Monday, June 29, 2009

Girl's Camp 2009: The Hero Within

Girls Camp was GREAT this year for my daughter and for many girls throughout the Stake..not to mention the Young Women Leaders. This was Bethany's 5th year of attending camp and each year she has looked forward to it and loved it. Partly because she knew how much Becky loved it and partly because each year that Bethany has gone she has grown in spirit and testimony. She has formed strong bonds with other girls throughout the Stake that help her keep strong and remember to live the Gospel. To be "steadfast, immovable and unwavering." Last night after a week of camp President Gale shared his thoughts with the girls and the parents of how great camp was this week. So great that even Satan could not get his toe in that camp because the love and caring that the girls and leaders shared made it impossible. What a great experience!The young women and leaders of the Hazeldale Ward had an great time.
Bethany and her friend Alina posing for a picture
another photo of 3 young women from our Ward: MaKenzie, Allie and Samantha
Wes had the chance to go up on Bishopric night and loved the chance to spend time with the girls and listen to how excited they were to be at camp and the fun they were having. Bethany and Wes
Of course nearly all the girls couldn't wait to ask our wonderful Stake President questions. He loved it!
I am thankful for the great leaders that our Ward has had guide them this past week. They are the BEST!
Tara Feinaur and Jill Allen( our former YWs leader)
Darilyn May and her daughter MaKenzie
Thank you all you great leaders who help our young women grow in self esteem and gospel principles. It was a great week

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Elder Sean Whitnah

Sean has been on his mission now for a total of 6 months. Usually when you are the Mom or Dad of a missionary you feel like the time goes SO SLOW but for some reason it seems like the past months have shot by quickly. I have asked Sean to send some pictures just because I want to see how he looks or how he is doing. Finally he sent some. Boy...Germany sure is beautiful. The Frankfurt Mission areas are definitely different looking than the areas that Becky served in while in Berlin(the former East Germany). Sean and his companion have taught a lot of people but often times these people don't want to be bothered or visited again. That is frustrating to Sean and any other missionary that is trying to teach. He is loving his mission and nearly every email he speaks of the food that he tries. I wonder if he'll come home a few pounds heavier?? If he did it wouldn't hurt him a bit. He left here weighing in at only 120 lbs. One of the foods he loves to eat are these things called donars...they are actually a Turkish dish but with so many Turks in Germany the Germans love them too.
From the angle Sean is holding it the donor doesn't appear quite that big...but take a look at how big it is as his companion shows it...I know I couldn't eat all of that!
A few weeks ago Sean and his companion took a hike on the outskirts of Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf it a HUGE city...nearly 600,000 people. Sean had hoped to serve in smaller areas and so far has been in fairly big areas. I know he enjoyed his hike into the country and wooded areas. This picture in the woods blew me is so beautiful there. Here are a couple more photos that he recently sent. Germany reminds me a lot of Pennsylvania, where I grew up. I can see why so many Germans made Pennsylvania there home when they moved to the United States. The climate and all are very similar. This photo of Sean on their hike...i bet it was a great day. The weather looked perfect for it and even though the picture is a bit grainy it is good to see that Sean is loving it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dance with "No Regrets"

Bethany's dance recital has come and gone. It was great! Bethany has been dancing now for a total of 6 years. She would have been for 9 years but opted to take 3 years off between 4th and 7th grade. She regrets now that she stopped dancing during those years but at the time she wanted and needed a break. It is good to see her enjoying an art that she loves so much. She has not allowed herself to get too caught up in hours and hours of dance. She loves taking tap and jazz and is happy with that...I am too! It works out well for her.
This year's dance recital theme was "no regrets". For those of us who were lucky to attend the recitals, take our kids to weekly classes,dress rehearsals and so forth...there were no regrets. Here is a photo of Bethany that I took at our home prior to her Friday morning dress rehearsal. This is her tap outfit...she looked really cute in it. Her tap teacher, Gail Black, has been teaching dance for years. She is an amazing instructor. She can work with young kids or adults. I am glad both Becky as well as Bethany have been fortunate to have her as their tap teacher.
Bethany loved her jazz instructor this year...a girl named Anna. Anna will be a senior in high school this year but dances like someone who is much older and teaches like someone who has been teaching for years. Bethany picked up on that and really did well in her jazz performance this year. It was great to see. The photo is a tad blurry but even still..she is flying :)
This photo is of Anna.

