Tuesday, January 29, 2013

7 months exactly

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It’s hard to believe these past 7 months have come and gone.  Gabriel son, you have brought so much love and joy into our home down here.  I really can’t imagine our family without you!  Your smile is to die for; your eyes smile with you.  You carry a strong determination for such a little babe, and we can’t wait to see how you will change the world - you’ve already changed ours.  We love you so much…

and I have reason to believe that you are well taken care of around here.  No, I’m not the perfect mom nor do I claim to be, but luckily, you have two other little mamas that constantly tend to your needs… without hesitation.

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Love, Us

P.S.  Gabe said his first word tonight clear as day – “da da,” and it was right after Jared returned from a 3-day trip away.  It was super special, definitely a tear jerker.

 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Glistening Whole

I’ve had ‘text’ before – twice actually.  One lasted a total of 6 months, and the other time was for about 3 months.  I’m simple it’s true, but I must admit - I liked it. 

I’ve gotten so use to not having technology distractions in my life down here.  I have this big computer that I use for news and blog posts.  I guess it’s my little window to the outside world. 

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this whole thing other than the fact that I am grateful for the lack of distractions we have here, and I hope I can always remember that about this experience. 

Before coming down here, I envisioned my happy little self embracing a whole new world.  I figured I’d learn the new way of life quickly as I embraced the true adventure we were embarking on.  I pictured myself gathering my little girls around me while I taught them everything good and rich about the world…amidst the little bumps here and there (ha!). 

I read something a few months ago on The Boston Shumway Site (to which I give full credit) about living in a new country, and it’s stuck with me ever since.  The advice was to “live in anticipation of the memory”  because let’s face it, an experience like this is usually “glorious” in retrospect.  Yes, it’s possible to notice an idyllic moment in the moment, but most of the time, experiences in life – in anybody’s life – have a tendency to be mundane, blurry, frustrating, and down right hard. 

The idea though, is to realize that “it’s all part of the adventure.”  It’s all part of “the glistening whole.”  Our life is made up of lots of moments, trials, relationships, experiences, scenes, and situations that when looked at individually, they just don’t make a whole lot of sense. 

But I believe the real author of our lives chooses the individual parts carefully and crafts them to create a beautiful image that when looked at as a whole can be complete, understood, and glistening.  “Sometimes we just need to be (patient) and see them all at once.” 

As we’re approaching the last chapter of our time here, I’m realizing more and more the refining experience this has been for our family, and I’m grateful that even the not-so-little bumps are all part of the “glistening whole” that in the end will create a glorious experience we will cherish forever. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A story about a boat

Earlier this month, to avoid getting deported, I found myself on a boat headed to a different country. 

Is this really my life?  Sheesh.

Okay, in all seriousness, I wasn’t on the brink of jail, but I definitely needed to renew my passport due to some VISA issues that are currently getting resolved.

Thankfully, I have a husband who knows how to make anything good…and fun.  We weren’t on a rowboat, although the thought of that is just too good – but rather ‘a luxurious ferry ride’ with tango dancers providing some serious entertainment value…without any air conditioning. ;)

Anyway, let’s back up a bit.  We drove to Buenos Aires, stayed in a nice hotel, and met a real life never been out of Scotland Scottish couple in need of major help communicating with the front desk.  I’m pretty sure it was easier for me to understand the Argentines better than the Scots.  That was an experience - wow.

The next morning, we took a taxi to the boat port and boarded the boat.

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It was nice.

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Gabe handled it like a champ even though the a/c wasn’t working.  Have I mentioned that I love rocking my babies?  I love rocking my babies.  

AnnMarie seems to be not so little at all anymore. It seems like just yesterday when she was the one I was rocking.  Okay, I’m about to cry.  Moving on…

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This looks like we’re passing by a deserted island.  We probably were - anything’s possible down here.

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Check out the guy stripping down back there – nice.   

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I’m excited to share our Uruguay pictures – it was so beautiful. 

In the meantime, read this incredible story my cousin shared on our music site. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Behind the Scenes

Remember those LDS missionaries I talked about who helped us deliver sticker bags on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?  With the remainder stickers that trickled in, they also delivered sticker bags on New Year’s Day and The Day of the Magi (January 7th).

These two are amazing…simply amazing.  Both exhibit incredible ambition, faith, and zest for life. 

We couldn’t have done it without them.

Elder Larson (from Arizona) and his companion from Ecuador:

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Future missionary who provided smiles:

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The Deseret News posted this Top Story article today.  We are so humbled, but excited to share the love. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A few final thoughts on this whole deal

First of all, let me just say that I believe true service is done quietly.  I never intended for this project to gain as much attention as it did.  It has been incredibly humbling to instigate a service idea that snowballed and included so many others.  My husband and I have been inspired by all the families, individuals, and children who took hold of this simple, but meaningful, opportunity to serve.  It’s definitely made us want to be more vigilant in seeking and acting on service opportunities that others initiate.  Like all acts of service, I really believe that the givers in this project were just as equally touched if not more so than the recipients.

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I was so inspired to see the excitement and dedication my girls exhibited throughout this project.  A lot of times, we tend to think that young children need to be older before they’ll really grasp the whole idea of giving, but truly, it’s never too early to teach children the importance of simple Christ-like service.  Service does not have to be grand; it really can be as simple as giving someone some left-over stickers with love.

DSCN0587My two rag muffins with their never-to-be-forgotten beanie babies.

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In reality, it’s tough stuff going from a first world country to not a first world country.  I don’t like to share the major challenges that accompany the opportunity it is to live in a foreign country on top of the fact that I don’t consider myself a complainer although my husband might beg to differ, but let me just say that The Sticker Project was a huge blessing for our family amidst some difficult trials we faced in December.  With the bad comes the good, and frankly, it’s up to us to seek it out. 

So…cheers to 2012 and the mountains we’re climbing.  We loved celebrating New Year’s,

Jared and Sharee with kids at Kilgruman New Years Day 2013

and we look forward to sharing the upcoming year with you.