I realize I haven't given a review on how things went with the boys, and given my procrastination of late, don't know when that will happen. Matthew and Mark came home the 19th of February. They found jobs, worked, and found jobs again! They are new and improved with just enough of their slothful, yet endearing ways to blend right back into the family. Rachel is no longer an only child. It seems good to have them home again. (yes, it also seemed good to have a empty nest for awhile) I did not find myself pining too much(: Time is marching on, and they are all making grown-up decisions. I am grateful for their maturity, for their work ethic and for their desire to make something of themselves.
I sit here after Midnight and look at my messy kitchen ..pretty much with apathy. I don't care much right now. I am tired. I talked with my sister and my sister-in-law on the phone for a long period of time and it was good. I visited with friends, and I thought a lot about my blessings. My sister asked me, "Are you happy?" I thought a moment before I answered her. I am having a tooth removal and implant on Friday. My Sister's husband passed away yesterday. I am worried about the upcoming recital for 40 students. I haven't cleaned my shower for......ummm...not sure! My little granddaughter Lauren needs open heart surgery in a few months. My knees are bad. I have venous insufficiency, and need some vericose veins removed. I need more money and time and weekends with nothing to do. Am I happy? Yes! I am happy. I am content, and so , so blessed..... I told Liz this with a strong conviction that has not left me since I talked to her an hour ago.
Happiness is truly a state of mind. I don't always have this state and am grateful for it at the present time. My daughter Bethany is coming home tomorrow morning. She and her sister and brothers went out within six months of each other and have fulfilled full-time missions serving people, teaching them Gospel truths and learning so much about themselves. Six of my seven children have served full-time missions, and I could not be prouder.
Bethany in her last e-mail said, "I have met people who have changed my life. I have made life-long friends and have been an influence for good in the lives of others. I've learned the Gospel and have developed an unshakable testimony of the truthfulness of it and of my Savior Jesus Christ. God is real and he loves us. The Book of Mormon is proof of everything I believe. I came out here with a lot of selfish reasons of why I 'wanted' to serve. But now I see that I had to serve."
What a bittersweet moment this will be for us as we greet our daughter. I am reluctant to let the experiences that have both affected us come to an end. I will never again send out a missionary. I will miss the many e-mails, and the constant reminder that I have a missionary/missionaries in the field being a disciple of Christ. It has been a joyous experience as we prayed and fasted for them. I felt the Spirit, and my desire was for them was to feel it and accomplish great things as they connected with people. I wanted them to grow in the work and be able to do it. Lastly, I wanted them to return home with honor, a strong testimony that God lives, and Jesus is the Christ. I believe that they have all accomplished this. What a humbling experience it has been for us to share in this journey!!
A new journey awaits each one of then, and I am incredibly excited to see what they will do with their lives. As is my nature as a born worrier, I try not to dwell on the not so exciting part of mortality. Trials come to all of us, and yet I hope they have learned coping skills, and the love of a caring Father in Heaven.
To our Bethany, "you are fought the good fight, and stayed the course, and now you are returning home to a house that is filled with the people you love (and will learn to love). I am sure it will be an adjustment, but life is all about adjusting to change. Most change can allow us to grow and develop into the person we need to be, and to accomplish what we need to do. If you can serve a mission, you can do anything! Love Mom x0x0x0x0x0x0x0xx0 (which is how I signed all my letters)
|Sister Taylor and her 'sisters'|
|Selfies on missions are fun|
|Bethany and the Bell ringers....(Christmas time?)|
|Bethany and Sister Whitbeck (in the middle) with Sister Wensel, Sister Wood and Sister ? These sisters all taught Shirley the Gospel!|