Friday, June 11, 2010

So Long to the City...

Although I'm excited to get out of the heat and start a new adventure with my little family, this city holds many memories for me and there are several things I'm going to miss.

  • Shopping. Tons of stores. Outlets malls. H&M. And the list goes on and on.
  • Sunflower Market and Trader Joe's. Where will I get great prices on fresh produce? And more importantly, where will I get Joe Joe's? Better stock up before I leave.
  • Target. Ok I know there is a Target where we are going, but here I have two in a 7 mi radius.
  • Our pet lizard in the back yard.
  • Play dates with friends
  • Waffles Cafe along with several other local, yummy restaurants
  • Bittersweet memories of driving DI to get to Sunrise Hospital.
  • Las Vegas Nevada Temple.
  • And of course, Family and friends. I will miss getting together for birthdays, swimming at grandma's, shopping trips with Teresa just to get out of the house, lunch with Chad, Brody jumping on the bed with Papa, and much, much more.
Yes, this move would have been easier if we would have moved the first time or even the second time we planned to but I'm so grateful for the time we've spent here and the relationships I've built with my new family. We look forward to new adventures and new memories in our new home, but we will not forget our old home.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Road Trip

For Memorial Day weekend we went to visit Derek's Oma (that's german for grandma) in Modesto. We had a great trip. Here are a few pictures I took to document our road trip.

Brody was fascinated by these, as I'm sure most kids are.

Brody got to see his first real train. "Choo Choo"

Nothing like a game of football after a long car ride.

Brody meeting Great-grandpa Riddle

A Four Generation Photo
Oma, Jim, Derek, Brody
Brody keeping busy on the car ride home. Thankfully Brody did really well in the car.
So while were driving we see some of these silos/water towers (whatever they are) in the fields and Brody starts pointing and trying to tell me something. I couldn't quite make it out so I just nod and say "yeah Brody." Then he says "meow" and I realize he was saying hat. He had just watched The Cat in the Hat with his dad earlier that week. I was quite amazed.
Getting a good look of the goats at the petting zoo.

Enjoying an aprium we bought at a fruit stand. Yum!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Leaving Las Vegas...and this time we mean it!

Ari and I are about to close a chapter in our life and open a new one. Usually following these times in life, there comes a period of reflection... at least for me it does. As a reading teacher this past year, I have often asked my students to summarize what they have read at the end of a chapter and describe what they have learned. I thought about doing the same thing for this post. However, instead of describing what I have learned, I thought I would describe what I have been learning. To assume I have learned ( or mastered) these principles would be ridiculous. I thought a better way to describe the past year or so would be to explain what I am learning (or continuing to fully comprehend). Here are some of those things:

1. Forgiveness- For those who know us and the story of the past couple years, know that dealing with UNLV has been somewhat less than ideal. I'll be honest. There were times when I dreamed and even sincerely hoped UNLV would write me a letter apologizing for their misdeeds and send me a complimentary degree as compensation for their devastating mistakes. In all those moments of daydreaming about justice and revenge, there was never any room to consider mercy and forgiveness. I also had encounters with people where the same attitude of "an eye for an eye" frequently became my initial natural man reaction. If any of you have traveled this road, you may also be familiar with where it leads. You may have guessed it...straight to a little place called Gethsemane. In these moments I was thankful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, "which teacheth a man to pray". I have come to see things and more importantly feel things the way the Savior does. In those quiet moments I have felt the power of the atonement. I can now testify more fully of the Savior's power to change hearts. Forgiveness is a gift from God granted only through the matchless power of His beloved Son.

2. Charity- A couple of years ago, Ari and were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. However, due to our situation, we were fortunate to move in with my parents until I finished school. We left a very strong ward and moved into a smaller ward. It was tough leaving a ward with members excited about living the gospel to a ward where it felt like pulling teeth to get my companion to home teach with me. Over time I began to see that the move was meant to teach me charity. I have learned to love in a way that I never knew was possible. I have visited homes where I felt the Savior himself was amongst us. I have seen the sick being raised from their beds by the power of he priesthood. Above all, I have witnessed the Holy Spirit of promise seal my family together for time and all eternity, a blessing I thought at one time would have been highly unlikely. I have truly in this ward seen a God of miracles. I have worked with at risk students over the past year and served with what I now call "at risk families" of the church. Such families who are "at risk" of not receiving the salvation or all that the gospel affords. Through all of it, I have come to appreciate and more fully understand the words to this hymn, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another." I now feel the greatest honor I could ever receive in this life is to be known as one of the Lord's disciples.

3. Additional Thoughts- I am so fortunate to live in the presence of a celestial being everyday of my life. My mission president often said his life has been richly blessed because he "married right". I too feel I "married right". I could not have asked for a more loving and wise companion. She is the pinnacle of what it means to be a companion. She has done everything to make sure our marriage and family stays on the road leading back to our eternal home. Through her example of self denial and sacrifice, I have learned so much about what it means to hold the sacred title of parent. I feel like the hypocrite that Elder Bednar described in conference because I wish I could make this public statement more often in the quiet walls of our home. I hope to do so more in the future. I read a quote recently which made me think of Ari. It went like this, "God could not be everywhere at once therefore he created mothers."

Now after some hard work and a whole lot of patience Ari and I will depart Las Vegas on June 11th and head to our new home in Twin Falls. I will be working at Robert Stuart for the upcoming school year. I will be working hard in their Title 1 program to make it stronger and ultimately help a certain group of students for whom I have a strong compassion towards. I also will be coaching soccer at either Robert Stuart or at Canyon Ridge. It is still in the works, but I know for sure it will be one or the other.

We will keep you posted on how the next chapter plays out in the story of our life. I do not feel we have reached the climax of our life, however we are sure living everyday like it is.
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