After putting together this slide show I realized that I have NOT ONE picture of Dru and Tyler. How did that happen?!?! Guys- I'm so glad you were there!!! Sorry I'm such a tard. Love you!
While trying to herd my children to the bathroom at one point during our visit, I passed a woman who said to me, "You're so lucky." Assuming that she was making a sympathetic comment about the unruliness of my crew (that were of course darting in and out of the racks pulling off clothes), I laughed and answered back something like, "Yep it's always a party when we go shopping." And to that she replied, "No I really mean it. You're so lucky to have so many children. I would give anything to have more."
At the time she said it I was in hot pursuit of my little ones and it wasn't until we had reached the bathroom that I registered her words. I hurried my kids along and ran out of the restroom, but the woman was gone. I'm not sure what I would have said to her had she still been there. Maybe just shared my story. But I wanted her to know that I recognized the longing look in her eyes and hoped she would feel she was not alone. And maybe I could have given her some hope that miracles really do happen (as evidenced by my family). But I was too late.
Today my thoughts have not been far from the woman in the mall. Today I pray for her. And for all the other women out there that know the desperation of not being able to have the one thing in life they want most. For the women that are begging, pleading, bargaining, beginning to doubt or have completely lost hope. For those that have started questioning themselves and their God. For those that put on a brave face, but feel the heartache with every child that they see. Theirs is a lonely road.
And today I hug my children a little bit tighter, recognizing that I am no more deserving than any of these women. I just happened to get "lucky." And I am going to do my best to savor every bit of my good fortune...
...even when my toy room looks like this:
"Our Father in heaven needs us as we are, as we are growing to become. He has intentionally made us different from one another so that even with our imperfections we can fulfill his purposes. My greatest misery comes when I feel I have to fit what others are doing, or what I think others expect of me. I am most happy when I am comfortable being me and trying to do what my Father in heaven and I expect me to be.
For many years I tried to measure the oft-times quiet, reflective, thoughtful Pat Holland against the robust, bubbly, talkative, and energetic Jeff Holland and others with like qualities. I have learned through several fatiguing failures that you can’t have joy in being bubbly if you are not a bubbly person. It is a contradiction in terms. I have given up seeing myself as a flawed person because my energy level is lower than Jeff’s, and I don’t talk as much as he does, nor as fast. Giving this up has freed me to embrace and rejoice in my own manner and personality in the measure of my creation. Ironically, that has allowed me to admire and enjoy Jeff’s ebullience even more.
Somewhere, somehow the Lord “blipped the message onto my screen” that my personality was created to fit precisely the mission and talents he gave me. For example, the quieter, calmer talent of playing the piano reveals much about the real Pat Holland. I would never have learned to play the piano if I hadn’t enjoyed the long hours of solitude required for its development. This same principle applies to my love of writing, reading, meditation, and especially teaching and talking with my children. Miraculously, I have found that I have untold abundant sources of energy to be myself. But the moment I indulge in imitation of my neighbor, I feel fractured and fatigued and find myself forever swimming upstream. When we frustrate God’s plan for us, we deprive this world and God’s kingdom of our unique contributions, and a serious schism settles in our soul. God never gave us any task beyond our ability to accomplish it. We just have to be willing to do it our own way. We will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become."
-- Pat Holland from “Portraits of Eve: God’s Promises of Personal Identity” (LDS Women’s Treasury)
The classes were wonderful (as they always are) and left me feeling able and energized. I have greater resolve to be a better wife/mother/person, and I just want to hug everyone I've ever met. I'm a little sad it's over (for me anyway), but I'm already making notes on the speakers I want to hear next year. Can't wait!
I asked the youth if there were any other black people at EFY and they said, "Yah, like 2 or 3." When I asked them how they liked that they assured me "it was cool." Actually, I imagine that they quite enjoyed all the attention they got. They had CES camera crews following them around, documenting their experience, and they won the dance contest on the first night there. They were the celebrities of the week!
Will with his new best bud "Cheeeeeeeeko"
This is Crystal. Yes, Crystal! The girl that was so shy 3 years ago she would barely look you in the eye. And now....she's on stage (by herself!) singing her heart out. Wow- it was so fun to see how these guys have blossomed over the years. (Actually "fun" probably isn't the right word considering that I was crying that ugly, convulsing, blubbery cry...I was completely overcome.)
Gerald swing dancing with Kelly (a leader). Yep, Gerald is the same old Gerald.
Kilief, Cheeko and Rome rapping. These guys are AWESOME!! They are total street rappers, but their lyrics are all about how much they love the church. So cool!
Wonder- she'll be famous one day...no question
Meet the fearless leaders- Isaac and Sara- the most stellar couple ever!!!! They organized this entire thing. They helped raise thousands of dollars to be able to provide this opportunity for these youth. Isaac and Sara- you guys are my heroes.
Also, the youth did a combined service project with the youth in my current ward at the Food Bank. But of course I forgot my camera and therefore have no pictures of this event. So irritating!
Well, it was a great time for everyone and now they are back in Philly and hopefully catching up on some Z's.
We got to see our totally cool friends from Philadelphia, the Vances, for the first time in years tonight. Okay so I got to spend a weekend with Angie this spring when we went on a gal pals trip to Vegas, but we haven't seen Kennan in about 5 years, so that was so fun! Hey guys- remember this?
Admit it- I look totally constipated in this picture.
And remember how bugged Tyler was about his hair:
Ah, good times. But enough of the flashback. On to more business...
It's time to say good riddance to the pony tail. You know it is time for a change when you've put your hair back and "out of the way" for the last 100 days in a row. So ta da...the new me: I'd like to thank DRU (your my girl!) and L'Oreal 5R Medium Reddish Chestnut for the color and Brittney at Salon Lydia for the cut. You guys are awesome!
Now I was feeling pretty cute with my new 'do until Will looked at me and said, "Mom, you're a man?!?!" Gotta love kids for always keeping you grounded.
And speaking of the little stinker....here is yet another messy-faced picture of Will:This is how I will always remember this guy: with a crusty nose and a mouth smeared with chocolate. But....still pretty stinkin cute.
Musical chairs a la hat style
Tess was the winner
David and his friend Noah running to each other and hugging...it was cute...even when they started adding a kiss
Will and his sword (and a very messy face). The sword went everywhere with us up until today when David bit it into tiny pieces.
David and Nora holding hands- they've started doing this a lot lately. It's adorable.
The bishopric (minus Bishop Wilson) cooking breakfast. Yep that's Jim Jackson for all you fellow Titans.
David's ideal breakfast...one link of sausage after another
Playing in the stream- Tess and Laine
from L to R: Nora, Will, Laine, April, Tess
Too bad I don't have pictures of our nature walk. It would be all smiles on the way up the trail and all blood and tears (and one fat lip for poor Nora) on the way down. Gotta love it.