Sunday, November 22, 2015

When things work out differently than planned

When applying to law/grad schools, Notre Dame topped the list. We loved BYU but missed the opportunities for growth that living outside Utah provided. What better way to be a religious minority than by attending a Catholic university? Add to that superior academics and you can see why we prayed like Moses to get in. I fervently believed that if I had enough faith, the Lord would make us Fighting Irish. However, the summer wore on and Bryce got a letter--he was wait listed. Decision time: Should we go to the University of Houston or wait and see about Notre Dame? We opted to move to Texas. In hindsight I know we were steered in that direction. How else could we have been in the right place at the right time to do the volunteer work that would lead us to fostering, and then adopting OUR KIDS, whom I know were meant to be with us? We wouldn't have this family, our family, any other way. Funny how things work out - - not always as planned but always for the best.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grandma Mary's 100th Birthday Celebration

My maternal grandmother, Mary Johnston Dreier Masimer, had her 100th birthday party on June 25th. She was born July 8, 1915--she's been alive for 100 years! Almost all--if not all--of her surviving family came to Pueblo, Colorado to celebrate.

I loved spending time with my parents, brother and his family, grandma, aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was such a great time reconnecting with people I don't often see but whom I love so very much.

Here are a million pictures. It was great.

The birthday girl!

Brandon and Jessie Atterberry were the host and hostess of the night. This whole party was their idea.

Tyce and Mary sang the duet "A Child's Prayer" for Great  Grandma.

I also sang a duet with Tyce, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing".

Mary's great grandchildren.

With her money garland!

She had a ball!

In yellow: her sister Betty. This is Betty's family. 


The Rouses. This is her (deceased) brother Tad's family. 

Mary's daughter Pat's (my mom's) family.
David's family: wife Brooklyn, daughters Cambria (10), Maya (9), and Xochi (6)

My family with the kids: Tyce (19), Mary Rachel (15), Cameron and Harrison (10)

Another shot of all the great grandkids!

Mary's two daughters, Lynn Antle and Pat Cook.

Lynn's family: Husband Bob, son Chris, daughter Jennifer. Jennifer's husband is Scott, kids are Brandon (almost 13) and Jessie (9).
The next day we went to a park to eat and play. Later we swam in the hotel pool.

Before our flight home we decided to explore Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It made me glad our plane was delayed! Beautiful.

It was truly a wonderful trip and I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me to be with some of the people I love most in this world.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Really Great Day

This was a very personal, touching experience for me. I want to share it because so often the bad things get top billing in life (mine, everybody's).

Cameron was in the living room building with Legos. Harrison was doing a puzzle. Mary was babysitting and Tyce was at work. So just the twins and I were home, and I was doing the dishes. I had the radio on, Christian radio, and suddenly I was so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my kids, my home, my family, my life. I couldn't contain my emotions and tears spilled down my cheeks. I said to the twins, "I love when we are together. I really feel the spirit in our home when we are calm and kind." Harrison said, "That's because we're listening to uplifting music."

So often I am on autopilot. That day I was able to be present in the moment. And man, am I grateful for that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tyce got a job!

He works part-time at Jimmy Johns, the sandwich shop. He loves it.

He takes orders and makes sandwiches. He likes his co-workers and his boss. His favorite sandwich is the Vito. We are so happy for him!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

When Going to Church is Hard

Photo credit
Today in Relief Society part of our lesson was on the sacrifices people make to go to church; for example, women in other countries who walk miles to attend meetings. Our teacher asked, "Have any of you experienced sacrifice like this?"

And I thought to myself: physically, no. But there are women in this room, or who SHOULD be in this room, whose emotional hurdles are as daunting as 15-mile walk though mud fields with a baby strapped to their backs.

I live with one of those people.

"Mom, I hate everyone at church. It's too bright. Too loud. People talk to me and I have to be polite. I'm expected to respond. I can't stand it. Every Saturday I tell myself I'm going to do it, I'm going to go. And then Sunday comes and I'm physically sick. You know how I always say I'm sick on Sunday mornings? I AM."

