Well this weekend was a pretty great one. It was full of fun birthdays with loved ones, as well as spiritual uplifting as we attended stake conference.
Our sweet little nephew Breckan turned 5--which brought the Schillers to town, some of our favorite people. The Schillers are Jenn's in-laws, which makes them our brother-in-law's family. We really love them. They are all such great people and we love to visit them in St. George every once in awhile. The Schillers have a few places that always seem to be a must-visit whenever we see them. Chilis is one of them... and Cafe Rio is the other. This time it was Chili's. We went there after Brecky's birthday party. It was a great time. Jenn's face is pretty great in this pic. haha It was also Papa Dave's birthday so we went out to El Matador in Ogden to celebrate. That was great as well. We were so happy to be able to see so much family this weekend.
The next chapter of the weekend consisted of the Adult Session of Stake Conference as well as the general session on Sunday. Both were very uplifting and we loved the things that were shared. All the speakers were awesome and it really focused a lot on family and how important it is to spend time teaching your children. We don't have any kids (yet) but I love to learn about what we should do when we do have them. I love Stake Conference so much. It's always felt so special to me for some reason, and every time I go I wish the whole world could come and listen to the amazing things that are taught.
I'm so grateful that I am able to know without a doubt of the truth of the gospel. It's really an amazing thing that I never knew existed before I joined the church. I loved growing up with my kid's bible and an occasional visit to a Christian church with some of the sweetest people I've met. My mom taught me to pray when I was young and I always said my prayers at night before bed, but I had no idea that Heavenly Father was able to share knowledge with us in so many different ways--the scriptures, prayer, and most especially through the feelings that the Holy Ghost brings to us. I knew I had a Savior and I knew the bible was the word of God, but wow what power the true gospel has on the earth. It's no wonder this church began with one person and has grown to over 14 million members. I love it so much.
After the general session of stake conference, Mike and I were able to meet a new friend. At the beginning of the winter, the bishop asked Mike to keep an eye on a little lady's driveway down the street and Mike goes and shovels the snow anytime it needs it. He's so good about remembering it. As soon as it snows he bundles up and he's out the door. This day, I wanted to be with him all day so I decided to go with. It was warm and so I didn't mind going out. Well we were there shoveling and I started throwing snowballs at Mike. I probably threw about 10 without him even noticing because I kept missing so badly. When I finally hit him, I heard a sweet little laugh coming from the porch. The little lady had come out and was laughing because she saw me throwing those snowballs at him. (and missing miserably) We ended up talking to her for about an hour and in the end, we asked her if she wanted to come to church with us. She told us she hadn't been in years, but she was so excited to come. She asked what to bring so "she would look like a pro" and she said she'd be ready 30 minutes early so we had plenty of time. Her name is Acel. She's so excited to come to church on Sunday and all she needed was an invitation! We were so glad we met her, and we knew Heavenly Father brought this sweet little lady into our lives to bring us happiness. She is just the spunkiest, sweetest little thing.
I named this post balcony people because all the things I was thinking about and all the things I wrote really all had to do with this concept, which President Stevens shared in the adult session on Saturday. He talked about a book that he had read and it shared an idea that everyone had their own balcony. Each of our balconies has many different people in it who are cheering for us. They are there to help us when we need it and to cheer us on in all different parts of life. Our balcony people are all so special to us and really make our lives enjoyable. Not only do they help us enjoy, but they help us endure and accomplish. I have SOO many balcony people there for me. I am so very grateful. I know the Savior is on my balcony, as well as my family and friends that have always been there when I need them.
But one thing I really have been thinking about this weekend is the importance of being in the balconies of others. Sweet little Acel only needed two people in her balcony to invite her to church and sit by her while there, and if we, or anyone else, had jumped into her balcony a long time ago, she probably would have been going to church for years. I'm so excited I get to be in her balcony and I hope we can be friends for a long time. I know that I can be better at being there for a lot of people when they need encouragement, or just someone to talk to and I'm so glad President Stevens was able to share his message that inspires me to do so.
Oh and it's tradition to go to Frogurt after every stake conference adult session, so here we are with some great friends, BJ and Kali and Tyson and Kort. We love you guys! They are some of our balcony people!
"When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
There are always people around us who influence our lives in many different ways, most for the better, and will always help us to be better people. Some in small ways, and some in large. I think of these as angels, and I feel so much gratitude toward Heavenly Father for sending those people to minister to us, and help us in all different aspects of life. I, like everyone else, have had many of these people in my life. I feel so grateful that I have and I know my life has been bettered by some of these special people in particular.
One group of these people come from the same family. Each member of the family is different, but all in different ways took me in during a hard part of my life and taught me about so many different things. This family showed me by example what it was to live a life as Heavenly Father wants us to, and especially about family and what that really means. At times, I think of this family as angels, because they stepped in when I needed love, kindness, and someone to catch me if I fell. I feel eternally grateful for these people and the ways in which they have changed and improved my life. I can say without hesitation that my life, perspective, and happiness has been altered by their good example and the kindness they have shown me.
Recently, the Mother of this family has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has begun a journey through surgery and chemotherapy that has really touched my heart as well as Mike's. She has spent her entire life planting happiness and hope in the lives of others, through her family as well as her work. At the time of her diagnosis, she was without insurance, and has a large burden placed upon her with all the treatment that she needs.
Here's the great news though,
We can all help!
With help from the foundation, Anything For a Friend, a fundraising event is being planned for June 11, 2011. The event will be a dinner as well as a live and silent auction. It is going to be so fun and more importantly, so inspiring to everyone that attends. At this point, we are looking for lots of donations and help to put this on. So....If you know ANYONE that would like to donate ANYTHING, please let me know. Also, here is a link where you can access all kinds of information about the event, and how to help:
"In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary child, is crying, “Darkness … afraid … river … alone.”"
That may not seem that exciting, but I LOVE vacations, and I especially love having Michael ALL to myself for a whole week! And that is what I get! We are going with some dear friends, Camille and Andrew Crandall on May 8th-15th. They are really great and we are SOOOO excited. This all started when I started nagging at him that if we got a certain amount on our tax return, we should go on one. Well, then my imagination started going, and I started dreaming up ideas with Camille. So we booked. Today. We have no idea how much we are even getting back on our taxes. But that's all fine because it's going to be soooo fun! We are so excited. It's the Mexican Rivera cruise so we will be stopping in Cabo, Puerta Vallarta, and Mazatlan. I went on this cruise a few years ago and it was real fun so I am excited! We are all set to go. More excitement to be posted later.