Dance is a medium where kids can grow their talents and develop self esteem along the way. I am glad my girls have chosen this route. They have had fun with it and have made great friends along the way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summertime...I love it

The first week of Summer is here and it feels good. The hurried rush of school, trying to study for tests, getting homework finished, making sure to get enough sleep and all that goes with school disappears in the wonder of Summer. There is something about Summer that draws me back in time to when I was a kid. The Alice Cooper song "Schools out for Summer" is still one of my favorite songs to hear this time of year. I think my kids are suprised that I KNOW that song.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, my sisters and I along with neighbors and cousins and friends kept ourselves pretty busy. And IF we weren't busy enough my Mom and Dad made sure to keep us busy with odd jobs and anything that would keep us out of trouble. We had great summer days..from baseball games,playing tag, catching lighting bugs to working and enjoying the hot summer days. Growing up in a small town like Bradford was great.
Bethany will be busy this summer trying to finish up her YW's Personal Progress, attending Stake Girl's Camp as a 5th year,going to EFY in late July and trying to find a job this summer. She is going to be 16 on July 1st...I can't believe it. She can hardly wait to date! Bethany and her BFF Alina have already planned dates with boys they want to go out with and places they want to go for dates..they are thinking ahead. It's kind of scary to think that Bethany is old enough to date!! Bryan will be taking swimming lessons at the Beaverton swim center. They specialize in working with kids and teens with special needs. He will have 4 weeks of one on one swim instruction. Bryan will also attend his first Scout Camp for a whole week in the first of July. Wes is going with him for the whole week. Bryan and Wes are both looking forward to this. It will be at Camp Meriwether near the beach. Bryan is most excited about our trip to Pennsylvania this year and our trip to Hershey Park.

I must admit, I am too. I haven't been home to PA to visit my family in nearly 4 years so it will be nice to see family and friends as well as see old friends from school...I am attending my class reunion. It will be great to see some of the people I went to school with...some that I haven't seen since I graduated.
For now, this first couple days everyone seems to be taking a break, having a good laugh and looking forard to the summer ahead.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My buddyroo is 22

I am a bit behind in posting this but my son Robbie is now 22 years old! Yikes, can I really have a son that old? And where did the years go? I love him so very much. He is a guy who is always full of mischief and fun. Even at an early age I KNEW he was up to something...his eyes gave him away everytime. He has been home from his Mission to Honduras for nearly 10 months now. Oh how he LOVED that mission and the people of "HONDO LAND" as he lovingly calls it. I know he would go back to visit in a heart beat. I am so thankful for having a son with such a gentle heart who seems to notice even the slightest concerns of others and truly cares for their welfare. I am guilty often times of overlooking but Robbie seems to take it all in. He doesn't judge either...whether a person is rich or terribly poor he seems to fit in and makes friends. Why should I be surprised? He's done that his entire life and I imagine he will continue to do so the rest of his life. His younger brother Bryan looks up to him and admires him. I think someday when Bryan is no longer autistic that Robbie and Bryan will have a fun conversation and then a long dirt bike ride...they both would love that! I love you my Buddy...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bryan's First Temple Trip

Saturday marked another first for Bryan. His first trip to the Temple to participate in Temple Work. Wes and I spent time explaining to Bryan the best we could what would take place at the Temple and what he was doing. At first Bryan wasn't so sure he wanted to go but after being reminded that his brothers and sisters love to attend the Temple and how they go each month, Bryan decided he would go too. With his autism sometimes you wonder how much he is grasping or understanding and yet I have come to conclude that he probably knows SO much more than I could even begin to know.
This was a special trip in that only members of the Aaronic Priesthood(boys ages 12-18) and the Young Men leaders were there. It was a smaller group than usual but even still it worked out just right. Bryan told me many times how much he loved the Temple and that he had a good time there. I am so glad.
Of course I am sure it helped that Wes took him to McDonalds afterwards for a pancake breakfast :)
When Bryan was little one of his most favorite Primary songs was "I love to see the Temple". He was about 4 or 5 then and he would sing it all the time in the car as we drove from therapy to special ed. kindergarten to other speech and other events. I reminded him on Saturday and sang a part of the song to him...he smiled.
Now that Bryan has had his first feel for the Temple I have a feeling he will want to attend each month with the Young Men and the Young Women. I am thankful for this young man in our life. He wants to always do everything just right. It's been nearly 4 months since he was ordained and made a deacon. Each week he loves to pass the Sacrament and takes this calling very seriously. Monthly he goes out with Wes and collects Fast Offerings. These are important things to him and he reminds me by his actions that he is truly striving each day to do what is right. A reminder to me to step it up and strive to work harder and do better. Children have a way of doing that for us. I believe that is why Heavenly Father wants us to be in families so that we can learn from one another. I hope to "step" it up some as well and strive harder to attend the Temple more often and work a bit harder each day too. Thank you Bryan for your sweet spirit.