn, opinionated, passionate people who care deeply about each other and couldn't get along without the other.

I don't know what I would do without Chris.  We both agree that we would be lost souls if one of us were gone.  What we've realized in the years since our wedding day, is that our marriage is anything but "perfect" - it requires vigilance and constant nurturing, understanding, and communication.  However, it also has become one of my richest blessings as I continue to develop greater patience, humility, empathy, and charity for my family members as well as others.

Some say "soul mates" don't exist, that it's just a matter of luck or timing.  But I believe they do. I truly believe that I could only learn some of the most important lessons for my personal growth here in mortality through my relationship with Chris. We were meant to find each other 21 years ago, in circumstances that every year seem more than coincidental. It wasn't a chance meeting, but truly a soul connection that brought us together, and the longer we live and grow together, the more I believe that is true. It seems everyone is searching for some sort of "soul connection" these days because it's my most popular post, receiving several hits each day.  After some digging I found the quote in its entirety.  It's simply exquisite . . . and oh, so true:

"A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other's individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension -- seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence. This means recognizing that we both have an important part to play in helping each other become more fully who we are....A soul connection not only inspires us to expand, but also forces us to confront whatever stands in the way of that expansion." 
John Welwood

So, thank you Chris for helping me realize my potential, for inspiring me to expand my heart to degrees I didn't think it was possible to stretch, and for the years of love, laughter, and understanding.
Anniversary dinner at Log Haven, then off to a remarkable contemporary musical ("Next to Normal") at Pioneer Theater.

(for a few more pics of our wedding day, click here)

Monday, September 19, 2011

"From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, andhow earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received."

- Albert Einstein-

Thursday, September 15, 2011

my passion

"as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he share the passion and action of his time, at the peril of being judged not to have lived."

Oliver Wendell Holmes

In action last week up Millcreek Canyon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

remember august?

Ya know, that month where we attempt to squeeze every last minute "summer break" activity into the three weeks before school begins (insanely early this year on the 22nd).  Well, our August was filled to the brim with Cantera adventures.

Here's the run-down via a boatload of pictures:

we played with Howick cousins at Bear Lake

Ryan mastered the backflip, and even helped Caroline learn
we went to the Raspberry Days rodeo . . . yee haw!
and watched the sun set over Laketown

we had a blast with Cantera cousins
we hiked the "Y" early one morning . . .
and enjoyed the views of Provo as the sun rose behind us, then headed back down for ice-cream at the BYU Creamery (yes, it was only 9:30am - bless the soul who served us at that hour :-).
we played in the sand,
and read books,
and had fun on the Wake,
and gave ourselves mud spa treatments,
and water skied,
and discovered that the Cantera clan is keeping Keen in business!

noteworthy events
Liza picked a bright pink cast
the girls played in the Cottonwood Jr. Classic tourney
and Caroline made the SHS tennis team . . .
and went to 109 degree St. George for a varsity tourney where she was desperate to cool off . . .
we (and our neighborhood) said "good-bye" to our dear friend Jenny and little Caleb . . .
and had a great time at our last Bees' games of the season with Jenny and the Elggren kiddos

we spent time with old friends
enjoying a hike (no pics) and musical with Amy & her girls
attended the sealing of little Phoebe to the LaBelle family in the Bountiful Temple
and caught up with Rachel, Jodi, and Steph at lunch

what a month
hopefully the memories will last longer than our tans ;-)