Hello again! Yes, it's already been one year since my last blog. Can you believe it? Time flies when you get caught up in "life" or you choose to communicate with family and friends on Facebook instead of blogging. I've missed my blogging friends. I've missed sharing parts of my life that seem so important and yet, I guess not important enough to take the time to record somewhere.
It seems that now I have a high school graduate. Yes, Colin graduated from high school a few weeks ago and is madly working at a "cheese factory" all summer to earn money for college. After some very serious offers from some great universities, Colin felt that he should attend BYU-Provo. Yes, he is going to BYU! He is very excited and we couldn't be more excited for him as well. He will do great at whatever he pursues. Colin will attend one semester of school and then serve a two-year mission for the LDS church. What a great opportunity and what a great chance for Colin to strengthen his already strong testimony of Jesus Christ. Oh the places he will go...
I had the chance last summer to travel to China. Again, I am so sorry not to have recorded all the fun I had there. What an amazing trip! I taught at Shandong University in Weihei. What a wonderful town! I just chalk it up to another wonderful life experience! The Lord blesses my life so much in all that I have ever aimed to achieve.
Daren continues to teach at UNK. He also serves as the director of General Studies. This has been a pretty big undertaking for his committee and for him. They have changed a general studies program for the better and it has not been an easy task. I have been surprised by some of people in the academic world. I guess some of the real surprises have been some of Daren's closest friends and their lack of support. Oh well! Daren has done an amazing job in being professional on every level. Daren is a man of integrity and hard work. He has maintained calmness in every situation and I can hardly walk across campus where I don't hear someone telling me what an amazing person he is. I appreciate those comments and I am so excited to share them with him. Daren doesn't really get a lot of feedback and it's nice to be the bearer of nice messages.
Christopher continues to amaze us all. He has had a great year as a freshman in high school. He has had some rough times with friends, but he has risen above the temptations and become a much stronger young man. Christopher is really learning how to be his own person. He is an amazing musician. He went to a State Teachers exhibition and played in a Percussion Ensemble. What a great achievement for him. Daren, Colin and Chris traveled to New Orleans, where the Kearney High Band played in the Sugar Bowl. What a great time for the three of them!
Laura had a good year. She is still a fighter. She struggled with some things at school but I think she is much more ready for fifth grade and all that she needs to do next year. Laura struggles to be smart and to hang with the "jocks." She wants to do both, but she hasn't found that middle ground yet. She has a group of the most wonderful friends at school. She, Annie, Emma and Paige have been good friends since kindergarten and it has been so fun to see them grow up and continue to be friends. They do an act every year together in the school talent show and it is always amazing! Laura lost two good friends this year. Her good friend at church, Kate Loveless moved to Ft. Smith, Arkansas and her other good friend, Maeson Dewey, moved down to Plainsville, Kansas. Over all I think Laura is an amazing girl. She is kind, patient and sweet. She is always doing the right thing.
Cameron is a story all by himself. He continues to teach me about patience and how to be a better parent. I have been more humbled by him than the other three kids put together.
Cameron is extremely smart. He gets math facts as quick as can be. He gets 100% on his spelling tests and is usually found doing what he should at school. At home, he can be difficult and hard to handle. He pushes boundaries and negotiates on most everything he can. He has a best friend that lives next door and that really helps for him to have a friend to play with. Cameron learned to overcome some fears this year. Swimming is a favorite of his. When he wants to do something he just teaches himself. He doesn't have time to wait for someone to teach him.
I have had a pretty good year. I traveled to China, spent three weeks in Utah and had the chance of a life time to see my Aunt Madge and Uncle Dick. I haven't seen them in over 25 years. While Daren took the older boys to New Orleans, I took the two little ones and drove down to Glenwood, AR. It was only a few hours, but it did me a world of good. It was one of the things I listed on my "100 things in 1000 days" list. My Aunt Madge is my dad's only sibling and the first member of our family to join the LDS Church. I loved being able to show her my life and see all the things she has accomplished in her life. Even at almost 90, she and my uncle "race walk" everyday at the local YMCA. They are champions in their age categories. WOW!
My job at UNK continues to be so rewarding. We had some amazing students this year. The Colombian police people were amazing! What a great culture. They are always happy and bring joy to any situation. They are "team" players and want everyone to succeed, not just themselves. Such a nice way to view life. I also lost a student this year. He was murdered in Mexico while trying to visit his family. He leaves behind a young widow. She is amazing person. So hard to re-think your life and your life's dreams at 24 years old.
As always, church continues to be a big struggle for me. I know the gospel is true. I have a strong testimony. My time in Kearney has been difficult. I love being over seminary and institute. I have enjoyed teaching institute for the last two years as well. I think the future here in the cornfields is going to be great. We are working on being able to offer seminary to every youth no matter where they live. We are trying to start some video conferences with students from their homes so that they can attend seminary even if they live to far from the ward building. I think if will have some amazing results. I am praying that the Lord will bless us in our efforts. I was so sad this year to learn of the number of youth not attending church and the low numbers of youth who are staying active.
I have had some strong personal experiences that have helped me in my discovery of who I really want to be. I continue to struggle with my weight and getting myself on a daily exercise program. Colin is a great workout partner and he and I have shared some great times at the YMCA. I just need to kick myself in the fannie and get it done. I am getting older and it will only get harder. :)
My extended family continues on. My oldest brother and his family have gotten into a routine helping with the care of my niece's family. Joseph is a year old now. Can it really be a year since his mother died? My mom is living in LA. She is in between missions and trying to figure out what she wants from life. She is five years out from my father's death and still unsure of the road she should take. I struggle daily with my relationship with her. I continue to pray for the ability to say and do the right things for her. My other two brothers have not kept in contact. I pray for them. I really do! Daren's family seems more like family to me. I love each one of them and they include me in so much and I really LOVE that! It will be fun to see many of them this summer.
The summer is starting off cold and wet. We are still waiting to plant our little garden. We are working on our yard this summer. Laura and I are planting lots of flowers and trying our hands at some new things.
Each summer Daren challenges the kids to a "great piano" challenge. They also have some great contests going with me. We have set up a work time from 8-10 AM everyday. We get piano, chores, breakfast, dressing, reading, math and spelling in in that time. Then we have the rest of the day to play. I love it. It takes some doing, but I don't mind the doing. It will pay off!
So there you have it. One year of no blogging and me trying to write something so that a few of those amazing times won't be lost. I want to do better. I love blogging and sharing and learning. I have made a deal with myself to get back to the "blogging world." I hope I can keep up!
See you around this summer!