It's been four weeks since she's been. Her attendance has been spotty since she was about 11. Her dad is her Sunday School teacher and I said I'd go with her to Young Women, but it's still too much. I've bribed her with privileges, threatened her with punishment. You may recall me saying that I once tried to drag her out from under the bed while she held on for dear life. It's been crazy here--I've said and done things that make me feel like a monster.

"I see these other girls and they just have their lives together. I think to myself, why can't I do that? Why can't I be a better person? And it makes me feel bad."

"Can you take those feelings and do something positive?" I ask,

"If it were that easy of course I would," she says.

I believe her.

She has a good heart. She believes in God. She teaches great Family Home Evening lessons, shares the gospel with her friends. Is that enough? She doesn't go to seminary, won't go to the temple with her youth group, hates Mutual, rejects her nice leaders. I want her to experience all of these things because I know first-hand how beneficial they are. Beneficial for ME. My eyes are being opened to the fact that others find those things painful.

I'm the stake Young Women's president and every rah-rah-rah activity I help plan is something my own daughter can't stomach.

To people who judge her absence: You have no idea what she goes through.

Crowds can be daunting. Nice people can be overwhelming. Spiritual promptings can be uncomfortable. Getting up and getting dressed is sometimes just too hard. But you know what--despite that, sometimes my strong, sweet girl does it anyway.

So do I know people who sacrifice to go to church? Yeah, I do.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mary's 15th Birthday

As you know, Mary's birthday is January 5th. For her birthday she had her friends Bella, Madi, Nikki, Sara, and Alyssa over.

The girls in the kitchen at the regional New Year's Eve dance, minus Bella.

They played Murder in the Dark and ate snacks. They were very, very loud.

Flowers from her daddy.
She is such a cute girl. I absolutely love her and she is a delight to have as a daughter.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Birthday AND Easter

When I was a little girl in elementary school--8? 10?--my mom used her perpetual calendar to figure out that my birthday would finally be on Easter when I turned 41. Of course that seemed a million  years away back then. But lo and behold, the blessed day finally arrived and what a treat it was to celebrate my special day on THE most special day of the year.

Mary decorated this egg for me.

Since Easter always coincides with spring break the kids were off school. Bryce took the twins to Utah while I worked full-time hours for Clinique bonus time. (I was incredibly busy.) Mary went with Nikki's family to the beach in southern California. Tyce stayed here. The boys were back on Saturday night but Mary didn't come home until late on Sunday. She is my cheerleader and fan so I definitely did miss my sweet girl that day.

But we had a great day of General Conference and Easter gifts AND birthday things.

Instead of a cake Bryce made me these awesome fruit cones!

Are these beautiful or what?

Oooh, pretty.
 Harrison made me a giant poster. Forty-one puppies for 41 years!

Very sweet.
 Cameron's card came with candy!

I'm a smartie.
 My handsome boys and I.

Serious one.

Harrison's face!
Some highlights were these messages:

From Bryce: Happy Birthday to the love of my life! One of the hardest working and most compassionate people I know. I can never keep up with her enthusiasm to do good. I hope we fill your day with a few of your favorite things.

 From my dadHappy Birthday to our beautiful daughter, Rebecca Jones. Her sweet spirit is a blessing to our family and to anyone who knows her. It is a blessing to be her dad.

 I am grateful for wonderful people in my life and I am glad to be alive another year.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

California Adventure

Next day, California Adventure! This was my first time, though the second (or more) for the others. We spent part of the day here and then went back to Disneyland to do some of the things we liked the most.

Highlights of California Adventure were the Cars ride, where Harrison got to drive us all; playing in the snow at Frozen; and the Toy Story ride. Mary loved the roller coasters. The rest of us endured them to varying degrees.

When all was said and done we rode the Indiana Jones ride 6 times! At the end Bryce wanted us to take a family picture with "cousin Indy" but it was super crowded. So we went into a gift shop to try on hats. I only have a snake around my neck and I cut off Tyce's head and will it surprise you to hear that Harrison utterly refused to pose with us? Well, to get the perfect picture I guess this means that we'll have to go back. That'd be fine with me.